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Genesis 25-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 25

Abraham’s Sons by Keturah. [a]Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.[b] Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim. The descendants of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All of these were descendants of Keturah.

Abraham gave everything that he owned to his son Isaac.[c] To the sons of his concubines, however, he gave gifts while he was still living, as he sent them away eastward, to the land of Kedem,[d] away from his son Isaac.

Death of Abraham. The whole span of Abraham’s life was one hundred and seventy-five years. Then he breathed his last, dying at a ripe old age, grown old after a full life; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar the Hittite, which faces Mamre, 10 the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there he was buried next to his wife Sarah. 11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near Beer-lahai-roi.

Descendants of Ishmael. 12 [e]These are the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of Ishmael’s sons, listed in the order of their birth: Ishmael’s firstborn Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael, their names by their villages and encampments; twelve chieftains of as many tribal groups.

17 The span of Ishmael’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. After he had breathed his last and died, he was gathered to his people. 18 The Ishmaelites ranged from Havilah, by Shur, which is on the border of Egypt, all the way to Asshur; and they pitched camp[f] alongside their various kindred.

Birth of Esau and Jacob. 19 [g]These are the descendants of Isaac, son of Abraham; Abraham begot Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram[h] and the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac entreated the Lord on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The Lord heard his entreaty, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 But the children jostled each other in the womb so much that she exclaimed, “If it is like this,[i] why go on living!” She went to consult the Lord, 23 and the Lord answered her:

Two nations are in your womb,
    two peoples are separating while still within you;
But one will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger.[j]

24 When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first to emerge was reddish,[k] and his whole body was like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26 Next his brother came out, gripping Esau’s heel;[l] so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country; whereas Jacob was a simple[m] man, who stayed among the tents. 28 Isaac preferred Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah preferred Jacob. 29 Once, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Let me gulp down some of that red stuff;[n] I am famished.” That is why he was called Edom. 31 But Jacob replied, “First sell me your right as firstborn.”[o] 32 “Look,” said Esau, “I am on the point of dying. What good is the right as firstborn to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first!” So he sold Jacob his right as firstborn under oath. 34 Jacob then gave him some bread and the lentil stew; and Esau ate, drank, got up, and went his way. So Esau treated his right as firstborn with disdain.

Chapter 26

Isaac and Abimelech. [p]There was a famine in the land, distinct from the earlier one that had occurred in the days of Abraham, and Isaac went down to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar. The Lord appeared to him and said: Do not go down to Egypt, but camp in this land wherever I tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, in fulfillment of the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these lands, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing— this because Abraham obeyed me, keeping my mandate, my commandments, my ordinances, and my instructions.

[q]So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked questions about his wife, he answered, “She is my sister.” He was afraid that, if he called her his wife, the men of the place would kill him on account of Rebekah, since she was beautiful. But when they had been there for a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out of a window and saw Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah. He called for Isaac and said: “She must certainly be your wife! How could you have said, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “I thought I might lose my life on her account.” 10 “How could you have done this to us!” exclaimed Abimelech. “It would have taken very little for one of the people to lie with your wife, and so you would have brought guilt upon us!” 11 Abimelech then commanded all the people: “Anyone who maltreats this man or his wife shall be put to death.”

12 [r]Isaac sowed a crop in that region and reaped a hundredfold the same year. Since the Lord blessed him, 13 he became richer and richer all the time, until he was very wealthy. 14 He acquired flocks and herds, and a great work force, and so the Philistines became envious of him. 15 The Philistines had stopped up and filled with dirt all the wells that his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham. 16 So Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us; you have become far too numerous for us.” 17 Isaac left there and camped in the Wadi Gerar where he stayed. 18 Isaac reopened the wells which his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham’s death; he gave them names like those that his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the wadi and reached spring water in their well, 20 the shepherds of Gerar argued with Isaac’s shepherds, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So he named the well Esek,[s] because they had quarreled there. 21 Then they dug another well, and they argued over that one too; so he named it Sitnah.[t] 22 So he moved on from there and dug still another well, but over this one they did not argue. He named it Rehoboth,[u] and said, “Because the Lord has now given us ample room, we shall flourish in the land.”

23 From there Isaac went up to Beer-sheba. 24 The same night the Lord appeared to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, your father. Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of Abraham, my servant. 25 So Isaac built an altar there and invoked the Lord by name. After he had pitched his tent there, Isaac’s servants began to dig a well nearby.

