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Genesis 28-29 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 28

[a]Isaac therefore summoned Jacob and blessed him, charging him: “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman! Go now to Paddan-aram, to the home of your mother’s father Bethuel, and there choose a wife for yourself from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fertile, multiply you that you may become an assembly of peoples. May God extend to you and your descendants the blessing of Abraham, so that you may gain possession of the land where you are residing, which he assigned to Abraham.” Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way; he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Esau noted that Isaac had blessed Jacob when he sent him to Paddan-aram to get himself a wife there, and that, as he gave him his blessing, he charged him, “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram. Esau realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac, so Esau went to Ishmael, and in addition to the wives he had, married Mahalath, the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel.[b] 10 Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran. 11 When he came upon a certain place,[c] he stopped there for the night, since the sun had already set. Taking one of the stones at the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12 Then he had a dream: a stairway[d] rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down on it. 13 And there was the Lord standing beside him and saying: I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and through them you will spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south. In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing. 15 I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Truly, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!” 17 He was afraid and said: “How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head, set it up as a sacred pillar,[e] and poured oil on top of it. 19 He named that place Bethel,[f] whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.

20 Jacob then made this vow:[g] “If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear, 21 and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail.”

Chapter 29

Arrival in Haran.[h] After Jacob resumed his journey, he came to the land of the Kedemites. Looking about, he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep huddled near it, for flocks were watered from that well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well. When all the shepherds were assembled there they would roll the stone away from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back again in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We are from Haran,” they replied. Then he asked them, “Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?” “We do,” they answered. He inquired further, “Is he well?” “He is,” they answered; “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” Then he said: “There is still much daylight left; it is hardly the time to bring the animals home. Water the sheep, and then continue pasturing them.” They replied, “We cannot until all the shepherds are here to roll the stone away from the mouth of the well; then can we water the flocks.”

While he was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was the one who tended them. 10 As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of Laban, he went up, rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well, and watered Laban’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son. So she ran to tell her father. 13 When Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him. After embracing and kissing him, he brought him to his house. Jacob then repeated to Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “You are indeed my bone and my flesh.”[i]

Marriage to Leah and Rachel. After Jacob had stayed with him a full month, 15 [j]Laban said to him: “Should you serve me for nothing just because you are a relative of mine? Tell me what your wages should be.” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the older was called Leah, the younger Rachel. 17 Leah had dull eyes,[k] but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18 Because Jacob loved Rachel, he answered, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”[l] 19 Laban replied, “It is better to give her to you than to another man. Stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, yet they seemed to him like a few days because of his love for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, that I may consummate my marriage with her, for my term is now completed.” 22 So Laban invited all the local inhabitants and gave a banquet. 23 At nightfall he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he consummated the marriage with her. 24 Laban assigned his maidservant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maidservant. 25 In the morning, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban: “How could you do this to me! Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why did you deceive me?” 26 Laban replied, “It is not the custom in our country to give the younger daughter before the firstborn. 27 Finish the bridal week[m] for this one, and then the other will also be given to you in return for another seven years of service with me.”

28 Jacob did so. He finished the bridal week for the one, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29 Laban assigned his maidservant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. 30 Jacob then consummated his marriage with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Thus he served Laban another seven years.

Jacob’s Children.[n] 31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he made her fruitful, while Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben;[o] for she said, “It means, ‘The Lord saw my misery; surely now my husband will love me.’” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “It means, ‘The Lord heard that I was unloved,’ and therefore he has given me this one also”; so she named him Simeon.[p] 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, since I have now borne him three sons”; that is why she named him Levi.[q] 35 Once more she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “This time I will give thanks to the Lord”; therefore she named him Judah.[r] Then she stopped bearing children.

