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Leviticus 26-27 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 26

The Reward of Obedience. [a]Do not make idols for yourselves. You shall not erect a carved image or a sacred stone for yourselves, nor shall you set up a carved stone for worship in your land; for I, the Lord, am your God. Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

[b]If you live in accordance with my statutes and are careful to observe my commandments, I will give you your rains in due season, so that the land will yield its crops, and the trees their fruit; your threshing will last till vintage time, and your vintage till the time for sowing, and you will eat your fill of food, and live securely in your land. I will establish peace in the land, and you will lie down to rest with no one to cause you anxiety. I will rid the country of ravenous beasts, and no sword shall sweep across your land. You will rout your enemies, and they shall fall before your sword. Five of you will put a hundred of your foes to flight, and a hundred of you will put to flight ten thousand, till your enemies fall before your sword. I will look with favor upon you, and make you fruitful and numerous, as I carry out my covenant with you. 10 You shall eat the oldest stored harvest, and have to discard it to make room for the new. 11 I will set my tabernacle in your midst, and will not loathe you. 12 Ever present in your midst, I will be your God, and you will be my people; 13 I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be their slaves no more, breaking the bars of your yoke and making you walk erect.

The Punishment of Disobedience.[c] 14 But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these commandments, 15 if you reject my statutes and loathe my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant, 16 then I, in turn, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you—with consumption and fever to dim the eyes and sap the life. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will consume the crop. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be beaten down before your enemies and your foes will lord it over you. You will flee though no one pursues you.

18 If even after this you do not obey me, I will increase the chastisement for your sins sevenfold, 19 to break your proud strength. I will make the sky above you as hard as iron, and your soil as hard as bronze, 20 so that your strength will be spent in vain; your land will bear no crops, and its trees no fruit.

21 If then you continue hostile, unwilling to obey me, I will multiply my blows sevenfold, as your sins deserve. 22 I will unleash wild beasts against you, to rob you of your children and wipe out your livestock, till your population dwindles away and your roads become deserted.

23 If, with all this, you still do not accept my discipline and continue hostile to me, 24 I, too, will continue to be hostile to you and I, for my part, will smite you for your sins sevenfold. 25 I will bring against you the sword, the avenger of my covenant. Though you then huddle together in your cities, I will send pestilence among you, till you are delivered to the enemy. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women will need but one oven for baking your bread, and they shall dole it out to you by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27 If, despite all this, you disobey and continue hostile to me, 28 I will continue in my hostile rage toward you, and I myself will discipline you for your sins sevenfold, 29 till you begin to eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will demolish your high places, overthrow your incense stands, and cast your corpses upon the corpses of your idols. In my loathing of you, 31 I will lay waste your cities and desolate your sanctuaries, refusing your sweet-smelling offerings. 32 So devastated will I leave the land that your enemies who come to live there will stand aghast at the sight of it. 33 And you I will scatter among the nations at the point of my drawn sword, leaving your countryside desolate and your cities deserted. 34 Then shall the land, during the time it lies waste, make up its lost sabbaths, while you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land have rest and make up for its sabbaths 35 during all the time that it lies desolate, enjoying the rest that you would not let it have on your sabbaths when you lived there.

36 Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies, I will make so fainthearted that the sound of a driven leaf will pursue them, and they shall run as if from the sword, and fall though no one pursues them; 37 stumbling over one another as if to escape a sword, while no one is after them—so helpless will you be to take a stand against your foes! 38 You shall perish among the nations, swallowed up in your enemies’ country. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in the lands of their enemies, for their own and their ancestors’ guilt.

40 [d]They will confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors in their treachery against me and in their continued hostility toward me, 41 so that I, too, had to be hostile to them and bring them into their enemies’ land. Then, when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac; and also my covenant with Abraham I will remember. The land, too, I will remember. 43 The land will be forsaken by them, that in its desolation without them, it may make up its sabbaths, and that they, too, may make good the debt of their guilt for having spurned my decrees and loathed my statutes. 44 Yet even so, even while they are in their enemies’ land, I will not reject or loathe them to the point of wiping them out, thus making void my covenant with them; for I, the Lord, am their God. 45 I will remember for them the covenant I made with their forebears, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.