26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath, his councilor, and Phicol, the general of his army. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have driven me away from you?” 28 They answered: “We clearly see that the Lord has been with you, so we thought: let there be a sworn agreement between our two sides—between you and us. Let us make a covenant with you: 29 you shall do no harm to us, just as we have not maltreated you, but have always acted kindly toward you and have let you depart in peace. So now, may you be blessed by the Lord!” 30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning they exchanged oaths. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.

32 That same day Isaac’s servants came and informed him about the well they had been digging; they told him, “We have reached water!” 33 He called it Shibah;[v] hence the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day. 34 [w]When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, daughter of Elon the Hivite. 35 But they became a source of bitterness to Isaac and Rebekah.

Footnotes:

  1. 25:1–11 As with the story of Terah in 11:27–32, this section lists all the descendants of Abraham as a means of concluding the story. The Jacob story ends similarly with the listing of the twelve sons (35:22–26), the death of Isaac (35:27–29), and the descendants of Esau (chap. 36). Abraham took another wife: though mentioned here, Abraham’s marriage to a “concubine,” or wife of secondary rank, is not to be understood as happening chronologically after the events narrated in the preceding chapter.
  2. 25:2 Three of the six names can be identified: the Midianites are a trading people, mentioned in the Bible as dwelling east of the Gulf of Aqaba in northwest Arabia; Ishbak is a north Syrian tribe; Shuah is a city on the right bank of the Middle Euphrates. The other names are probably towns or peoples on the international trade routes.
  3. 25:5 Amid so many descendants, Abraham takes steps that Isaac will be his favored heir.
  4. 25:6 The land of Kedem: or “the country of the East,” the region inhabited by the Kedemites or Easterners (29:1; Jgs 6:3, 33; Jb 1:3; Is 11:14). The names mentioned in vv. 2–4, as far as they can be identified, are those of tribes in the Arabian desert.
  5. 25:12 Like the conclusion of the Jacob story (chap. 36), where the numerous descendants of the rejected Esau are listed, the descendants of the rejected Ishmael conclude the story.
  6. 25:18 Pitched camp: lit., “fell”; the same Hebrew verb is used in Jgs 7:12 in regard to the hostile encampment of desert tribes. The present passage shows the fulfillment of the prediction contained in Gn 16:12.
  7. 25:19–36:43 The Jacob cycle is introduced as the family history of Isaac (Jacob’s father), just as the Abraham stories were introduced as the record of the descendants of Terah (Abraham’s father, 11:27). The cycle, made up of varied stories, is given unity by several recurring themes: birth, blessing and inheritance, which are developed through the basic contrasts of barrenness/fertility, non-blessing/blessing, and inheritance/exile/homeland. The large story has an envelope structure in which Jacob’s youth is spent in Canaan striving with his older brother Esau (25:19–28:22), his early adulthood in Paddan-aram building a family and striving with his brother-in-law Laban (chaps. 29–31), and his later years back in Canaan (chaps. 32–36).
  8. 25:20 Paddan-aram: the name used by the Priestly tradition for the northwest region of Mesopotamia, between the Habur and the Euphrates rivers. In Assyrian, padana is a road or a garden, and Aram refers to the people or the land of the Arameans. The equivalent geographical term in the Yahwist source is Aram Naharaim, “Aram between two rivers.”
  9. 25:22 If it is like this: in Hebrew, the phrase lamah zeh is capable of several meanings; it occurs again in v. 32 (“What good…?”), 32:30 (“Why do you want…?”), and 33:15 (“For what reason?”). It is one of several words and motifs that run through the story, suggesting that a divine pattern (unknown to the actors) is at work.
  10. 25:23 The older will serve the younger: Rebekah now knows something that no one else knows, that God favors Jacob over Esau. The text does not say if she shared this knowledge with anyone or kept it to herself, but, from their actions, it seems unlikely that either Isaac or Esau knew. That fact must be borne in mind in assessing Rebekah’s role in chap. 27, the theft of Esau’s blessing.
  11. 25:25 Reddish: in Hebrew, ’admoni, a reference to Edom, another name for Esau (v. 30; 36:1). Edom was also the name of the country south of Moab (southeast of the Dead Sea) where the descendants of Esau lived. It was called the “red” country because of its reddish sandstone. Moreover, “red” points ahead to the red stew in the next scene. Hairy: in Hebrew, se‘ar, a reference to Seir, another name for Edom (36:8).
  12. 25:26 Heel: in Hebrew ‘aqeb, a wordplay on the name Jacob; cf. 27:36. The first of three scenes of striving with Esau. The second is vv. 27–34, and the third, chap. 27. In all the scenes, Jacob values the blessing more than his ardent but unreflective brother Esau does.
  13. 25:27 Simple: the Hebrew word denotes soundness, integrity, health, none of which fit here. Whatever its precise meaning, it must be opposite to the qualities of Esau.
  14. 25:30 Red stuff: in Hebrew, ’adom; another play on the word Edom, the “red” land.
  15. 25:31 Right as firstborn: the privilege that entitled the firstborn son to a position of honor in the family and to a double share in the possessions inherited from the father. There is a persistent wordplay between bekorah, “right of the firstborn,” and berakah, “the blessing.” Contrary to custom, the preference here is for the younger son, as it was in the choice of Isaac over Ishmael.
  16. 26:1 The promise of land and numerous descendants given to Abraham (12:1–3; 15; 17; 22:17–18) is renewed for his son Isaac. The divine blessing to Isaac is mentioned also in vv. 12, 24, and 29.
  17. 26:6–11 This scene is the third version of the wife-in-danger story (cf. chaps. 12 and 20). The mention of the famine in 26:1 recalls the famine in 12:10; the name Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar, recalls 20:2. The deception, according to all the stories, is the claim that the wife is a sister. This story (from the Yahwist source) departs from the two previous accounts in that the wife is not taken into the harem of the foreign king.
  18. 26:12–33 The dispute is over water rights. In a sparsely watered land, wells were precious and claims on water could function as a kind of claim on the land. Scholars generally judge the account of the dispute over water rights and its settlement by a legal agreement between Isaac and Abimelech to be a Yahwist version of the similar story about Abraham in 21:22–34. Here, Abimelech realizes that Isaac has brought blessing to his people and thus desires a covenant with him. The feast in v. 30 is part of the covenant ceremony.
  19. 26:20 Esek: “quarrel.”
  20. 26:21 Sitnah: “opposition.”
  21. 26:22 Rehoboth: “wide spaces,” i.e., ample room to live; site is probably SW of modern day Beer-sheba.
  22. 26:33 Shibah: the place name Shibah is a play on two Hebrew words, shebu‘ah, “oath,” and shwebaa‘, “seven.” In v. 31, they exchanged oaths.
  23. 26:34–35 These verses from the Priestly source introduce the next section on Esau’s loss of his right as firstborn by suggesting a motivation for this in Isaac’s and Rebekah’s dislike for Esau’s Canaanite wives.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 18:1-30 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 18[a]

