Numbers 24-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
24 Since Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go to seek omens as on previous occasions, but turned[a] toward the wilderness. 2 When Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him, 3 and he proclaimed his poem:
The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
10 Then Balak became furious with Balaam, struck his hands together, and said to him, “I summoned you to put a curse on my enemies, but instead, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now go to your home! I said I would reward you richly, but look, the Lord has denied you a reward.”
12 Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I previously tell the messengers you sent me: 13 If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the Lord’s command, to do anything good or bad of my own will? I will say whatever the Lord says. 14 Now I am going back to my people, but first, let me warn you what these people will do to your people in the future.”
Balaam’s Fourth Oracle
15 Then he proclaimed his poem:
The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and proclaimed his poem:
Amalek was first among the nations,
21 Next he saw the Kenites and proclaimed his poem:
Your dwelling place is enduring;
23 Once more he proclaimed his poem:
Ah, who can live when God does this?
25 Balaam then arose and went back to his homeland, and Balak also went his way.
Israel Worships Baal
25 While Israel was staying in the Acacia Grove,[l] the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. 2 The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. 3 So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. 4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute[m] them in broad daylight before the Lord so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.”
5 So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.”
6 An Israelite man came bringing a Midianite woman to his relatives in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up from the assembly, took a spear in his hand, 8 followed the Israelite man into the tent,[n] and drove it through both the Israelite man and the woman—through her belly. Then the plague on the Israelites was stopped, 9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.
10 The Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal,[o] so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal. 12 Therefore declare: I grant him My covenant of peace. 13 It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his future descendants, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
14 The name of the slain Israelite man, who was struck dead with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite ancestral house. 15 The name of the slain Midianite woman was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, a tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian.
Vengeance against the Midianites
16 The Lord told Moses: 17 “Attack the Midianites and strike them dead. 18 For they attacked you with the treachery that they used against you in the Peor incident. They did the same in the case involving their sister Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite leader who was killed the day the plague came at Peor.”
Luke 2:1-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus[a] that the whole empire[b] should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while[c] Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him[d] and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before[e] them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.[f] 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:[g] 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things[j] in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.
The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus
21 When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named Jesus—the name given by the angel before He was conceived.[k] 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male[l] will be dedicated[m] to the Lord[n]) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons[o]).
Simeon’s Prophetic Praise
25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation,[p] and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered[q] the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:
29 Now, Master,
33 His father and mother[s] were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed[t]— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts[u] of many hearts may be revealed.”
Psalm 59 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
God Our Stronghold
For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.”[a] A Davidic Miktam. When Saul sent agents to watch the house and kill him.
1 Deliver me from my enemies, my God;
6 They return at evening, snarling like dogs
11 Do not kill them; otherwise, my people will forget.
14 And they return at evening, snarling like dogs
16 But I will sing of Your strength