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Judges 7-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 7

Defeat of Midian. Early the next morning Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) encamped by the spring of Harod with all his soldiers. The camp of Midian was north of him, beside the hill of Moreh in the valley. The Lord said to Gideon: You have too many soldiers with you for me to deliver Midian into their power, lest Israel vaunt itself against me and say, “My own power saved me.”[a] So announce in the hearing of the soldiers, “If anyone is afraid or fearful, let him leave! Let him depart from Mount Gilead!”[b] Twenty-two thousand of the soldiers left, but ten thousand remained. The Lord said to Gideon: There are still too many soldiers. Lead them down to the water and I will test them for you there. If I tell you that a certain man is to go with you, he must go with you. But no one is to go if I tell you he must not. [c]When Gideon led the soldiers down to the water, the Lord said to him: Everyone who laps up the water as a dog does with its tongue you shall set aside by himself; and everyone who kneels down to drink raising his hand to his mouth you shall set aside by himself. Those who lapped up the water with their tongues numbered three hundred, but all the rest of the soldiers knelt down to drink the water. The Lord said to Gideon: By means of the three hundred who lapped up the water I will save you and deliver Midian into your power. So let all the other soldiers go home. They took up such supplies as the soldiers had with them, as well as their horns, and Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents, but kept the three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

That night the Lord said to Gideon: Go, descend on the camp, for I have delivered it into your power. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your aide Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. After that you will have the courage to descend on the camp. So he went down with his aide Purah to the outposts of the armed men in the camp. 12 The Midianites, Amalekites, and all the Kedemites were lying in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could not be counted, for they were as many as the sands on the seashore. 13 [d]When Gideon arrived, one man was telling another about a dream. “I had a dream,” he said, “that a round loaf of barley bread was rolling into the camp of Midian. It came to a certain tent and struck it and turned it upside down, and the tent collapsed.” 14 “This can only be the sword of the Israelite Gideon, son of Joash,” the other replied. “God has delivered Midian and all the camp into his power.” 15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its explanation, he bowed down. Then returning to the camp of Israel, he said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your power.”

16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and provided them all with horns and with empty jars and torches inside the jars. 17 “Watch me and follow my lead,” he told them. “I shall go to the edge of the camp, and as I do, you must do also. 18 When I and those with me blow horns, you too must blow horns all around the camp and cry out, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’” 19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch,[e] just after the posting of the guards. They blew the horns and broke the jars they were holding. 20 When the three companies had blown their horns and broken their jars, they took the torches in their left hands, and in their right the horns they had been blowing, and cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 They all remained standing in place around the camp, while the whole camp began to run and shout and flee. 22 When they blew the three hundred horns, the Lord set the sword of one against another throughout the camp, and they fled as far as Beth-shittah in the direction of Zeredah, near the border of Abel-meholah at Tabbath.

23 The Israelites were called to arms from Naphtali, from Asher, and from all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. 24 Gideon also sent messengers throughout the mountain region of Ephraim to say, “Go down to intercept Midian, and seize the water courses against them as far as Beth-barah, as well as the Jordan.” So all the Ephraimites were called to arms, and they seized the water courses as far as Beth-barah, and the Jordan as well. 25 They captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, killing Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, but they had the heads of Oreb and Zeeb brought to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Chapter 8

But the Ephraimites said to him, “What have you done to us, not summoning us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they quarreled bitterly with him. But he answered them, “What have I done in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? It was into your power God delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” When he said this, their anger against him subsided.

When Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed it, he and his three hundred men were exhausted and famished. So he said to the people of Succoth, “Will you give my followers some loaves of bread? They are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” But the princes of Succoth replied, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your possession, that we should give food to your army?”[f] Gideon said, “Very well; when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my power, I will thrash your bodies with desert thorns and briers.” He went up from there to Penuel and made the same request of them, but the people of Penuel answered him as had the people of Succoth. So to the people of Penuel, too, he said, “When I return in peace, I will demolish this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their force of about fifteen thousand men; these were all who were left of the whole Kedemite army, a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen having fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the tent-dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the force when it felt secure. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled and Gideon pursued them. He captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, terrifying the entire force.

13 Then Gideon, son of Joash, returned from battle by the pass of Heres. 14 He captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him, and he wrote down for him the seventy-seven princes and elders of Succoth. 15 So he went to the princes of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom you taunted me, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your possession, that we should give food to your weary men?’” 16 He seized the elders of the city, and with desert thorns and briers he thrashed the people of Succoth. 17 He also demolished the tower of Penuel and killed the people of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What about the men you killed at Tabor?” “They were all like you,” they replied. “They appeared to be princes.” 19 “They were my brothers, my mother’s sons,” he said. “As the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Then he said to his firstborn, Jether, “Go, kill them.” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, for he was still a boy. 21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, kill us yourself, for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon stepped forward and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. He also took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.

22 The Israelites then said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son, and your son’s son—for you saved us from the power of Midian.” 23 But Gideon answered them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you. The Lord must rule over you.”

24 Gideon went on to say, “Let me make a request of you. Give me, each of you, a ring from his spoils.” (Since they were Ishmaelites,[g] the enemy had gold rings.) 25 “We will certainly give them,” they replied, and they spread out a cloak into which everyone threw a ring from his spoils. 26 The gold rings he had requested weighed seventeen hundred gold shekels, apart from the crescents and pendants, the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and apart from the trappings that were on the necks of their camels. 27 Gideon made an ephod out of the gold and placed it in his city, Ophrah. All Israel prostituted themselves there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

28 Midian was brought into subjection by the Israelites; they no longer held their heads high, and the land had rest for forty years, during the lifetime of Gideon.