A King’s Thanksgiving for Victory

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the Lord, who sang to the Lord the words of this song after the Lord had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I

I love you, Lord, my strength,
    Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
My God, my rock of refuge,
    my shield, my saving horn,[b] my stronghold!
Praised be the Lord, I exclaim!
    I have been delivered from my enemies.

II

The cords of death encompassed me;
    the torrents of destruction terrified me.
The cords[c] of Sheol encircled me;
    the snares of death lay in wait for me.
In my distress I called out: Lord!
    I cried out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry to him reached his ears.
[d]The earth rocked and shook;
    the foundations of the mountains trembled;
    they shook as his wrath flared up.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
    a devouring fire from his mouth;
    it kindled coals into flame.
10 He parted the heavens and came down,
    a dark cloud under his feet.
11 Mounted on a cherub[e] he flew,
    borne along on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his cloak around him;
    his canopy, water-darkened stormclouds.
13 From the gleam before him, his clouds passed,
    hail and coals of fire.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the Most High made his voice resound.
15 He let fly his arrows[f] and scattered them;
    shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.
16 Then the bed of the sea appeared;
    the world’s foundations lay bare,
At your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the storming breath of your nostrils.
17 He reached down from on high and seized me;
    drew me out of the deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my mighty enemy,
    from foes too powerful for me.
19 They attacked me on my day of distress,
    but the Lord was my support.
20 He set me free in the open;
    he rescued me because he loves me.

