Numbers 19-20 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
The Special Water That Makes People “Clean”
19 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 2 “Here is what the law I have commanded requires. Tell the Israelites to bring you a young red cow. It must not have any flaws at all. It must never have pulled a load. 3 Give it to Eleazar the priest. It must be taken outside the camp and killed in front of him. 4 Then Eleazar the priest must put some of its blood on his finger. He must sprinkle the blood toward the front of the tent of meeting. He must do it seven times. 5 While he watches, the young cow must be burned. Its hide, meat, blood and guts must be burned. 6 The priest must get some cedar wood, branches of a hyssop plant, and bright red wool. He must throw them on the young cow as it burns. 7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes. He must also take a bath. Then he can come into the camp. But he will be ‘unclean’ until evening. 8 The man who burns the young cow must wash his clothes. He must also take a bath. He too will be ‘unclean’ until evening.
9 “A man who is ‘clean’ will gather up the ashes of the young cow. He must put them in a place that is ‘clean.’ The place must be outside the camp. The ashes must be kept by the community of Israel. They will be added to the special water. The water will be used to make people pure from their sin. 10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the young cow must wash his clothes. He too will be ‘unclean’ until evening. This law is for the Israelites. It is also for the outsiders living among them. The law will last for all time to come.
11 “Anyone who touches a dead person’s body will be ‘unclean’ for seven days. 12 They must make themselves pure and ‘clean’ with the special water. They must do it on the third day. They must also do it on the seventh day. Then they will be ‘clean.’ But suppose they do not make themselves pure and ‘clean’ on the third and seventh days. Then they will not be ‘clean.’ 13 Anyone who touches a dead person’s body and does not make themselves pure and ‘clean’ makes my holy tent ‘unclean.’ They must be separated from Israel. The special water has not been sprinkled on them. So they are ‘unclean.’ And they remain ‘unclean.’
14 “Here is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent. Anyone who enters the tent will be ‘unclean’ for seven days. Anyone in the tent will also be ‘unclean’ for seven days. 15 And anything in it that is open and has no lid will be ‘unclean.’
16 “Suppose someone is out in the country. And suppose they touch someone who has been killed by a sword. Or they touch someone who has died a natural death. Or they touch a human bone or a grave. Then anyone who touches any of those things will be ‘unclean’ for seven days.
17 “Here is what I want you to do for someone who is ‘unclean.’ Put some ashes from the burned young cow into a jar. Pour fresh water on the ashes. 18 Then a man who is ‘clean’ must dip branches of a hyssop plant in the water. He must sprinkle the tent with it. Everything that belongs to the tent must be sprinkled with it. The people in the tent must also be sprinkled. Anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave must be sprinkled. So must anyone who has touched someone who has been killed. And so must anyone who has touched someone who has died a natural death. 19 The man who is ‘clean’ must sprinkle those who are ‘unclean.’ That must be done on the third and seventh days. On the seventh day those who are ‘unclean’ must be made pure and ‘clean.’ Those being made ‘clean’ must wash their clothes. They must take a bath. Then that evening they will be ‘clean.’ 20 But what if those who are ‘unclean’ do not make themselves pure and ‘clean?’ Then they must be separated from the community. They have made my holy tent ‘unclean.’ The special water has not been sprinkled on them. They are ‘unclean.’ 21 This law will apply to all those people for all time to come.
“The man who sprinkles the special water must also wash his clothes. Anyone who touches the water will be ‘unclean’ until evening. 22 Anything that an ‘unclean’ person touches becomes ‘unclean.’ And anyone who touches it becomes ‘unclean’ until evening.”
The Lord Gives Israel Water Out of the Rock
20 In the first month the whole community of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.
2 The people didn’t have any water. So they gathered together to oppose Moses and Aaron. 3 They argued with Moses. They said, “We wish we had died when our people fell dead in front of the Lord. 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? We and our livestock will die here. 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Why did you bring us to this terrible place? It doesn’t have any grain or figs. It doesn’t have any grapes or pomegranates. There isn’t even any water for us to drink!”
6 Moses and Aaron left the people. They went to the entrance to the tent of meeting. There they fell with their faces to the ground. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Get your walking stick. You and your brother Aaron gather the people together. Then speak to that rock while everyone is watching. It will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community. Then they and their livestock can drink it.”