Footnotes:

  1. 28:1–9 A glimpse of Rebekah’s shrewdness is provided by 27:42–28:2. She is aware of Esau’s murderous plot against Jacob (27:42–45) but realizes the episode of the stolen blessing is still painful to Isaac; she therefore uses another motive to persuade Isaac to send Jacob away—he must marry within the family (endogamy), unlike Esau. Esau, unreflective as usual, realizes too late he also should marry within the family but, significantly, marries from Abraham’s rejected line. At this point in the story, Jacob (and his mother) have taken the blessing for themselves. Their actions have put Jacob in a precarious position: he must flee the land because of his brother’s murderous intent and find a wife in a far country. One might ask how God’s blessing can be given to such an unworthy schemer. There is a biblical pattern of preferring the younger brother or sister over the older—Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Rachel over Leah, Joseph over his older brothers, Ephraim over Manasseh (Gn 48:14), David over his older brothers.
  2. 28:10–22 As Jacob is leaving the land on his way to an uncertain future in Paddan-aram, God appears to him at a sacred place that Jacob had visited only to take a night’s rest. Jacob’s unawareness of the holiness of the place underscores the graciousness of the gift. On his return to Canaan, he will again encounter a divine visitor in the form of the mysterious attacker (32:23–33) and, after his return and reconciliation with Esau, he will again go to Bethel (35:1–15).
  3. 28:11 Place: the Hebrew word is often used specifically of a sacred site. The ambiguous word “place” is used here, for the text emphasizes that Jacob has no idea the place he has come upon is sacred; only when he wakes up does he realize it is sacred. The place was Bethel (v. 19), a sacred site as early as the time of Abraham (12:8).
  4. 28:12 Stairway: in Hebrew, sullam, traditionally but inaccurately translated as “ladder.” The corresponding verb, salal, means “to heap up” something, such as dirt for a highway or a ramp. The imagery in Jacob’s dream may be derived from the Babylonian ziggurat or temple tower, “with its top in the sky” (11:4), and with brick steps leading up to a small temple at the top.
  5. 28:18 Sacred pillar: in Hebrew, masseba, a stone which might vary in shape and size, set upright and usually intended for some religious purpose. The custom of erecting such sacred pillars in Palestine went back to its pre-Israelite period; but since their polytheistic associations were often retained, later Israelite religion forbade their erection (Lv 26:1; Dt 16:22) and ordered the destruction of those that were associated with other religions (Ex 34:13; Dt 12:3).
  6. 28:19 Bethel: i.e., “house of God”; the reference is to the house of God in v. 17.
  7. 28:20 This vow: knowing well that Esau’s murderous wrath stands between him and the possession of the land promised him, Jacob makes his vow very precise. He vows to make the God who appeared to him his own if the God guides him safely to Paddan-aram and back to this land.
  8. 29:1–14

    Jacob’s arrival in Haran. The sight of Rachel inspires Jacob to the superhuman feat of rolling back the enormous stone by himself. The scene evokes the meeting of Abraham’s steward and Jacob’s mother Rebekah at a well (24:11–27).

    The verse begins the story of Jacob’s time in Mesopotamia (29:1–31:54), which is framed on either side by Jacob’s time in Canaan, 25:19–28:22 and 32:1–36:43. In these chapters, Jacob suffers Laban’s duplicity as Esau had to suffer his, though eventually Jacob outwits Laban and leaves Mesopotamia a wealthy man. An elaborate chiastic (or envelope) structure shapes the diverse material: (A) Jacob’s arrival in Haran in 29:1–4; (B) contract with Laban in 29:15–20; (C) Laban’s deception of Jacob in 29:21–30; (D) the center, the birth of Jacob’s children in 29:31–30:24; (C′) Jacob’s deception of Laban in 30:25–43; (B′) dispute with Laban in 31:17–42; (A′) departure from Laban in 31:43–54. As the chiasm reverses, so do the fortunes of Laban and Jacob. Kedemites: see note on 25:6.