III

21 The Lord acknowledged my righteousness,
    rewarded my clean hands.
22 For I kept the ways of the Lord;
    I was not disloyal to my God.
23 For his laws were all before me,
    his decrees I did not cast aside.
24 I was honest toward him;
    I was on guard against sin.
25 So the Lord rewarded my righteousness,
    the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26 Toward the faithful you are faithful;
    to the honest man you are honest;
27 Toward the pure, you are pure;
    but to the perverse you are devious.
28 For humble people you save;
    haughty eyes you bring low.
29 For you, Lord, give light to my lamp;
    my God brightens my darkness.
30 With you I can rush an armed band,
    with my God to help I can leap a wall.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 18 A royal thanksgiving for a military victory, duplicated in 2 Sm 22. Thanksgiving Psalms are in essence reports of divine rescue. The Psalm has two parallel reports of rescue, the first told from a heavenly perspective (Ps 18:5–20), and the second from an earthly perspective (Ps 18:36–46). The first report adapts old mythic language of a cosmic battle between sea and rainstorm in order to depict God’s rescue of the Israelite king from his enemies. Each report has a short hymnic introduction (Ps 18:2–4, 32–36) and conclusion (Ps 18:21–31, 47–50).
  2. 18:3 My saving horn: my strong savior. The horn referred to is the weapon of a bull and the symbol of fertility, cf. 1 Sm 2:10; Ps 132:17; Lk 1:69.
  3. 18:6 Cords: hunting imagery, the cords of a snare.
  4. 18:8–16 God appears in the storm, which in Palestine comes from the west. The introduction to the theophany (Ps 18:8–9) is probably a description of a violent, hot, and dry east-wind storm. In the fall transition period from the rainless summer to the rainy winter such storms regularly precede the rains, cf. Ex 14:21–22.
  5. 18:11 Cherub: a winged creature, derived from myth, in the service of the deity (Gn 3:24; Ex 25:18–20; 37:6–9). Cherubim were the throne bearers of the deity (Ps 80:2; 99:1; 1 Kgs 6:23–28; 8:6–8).
  6. 18:15 Arrows: lightning.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Matthew 11:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples,[a] he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

IV. Opposition from Israel

The Messengers from John the Baptist. [b]When John heard in prison[c] of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him [d]with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: [e]the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

Jesus’ Testimony to John.[f] As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?[g] Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
    he will prepare your way before you.’

11 Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.[h] 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence,[i] and the violent are taking it by force. 13 All the prophets and the law[j] prophesied up to the time of John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. 15 Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:1 The closing formula of the discourse refers back to the original addressees, the Twelve.
  2. 11:2–12:50 The narrative section of the third book deals with the growing opposition to Jesus. It is largely devoted to disputes and attacks relating to faith and discipleship and thus contains much sayings-material, drawn in large part from Q.
  3. 11:2 In prison: see Mt 4:12; 14:1–12. The works of the Messiah: the deeds of Mt 8–9.
  4. 11:3 The question probably expresses a doubt of the Baptist that Jesus is the one who is to come (cf. Mal 3:1) because his mission has not been one of fiery judgment as John had expected (Mt 3:2).
  5. 11:5–6 Jesus’ response is taken from passages of Isaiah (Is 26:19; 29:18–19; 35:5–6; 61:1) that picture the time of salvation as marked by deeds such as those that Jesus is doing. The beatitude is a warning to the Baptist not to disbelieve because his expectations have not been met.
  6. 11:7–19 Jesus’ rebuke of John is counterbalanced by a reminder of the greatness of the Baptist’s function (Mt 11:7–15) that is followed by a complaint about those who have heeded neither John nor Jesus (Mt 11:16–19).
  7. 11:9–10 In common Jewish belief there had been no prophecy in Israel since the last of the Old Testament prophets, Malachi. The coming of a new prophet was eagerly awaited, and Jesus agrees that John was such. Yet he was more than a prophet, for he was the precursor of the one who would bring in the new and final age. The Old Testament quotation is a combination of Mal 3:1; Ex 23:20 with the significant change that the before me of Malachi becomes before you. The messenger now precedes not God, as in the original, but Jesus.
  8. 11:11 John’s preeminent greatness lies in his function of announcing the imminence of the kingdom (Mt 3:1). But to be in the kingdom is so great a privilege that the least who has it is greater than the Baptist.
  9. 11:12 The meaning of this difficult saying is probably that the opponents of Jesus are trying to prevent people from accepting the kingdom and to snatch it away from those who have received it.
  10. 11:13 All the prophets and the law: Matthew inverts the usual order, “law and prophets,” and says that both have prophesied. This emphasis on the prophetic character of the law points to its fulfillment in the teaching of Jesus and to the transitory nature of some of its commandments (see note on Mt 5:17–20).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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