Nehemiah 3:15-5:13Revised Standard Version (RSV)
15 And Shallum the son of Colho′zeh, ruler of the district of[a] Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he rebuilt it and covered it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars; and he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16 After him Nehemi′ah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of[b] Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite the sepulchres of David, to the artificial pool, and to the house of the mighty men. 17 After him the Levites repaired: Rehum the son of Bani; next to him Hashabi′ah, ruler of half the district of[c] Kei′lah, repaired for his district. 18 After him their brethren repaired: Bav′vai the son of Hen′adad, ruler of half the district of[d] Kei′lah; 19 next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the Angle. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zab′bai repaired another section from the Angle to the door of the house of Eli′ashib the high priest. 21 After him Mer′emoth the son of Uri′ah, son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eli′ashib to the end of the house of Eli′ashib. 22 After him the priests, the men of the Plain, repaired. 23 After them Benjamin and Hasshub repaired opposite their house. After them Azari′ah the son of Ma-asei′ah, son of Anani′ah repaired beside his own house. 24 After him Bin′nui the son of Hen′adad repaired another section, from the house of Azari′ah to the Angle 25 and to the corner. Palal the son of Uzai repaired opposite the Angle and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedai′ah the son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living[e] on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. 27 After him the Teko′ites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.
28 Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemai′ah the son of Shecani′ah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired. 30 After him Hanani′ah the son of Shelemi′ah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshul′lam the son of Berechi′ah repaired opposite his chamber. 31 After him Malchi′jah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate,[f] and to the upper chamber of the corner. 32 And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired.
Hostile Plots Thwarted
4 [g] Now when Sanbal′lat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he ridiculed the Jews. 2 And he said in the presence of his brethren and of the army of Samar′ia, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” 3 Tobi′ah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” 4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn back their taunt upon their own heads, and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. 5 Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from thy sight; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
6 So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height. For the people had a mind to work.
7 [h] But when Sanbal′lat and Tobi′ah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ash′dodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry; 8 and they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. 9 And we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
10 But Judah said, “The strength of the burden-bearers is failing, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall.” 11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come into the midst of them and kill them and stop the work.” 12 When the Jews who lived by them came they said to us ten times, “From all the places where they live[i] they will come up against us.”[j] 13 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose, and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were laden in such a way that each with one hand labored on the work and with the other held his weapon. 18 And each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21 So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn till the stars came out. 22 I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” 23 So neither I nor my brethren nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon in his hand.[k]
Nehemiah Deals with Oppression
5 Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brethren. 2 For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many; let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” 3 There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” 4 And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax upon our fields and our vineyards. 5 Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children are as their children; yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved; but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”
6 I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them, 8 and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brethren who have been sold to the nations; but you even sell your brethren that they may be sold to us!” They were silent, and could not find a word to say. 9 So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover I and my brethren and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us leave off this interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the hundredth of money, grain, wine, and oil which you have been exacting of them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests, and took an oath of them to do as they had promised. 13 I also shook out my lap and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not perform this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
1 Corinthians 7:25-40Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Unmarried and the Widows
25 Now concerning the unmarried,[a] I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present[b] distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl[c] marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl[d] is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,[e] if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed,[f] he will do well. 38 So that he who marries his betrothed[g] does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.
Psalm 32Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Joy of Forgiveness
A Psalm of David. A Maskil.
32 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
3 When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
5 I acknowledged my sin to thee,
6 Therefore let every one who is godly
8 I will instruct you and teach you
10 Many are the pangs of the wicked;
Proverbs 21:5-7Revised Standard Version (RSV)
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,