  9. 29:14 Bone and…flesh: the Hebrew idiom for English “flesh and blood” (cf. 2:23; Jgs 9:2; 2 Sm 5:1 = 1 Chr 11:1).
  10. 29:15–30 Laban’s deception and Jacob’s marriages. There are many ironies in the passage. Jacob’s protest to Laban, “How could you do this to me?” echoes the question put to Abraham (20:9) and Isaac (26:10) when their deceptions about their wives were discovered. The major irony is that Jacob, the deceiver of his father and brother about the blessing (chap. 27), is deceived by his uncle (standing in for the father) about his wife.
  11. 29:17 Dull eyes: in the language of beauty used here, “dull” probably means lacking in the luster that was the sign of beautiful eyes, as in 1 Sm 16:12 and Sg 4:1.
  12. 29:18 Jacob offers to render service (Jos 15:16–17; 1 Sm 17:25; 18:17) to pay off the customary bridal price (Ex 22:15–16; Dt 22:29).
  13. 29:27 The bridal week: an ancient wedding lasted for seven days; cf. Jgs 14:12, 17.
  14. 29:31–30:24 The note of strife, first sounded between Jacob and Esau in chaps. 25–27, continues between the two wives, since Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah (29:30). Jacob’s neglect of Leah moves God to make her fruitful (29:31). Leah’s fertility provokes Rachel. Leah bears Jacob four sons (Reuben, Levi, Simeon, and Judah) and her maidservant Zilpah, two (Gad and Asher). Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah bears two (Dan and Naphtali). After the mandrakes (30:14–17), Leah bears Issachar and Zebulun and a daughter Dinah. Rachel then bears Joseph and, later in the land of Canaan, Benjamin (35:18).
  15. 29:32 Reuben: the literal meaning of the Hebrew name is disputed. One interpretation is re’u ben, “look, a son!”, but here in Genesis (as also with the names of all the other sons of Jacob), it is given a symbolic rather than an etymological interpretation. Name and person were regarded as closely interrelated. The symbolic interpretation of Reuben’s name, according to the Yahwist source, is based on the similar-sounding ra’a be‘onyi, “he saw my misery.” In the Elohist source, the name is explained by the similar-sounding ye’ehabani, “he will love me.”
  16. 29:33 Simeon: in popular etymology, related to shama‘, “he heard.”
  17. 29:34 Levi: related to yillaweh, “he will become attached.”
  18. 29:35 Judah: related to ’odeh, “I will give thanks, praise.”
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 19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 19[a]

God’s Glory in the Heavens and in the Law

For the leader. A psalm of David.

I

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.
Day unto day pours forth speech;
    night unto night whispers knowledge.
[b]There is no speech, no words;
    their voice is not heard;
A report goes forth through all the earth,
    their messages, to the ends of the world.
He has pitched in them a tent for the sun;[c]
    it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy,
    and like a hero joyfully runs its course.
From one end of the heavens it comes forth;
    its course runs through to the other;
    nothing escapes its heat.

II

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
10 The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The statutes of the Lord are true,
    all of them just;
11 More desirable than gold,
    than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey
    or drippings from the comb.
12 By them your servant is warned;[d]
    obeying them brings much reward.

III

13 Who can detect trespasses?
    Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.
14 Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant;
    let them never control me.
Then shall I be blameless,
    innocent of grave sin.
15 Let the words of my mouth be acceptable,
    the thoughts of my heart before you,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 19 The heavenly elements of the world, now beautifully arranged, bespeak the power and wisdom of their creator (Ps 19:2–7). The creator’s wisdom is available to human beings in the law (Ps 19:8–11), toward which the psalmist prays to be open (Ps 19:12–14). The themes of light and speech unify the poem.
  2. 19:4 No speech, no words: the regular functioning of the heavens and the alternation of day and night inform human beings without words of the creator’s power and wisdom.
  3. 19:5 The sun: in other religious literature the sun is a judge and lawgiver since it sees all in its daily course; Ps 19:5b–7 form a transition to the law in Ps 19:8–11. The six synonyms for God’s revelation (Ps 19:8–11) are applied to the sun in comparable literature.
  4. 19:12 Warned: the Hebrew verb means both to shine and to warn, cf. Dn 12:3.
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 12:1-21 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

Picking Grain on the Sabbath. [a]At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads[b] of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them,[c] “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? [d]Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. [e]If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. [f]For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

The Man with a Withered Hand. Moving on from there, he went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man there who had a withered hand. They questioned him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?”[g] so that they might accuse him. 11 [h]He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep that falls into a pit on the sabbath will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable a person is than a sheep. So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees[i] went out and took counsel against him to put him to death.

