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Judges 17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Micah’s Idols

17 There was a man named Micah, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim. One day he said to his mother, “I heard you place a curse on the person who stole 1,100 pieces[a] of silver from you. Well, I have the money. I was the one who took it.”

“The Lord bless you for admitting it,” his mother replied. He returned the money to her, and she said, “I now dedicate these silver coins to the Lord. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast.”

So when he returned the money to his mother, she took 200 silver coins and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into an image and an idol. And these were placed in Micah’s house. Micah set up a shrine for the idol, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. Then he installed one of his sons as his personal priest.

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area. He had left Bethlehem in search of another place to live, and as he traveled, he came to the hill country of Ephraim. He happened to stop at Micah’s house as he was traveling through. “Where are you from?” Micah asked him.

He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”

10 “Stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silver[b] a year, plus a change of clothes and your food.” 11 The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah’s sons.

12 So Micah installed the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah’s house. 13 “I know the Lord will bless me now,” Micah said, “because I have a Levite serving as my priest.”

Idolatry in the Tribe of Dan

18 Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel. So the men of Dan chose from their clans five capable warriors from the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol to scout out a land for them to settle in.

When these warriors arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, they came to Micah’s house and spent the night there. While at Micah’s house, they recognized the young Levite’s accent, so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you here, and what are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” He told them about his agreement with Micah and that he had been hired as Micah’s personal priest.

Then they said, “Ask God whether or not our journey will be successful.”

“Go in peace,” the priest replied. “For the Lord is watching over your journey.”

So the five men went on to the town of Laish, where they noticed the people living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure.[c] The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. And they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby.

When the men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”

The men replied, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. What are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to go and take possession of it. 10 When you get there, you will find the people living carefree lives. God has given us a spacious and fertile land, lacking in nothing!”

11 So 600 men from the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 They camped at a place west of Kiriath-jearim in Judah, which is called Mahaneh-dan[d] to this day. 13 Then they went on from there into the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14 The five men who had scouted out the land around Laish explained to the others, “These buildings contain a sacred ephod, as well as some household idols, a carved image, and a cast idol. What do you think you should do?” 15 Then the five men turned off the road and went over to Micah’s house, where the young Levite lived, and greeted him kindly. 16 As the 600 armed warriors from the tribe of Dan stood at the entrance of the gate, 17 the five scouts entered the shrine and removed the carved image, the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the cast idol. Meanwhile, the priest was standing at the gate with the 600 armed warriors.

18 When the priest saw the men carrying all the sacred objects out of Micah’s shrine, he said, “What are you doing?”

19 “Be quiet and come with us,” they said. “Be a father and priest to all of us. Isn’t it better to be a priest for an entire tribe and clan of Israel than for the household of just one man?”

20 The young priest was quite happy to go with them, so he took along the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the carved image. 21 They turned and started on their way again, placing their children, livestock, and possessions in front of them.

22 When the people from the tribe of Dan were quite a distance from Micah’s house, the people who lived near Micah came chasing after them. 23 They were shouting as they caught up with them. The men of Dan turned around and said to Micah, “What’s the matter? Why have you called these men together and chased after us like this?”

24 “What do you mean, ‘What’s the matter?’” Micah replied. “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left!”

25 The men of Dan said, “Watch what you say! There are some short-tempered men around here who might get angry and kill you and your family.” 26 So the men of Dan continued on their way. When Micah saw that there were too many of them for him to attack, he turned around and went home.

27 Then, with Micah’s idols and his priest, the men of Dan came to the town of Laish, whose people were peaceful and secure. They attacked with swords and burned the town to the ground. 28 There was no one to rescue the people, for they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. This happened in the valley near Beth-rehob.

Then the people of the tribe of Dan rebuilt the town and lived there. 29 They renamed the town Dan after their ancestor, Israel’s son, but it had originally been called Laish.

30 Then they set up the carved image, and they appointed Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses,[e] as their priest. This family continued as priests for the tribe of Dan until the Exile. 31 So Micah’s carved image was worshiped by the tribe of Dan as long as the Tabernacle of God remained at Shiloh.

Footnotes:

  1. 17:2 Hebrew 1,100 [shekels], about 28 pounds or 12.5 kilograms in weight.
  2. 17:10 Hebrew 10 [shekels] of silver, about 4 ounces or 114 grams in weight.
  3. 18:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  4. 18:12 Mahaneh-dan means “the camp of Dan.”
  5. 18:30 As in an ancient Hebrew tradition, some Greek manuscripts, and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads son of Manasseh.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Judges 17-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Micah’s Idolatry

17 Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver which were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse [a]in my hearing, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the Lord.” He then returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore, I will return [b]them to you.” So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made [c]them into a graven image and a molten image, and [d]they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a [e]shrine and he made an ephod and [f]household idols and [g]consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he was [h]staying there. Then the man departed from the city, from Bethlehem in Judah, to [i]stay wherever he might find a place; and as he made his journey, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to [j]stay wherever I may find a place.” 10 Micah then said to him, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a suit of clothes, and your maintenance.” So the Levite went in. 11 The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 So Micah [k]consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and [l]lived in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest.”

