Numbers 21:1-22:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Canaanite King Defeated
21 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming on the Atharim road, he fought against Israel and captured some prisoners. 2 Then Israel made a vow to the Lord, “If You will deliver this people into our hands, we will completely destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to Israel’s request, the Canaanites were defeated, and Israel completely destroyed them and their cities. So they named the place Hormah.[a]
The Bronze Snake
4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea to bypass the land of Edom, but the people[b] became impatient because of the journey. 5 The people spoke against God and Moses: “Why have you led us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food!” 6 Then the Lord sent poisonous[c][d] snakes among the people, and they bit them so that many Israelites died.
7 The people then came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede with the Lord so that He will take the snakes away from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.
Journey around Moab
10 The Israelites set out and camped at Oboth. 11 They set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim in the wilderness that borders Moab on the east. 12 From there they went and camped at Zered Valley. 13 They set out from there and camped on the other side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness that extends from the Amorite border, because the Arnon was the Moabite border between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is stated in the Book of the Lord’s Wars:
16 From there they went to Beer,[g] the well the Lord told Moses about, “Gather the people so I may give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:
Spring up, well—sing to it!
They went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 from Bamoth to the valley in the territory of Moab near the Pisgah highlands[h] that overlook the wasteland.[i]
Amorite Kings Defeated
21 Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites: 22 “Let us travel through your land. We won’t go into the fields or vineyards. We won’t drink any well water. We will travel the King’s Highway until we have traveled through your territory.” 23 But Sihon would not let Israel travel through his territory. Instead, he gathered his whole army and went out to confront Israel in the wilderness. When he came to Jahaz, he fought against Israel. 24 Israel struck him with the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only up to the Ammonite border, because it was fortified.[j][k]
25 Israel took all the cities and lived in all these Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all its villages. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken control of all his land as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the poets[l] say:
Come to Heshbon, let it be rebuilt;
31 So Israel lived in the Amorites’ land. 32 After Moses sent spies to Jazer, Israel captured its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there.
33 Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og king of Bashan came out against them with his whole army to do battle at Edrei. 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have handed him over to you along with his whole army and his land. Do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.” 35 So they struck him, his sons, and his whole army until no one was left,[q] and they took possession of his land.
Balak Hires Balaam
22 The Israelites traveled on and camped in the plains of Moab near the Jordan across from Jericho. 2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 Moab was terrified of the people because they were numerous, and Moab dreaded the Israelites. 4 So the Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will devour everything around us like an ox eats up the green plants in the field.”
Since Balak son of Zippor was Moab’s king at that time, 5 he sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the Euphrates in the land of his people.[r][s] Balak said to him: “Look, a people has come out of Egypt; they cover the surface of the land and are living right across from me. 6 Please come and put a curse on these people for me because they are more powerful than I am. I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that those you bless are blessed and those you curse are cursed.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian departed with fees for divination in hand. They came to Balaam and reported Balak’s words to him. 8 He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will give you the answer the Lord tells me.” So the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9 Then God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam replied to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent this message to me: 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the surface of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. I may be able to fight against them and drive them away.’”
12 Then God said to Balaam, “You are not to go with them. You are not to curse this people, for they are blessed.”
13 So Balaam got up the next morning and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your land, because the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14 The officials of Moab arose, returned to Balak, and reported, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Balak sent officials again who were more numerous and higher in rank than the others. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: ‘Let nothing keep you from coming to me, 17 for I will greatly honor you and do whatever you ask me. So please come and put a curse on these people for me!’”
18 But Balaam responded to the servants of Balak, “If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the command of the Lord my God to do anything small or great. 19 Please stay here overnight as the others did, so that I may find out what else the Lord has to tell me.”
20 God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “Since these men have come to summon you, get up and go with them, but you must only do what I tell you.”
Luke 1:26-56 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Gabriel Predicts Jesus’ Birth
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”[a] 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”[b]
35 The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s slave,”[c] said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth
39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her,[d] and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:
“You are the most blessed of women,
43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me![f] 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”
46 And Mary said:
My soul proclaims the greatness of[g] the Lord,
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.
Psalm 57 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Praise for God’s Protection
For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.”[a] A Davidic Miktam. When he fled before Saul into the cave.
1 Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me,
7 My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident.
Proverbs 11:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 With his mouth the ungodly destroys his neighbor,
10 When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices,
11 A city is built up by the blessing of the upright,