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Judges 12-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

The Shibboleth Incident. The men of Ephraim were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight with the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house on top of you.” Jephthah answered them, “My soldiers and I were engaged in a contest with the Ammonites. They were pressing us hard, and I cried out to you, but you did not come to save me from their power. When I saw that you were not coming to save me, I took my life in my own hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord delivered them into my power. Why, then, should you come up against me this day to fight with me?”

Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, and Gilead seized the fords of the Jordan against Ephraim. When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, “Let me pass,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he answered, “No!” they would ask him to say “Shibboleth.”[a] If he said “Sibboleth,” not pronouncing it exactly right, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.

Jephthah judged Israel for six years, and Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.

Ibzan. After him Ibzan[b] of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters whom he gave in marriage outside the family, while bringing in thirty wives for his sons from outside the family. He judged Israel for seven years. 10 Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

Elon. 11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; he judged Israel for ten years. 12 Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

Abdon. 13 After him Abdon, son of Hillel, the Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He judged Israel for eight years. 15 Abdon, son of Hillel, the Pirathonite, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim in the mountain region of the Amalekites.

Chapter 13

The Birth of Samson. The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, who therefore delivered them into the power of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,[c] whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. An angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her: Though you are barren and have had no children, you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to drink no wine or beer and to eat nothing unclean, for you will conceive and bear a son. No razor shall touch his head, for the boy is to be a nazirite for God[d] from the womb. It is he who will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.

The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, fearsome indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will conceive and bear a son. So drink no wine or beer, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be a nazirite for God from the womb, until the day of his death.’” Manoah then prayed to the Lord. “Please, my Lord,” he said, “may the man of God whom you sent return to us to teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.”

God heard the prayer of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman ran quickly and told her husband. “The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me,” she said to him; 11 so Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he reached the man, he said to him, “Are you the one who spoke to my wife?” I am, he answered. 12 Then Manoah asked, “Now, when what you say comes true, what rules must the boy follow? What must he do?” 13 The angel of the Lord answered Manoah: Your wife must be careful about all the things of which I spoke to her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the vine, she must not drink wine or beer, and she must not eat anything unclean. Let her observe all that I have commanded her. 15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Permit us to detain you, so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16 But the angel of the Lord answered Manoah: Though you detained me, I would not eat your food. But if you want to prepare a burnt offering, then offer it up to the Lord. For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. 17 [e]Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, that we may honor you when your words come true?” 18 The angel of the Lord answered him: Why do you ask my name? It is wondrous. 19 Then Manoah took a young goat with a grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, who works wonders. While Manoah and his wife were looking on, 20 as the flame rose to the heavens from the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground; 21 but the angel of the Lord was seen no more by Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah, realizing that it was the angel of the Lord, 22 said to his wife, “We will certainly die,[f] for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands! Nor would he have let us see all this, or hear what we have heard.”

24 The woman bore a son and named him Samson, and when the boy grew up the Lord blessed him. 25 The spirit of the Lord came upon him for the first time in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Chapter 14

Marriage of Samson. Samson went down to Timnah where he saw one of the Philistine women. On his return he told his father and mother, “I saw in Timnah a woman, a Philistine. Get her for me as a wife.” His father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among your kinsfolk or among all your people, that you must go and take a woman from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson answered his father, “Get her for me, for she is the one I want.” Now his father and mother did not know that this had been brought about by the Lord, who was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines;[g] for at that time they ruled over Israel.

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. When he turned aside to the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion came roaring out toward him. But the spirit of the Lord rushed upon Samson, and he tore the lion apart barehanded, as one tears a young goat. Without telling his father or mother what he had done, he went down and spoke to the woman. He liked her. Later, when he came back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the remains of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass, and honey. So he scooped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he went along. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some to eat, but he did not tell them that he had scooped the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 His father also went down to the woman, and Samson gave a feast there, since it was customary for the young men to do this. 11 Out of their fear of him, they brought thirty men to be his companions. 12 Samson said to them, “Let me propose a riddle to you. If within the seven days of the feast you solve it for me, I will give you thirty linen tunics and thirty sets of garments. 13 But if you cannot answer it for me, you must give me thirty tunics and thirty sets of garments.” “Propose your riddle,” they responded, “and we will listen to it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came food,
    out of the strong came sweetness.”

