Numbers 21:1-22:20 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Bronze Serpent
21 When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 And Israel vowed a vow to the Lord, and said, “If thou wilt indeed give this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and gave over the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities; so the name of the place was called Hormah.[a]
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
The Journey to Moab
10 And the people of Israel set out, and encamped in Oboth. 11 And they set out from Oboth, and encamped at I′ye-ab′arim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out, and encamped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the boundary of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,
“Waheb in Suphah,
16 And from there they continued to Beer;[b] that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
And from the wilderness they went on to Mat′tanah, 19 and from Mat′tanah to Nahal′iel, and from Nahal′iel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah which looks down upon the desert.[c]
King Sihon Defeated
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land; we will not turn aside into field or vineyard; we will not drink the water of a well; we will go by the King’s Highway, until we have passed through your territory.” 23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his men together, and went out against Israel to the wilderness, and came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 24 And Israel slew him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites; for Jazer was the boundary of the Ammonites.[d] 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the ballad singers say,
“Come to Heshbon, let it be built,
King Og Defeated
31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they took its villages, and dispossessed the Amorites that were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Ed′re-i. 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him; for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.” 35 So they slew him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was not one survivor left to him; and they possessed his land.
Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel
22 Then the people of Israel set out, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. 2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many; Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4 And Moab said to the elders of Mid′ian, “This horde will now lick up all that is round about us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to Balaam the son of Be′or at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of Amaw to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. 6 Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land; for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Mid′ian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and gave him Balak’s message. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here this night, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me”; so the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 And God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land; for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do; come, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Pray, now, tarry here this night also, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only what I bid you, that shall you do.”
Luke 1:26-56 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[a] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechari′ah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[c] a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” 46 And Mary said,
Mary’s Song of Praise
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Psalm 57 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Praise and Assurance under Persecution
To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
57 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
4 I lie in the midst of lions
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
6 They set a net for my steps;
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Proverbs 11:9-11 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
9 With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,