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Judges 3-4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

These are the nations the Lord allowed to remain, so that through them he might test Israel, all those who had not experienced any of the Canaanite wars— to teach warfare to those generations of Israelites who had never experienced it: the five lords of the Philistines,[a] and all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in the mountain region of the Lebanon between Baal-hermon and Lebo-hamath. These served as a test for Israel, to know whether they would obey the commandments the Lord had enjoined on their ancestors through Moses. So the Israelites settled among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage, and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage, and served their gods.

II. Stories of the Judges

Othniel. Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they forgot the Lord, their God, and served the Baals and the Asherahs,[b] and the anger of the Lord flared up against them. He sold them into the power of Cushan-rishathaim,[c] king of Aram Naharaim; and the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years. But when the Israelites cried out to the Lord, he raised up a savior for them, to save them. It was Othniel, son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz. 10 The spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he marched out to war, the Lord delivered Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram, into his power, and his hold on Cushan-rishathaim was firm. 11 So the land was at rest for forty years, until Othniel, son of Kenaz, died.

Ehud. 12 Again the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so he strengthened Eglon, king of Moab, against Israel because they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 Taking the Ammonites and Amalek as allies, he went and defeated Israel, taking possession of the City of Palms. 14 So the Israelites served Eglon, king of Moab, for eighteen years.

15 But when the Israelites cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a savior, Ehud, son of Gera, a Benjaminite who was left-handed.[d] The Israelites would send their tribute to Eglon, king of Moab, by him. 16 Ehud made himself a two-edged dagger a foot long, and strapped it under his clothes on his right thigh. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon, king of Moab; now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 When he had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the troops who had carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back at the sculptured stones near Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And the king said, “Silence!” Then when all his attendants had left his presence, 20 Ehud went in to him where he sat alone in his cool upper room. Ehud said, “I have a word from God for you.” So the king rose from his throne. 21 Then Ehud with his left hand drew the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into Eglon’s belly. 22 The hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade because he did not withdraw the dagger from the body.

23 Then Ehud went out onto the porch, shutting the doors of the upper room on Eglon and locking them. 24 When Ehud had left and the servants had come, they saw that the doors of the upper room were locked, and thought, “He must be easing himself in the cool chamber.” 25 They waited until they were at a loss when he did not open the doors of the upper room. So they took the key and opened them, and there was their lord lying on the floor, dead.

26 During their delay Ehud escaped and, passing the sculptured stones, took refuge in Seirah. 27 On his arrival he sounded the horn in the mountain region of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the mountains with him as their leader. 28 “Follow me,” he said to them, “for the Lord has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your power.” So they followed him down and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites, permitting no one to cross. 29 On that occasion they slew about ten thousand Moabites, all of them strong warriors. Not one escaped. 30 So Moab was brought under the power of Israel at that time; and the land had rest for eighty years.

Shamgar. 31 After him there was Shamgar,[e] son of Anath, who slew six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He, too, was a savior for Israel.

Chapter 4

Deborah and Barak. The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the power of the Canaanite king, Jabin, who reigned in Hazor. The general of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. But the Israelites cried out to the Lord; for with his nine hundred iron chariots Jabin harshly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.

At that time the prophet Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under Deborah’s palm tree, between Ramah and Bethel in the mountain region of Ephraim, where the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She had Barak, son of Abinoam, summoned from Kedesh of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands: Go, march against Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from Naphtali and Zebulun. I will draw Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, out to you at the Wadi Kishon, together with his chariots and troops, and I will deliver them into your power.” But Barak answered her, “If you come with me, I will go; if you do not come with me, I will not go.” “I will certainly go with you,” she replied, “but you will not gain glory for the expedition on which you are setting out, for it is into a woman’s power that the Lord is going to sell Sisera.” So Deborah arose and went with Barak and journeyed with him to Kedesh.

10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men followed him. Deborah also went up with him. 11 [f]Now Heber the Kenite had detached himself from Cain, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law, and had pitched his tent by the terebinth of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.

12 It was reported to Sisera that Barak, son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera called out all nine hundred of his iron chariots and all his forces from Harosheth-ha-goiim to the Wadi Kishon. 14 Deborah then said to Barak, “Up! This is the day on which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your power. The Lord marches before you.” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by his ten thousand men. 15 And the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and forces into a panic before Barak. Sisera himself dismounted from his chariot and fled on foot, 16 but Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-ha-goiim. The entire army of Sisera fell beneath the sword, not even one man surviving.