The Chosen Servant.[j] 15 When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many [people] followed him, and he cured them all,[k] 16 but he warned them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not contend[l] or cry out,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
21     And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”[m]

Jesus and Beelzebul.[n]

Footnotes:

  1. 12:1–14 Matthew here returns to the Marcan order that he left in Mt 9:18. The two stories depend on Mk 2:23–28; 3:1–6, respectively, and are the only places in either gospel that deal explicitly with Jesus’ attitude toward sabbath observance.
  2. 12:1–2 The picking of the heads of grain is here equated with reaping, which was forbidden on the sabbath (Ex 34:21).
  3. 12:3–4 See 1 Sm 21:2–7. In the Marcan parallel (Mk 2:25–26) the high priest is called Abiathar, although in 1 Samuel this action is attributed to Ahimelech. The Old Testament story is not about a violation of the sabbath rest; its pertinence to this dispute is that a violation of the law was permissible because of David’s men being without food.
  4. 12:5–6 This and the following argument (Mt 12:7) are peculiar to Matthew. The temple service seems to be the changing of the showbread on the sabbath (Lv 24:8) and the doubling on the sabbath of the usual daily holocausts (Nm 28:9–10). The argument is that the law itself requires work that breaks the sabbath rest, because of the higher duty of temple service. If temple duties outweigh the sabbath law, how much more does the presence of Jesus, with his proclamation of the kingdom (something greater than the temple), justify the conduct of his disciples.
  5. 12:7 See note on Mt 9:13.
  6. 12:8 The ultimate justification for the disciples’ violation of the sabbath rest is that Jesus, the Son of Man, has supreme authority over the law.
  7. 12:10 Rabbinic tradition later than the gospels allowed relief to be given to a sufferer on the sabbath if life was in danger. This may also have been the view of Jesus’ Pharisaic contemporaries. But the case here is not about one in danger of death.
  8. 12:11 Matthew omits the question posed by Jesus in Mk 3:4 and substitutes one about rescuing a sheep on the sabbath, similar to that in Lk 14:5.
  9. 12:14 See Mk 3:6. Here the plan to bring about Jesus’ death is attributed to the Pharisees only. This is probably due to the situation of Matthew’s church, when the sole opponents were the Pharisees.
  10. 12:15–21 Matthew follows Mk 3:7–12 but summarizes his source in two verses (Mt 12:15, 16) that pick up the withdrawal, the healings, and the command for silence. To this he adds a fulfillment citation from the first Servant Song (Is 42:1–4) that does not correspond exactly to either the Hebrew or the LXX of that passage. It is the longest Old Testament citation in this gospel, emphasizing the meekness of Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, and foretelling the extension of his mission to the Gentiles.
  11. 12:15 Jesus’ knowledge of the Pharisees’ plot and his healing all are peculiar to Matthew.
  12. 12:19 The servant’s not contending is seen as fulfilled in Jesus’ withdrawal from the disputes narrated in Mt 12:1–14.
  13. 12:21 Except for a minor detail, Matthew here follows the LXX, although the meaning of the Hebrew (“the coastlands will wait for his teaching”) is similar.
  14. 12:22–32 For the exorcism, see note on Mt 9:32–34. The long discussion combines Marcan and Q material (Mk 3:22–30; Lk 11:19–20, 23; 12:10). Mk 3:20–21 is omitted, with a consequent lessening of the sharpness of Mt 12:48.
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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