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Numbers 30-31 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 30

So Moses instructed the Israelites exactly as the Lord had commanded him.

Validity and Annulment of Vows. Moses said to the heads of the Israelite tribes, “This is what the Lord has commanded: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or binds himself under oath to a pledge,[a] he shall not violate his word, but must fulfill exactly the promise he has uttered.

“When a woman makes a vow to the Lord, or binds herself to a pledge, while still in her father’s house in her youth, and her father learns of her vow or the pledge to which she bound herself and says nothing to her about it, then any vow or any pledge to which she bound herself remains valid. But if on the day he learns of it her father opposes her, then any vow or any pledge to which she bound herself becomes invalid; and the Lord will release her from it, since her father opposed her.

“If she marries while under a vow or under a rash pledge to which she bound herself, and her husband learns of it, yet says nothing to her on the day he learns it, then the vows or the pledges to which she bound herself remain valid. But if on the day her husband learns of it he opposes her, he thereby annuls the vow she had made or the rash pledge to which she had bound herself, and the Lord will release her from it. 10 (The vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, however, any pledge to which such a woman binds herself, is valid.)

11 “If it is in her husband’s house[b] that she makes a vow or binds herself under oath to a pledge, 12 and her husband learns of it yet says nothing to her to oppose her, then all her vows remain valid or any pledge to which she has bound herself. 13 But if on the day he learns of them her husband annuls them, then whatever she has expressly promised in her vows or in her pledge becomes invalid; since her husband has annulled them, the Lord will release her from them.

14 “Any vow or any pledge that she makes under oath to humble herself, her husband may either confirm or annul. 15 But if her husband, day after day, says nothing at all to her, he thereby confirms all her vows or all the pledges incumbent upon her; he has confirmed them, because on the day he learned of them he said nothing to her. 16 If, however, he annuls them[c] some time after he first learned of them, he will be responsible for her guilt.”

17 These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses concerning a husband and his wife, as well as a father and his daughter while she is still in her youth in her father’s house.

Chapter 31

Campaign Against the Midianites. The Lord said to Moses:[d] Avenge the Israelites on the Midianites, and then you will be gathered to your people. So Moses told the people, “Arm some men among you for the campaign, to attack Midian and to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. From each of the tribes of Israel you will send a thousand men to the campaign.” From the contingents of Israel, therefore, a thousand men of each tribe were levied, so that there were twelve thousand men armed for war. Moses sent them out on the campaign, a thousand from each tribe, with Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest for the campaign, who had with him the sacred vessels and the trumpets for sounding the alarm. They waged war against the Midianites, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male. Besides those slain in battle, they killed the kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian;[e] and they also killed Balaam, son of Beor, with the sword. But the Israelites took captive the women of the Midianites with their children, and all their herds and flocks and wealth as loot, 10 while they set on fire all the towns where they had settled and all their encampments. 11 Then they took all the plunder, with the people and animals they had captured, and brought the captives, together with the spoils and plunder, 12 to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the Israelite community at their camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho.

Treatment of the Captives. 13 When Moses and Eleazar the priest, with all the leaders of the community, went outside the camp to meet them, 14 Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who were returning from the military campaign. 15 “So you have spared all the women!” he exclaimed. 16 “These are the very ones who on Balaam’s advice were behind the Israelites’ unfaithfulness to the Lord in the affair at Peor, so that plague struck the Lord’s community. 17 [f]Now kill, therefore, every male among the children and kill every woman who has had sexual relations with a man. 18 But you may spare for yourselves all the girls who have not had sexual relations.

Purification After Combat. 19 “Moreover, remain outside the camp for seven days; every one of you who has killed anyone or touched someone killed will purify yourselves on the third and on the seventh day—both you and your captives. 20 You will also purify every garment, every article of leather, everything made of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”

21 Eleazar the priest told the soldiers who had taken part in the battle: “This is the prescribed ritual which the Lord has commanded Moses: 22 gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin and lead— 23 whatever can stand fire—you shall put into the fire, that it may become clean; however, it must also be purified with water of purification.[g] But whatever cannot stand fire you must put into the water. 24 On the seventh day you will wash your garments, and then you will again be clean. After that you may enter the camp.”