Danites Seek Territory

18 In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day [m]an inheritance had not [n]been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel. So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number, [o]valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, “Go, search the land.” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there and said to him, “Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?” He said to them, “Thus and so has Micah done to me, and he has hired me and I have become his priest.” They said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous.” The priest said to them, “Go in peace; your way in which you are going [p]has the Lord’s approval.”

Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no [q]ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you [r]sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land. 10 When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

11 Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. 12 They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place [s]Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is [t]west of Kiriath-jearim. 13 They passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

Danites Take Micah’s Idols

14 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and [u]household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15 They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and [v]household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. 18 When these went into Micah’s house and took the graven image, the ephod and [w]household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 They said to him, “Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and [x]household idols and the graven image and went among the people.

21 Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the valuables in front of them. 22 When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan. 23 They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned [y]around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?” 24 He said, “You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides? So how can you say to me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25 The sons of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else [z]fierce men will fall upon you and you will [aa]lose your life, with the lives of your household.” 26 So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

27 Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish. 30 The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of [ab]Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 17:2 Lit and also spoke it in my ears
  2. Judges 17:3 Lit it
  3. Judges 17:4 Lit it
  4. Judges 17:4 Lit it was
  5. Judges 17:5 Lit house of gods
  6. Judges 17:5 Heb teraphim
  7. Judges 17:5 Lit filled the hand of
  8. Judges 17:7 Or sojourning
  9. Judges 17:8 Or sojourn
  10. Judges 17:9 Or sojourn
  11. Judges 17:12 Lit filled the hand of
  12. Judges 17:12 Lit was
  13. Judges 18:1 Lit it
  14. Judges 18:1 Lit fallen
  15. Judges 18:2 Lit men, sons of valor
  16. Judges 18:6 Lit is before the Lord
  17. Judges 18:7 Lit possessor of restraint
  18. Judges 18:9 Lit be
  19. Judges 18:12 I.e. the camp of Dan
  20. Judges 18:12 Lit behind
  21. Judges 18:14 Heb teraphim
  22. Judges 18:17 Heb teraphim
  23. Judges 18:18 Heb teraphim
  24. Judges 18:20 Heb teraphim
  25. Judges 18:23 Lit their faces
  26. Judges 18:25 Lit bitter of soul
  27. Judges 18:25 Lit gather
  28. Judges 18:30 Some ancient versions read Moses
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Psalm 89 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 89

A psalm[a] of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
    Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Your unfailing love will last forever.
    Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.

The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant.
    I have sworn this oath to him:
‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever;
    they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” Interlude
All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;
    myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.
For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
    What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
    He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!
    Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord?
    You are entirely faithful.

You rule the oceans.
    You subdue their storm-tossed waves.
10 You crushed the great sea monster.[b]
    You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours;
    everything in the world is yours—you created it all.
12 You created north and south.
    Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name.
13 Powerful is your arm!
    Strong is your hand!
    Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
    Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
    for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
    They exult in your righteousness.
17 You are their glorious strength.
    It pleases you to make us strong.
18 Yes, our protection comes from the Lord,
    and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.

19 Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people.
You said, “I have raised up a warrior.
    I have selected him from the common people to be king.
20 I have found my servant David.
    I have anointed him with my holy oil.
21 I will steady him with my hand;
    with my powerful arm I will make him strong.
22 His enemies will not defeat him,
    nor will the wicked overpower him.
23 I will beat down his adversaries before him
    and destroy those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him,
    and by my authority he will grow in power.
25 I will extend his rule over the sea,
    his dominion over the rivers.
26 And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
27 I will make him my firstborn son,
    the mightiest king on earth.
28 I will love him and be kind to him forever;
    my covenant with him will never end.
29 I will preserve an heir for him;
    his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.
30 But if his descendants forsake my instructions
    and fail to obey my regulations,
31 if they do not obey my decrees
    and fail to keep my commands,
32 then I will punish their sin with the rod,
    and their disobedience with beating.
33 But I will never stop loving him
    nor fail to keep my promise to him.
34 No, I will not break my covenant;
    I will not take back a single word I said.
35 I have sworn an oath to David,
    and in my holiness I cannot lie:
36 His dynasty will go on forever;
    his kingdom will endure as the sun.
37 It will be as eternal as the moon,
    my faithful witness in the sky!” Interlude

38 But now you have rejected him and cast him off.
    You are angry with your anointed king.
39 You have renounced your covenant with him;
    you have thrown his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken down the walls protecting him
    and ruined every fort defending him.
41 Everyone who comes along has robbed him,
    and he has become a joke to his neighbors.
42 You have strengthened his enemies
    and made them all rejoice.
43 You have made his sword useless
    and refused to help him in battle.
44 You have ended his splendor
    and overturned his throne.
45 You have made him old before his time
    and publicly disgraced him. Interlude

46 O Lord, how long will this go on?
    Will you hide yourself forever?
    How long will your anger burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my life is,
    how empty and futile this human existence!
48 No one can live forever; all will die.
    No one can escape the power of the grave.[c] Interlude

49 Lord, where is your unfailing love?
    You promised it to David with a faithful pledge.
50 Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced!
    I carry in my heart the insults of so many people.
51 Your enemies have mocked me, O Lord;
    they mock your anointed king wherever he goes.