9 So Moses took the walking stick from the tent. He did just as the Lord had commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the people together in front of the rock. Moses said to them, “Listen, you who refuse to obey! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm. He hit the rock twice with his walking stick. Water poured out. And the people and their livestock drank it.
12 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “You did not trust in me enough to honor me. You did not honor me as the holy God in front of the Israelites. So you will not bring this community into the land I am giving them.”
13 Those were the waters of Meribah. That’s where the Israelites argued with the Lord. And that’s where he was proven to be holy among them.
Edom Doesn’t Let Israel Pass Through Its Territory
14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. The messengers said,
“The nation of Israel is your brother. They say, ‘You know about all the hard times we’ve had. 15 Long ago our people went down into Egypt. We lived there for many years. The Egyptians treated us and our people badly. 16 But we cried out to the Lord. He heard our cry. He sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt.
“ ‘Now here we are at the town of Kadesh. It’s on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We won’t go through any field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from any well. We’ll travel along the King’s Highway. We won’t turn to the right or the left. We’ll just go straight through your territory.’ ”
18 But the people of Edom answered,
“We won’t let you pass through here. If you try to, we’ll march out against you. We’ll attack you with our swords.”
19 The Israelites replied,
“We’ll go along the main road. We and our livestock won’t drink any of your water. If we do, we’ll pay for it. We only want to walk through your country. That’s all we ask.”
20 Again the people of Edom answered,
“We won’t let you pass through here.”
Then the people of Edom marched out against them. They came with a large and powerful army. 21 Edom refused to let Israel go through their territory. So Israel turned away from them.
22 The whole community of Israel started out from Kadesh. They arrived at Mount Hor. 23 It was near the border of Edom. There the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 24 “Aaron will join the members of his family who have already died. He will not enter the land I am giving to the Israelites. Both of you refused to obey my command. You did it at the waters of Meribah. 25 So get Aaron and his son Eleazar. Take them up Mount Hor. 26 Take Aaron’s official robes off of him. Put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die on Mount Hor. He will join the members of his family who have already died.”
27 Moses did just as the Lord had commanded. The three men went up Mount Hor while the whole community was watching. 28 Moses took Aaron’s official robes off of him. He put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 The whole community found out that Aaron had died. So all the Israelites mourned for him for 30 days.
Luke 1:1-25 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Luke Writes an Orderly Report
1 Many people have attempted to write about the things that have taken place among us. 2 Reports of these things were handed down to us. There were people who saw these things for themselves from the beginning. They saw them and then passed the word on. 3 With this in mind, I myself have carefully looked into everything from the beginning. So I also decided to write down an orderly report of exactly what happened. I am doing this for you, most excellent Theophilus. 4 I want you to know that the things you have been taught are true.
The Coming Birth of John the Baptist
5 Herod was king of Judea. During the time he was ruling, there was a priest named Zechariah. He belonged to a group of priests named after Abijah. His wife Elizabeth also came from the family line of Aaron. 6 Both of them did what was right in the sight of God. They obeyed all the Lord’s commands and rules faithfully. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was not able to have any. And they were both very old.
8 One day Zechariah’s group was on duty. He was serving as a priest in God’s temple. 9 He happened to be chosen, in the usual way, to go into the temple of the Lord. There he was supposed to burn incense. 10 The time came for this to be done. All who had gathered to worship were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. The angel was standing at the right side of the incense altar. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was amazed and terrified. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will have a child. It will be a boy, and you must call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you. His birth will make many people very glad. 15 He will be important in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or other such drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will prepare the way for the Lord. He will have the same spirit and power that Elijah had. He will bring peace between parents and their children. He will teach people who don’t obey to be wise and do what is right. In this way, he will prepare a people who are ready for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is old too.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true at the time God has chosen.”
21 During that time, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the temple. They wondered why he stayed there so long. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple. They knew this because he kept gesturing to them. He still could not speak.
23 When his time of service was over, he returned home. 24 After that, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant. She stayed at home for five months. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days, he has been kind to me. He has taken away my shame among the people.”
Psalm 56 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
For the director of music. A miktam of David after the Philistines had captured him in Gath. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oak Trees.”
1 Help me, God. Men are chasing me.
3 When I’m afraid,
5 All day long they twist my words.
7 Because they are so evil, make sure you don’t let them escape.
9 My enemies will turn back
12 God, I have made promises to you.
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