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Numbers 8-9 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 8

The Menorah. The Lord said to Moses: Speak to Aaron and say: “When you set up the menorah-lamps, have the seven lamps throw their light in front of the menorah.”[a] Aaron did so, setting up the menorah-lamps to face the area in front of the menorah, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. This is the construction of the menorah: hammered gold, from its base to its bowls[b] it was hammered; according to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the menorah.

Purification of the Levites. The Lord said to Moses: Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.[c] This is what you shall do to them to cleanse them. Sprinkle them with the water of purification, have them shave their whole bodies and wash their garments, and so cleanse themselves. Then they shall take a bull from the herd, along with its grain offering of bran flour mixed with oil; and you shall take another bull from the herd for a purification offering. Bringing the Levites before the tent of meeting, you shall assemble also the whole community of the Israelites. 10 When you have brought the Levites before the Lord, the Israelites shall lay their hands upon them. 11 Aaron shall then present the Levites before the Lord as an elevated offering from the Israelites, that they may perform the service of the Lord. 12 The Levites in turn shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, offering one as a purification offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 Then you shall have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons, and you shall present them as an elevated offering to the Lord; 14 thus you shall separate the Levites from the rest of the Israelites, and the Levites shall belong to me.

15 Only then shall the Levites enter upon their service in the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and presented them as an elevated offering. 16 For they, among the Israelites, are totally dedicated to me; I have taken them for myself in place of everyone that opens the womb, the firstborn of all the Israelites. 17 Indeed, all the firstborn among the Israelites, human being and beast alike, belong to me; I consecrated them to myself on the day I killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. 18 But I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn Israelites; 19 and from among the Israelites I have given to Aaron and his sons these Levites, who are to be dedicated, to perform the service of the Israelites in the tent of meeting and to make atonement for them, so that no plague may strike among the Israelites should they come too near the sanctuary.

20 This, then, is what Moses and Aaron and the whole community of the Israelites did with respect to the Levites; the Israelites did exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning them. 21 When the Levites had purified themselves[d] and washed their garments, Aaron presented them as an elevated offering before the Lord, and made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 Only then did they enter upon their service in the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. Exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so it was done with regard to them.

Age Limits for Levitical Service. 23 The Lord said to Moses: 24 This is the rule for the Levites. Everyone twenty-five years old or more shall join the personnel in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 But everyone fifty on up shall retire from the work force and serve no more. 26 They shall assist their fellow Levites in the tent of meeting in performing their duties, but they shall not do the work. This, then, is how you are to regulate the duties of the Levites.

Chapter 9

Second Passover. The Lord said to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year following their departure from the land of Egypt: Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time. In the evening twilight of the fourteenth day of this month you shall celebrate it at its prescribed time, in accord with all its statutes and regulations. So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, and they did celebrate the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month during the evening twilight in the wilderness of Sinai. Just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites did.

There were some, however, who were unclean because of a human corpse and so could not celebrate the Passover that day. These men came up to Moses and Aaron that same day and they said to them, “Although we are unclean because of a human corpse, why should we be deprived of presenting the Lord’s offering at its prescribed time along with other Israelites?” Moses answered them, “Wait so that I can learn what the Lord will command in your regard.”

The Lord then said to Moses: 10 Speak to the Israelites: “If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean because of a human corpse, or is absent on a journey, you may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11 But you shall celebrate it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of that month during the evening twilight, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, 12 and not leaving any of it over till morning, nor breaking any of its bones, but observing all the statutes of the Passover. 13 However, anyone who is clean and not away on a journey, who yet fails to celebrate the Passover, shall be cut off from the people, for not presenting the Lord’s offering at the prescribed time. That person shall bear the consequences of this sin.

14 “If an alien[e] who lives among you would celebrate the Lord’s Passover, it shall be celebrated according to the statutes and regulations for the Passover. You shall have the same law for the resident alien as for the native of the land.”

The Fiery Cloud. 15 On the day when the tabernacle was erected, the cloud[f] covered the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant; but from evening until morning it took on the appearance of fire over the tabernacle. 16 It was always so: during the day the cloud covered the tabernacle and at night had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud rose from the tent, the Israelites would break camp; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites would pitch camp. 18 At the direction of the Lord the Israelites broke camp, and at the Lord’s direction they pitched camp. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.

19 Even when the cloud lingered many days over the tabernacle, the Israelites kept the charge of the Lord and would not move on. 20 Yet if it happened the cloud was over the tabernacle only for a few days, at the direction of the Lord they stayed in camp; and at the Lord’s direction they broke camp. 21 If it happened the cloud remained there only from evening until morning, when the cloud rose in the morning, they would break camp. Whether the cloud lifted during the day or the night they would then break camp. 22 Whether the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for two days or for a month or longer, the Israelites remained in camp and did not break camp; but when it lifted, they broke camp. 23 At the direction of the Lord they pitched camp, and at the Lord’s direction they broke camp; they kept the charge of the Lord, as the Lord directed them through Moses.