52 Praise the Lord forever!
    Amen and amen!

Footnotes:

  1. 89:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
  2. 89:10 Hebrew Rahab, the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature.
  3. 89:48 Hebrew of Sheol.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Psalm 89 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Lord’s Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.

A [a]Maskil of [b]Ethan [c]the Ezrahite.

89 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”
“I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,
I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations.” [d]Selah.

The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord?
Who among the [e]sons of the mighty is like the Lord,
A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?
O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty [f]Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
10 You Yourself crushed [g]Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with [h]Your mighty arm.

11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and [i]all it contains, You have founded them.
12 The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.
13 You have [j]a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and [k]truth go before You.
15 How blessed are the people who know the [l]joyful sound!
O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
16 In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.
17 For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor [m]our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
[n]And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 [o]Once You spoke in vision to Your godly [p]ones,
And said, “I have [q]given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 “I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
21 With whom My hand will be established;
My arm also will strengthen him.
22 “The enemy will not [r]deceive him,
Nor the [s]son of wickedness afflict him.
23 “But I shall crush his adversaries before him,
And strike those who hate him.
24 “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him,
And in My name his horn will be exalted.
25 “I shall also set his hand on the sea
And his right hand on the rivers.
26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
27 “I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
29 “So I will establish his [t]descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.

30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they [u]violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
34 “My covenant I will not [v]violate,
Nor will I alter [w]the utterance of My lips.
35 [x]Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 “His [y]descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
37 “It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.” [z]Selah.

38 But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath [aa]against Your anointed.
39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown [ab]in the dust.
40 You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.
44 You have made his [ac]splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame. Selah.

46 How long, O Lord?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember [ad]what my span of life is;
For what vanity [ae]You have created all the sons of men!
48 What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the [af]power of [ag]Sheol? Selah.

49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord,
Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?
50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants;
[ah]How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

52 Blessed be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 89:1 Possibly, Contemplative, or Didactic, or Skillful Psalm
  2. Psalm 89:1 1 Kin 4:31
  3. Psalm 89:1 Ps 88: title
  4. Psalm 89:4 Selah may mean: Pause, Crescendo or Musical interlude
  5. Psalm 89:6 Or sons of gods
  6. Psalm 89:8 Heb Yah
  7. Psalm 89:10 I.e. Egypt
  8. Psalm 89:10 Lit the arm of Your might
  9. Psalm 89:11 Lit its fullness
  10. Psalm 89:13 Lit an arm with strength
  11. Psalm 89:14 Or faithfulness
  12. Psalm 89:15 Or blast of the trumpet, shout of joy
  13. Psalm 89:17 Another reading is You exalt our horn
  14. Psalm 89:18 Or Even to the Holy One of Israel our King
  15. Psalm 89:19 Or At that time
  16. Psalm 89:19 Some mss read one
  17. Psalm 89:19 Lit placed help upon
  18. Psalm 89:22 Or exact usury from him
  19. Psalm 89:22 Or wicked man
  20. Psalm 89:29 Lit seed
  21. Psalm 89:31 Lit profane
  22. Psalm 89:34 Lit profane
  23. Psalm 89:34 Lit that which goes forth
  24. Psalm 89:35 Or One thing
  25. Psalm 89:36 Lit seed
  26. Psalm 89:37 Selah may mean: Pause, Crescendo or Musical interlude
  27. Psalm 89:38 Lit with
  28. Psalm 89:39 Lit to the ground
  29. Psalm 89:44 Lit clearness, luster
  30. Psalm 89:47 Lit of what duration I am
  31. Psalm 89:47 Or have You...men?
  32. Psalm 89:48 Lit hand
  33. Psalm 89:48 I.e. the nether world
  34. Psalm 89:50 Lit My bearing in my bosom
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

2 Corinthians 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our[a] hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The Glory of the New Covenant

The old way,[b] with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:2 Some manuscripts read your.
  2. 3:7 Or ministry; also in 3:8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


2 Corinthians 3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Ministers of a New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, [a]cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of [b]human hearts.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came [c]with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was [d]with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil [e]remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 3:3 Lit served
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:3 Lit hearts of flesh
  3. 2 Corinthians 3:7 Or in glory
  4. 2 Corinthians 3:11 Lit through
  5. 2 Corinthians 3:14 Or remains, it not being revealed that it is done away in Christ
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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