For three days they were unable to answer the riddle, 15 and on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Trick your husband into solving the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your family. Did you invite us here to reduce us to poverty?” 16 [h]So Samson’s wife wept at his side and said, “You just hate me! You do not love me! You proposed a riddle to my people, but did not tell me the answer.” He said to her, “If I did not tell even my father or my mother, must I tell you?” 17 But she wept beside him during the seven days the feast lasted, and on the seventh day, he told her the answer, because she pressed him, and she explained the riddle to her people.

18 On the seventh day, before the sun set, the men of the city said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey,
    what is stronger than a lion?”

He replied to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”

19 The spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty of their men and stripped them; he gave their garments to those who had answered the riddle. Then he went off to his own family in anger, 20 and Samson’s wife was married to the companion who had been his best man.


  1. 12:6 Shibboleth: Hebrew meaning “ear of grain” or “torrent of water.” Though the Ephraimites probably spoke the same dialect of Hebrew as their Gileadite neighbors, there was enough regional variation in their pronunciation of the initial sound of this word to betray them to their enemies.
  2. 12:8–15 Ibzan…Elon…Abdon: three more of the so-called “minor judges”; see Introduction.
  3. 13:2 The clan of the Danites: before the migration described in chap. 18 the tribe of Dan occupied a small territory west of Benjamin, adjacent to the Philistine plain; see note on 3:3.
  4. 13:5 A nazirite for God: according to the rules for nazirites set forth in Nm 6:2–8, Samson’s vows would have obliged him to abstain from wine and other products of the vine and to keep his hair uncut. As the story that follows shows, the last requirement proved especially fateful in Samson’s life.
  5. 13:17–19 Manoah asks for a name so that he will know how to acknowledge the help of the visitor, but the angel will say only that his name is “wondrous,” i.e., beyond human comprehension. Manoah’s response is to dedicate his offering to “the Lord, who works wonders.”
  6. 13:22 We will certainly die: seeing God face to face was believed to be fatal, as explained in note on 6:22, where Gideon’s reaction is similar to that of Manoah here.
  7. 14:4 An opportunity against the Philistines: although the story of Samson’s first love might be taken as an illustration of the danger of foreign marriages, the narrator explains it differently. Samson’s infatuation with the Timnite woman was the Lord’s way of creating an opportunity to punish the Philistines for their oppression of Israel.
  8. 14:16 The story of Samson and the Timnite woman is very similar in its narrative structure to the better-known story of Samson and Delilah (16:1–22). In both, Samson’s success in his conflict with the Philistines depends on keeping a secret. In both stories Samson is betrayed by the Philistine woman he loves when she importunes him to reveal the secret to her and then, when he gives in, divulges it to her people.
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 119:33-48 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)


33 Lord, teach me the way of your statutes;
    I shall keep them with care.
34 Give me understanding to keep your law,
    to observe it with all my heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for that is my delight.
36 Direct my heart toward your testimonies
    and away from gain.
37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless;
    by your way give me life.
38 For your servant, fulfill your promise
    made to those who fear you.
39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread,
    for your judgments are good.
40 See how I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life.


41 Let your mercy come to me, Lord,
    salvation in accord with your promise.
42 Let me answer my taunters with a word,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth from my mouth,
    for in your judgments is my hope.
44 I will keep your law always,
    for all time and forever.
45 I will walk freely in an open space
    because I cherish your precepts.
46 I will speak openly of your testimonies
    without fear even before kings.
47 I delight in your commandments,
    which I dearly love.
48 [a]I lift up my hands to your commandments;
    I study your statutes, which I love.


  1. 119:48 I lift up my hands to your commandments: to lift up the hands was an ancient gesture of reverence to God. Here the picture is applied to God’s law.
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.

Mark 1:1-28 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. The Preparation for the Public Ministry of Jesus[a]

Chapter 1

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God].[b]

The Preaching of John the Baptist. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:[c]

“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
    he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight his paths.’”

John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.[d] He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. [e]I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”

The Baptism of Jesus. It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.[f] 11 And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Temptation of Jesus.[g] 12 At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, 13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

II. The Mystery of Jesus

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry. 14 After John had been arrested,[h] Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

The Call of the First Disciples.[i] 16 As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. 20 Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

The Cure of a Demoniac. 21 [j]Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23 [k]In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24 [l]he cried out, “What have you to do with us,[m] Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27 All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” 28 His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.