46 These are the statutes, decrees and laws which the Lord established between himself and the Israelites through Moses on Mount Sinai.

V. Redemption of Offerings

Chapter 27

Votive Offerings and Dedications. The Lord said to Moses: [e]Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When anyone makes a vow to the Lord with respect to the value of a human being, the value for males between the ages of twenty and sixty shall be fifty silver shekels, by the sanctuary shekel; and for a female, the value shall be thirty shekels. For persons between the ages of five and twenty, the value for a male shall be twenty shekels, and for a female, ten shekels. For persons between the ages of one month and five years, the value for a male shall be five silver shekels, and for a female, three shekels. For persons of sixty or more, for a male the value shall be fifteen shekels, and ten shekels for a female. However, if the one who made the vow is too poor to meet the sum, the person must be set before the priest, who shall determine a value; the priest will do this in keeping with the means of the one who made the vow.

If the offering vowed to the Lord is an animal that may be sacrificed, every such animal given to the Lord becomes sacred. 10 The offerer shall not substitute or exchange another for it, either a worse or a better one. If the offerer exchanges one animal in place of another, both the original and its substitute shall become sacred. 11 If any unclean animal which is unfit for sacrifice to the Lord is vowed, it must be set before the priest, 12 who shall determine its value[f] in keeping with its good or bad qualities, and the value set by the priest shall stand. 13 If the offerer wishes to redeem the animal, the person shall pay one fifth more than this valuation.

14 [g]When someone dedicates a house as sacred to the Lord,[h] the priest shall determine its value in keeping with its good or bad qualities, and the value set by the priest shall stand. 15 A person dedicating a house who then wishes to redeem it shall pay one fifth more than the price thus established, and then it will again belong to that individual.

16 If someone dedicates to the Lord a portion of hereditary land, its valuation shall be made according to the amount of seed required to sow it, the acreage sown with a homer[i] of barley seed being valued at fifty silver shekels. 17 If the dedication of a field is made at the beginning of a jubilee period, the full valuation shall hold; 18 but if it is some time after this, the priest shall estimate its money value according to the number of years left until the next jubilee year, with a corresponding reduction on the valuation. 19 A person dedicating a field who then wishes to redeem[j] it shall pay one fifth more than the price thus established, and so reclaim it. 20 If, instead of redeeming such a field, one sells it[k] to another, it may no longer be redeemed; 21 but at the jubilee it shall be released as sacred[l] to the Lord; like a field that is put under the ban, it shall become priestly property.

22 If someone dedicates to the Lord a field that was purchased and was not part of hereditary property, 23 the priest shall compute its value in proportion to the number of years until the next jubilee, and on the same day the person shall pay the price thus established, a sacred donation to the Lord; 24 at the jubilee the field shall revert to the hereditary owner of this land from whom it had been purchased.[m]

25 Every valuation shall be made according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel. There are twenty gerahs to the shekel.

Irredeemable Offerings. 26 [n]Note that a firstborn animal, which as such already belongs to the Lord, may not be dedicated. Whether an ox or a sheep, it is the Lord’s. 27 But if it is an unclean animal,[o] it may be redeemed by paying one fifth more than its value. If it is not redeemed, it shall be sold at its value.

28 Note, also, that any possession which someone puts under the ban[p] for the Lord, whether it is a human being, an animal, or a hereditary field, shall be neither sold nor redeemed; everything that is put under the ban becomes most holy to the Lord. 29 All human beings that are put under the ban cannot be redeemed; they must be put to death.

30 [q]All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the fields or in fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord; they are sacred to the Lord. 31 If someone wishes to redeem any of the tithes, the person shall pay one fifth more than their value. 32 The tithes of the herd and the flock, every tenth animal that passes under the herdsman’s rod, shall be sacred to the Lord. 33 It shall not matter whether good ones or bad ones are thus chosen, and no exchange may be made. If any exchange is made, both the original animal and its substitute become sacred and cannot be redeemed.