Division of the Spoils. 25 The Lord said to Moses: 26 With the help of Eleazar the priest and of the heads of the ancestral houses of the community, inventory all the spoils captured, human being and beast alike; 27 then divide the spoils[h] between the warriors who went on the campaign and the whole community. 28 You will levy a tax for the Lord on the soldiers who went on the campaign: one out of every five hundred persons, oxen, donkeys, and sheep. 29 From their half you will take it and give it to Eleazar the priest as a contribution to the Lord. 30 From the Israelites’ half you will take one captive from every fifty human beings, oxen, donkeys, and sheep—all the animals—and give them to the Levites, who perform the duties of the Lord’s tabernacle. 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did this, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Amount of the Plunder. 32 This plunder, what was left of the loot which the troops had taken, amounted to six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand oxen, 34 sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35 and thirty-two thousand women who had not had sexual relations.

36 The half-share that fell to those who had gone out on the campaign was in number: three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 37 of which six hundred and seventy-five fell as tax to the Lord; 38 thirty-six thousand oxen, of which seventy-two fell as tax to the Lord; 39 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, of which sixty-one fell as tax to the Lord; 40 and sixteen thousand persons, of whom thirty-two persons fell as tax to the Lord. 41 Moses gave the taxes contributed to the Lord to Eleazar the priest, exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses.

42 As for the Israelites’ half, which Moses had taken from the men who had fought— 43 the community’s half was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand oxen, 45 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46 and sixteen thousand persons. 47 From the Israelites’ half, Moses took one captive from every fifty, from human being and beast alike, and gave them to the Levites, who performed the duties of the Lord’s tabernacle, exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Gifts of the Officers. 48 Then those who were officers over the contingents of the army, commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, came up to Moses 49 and said to him, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one of us is missing. 50 [i]So, we have brought as an offering to the Lord articles of gold that each of us has picked up—anklets, bracelets, rings, earrings, or pendants—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.” 51 Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from them, all fashioned pieces. 52 The gold that was given as a contribution to the Lord—from the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds—amounted in all to sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels. 53 What the common soldiers had looted each one kept for himself.[j] 54 So Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and put it in the tent of meeting as a reminder on behalf of the Israelites before the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 30:3 A vow…a pledge: here the former signifies the promise to dedicate either a person, an animal, or a thing or their equivalent to the sanctuary upon the fulfillment of some specified conditions (Lv 27:1–13); the latter signifies the assumption of either a positive or a negative obligation—that is, the promise either to do something or to abstain from something; cf. v. 14.
  2. 30:11 In her husband’s house: after her marriage. This contrasts with the case given in vv. 7–9.
  3. 30:16 He annuls them: he prevents their fulfillment. Since he has first allowed the vows to remain valid, he can no longer annul them.
  4. 31:1–3 The narrative of Israel’s campaign against Midian, which was interrupted after 25:18, is now resumed.
  5. 31:8 The five kings of Midian: they are called Midianite princes, Sihon’s vassals, in Jos 13:21.
  6. 31:17 There are later references to Midian in Jgs 6–8; 1 Kgs 11:18; Is 60:6. The present raid was only against those Midianites who were dwelling at this time near the encampment of the Israelites.
  7. 31:23 Water of purification: water mixed with the ashes of the red heifer as prescribed in 19:9.
  8. 31:27 Divide the spoils: for a similar division of the plunder into two equal parts, between those who engaged in the battle and those who stayed with the baggage, cf. 1 Sm 30:24. But note that here the tax on the plunder of the noncombatants is ten times as much as that on the soldiers’ plunder.
  9. 31:50 The precise nature and use of some of these articles of gold is not certain.
  10. 31:53 Apparently because of the commanders’ generosity the common troops were under no sort of obligation to make their own offerings and could keep their loot.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 84 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 84[a]

Prayer of a Pilgrim to Jerusalem

For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of the Korahites.

I

How lovely your dwelling,
    O Lord of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines
    for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and flesh cry out
    for the living God.
[b]As the sparrow finds a home
    and the swallow a nest to settle her young,
My home is by your altars,
    Lord of hosts, my king and my God!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house!
    They never cease to praise you.
Selah

II

Blessed the man who finds refuge in you,
    in their hearts are pilgrim roads.
As they pass through the Baca valley,[c]
    they find spring water to drink.
    The early rain covers it with blessings.
They will go from strength to strength[d]
    and see the God of gods on Zion.