17 Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin, king of Hazor, and the family of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside with me; do not be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink. I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and then covered him. 20 “Stand at the entrance of the tent,” he said to her. “If anyone comes and asks, ‘Is there someone here?’ say, ‘No!’” 21 Jael, wife of Heber, got a tent peg and took a mallet in her hand. When Sisera was in a deep sleep from exhaustion, she approached him stealthily and drove the peg through his temple and down into the ground, and he died. 22 Then when Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg through his temple.

23 Thus on that day God humbled the Canaanite king, Jabin, before the Israelites; 24 their power weighed ever more heavily on him, until at length they finished off the Canaanite king, Jabin.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:3 The Philistines: a people of Aegean origin who settled on the coastal plain of southern Canaan in the twelfth century B.C.; from their name derives the geographic designation Palestine. Israel competed for control of the country against a group of their cities: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron.
  2. 3:7 The Asherahs: Asherah was an important goddess, whose presence in the cult was represented by a wooden pole, also called an “asherah”; see notes on Ex 34:13 and Dt 7:5. Here the plural is used to refer to goddesses in general.
  3. 3:8 Cushan-rishathaim: this king is not known from other biblical or extrabiblical sources. His title, “king of Aram Naharaim,” indicates that he was a Mesopotamian ruler.
  4. 3:15 Left-handed: this detail is important because it shows why Ehud is able to conceal a weapon on his right thigh (3:16). There is also a wordplay involved, since “Benjaminite” in Hebrew could also mean “right-handed man.”
  5. 3:31 Shamgar is the first of the so-called minor judges; cf. Introduction.
  6. 4:11 It was characteristic of the Kenites that they encamped alongside or among other nomadic groups, such as the Amalekites (cf. 1:16; 1 Sm 15:6). They are most often mentioned in connection with tribes living in the southern part of Judah, but Heber’s group seems to have moved north and pitched its tents in the lower Galilee. Cain: in this case a collective term for the Kenites. For Hobab, see 1:16.
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 116 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 116[a]

Thanksgiving to God Who Saves from Death

I

I love the Lord, who listened
    to my voice in supplication,
Who turned an ear to me
    on the day I called.
I was caught by the cords of death;[b]
    the snares of Sheol had seized me;
    I felt agony and dread.
Then I called on the name of the Lord,
    “O Lord, save my life!”

II

Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
    yes, our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
    I was helpless, but he saved me.
Return, my soul, to your rest;
    the Lord has been very good to you.
For my soul has been freed from death,
    my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.[c]

III

10 [d]I kept faith, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted!”
11 I said in my alarm,
    “All men are liars!”
12 How can I repay the Lord
    for all the great good done for me?
13 I will raise the cup of salvation[e]
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 [f]Dear in the eyes of the Lord
    is the death of his devoted.
16 Lord, I am your servant,
    your servant, the child of your maidservant;
    you have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer a sacrifice of praise
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
19 In the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 116 A thanksgiving in which the psalmist responds to divine rescue from mortal danger (Ps 116:3–4) and from near despair (Ps 116:10–11) with vows and Temple sacrifices (Ps 116:13–14, 17–19). The Greek and Latin versions divide the Psalm into two parts: Ps 116:1–9 and Ps 116:10–19, corresponding to its two major divisions.
  2. 116:3 The cords of death: death is personified here; it attempts to capture the psalmist with snares and nets, cf. Ps 18:6.
  3. 116:9 The land of the living: the phrase elsewhere is an epithet of the Jerusalem Temple (cf. Ps 27:13; 52:5; Is 38:11). Hence the psalmist probably refers to being present to God in the Temple.
  4. 116:10 I kept faith, even when I said: even in the days of despair, the psalmist did not lose all hope.
  5. 116:13 The cup of salvation: probably the libation of wine poured out in gratitude for rescue, cf. Ex 25:29; Nm 15:5, 7, 10.
  6. 116:15 Dear in the eyes of the Lord: the meaning is that the death of God’s faithful is grievous to God, not that God is pleased with the death, cf. Ps 72:14. In Wis 3:5–6, God accepts the death of the righteous as a sacrificial burnt offering.
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.