34 These are the commandments which the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

Footnotes:

  1. 26:1–46 This chapter concludes the revelation of laws at Mount Sinai (cf. v. 46). Blessings and curses are also found at the end of Deuteronomy’s law collection (Dt 28). Similar lists of blessings and curses appear in the conclusions of ancient Near Eastern treaties.
  2. 26:3–13 The blessings are concerned with the well-being of the nation and its land and involve agricultural bounty, national security, military success and population growth.
  3. 26:14–46 To encourage obedience, the list of punishments is longer than the blessings (cf. a similar proportion in Dt 28). The punishments are presented in waves (vv. 14–17, 18–20, 21–22, 23–26, 27–39), one group following another if the people do not return to obedience. Punishments involve sickness, pestilence, agricultural failure and famine, attack of wild animals, death of the people’s children, destruction of illicit and even licit cults, military defeat, panic, and exile.
  4. 26:40–45 Even though the people may be severely punished, God will remember the covenant when the people repent.
  5. 27:2–13 Vows are conditional promissory oaths. One covenants to do something for the benefit of God, usually to make a dedication, if God fulfills the individual’s accompanying request (cf. Gn 28:20–21; Jgs 11:30–31; 1 Sm 1:11; 2 Sm 15:7–8; Ps 56:13–14). Vows must be fulfilled (Nm 30:3; Dt 23:22; cf. Ps 66:13–15). Verses 2–8 deal with votive offerings involving human beings. Actual dedication of human beings (cf. Jgs 11:30–31, 34–40; 1 Sm 1:11, 24–28) is obviated by payment of the person’s value (mentioned in the temple income in 2 Kgs 12:5). The values reflect the different economic and administrative roles of people in different age and gender groups within ancient Israelite society. Verses 9–13 concern the bringing of animals for a vow.
  6. 27:12 Determine its value: in contrast to human beings (vv. 3–7) there are no set values for unclean animals, and the condition of the animal is taken into consideration (cf. vv. 14, 27).
  7. 27:14–24 These verses deal with dedications. They take effect when uttered and, unlike vows, they are not conditional. They are related to the jubilee year laws in 25:23–31.
  8. 27:14 House as sacred to the Lord: the house becomes sanctuary property and presumably may be sold to another if the owner does not redeem it (cf. notes on vv. 20 and 21). While 25:31 requires that unredeemed houses in unwalled towns be returned to the original owners at the jubilee, in the laws here such houses apparently become the property of the sanctuary (cf. v. 21). It is likely that dedicated houses in a walled city needed to be redeemed within one year, following 25:29–30.
  9. 27:16 Homer: see note on Is 5:10.
  10. 27:19 Redeem: the person apparently can redeem the land up to the jubilee year, following 25:23–28. See note on v. 21.
  11. 27:20 If…one sells it: the verse is difficult since the person should not be able to sell the land after it is dedicated. The verb “sells” may be construed impersonally here: “If…it is sold,” i.e., by the sanctuary.
  12. 27:21 Released as sacred: the dedication changes the ownership of the land. It now belongs to the sanctuary. It returns to the sanctuary’s possession after leasing it out (v. 20). Presumably if the land remained in the sanctuary’s possession until the jubilee, and it was not redeemed, the land would belong permanently to the sanctuary and priests.
  13. 27:24 In contrast to the cases in vv. 14–15 and 16–21, this land returns to the original owner since that individual did not personally make the dedication. The principle is that one cannot permanently dedicate what one does not own. Cf. 2 Sm 24:22–25.
  14. 27:26 Firstborn animals and human beings already belong to God (cf. Ex 13:1–2, 12; 34:19); they cannot be vowed or dedicated. Cf. Nm 18:15–18; Dt 15:19–23.
  15. 27:27 An unclean animal: such as the firstborn of a donkey, which was unfit for sacrifice. According to Ex 13:13; 34:20, a firstborn donkey was to be redeemed by offering a sheep in its stead, or was to have its neck broken.
  16. 27:28 Puts under the ban: this is a higher form of dedication to God than that found in vv. 14–24. Anything so dedicated is beyond redemption and cannot be sold by the sanctuary and priests (contrast vv. 15, 19, 20). This type of dedication is found mostly in contexts of war (e.g., Jos 6:17–21; 8:26; 10:1, 28). Lv 27:28 shows that the ban can apply to one’s own property.
  17. 27:30–33 On the regulation concerning the tithes see Dt 14:22–29.
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 69 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 69[a]