III

Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    listen, God of Jacob.
Selah
10 [e]O God, watch over our shield;
    look upon the face of your anointed.

IV

11 Better one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere.
Better the threshold of the house of my God
    than a home in the tents of the wicked.
12 For a sun and shield is the Lord God,
    bestowing all grace and glory.
The Lord withholds no good thing
    from those who walk without reproach.
13 O Lord of hosts,
    blessed the man who trusts in you!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 84 Israelites celebrated three pilgrimage feasts in Jerusalem annually. The Psalm expresses the sentiments of the pilgrims eager to enjoy the divine presence.
  2. 84:4 The desire of a restless bird for a secure home is an image of the desire of a pilgrim for the secure house of God, cf. Ps 42:2–3, where the image for the desire of the pilgrim is the thirst of the deer for water.
  3. 84:7 Baca valley: Hebrew obscure; probably a valley on the way to Jerusalem.
  4. 84:8 Strength to strength: pass through outer and inner wall.
  5. 84:10 Our shield…your anointed: the king had a role in the liturgical celebration. For the king as shield, cf. Ps 89:19.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Acts 17:16-34 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he grew exasperated at the sight of the city full of idols. 17 So he debated in the synagogue with the Jews and with the worshipers, and daily in the public square with whoever happened to be there. 18 Even some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers[a] engaged him in discussion. Some asked, “What is this scavenger trying to say?” Others said, “He sounds like a promoter of foreign deities,” because he was preaching about ‘Jesus’ and ‘Resurrection.’ 19 They took him and led him to the Areopagus[b] and said, “May we learn what this new teaching is that you speak of? 20 For you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians as well as the foreigners residing there used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.

Paul’s Speech at the Areopagus. 22 Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:[c]

“You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’[d] What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. 26 He made from one[e] the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, 27 so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’[f] as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 29 Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. 30 God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent 31 because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” 33 And so Paul left them. 34 But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Footnotes:

  1. 17:18 Epicurean and Stoic philosophers: for the followers of Epicurus (342–271 B.C.), the goal of life was happiness attained through sober reasoning and the searching out of motives for all choice and avoidance. The Stoics were followers of Zeno, a younger contemporary of Alexander the Great. Zeno and his followers believed in a type of pantheism that held that the spark of divinity was present in all reality and that, in order to be free, each person must live “according to nature.” This scavenger: literally, “seed-picker,” as of a bird that picks up grain. The word is later used of scrap collectors and of people who take other people’s ideas and propagate them as if they were their own. Promoter of foreign deities: according to Xenophon, Socrates was accused of promoting new deities. The accusation against Paul echoes the charge against Socrates. ‘Jesus’ and ‘Resurrection’: the Athenians are presented as misunderstanding Paul from the outset; they think he is preaching about Jesus and a goddess named Anastasis, i.e., Resurrection.
  2. 17:19 To the Areopagus: the “Areopagus” refers either to the Hill of Ares west of the Acropolis or to the Council of Athens, which at one time met on the hill but which at this time assembled in the Royal Colonnade (Stoa Basileios).
  3. 17:22–31 In Paul’s appearance at the Areopagus he preaches his climactic speech to Gentiles in the cultural center of the ancient world. The speech is more theological than christological. Paul’s discourse appeals to the Greek world’s belief in divinity as responsible for the origin and existence of the universe. It contests the common belief in a multiplicity of gods supposedly exerting their powers through their images. It acknowledges that the attempt to find God is a constant human endeavor. It declares, further, that God is the judge of the human race, that the time of the judgment has been determined, and that it will be executed through a man whom God raised from the dead. The speech reflects sympathy with pagan religiosity, handles the subject of idol worship gently, and appeals for a new examination of divinity, not from the standpoint of creation but from the standpoint of judgment.
  4. 17:23 ‘To an Unknown God’: ancient authors such as Pausanias, Philostratus, and Tertullian speak of Athenian altars with no specific dedication as altars of “unknown gods” or “nameless altars.”
  5. 17:26 From one: many manuscripts read “from one blood.” Fixed…seasons: or “fixed limits to the epochs.”
  6. 17:28 ‘In him we live and move and have our being’: some scholars understand this saying to be based on an earlier saying of Epimenides of Knossos (6th century B.C.). ‘For we too are his offspring’: here Paul is quoting Aratus of Soli, a third-century B.C. poet from Cilicia.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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