James 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Address

Chapter 1

[a]James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

II. The Value of Trials and Temptation

Perseverance in Trial. Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,[b] for you know that the testing[c] of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom,[d] he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

The brother in lowly circumstances[e] should take pride in his high standing, 10 and the rich one in his lowliness, for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.” 11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass, its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Temptation. 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation,[f] for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him. 13 [g]No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

16 [h]Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: 17 all good giving and every perfect gift[i] is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. 18 He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.[j]

III. Exhortations and Warnings

Doers of the Word. 19 Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear,[k] slow to speak, slow to wrath, 20 for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.

22 Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. 24 He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law[l] of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

26 [m]If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue[n] but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows[o] in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: a declaration of the writer’s authority for instructing the Christian communities; cf. Rom 1:1. Regarding the identity of the author, see Introduction. Dispersion: see Introduction.
  2. 1:2 Consider it all joy…various trials: a frequent teaching of the New Testament derived from the words and sufferings of Jesus (Mt 5:10–12; Jn 10:11; Acts 5:41).
  3. 1:3–8 The sequence of testing, perseverance, and being perfect and complete indicates the manner of attaining spiritual maturity and full preparedness for the coming of Christ (Jas 5:7–12; cf. 1 Pt 1:6–7; Rom 5:3–5). These steps require wisdom (Jas 1:5).
  4. 1:5 Wisdom: a gift that God readily grants to all who ask in faith and that sustains the Christian in times of trial. It is a kind of knowledge or understanding not accessible to the unbeliever or those who doubt, which gives the recipient an understanding of the real importance of events. In this way a Christian can deal with adversity with great calm and hope (cf. 1 Cor 2:6–12).
  5. 1:9–11 Throughout his letter (see Jas 2:5; 4:10, 13–16; 5:1–6), the author reaffirms the teaching of Jesus that worldly prosperity is not necessarily a sign of God’s favor but can even be a hindrance to proper humility before God (cf. Lk 6:20–25; 12:16–21; 16:19–31).
  6. 1:12 Temptation: the Greek word used here is the same one used for “trials” in Jas 1:2. The crown of life: in ancient Palestine, crowns or wreaths of flowers were worn at festive occasions as signs of joy and honor. In the Hellenistic world, wreaths were given as a reward to great statesmen, soldiers, athletes. Life: here means eternal life. He promised: some manuscripts read “God” or “the Lord,” while the best witnesses do not specify the subject of “promised.”
  7. 1:13–15 It is contrary to what we know of God for God to be the author of human temptation (Jas 1:13). In the commission of a sinful act, one is first beguiled by passion (Jas 1:14), then consent is given, which in turn causes the sinful act. When sin permeates the entire person, it incurs the ultimate penalty of death (Jas 1:15).
  8. 1:16–18 The author here stresses that God is the source of all good and of good alone, and the evil of temptation does not come from him.
  9. 1:17 All good giving and every perfect gift may be a proverb written in hexameter. Father of lights: God is here called the Father of the heavenly luminaries, i.e., the stars, sun, and moon that he created (Gn 1:14–18). Unlike orbs moving from nadir to zenith, he never changes or diminishes in brightness.
  10. 1:18 Acceptance of the gospel message, the word of truth, constitutes new birth (Jn 3:5–6) and makes the recipient the firstfruits (i.e., the cultic offering of the earliest grains, symbolizing the beginning of an abundant harvest) of a new creation; cf. 1 Cor 15:20; Rom 8:23.
  11. 1:19–25 To be quick to hear the gospel is to accept it readily and to act in conformity with it, removing from one’s soul whatever is opposed to it, so that it may take root and effect salvation (Jas 1:19–21). To listen to the gospel message but not practice it is failure to improve oneself (Jas 1:22–24). Only conformity of life to the perfect law of true freedom brings happiness (Jas 1:25).
  12. 1:25 Peers into the perfect law: the image of a person doing this is paralleled to that of hearing God’s word. The perfect law applies the Old Testament description of the Mosaic law to the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings freedom.
  13. 1:26–27 A practical application of Jas 1:22 is now made.
  14. 1:26 For control of the tongue, see note on Jas 3:1–12.
  15. 1:27 In the Old Testament, orphans and widows are classical examples of the defenseless and oppressed.
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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