Gideon’s Son Abimelech. 29 Then Jerubbaal, son of Joash, went to live in his house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine[h] who lived in Shechem also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 At a good old age Gideon, son of Joash, died and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33 But after Gideon was dead, the Israelites again prostituted themselves by following the Baals, making Baal-berith[i] their god. 34 The Israelites did not remember the Lord, their God, who had delivered them from the power of their enemies all around them. 35 Nor were they loyal to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:2 My own power saved me: Deuteronomic theology constantly warns Israel against attributing success to their own efforts; cf. Dt 6:10–12; 8:17.
  2. 7:3 Mount Gilead: since the well-known highlands of Gilead were east of the Jordan River, some other hill of Gilead must be intended here. Perhaps its name is preserved in Ain Jalud (or Galud), the modern Arabic name of the spring of Harod, where Gideon’s army is encamped (v. 1). The narrator plays on the Hebrew word “fearful” (hared) and the name of the spring, harod.
  3. 7:5 The point of this selection process is clear: the battle against the nomadic raiders is going to be won not because of the numerical superiority of the Israelite troops but because of the power of the Lord.
  4. 7:13 The dream seems to foretell the victory of the agricultural Israelites (the barley loaf) over the nomadic Midianites (the tent).
  5. 7:19 At the beginning of the middle watch: at the start of the second of the three watches into which the night was divided. The sentinels were changed at the beginning of a watch, thus making the camp momentarily vulnerable.
  6. 8:6 Are the hands…already in your possession…?: i.e., can you already boast of victory? The hands of slain enemies were sometimes cut off and counted as trophies.
  7. 8:24 Ishmaelites: evidently used here as a general term for nomads, whose wealth was in the form of gold and flocks. The genealogies in Genesis place the Midianites as descendants of Abraham and his wife Keturah (Gn 25:1–2), and the Ishmaelites as the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave (Gn 25:12–16).
  8. 8:31 Concubine: a wife of secondary rank.
  9. 8:33 Baal-berith: a divine epithet meaning “lord of the covenant.” The same deity is called El-berith, “god of the covenant,” in 9:46.
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 118 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 118[a]

Hymn of Thanksgiving

I

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    his mercy endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say,
    his mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    his mercy endures forever.

II

In danger I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is with me; I am not afraid;
    what can mortals do against me?
The Lord is with me as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on my foes.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put one’s trust in mortals.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put one’s trust in princes.

III

10 All the nations surrounded me;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
11 They surrounded me on every side;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
    they burned up like fire among thorns;
    in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
13 I was hard pressed and falling,
    but the Lord came to my help.
14 The Lord, my strength and might,
    has become my savior.

IV

15 The joyful shout of deliverance
    is heard in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand works valiantly;
16     the Lord’s right hand is raised;
    the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.”
17 I shall not die but live
    and declare the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord chastised me harshly,
    but did not hand me over to death.

V

19 Open the gates of righteousness;
    I will enter and thank the Lord.
20 This is the Lord’s own gate,
    through it the righteous enter.
21 I thank you for you answered me;
    you have been my savior.
22 [b]The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 By the Lord has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice in it and be glad.
25 Lord, grant salvation![c]
    Lord, grant good fortune!

VI

26 Blessed is he
    who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27     The Lord is God and has enlightened us.
Join in procession with leafy branches
    up to the horns of the altar.

VII

28 You are my God, I give you thanks;
    my God, I offer you praise.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    his mercy endures forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 118 A thanksgiving liturgy accompanying a procession of the king and the people into the Temple precincts. After an invocation in the form of a litany (Ps 118:1–4), the psalmist (very likely speaking in the name of the community) describes how the people confidently implored God’s help (Ps 118:5–9) when hostile peoples threatened its life (Ps 118:10–14); vividly God’s rescue is recounted (Ps 118:15–18). Then follows a possible dialogue at the Temple gates between the priests and the psalmist as the latter enters to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice (Ps 118:19–25). Finally, the priests impart their blessing (Ps 118:26–27), and the psalmist sings in gratitude (Ps 118:28–29).
  2. 118:22 The stone the builders rejected: a proverb: what is insignificant to human beings has become great through divine election. The “stone” may originally have meant the foundation stone or capstone of the Temple. The New Testament interpreted the verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Christ (Mt 21:42; Acts 4:11; cf. Is 28:16 and Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:7).
  3. 118:25 Grant salvation: the Hebrew for this cry has come into English as “Hosanna.” This cry and the words in Ps 118:26 were used in the gospels to welcome Jesus entering the Temple on Palm Sunday (Mk 11:9–10).
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 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

Power of the Tongue.[a] Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes. In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions.

Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. 11 Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.

True Wisdom.[b] 13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–12 The use and abuse of the important role of teaching in the church (Jas 3:1) are here related to the good and bad use of the tongue (Jas 3:9–12), the instrument through which teaching was chiefly conveyed (see Sir 5:11–6:1; 28:12–26).
  2. 3:13–18 This discussion of true wisdom is related to the previous reflection on the role of the teacher as one who is in control of his speech. The qualities of the wise man endowed from above are detailed (Jas 3:17–18; cf. Gal 5:22–23), in contrast to the qualities of earthbound wisdom (Jas 3:14–16; cf. 2 Cor 12:20).
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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