A Cry of Anguish in Great Distress

For the leader; according to “Lilies.”[b] Of David.

I

Save me, God,
    for the waters[c] have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep,
    where there is no foothold.
I have gone down to the watery depths;
    the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
    from looking for my God.
More numerous than the hairs of my head
    are those who hate me without cause.
Those who would destroy me are mighty,
    my enemies without reason.
Must I now restore
    what I did not steal?[d]

II

God, you know my folly;
    my faults are not hidden from you.
Let those who wait in hope for you, Lord of hosts,
    not be shamed because of me.
Let those who seek you, God of Israel,
    not be disgraced because of me.
For it is on your account I bear insult,
    that disgrace covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my kindred,
    a stranger to my mother’s children.
10 Because zeal for your house has consumed me,[e]
    I am scorned by those who scorn you.
11 When I humbled my spirit with fasting,
    this led only to scorn.
12 When I clothed myself in sackcloth;
    I became a byword for them.
13 Those who sit in the gate gossip about me;
    drunkards make me the butt of songs.

III

14 But I will pray to you, Lord,
    at a favorable time.
God, in your abundant kindness, answer me
    with your sure deliverance.
15 Rescue me from the mire,
    and do not let me sink.
Rescue me from those who hate me
    and from the watery depths.
16 Do not let the flood waters overwhelm me,
    nor the deep swallow me,
    nor the pit close its mouth over me.
17 Answer me, Lord, in your generous love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
18 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    hasten to answer me, for I am in distress.
19 Come and redeem my life;
    because of my enemies ransom me.
20 You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace;
    before you stand all my foes.
21 Insult has broken my heart, and I despair;
    I looked for compassion, but there was none,
    for comforters, but found none.
22 Instead they gave me poison for my food;
    and for my thirst they gave me vinegar.

IV

23 May their own table be a snare for them,
    and their communion offerings a trap.
24 Make their eyes so dim they cannot see;
    keep their backs ever feeble.
25 Pour out your wrath upon them;
    let the fury of your anger overtake them.
26 Make their camp desolate,
    with none to dwell in their tents.
27 For they pursued the one you struck,
    added to the pain of the one you wounded.
28 Heap punishment upon their punishment;
    let them gain from you no vindication.
29 May they be blotted from the book of life;
    not registered among the just!

V

30 But here I am miserable and in pain;
    let your saving help protect me, God,
31 [f]That I may praise God’s name in song
    and glorify it with thanksgiving.
32 That will please the Lord more than oxen,
    more than bulls with horns and hooves:
33 “See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
    you who seek God, take heart!
34 For the Lord hears the poor,
    and does not spurn those in bondage.
35 Let the heaven and the earth praise him,
    the seas and whatever moves in them!”

