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Isaiah 49-50 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

B. Expiation of Sin, Spiritual Liberation of Israel

Chapter 49

The Servant of the Lord[a]

Hear me, coastlands,
    listen, distant peoples.
Before birth the Lord called me,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.[b]
He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword,
    concealed me, shielded by his hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
He said to me, You are my servant,
    in you, Israel,[c] I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    for nothing and for naught spent my strength,
Yet my right is with the Lord,
    my recompense is with my God.
For now the Lord has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.[d]
Thus says the Lord,
    the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
To the one despised, abhorred by the nations,
    the slave of rulers:
When kings see you, they shall stand up,
    and princes shall bow down
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.

The Liberation and Restoration of Zion

    Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I answer you,[e]
    on the day of salvation I help you;
I form you and set you
    as a covenant for the people,
To restore the land
    and allot the devastated heritages,
To say to the prisoners: Come out!
    To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the roadways they shall find pasture,
    on every barren height shall their pastures be.
10 They shall not hunger or thirst;
    nor shall scorching wind or sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
    and guides them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roadway,
    and make my highways level.
12 See, these shall come from afar:
    some from the north and the west,
    others from the land of Syene.[f]

13 Sing out, heavens, and rejoice, earth,
    break forth into song, you mountains,
For the Lord comforts his people
    and shows mercy to his afflicted.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me;
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 Can a mother forget her infant,
    be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
    I will never forget you.
16 See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you;[g]
    your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten—
    your levelers, your destroyers
    go forth from you;
18 Look about and see,
    they are all gathering and coming to you.
As I live—oracle of the Lord
    you shall don them as jewels,
    bedeck yourself like a bride.

19 Though you were waste and desolate,
    a land of ruins,
Now you shall be too narrow for your inhabitants,
    while those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children of whom you were bereft
    shall yet say in your hearing,
“This place is too narrow for me,
    make room for me to live in.”
21 You shall ask yourself:
    “Who has borne me these,
    when I was bereft and barren?
Exiled and repudiated,
    who has reared them?
I was left all alone;
    where then do these come from?”
22     Thus says the Lord God:
See, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
    and to the peoples raise my signal;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
    your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your guardians,
    their princesses your nursemaids;
Face to the ground, they shall bow down before you
    and lick the dust at your feet.
Then you shall know that I am the Lord,
    none who hope in me shall be ashamed.
24 Can plunder be taken from a warrior,
    or captives rescued from a tyrant?
25     Thus says the Lord:
Yes, captives can be taken from a warrior,
    and plunder rescued from a tyrant;
Those who oppose you I will oppose,
    and your sons I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood
    as though with new wine.
All flesh shall know
    that I, the Lord, am your savior,
    your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Chapter 50

Salvation Through the Lord’s Servant

    Thus says the Lord:
Where is the bill of divorce
    with which I dismissed your mother?[h]
Or to which of my creditors
    have I sold you?
It was for your sins you were sold,
    for your rebellions your mother was dismissed.

Why was no one there when I came?
    Why did no one answer when I called?[i]
Is my hand too short to ransom?
    Have I not the strength to deliver?
See, with my rebuke I dry up the sea,
    I turn rivers into wilderness;
Their fish rot for lack of water,
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens in black,
    and make sackcloth their covering.

[j]The Lord God has given me
    a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to answer the weary
    a word that will waken them.
Morning after morning
    he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do;
The Lord God opened my ear;
    I did not refuse,
    did not turn away.[k]
I gave my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who tore out my beard;[l]
My face I did not hide
    from insults and spitting.

The Lord God is my help,
    therefore I am not disgraced;
Therefore I have set my face like flint,
    knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He who declares my innocence is near.
    Who will oppose me?
    Let us appear together.
Who will dispute my right?
    Let them confront me.
See, the Lord God is my help;
    who will declare me guilty?
See, they will all wear out like a garment,
    consumed by moths.
10 Who among you fears the Lord,[m]
    heeds his servant’s voice?
Whoever walk in darkness,
    without any light,
Yet trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely upon their God!
11 All you who kindle flames
    and set flares alight,
Walk by the light of your own fire
    and by the flares you have burnt!
This is your fate from my hand:
    you shall lie down in a place of torment.

Footnotes:

  1. 49:1–7 The second of the four “servant of the Lord” oracles (cf. note on 42:1–4).
  2. 49:1 Gave me my name: designated me for a special task or mission (cf. Jer 1:5).
  3. 49:3 Israel: the servant is identified with the people of Israel as their ideal representative; however, vv. 5–6 seem to distinguish the servant from Israel.
  4. 49:6 The servant’s vocation extends beyond the restoration of Israel in order to bring the knowledge of Israel’s God to the rest of the earth; cf. Lk 2:32.
  5. 49:8 You: the individual is not named; perhaps Cyrus or the prophet.
  6. 49:12 Syene: now called Aswan, at the first cataract of the Nile in southern Egypt.
  7. 49:16 Upon the palms…you: for continual remembrance; cf. Ex 13:9, 16; Dt 6:6–9.
  8. 50:1 Responding to the people’s complaint of utter abandonment by God, the prophet asserts that their sins were responsible for their banishment. Since there was no bill of divorce, the bond between the Lord and his people still exists and he has the power to deliver them (v. 2).
  9. 50:2 Israel’s faith in God is weak; the people do not answer God’s call, nor believe promises of deliverance.
  10. 50:4–11 The third of the four “servant of the Lord” oracles (cf. note on 42:1–4); in vv. 4–9 the servant speaks; in vv. 10–11 God addresses the people directly.
  11. 50:5 The servant, like a well-trained disciple, does not refuse the divine vocation.
  12. 50:6 He willingly submits to insults and beatings. Tore out my beard: a grave and painful insult.
  13. 50:10–11 The Lord offers a choice to those who walk in darkness: either trust in the true light (v. 10), or walk in their false light and suffer the consequences.
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.