  1. 1:1–13 The prologue of the Gospel according to Mark begins with the title (Mk 1:1) followed by three events preparatory to Jesus’ preaching: (1) the appearance in the Judean wilderness of John, baptizer, preacher of repentance, and precursor of Jesus (Mk 1:2–8); (2) the baptism of Jesus, at which a voice from heaven acknowledges Jesus to be God’s Son, and the holy Spirit descends on him (Mk 1:9–11); (3) the temptation of Jesus by Satan (Mk 1:12–13).
  2. 1:1 The gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]: the “good news” of salvation in and through Jesus, crucified and risen, acknowledged by the Christian community as Messiah (Mk 8:29; 14:61–62) and Son of God (Mk 1:11; 9:7; 15:39), although some important manuscripts here omit the Son of God.
  3. 1:2–3 Although Mark attributes the prophecy to Isaiah, the text is a combination of Mal 3:1; Is 40:3; Ex 23:20; cf. Mt 11:10; Lk 7:27. John’s ministry is seen as God’s prelude to the saving mission of his Son. The way of the Lord: this prophecy of Deutero-Isaiah concerning the end of the Babylonian exile is here applied to the coming of Jesus; John the Baptist is to prepare the way for him.
  4. 1:6 Clothed in camel’s hair…waist: the Baptist’s garb recalls that of Elijah in 2 Kgs 1:8. Jesus speaks of the Baptist as Elijah who has already come (Mk 9:11–13; Mt 17:10–12; cf. Mal 3:23–24; Lk 1:17).
  5. 1:8–9 Through the life-giving baptism with the holy Spirit (Mk 1:8), Jesus will create a new people of God. But first he identifies himself with the people of Israel in submitting to John’s baptism of repentance and in bearing on their behalf the burden of God’s decisive judgment (Mk 1:9; cf. Mk 1:4). As in the desert of Sinai, so here in the wilderness of Judea, Israel’s sonship with God is to be renewed.
  6. 1:10–11 He saw the heavens…and the Spirit…upon him: indicating divine intervention in fulfillment of promise. Here the descent of the Spirit on Jesus is meant, anointing him for his ministry; cf. Is 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; 63:9. A voice…with you I am well pleased: God’s acknowledgment of Jesus as his unique Son, the object of his love. His approval of Jesus is the assurance that Jesus will fulfill his messianic mission of salvation.
  7. 1:12–13 The same Spirit who descended on Jesus in his baptism now drives him into the desert for forty days. The result is radical confrontation and temptation by Satan who attempts to frustrate the work of God. The presence of wild beasts may indicate the horror and danger of the desert regarded as the abode of demons or may reflect the paradise motif of harmony among all creatures; cf. Is 11:6–9. The presence of ministering angels to sustain Jesus recalls the angel who guided the Israelites in the desert in the first Exodus (Ex 14:19; 23:20) and the angel who supplied nourishment to Elijah in the wilderness (1 Kgs 19:5–7). The combined forces of good and evil were present to Jesus in the desert. His sustained obedience brings forth the new Israel of God there where Israel’s rebellion had brought death and alienation.
  8. 1:14–15 After John had been arrested: in the plan of God, Jesus was not to proclaim the good news of salvation prior to the termination of the Baptist’s active mission. Galilee: in the Marcan account, scene of the major part of Jesus’ public ministry before his arrest and condemnation. The gospel of God: not only the good news from God but about God at work in Jesus Christ. This is the time of fulfillment: i.e., of God’s promises. The kingdom of God…Repent: see note on Mt 3:2.
  9. 1:16–20 These verses narrate the call of the first Disciples. See notes on Mt 4:18–22 and Mt 4:20.
  10. 1:21–45 The account of a single day’s ministry of Jesus on a sabbath in and outside the synagogue of Capernaum (Mk 1:21–31) combines teaching and miracles of exorcism and healing. Mention is not made of the content of the teaching but of the effect of astonishment and alarm on the people. Jesus’ teaching with authority, making an absolute claim on the hearer, was in the best tradition of the ancient prophets, not of the scribes. The narrative continues with events that evening (Mk 1:32–34; see notes on Mt 8:14–17) and the next day (Mk 1:35–39). The cleansing in Mk 1:40–45 stands as an isolated story.
  11. 1:23 An unclean spirit: so called because of the spirit’s resistance to the holiness of God. The spirit knows and fears the power of Jesus to destroy his influence; cf. Mk 1:32, 34; 3:11; 6:13.
  12. 1:24–25 The Holy One of God: not a confession but an attempt to ward off Jesus’ power, reflecting the notion that use of the precise name of an opposing spirit would guarantee mastery over him. Jesus silenced the cry of the unclean spirit and drove him out of the man.
  13. 1:24 What have you to do with us?: see note on Jn 2:4.
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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