VI

36 For God will rescue Zion,
    and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They will dwell there and possess it;
37 the descendants of God’s servants will inherit it;
    those who love God’s name will dwell in it.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 69 A lament complaining of suffering in language both metaphorical (Ps 69:2–3, 15–16, the waters of chaos) and literal (Ps 69:4, 5, 9, 11–13, exhaustion, alienation from family and community, false accusation). In the second part the psalmist prays with special emphasis that the enemies be punished for all to see (Ps 69:23–29). Despite the pain, the psalmist does not lose hope that all be set right, and promises public praise (Ps 69:30–36). The Psalm, which depicts the suffering of the innocent just person vividly, is cited often by the New Testament especially in the passion accounts, e.g., Ps 69:5 in Jn 15:25; Ps 69:22 in Mk 15:23, 36 and parallels and in Jn 19:29. The Psalm prays not so much for personal vengeance as for public vindication of God’s justice. There was, at this time, no belief in an afterlife where such vindication could take place. Redress had to take place now, in the sight of all.
  2. 69:1 “Lilies”: apparently the name of the melody.
  3. 69:2 Waters: the waters of chaos from which God created the world are a common metaphor for extreme distress, cf. Ps 18:5; 42:8; 88:8; Jon 2:3–6.
  4. 69:5 What I did not steal: the psalmist, falsely accused of theft, is being forced to make restitution.
  5. 69:10 Zeal for your house has consumed me: the psalmist’s commitment to God’s cause brings only opposition, cf. Jn 2:17. I am scorned by those who scorn you: Rom 15:3 uses the verse as an example of Jesus’ unselfishness.
  6. 69:31 That I may praise God’s name in song: the actual song is cited in Ps 69:33–35, the word “praise” in Ps 69:35 referring back to “praise” in Ps 69:31.
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.

Acts 8:1-24 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 8

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Persecution of the Church. On that day, there broke out a severe persecution[a] of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.[b] Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church;[c] entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.

III. The Mission in Judea and Samaria

Philip in Samaria. Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Thus Philip went down to [the] city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.

Simon the Magician. A man named Simon used to practice magic[d] in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, “This man is the ‘Power of God’ that is called ‘Great.’” 11 They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, 12 but once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized. 13 Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded.

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, 16 for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.[e] 17 Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.

18 [f]When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. 21 You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. 23 For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.” 24 Simon said in reply, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Footnotes:

  1. 8:1–40 Some idea of the severity of the persecution that now breaks out against the Jerusalem community can be gathered from Acts 22:4 and Acts 26:9–11. Luke, however, concentrates on the fortunes of the word of God among people, indicating how the dispersal of the Jewish community resulted in the conversion of the Samaritans (Acts 8:4–17, 25). His narrative is further expanded to include the account of Philip’s acceptance of an Ethiopian (Acts 8:26–39).
  2. 8:1 All were scattered…except the apostles: this observation leads some modern scholars to conclude that the persecution was limited to the Hellenist Christians and that the Hebrew Christians were not molested, perhaps because their attitude toward the law and temple was still more in line with that of their fellow Jews (see the charge leveled against the Hellenist Stephen in Acts 6:13–14). Whatever the facts, it appears that the Twelve took no public stand regarding Stephen’s position, choosing, instead, to await the development of events.
  3. 8:3 Saul…was trying to destroy the church: like Stephen, Saul was able to perceive that the Christian movement contained the seeds of doctrinal divergence from Judaism. A pupil of Gamaliel, according to Acts 22:3, and totally dedicated to the law as the way of salvation (Gal 1:13–14), Saul accepted the task of crushing the Christian movement, at least insofar as it detracted from the importance of the temple and the law. His vehement opposition to Christianity reveals how difficult it was for a Jew of his time to accept a messianism that differed so greatly from the general expectation.
  4. 8:9–13, 18–24 Sorcerers were well known in the ancient world. Probably the incident involving Simon and his altercation with Peter is introduced to show that the miraculous charisms possessed by members of the Christian community (Acts 8:6–7) were not to be confused with the magic of sorcerers.
  5. 8:16 Here and in Acts 10:44–48 and Acts 19:1–6, Luke distinguishes between baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus and the reception of the Spirit. In each case, the Spirit is conferred through members of the Twelve (Peter and John) or their representative (Paul). This may be Luke’s way of describing the role of the church in the bestowal of the Spirit. Elsewhere in Acts, baptism and the Spirit are more closely related (Acts 1:5; 11:16).
  6. 8:18–20 Simon attempts to buy the gift of God (Acts 8:20) with money. Peter’s cursing of Simon’s attempt so to use his money expresses a typically Lucan attitude toward material wealth (cf. Lk 6:24; 12:16–21; 16:13).
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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