Ben Sira 4:1-19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 4

My child, do not mock the life of the poor;
    do not keep needy eyes[a] waiting.
Do not grieve the hungry,
    nor anger the needy.
Do not aggravate a heart already angry,
    nor delay giving to the needy.
A beggar’s request do not reject;
    do not turn your face away from the poor.
From the needy do not turn your eyes;
    do not give them reason to curse you.
If in their pain they cry out bitterly,
    their Rock will hear the sound of their cry.

Social Conduct

Endear yourself to the assembly;
    before the city’s ruler bow your head.
Give a hearing to the poor,
    and return their greeting with deference;
Deliver the oppressed from their oppressors;
    right judgment should not be repugnant to you.
10 Be like a father to orphans,
    and take the place of a husband to widows.
Then God will call you his child,
    and he will be merciful to you and deliver you from the pit.

The Rewards of Wisdom[b]

11 Wisdom teaches her children
    and admonishes all who can understand her.
12 Those who love her love life;
    those who seek her out win the Lord’s favor.
13 Those who hold her fast will attain glory,
    and they shall abide in the blessing of the Lord.
14 Those who serve her serve the Holy One;
    those who love her the Lord loves.

15 “Whoever obeys me will judge nations;
    whoever listens to me will dwell in my inmost chambers.
16 If they remain faithful, they will possess me;
    their descendants too will inherit me.

17 “I will walk with them in disguise,
    and at first I will test them with trials.
Fear and dread I will bring upon them
    and I will discipline them with my constraints.
When their hearts are fully with me,
18     then I will set them again on the straight path
    and reveal my secrets to them.
19 But if they turn away from me, I will abandon them
    and deliver them over to robbers.”

Footnotes:

  1. 4:1 Needy eyes: when the poor look for help; cf. 18:18.
  2. 4:11–19 The Hebrew text in vv. 15–19 presents wisdom speaking in the first person, as in chap. 24. The precious fruits of wisdom—life, favor, glory, blessings, God’s love—arouse desire for her (vv. 11–14). Her disciples are like ministers (v. 14) and judges (v. 15), whose descendants have her for their heritage (v. 16). They enjoy happiness and learn her secrets after surviving her tests (vv. 17–18). Those who fail her are abandoned to destruction (v. 19).
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.

Hebrews 6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, instruction about baptisms[a] and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And we shall do this, if only God permits. For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift[b] and shared in the holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,[c] and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves[d] and holding him up to contempt. Ground that has absorbed the rain falling upon it repeatedly and brings forth crops useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected; it will soon be cursed and finally burned.

But we are sure in your regard, beloved, of better things related to salvation, even though we speak in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. 11 We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.[e]

God’s Promise Immutable. 13 [f]When God made the promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, “he swore by himself,” 14 and said, “I will indeed bless you and multiply” you. 15 And so, after patient waiting, he obtained the promise.[g] 16 Human beings swear by someone greater than themselves; for them an oath serves as a guarantee and puts an end to all argument. 17 So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, 18 so that by two immutable things,[h] in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. 19 This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,[i] 20 where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:2 Instruction about baptisms: not simply about Christian baptism but about the difference between it and similar Jewish rites, such as proselyte baptism, John’s baptism, and the washings of the Qumran sectaries. Laying on of hands: in Acts 8:17; 19:6 this rite effects the infusion of the holy Spirit; in Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Tm 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tm 1:6 it is a means of conferring some ministry or mission in the early Christian community.
  2. 6:4 Enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift: this may refer to baptism and the Eucharist, respectively, but more probably means the neophytes’ enlightenment by faith and their experience of salvation.
  3. 6:5 Tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come: the proclamation of the word of God was accompanied by signs of the Spirit’s power (1 Thes 1:5; 1 Cor 2:4).
  4. 6:6 They are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves: a colorful description of the malice of apostasy, which is portrayed as again crucifying and deriding the Son of God.
  5. 6:12 Imitators of those…inheriting the promises: the author urges the addressees to imitate the faith of the holy people of the Old Testament, who now possess the promised goods of which they lived in hope. This theme will be treated fully in Hb 6:11.
  6. 6:13 He swore by himself: God’s promise to Abraham, which he confirmed by an oath (“I swear by myself,” Gn 22:16) was the basis for the hope of all Abraham’s descendants.
  7. 6:15 He obtained the promise: this probably refers not to Abraham’s temporary possession of the land but to the eschatological blessings that Abraham and the other patriarchs have now come to possess.
  8. 6:18 Two immutable things: the promise and the oath, both made by God.
  9. 6:19 Anchor…into the interior behind the veil: a mixed metaphor. The Holy of Holies, beyond the veil that separates it from the Holy Place (Ex 26:31–33), is seen as the earthly counterpart of the heavenly abode of God. This theme will be developed in Hb 9.
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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