Footnotes:

  1. 8:2 Menorah: a seven-branched lampstand; see Ex 25:31–40; 37:17–24.
  2. 8:4 Bowls: lit., “blossom,” a designation for the blossom-shaped cups holding the lamps of the menorah.
  3. 8:6 Cleanse them: in the language of the Pentateuch only the priests were “consecrated,” that is, made sacred or set aside for the Lord, in an elaborate ceremony described in Ex 29 and in this chapter. The Levites were “cleansed,” that is, made ritually clean for their special work.
  4. 8:21 Purified themselves: by having the “water of purification” sprinkled on them as prescribed in v. 7.
  5. 9:14 An alien: compare this passage with the Passover legislation in Ex 12:48, where circumcision is required of the alien who would celebrate the feast.
  6. 9:15 The cloud: already mentioned at the departure from Egypt; cf. Ex 13:21–22.
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 74 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 74[a]

Prayer at the Destruction of the Temple

A maskil of Asaph.

I

Why, God, have you cast us off forever?[b]
    Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your people, whom you acquired of old,
    the tribe you redeemed as your own heritage,
    Mount Zion where you dwell.
Direct your steps toward the utter destruction,
    everything the enemy laid waste in the sanctuary.
Your foes roared triumphantly in the place of your assembly;
    they set up their own tokens of victory.
They hacked away like a forester gathering boughs,
    swinging his ax in a thicket of trees.
They smashed all its engraved work,
    struck it with ax and pick.
They set your sanctuary on fire,
    profaned your name’s abode by razing it to the ground.
They said in their hearts, “We will destroy them all!
    Burn all the assembly-places of God in the land!”
[c]Even so we have seen no signs for us,
    there is no prophet any more,
    no one among us who knows for how long.
10 How long, O God, will the enemy jeer?
    Will the enemy revile your name forever?
11 Why draw back your hand,
    why hold back your right hand within your bosom?[d]

II

12 [e]Yet you, God, are my king from of old,
    winning victories throughout the earth.
13 You stirred up the sea by your might;
    you smashed the heads of the dragons on the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan,
    gave him as food to the sharks.
15 You opened up springs and torrents,
    brought dry land out of the primeval waters.[f]
16 Yours the day and yours the night too;
    you set the moon and sun in place.
17 You fixed all the limits of the earth;
    summer and winter you made.
18 Remember how the enemy has jeered, Lord,
    how a foolish people has reviled your name.
19 Do not surrender to wild animals those who praise you;
    do not forget forever the life of your afflicted.
20 Look to your covenant,
    for the recesses of the land
    are full of the haunts of violence.
21 Let not the oppressed turn back in shame;
    may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Arise, God, defend your cause;
    remember the constant jeering of the fools.
23 Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
    the unceasing uproar of your enemies.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 74 A communal lament sung when the enemy invaded the Temple; it would be especially appropriate at the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. Israel’s God is urged to look upon the ruined sanctuary and remember the congregation who worshiped there (Ps 74:1–11). People and sanctuary are bound together; an attack on Zion is an attack on Israel. In the second half of the poem, the community brings before God the story of their origins—their creation (Ps 74:12–17)—in order to move God to reenact that deed of creation now. Will God allow a lesser power to destroy the divine project (Ps 74:18–23)?
  2. 74:1 Forever: the word implies that the disaster is already of long duration, cf. Ps 74:9 and note.
  3. 74:9 Even so we have seen no signs…: ancients often asked prophets to say for how long a divine punishment was to last, cf. 2 Sm 24:13. Here no prophet has arisen to indicate the duration.
  4. 74:11 Why hold back…within your bosom: i.e., idle beneath your cloak.
  5. 74:12–17 Comparable Canaanite literature describes the storm-god’s victory over all-encompassing Sea and its allies (dragons and Leviathan) and the subsequent peaceful arrangement of the universe, sometimes through the placement of paired cosmic elements (day and night, sun and moon), cf. Ps 89:12–13. The Psalm apparently equates the enemies attacking the Temple with the destructive cosmic forces already tamed by God. Why then are those forces now raging untamed against your own people?
  6. 74:15 Waters: lit., “rivers” (cf. Ps 24:7; Isa 50:2) upon which, or from which, in primordial times the earth is created.
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 10:24-48 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

24 [a]On the following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. 26 Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” 27 While he conversed with him, he went in and found many people gathered together 28 and said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean.[b] 29 And that is why I came without objection when sent for. May I ask, then, why you summoned me?”

30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago[c] at this hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling robes stood before me and said, 31 ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your almsgiving remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and you were kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Peter’s Speech.[d] 34 Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,[e] “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. 35 Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. 36 [f]You know the word [that] he sent to the Israelites[g] as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, 37 what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth[h] with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses[i] of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and [in] Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. 40 This man God raised [on] the third day and granted that he be visible, 41 not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.[j] 43 To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The Baptism of Cornelius. 44 While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.[k] 45 The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, 46 for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?” 48 He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Footnotes:

  1. 10:24–27 So impressed is Cornelius with the apparition that he invites close personal friends to join him in his meeting with Peter. But his understanding of the person he is about to meet is not devoid of superstition, suggested by his falling down before him. For a similar experience of Paul and Barnabas, see Acts 14:11–18.
  2. 10:28 Peter now fully understands the meaning of his vision; see note on Acts 10:17–23.
  3. 10:30 Four days ago: literally, “from the fourth day up to this hour.”
  4. 10:34–43 Peter’s speech to the household of Cornelius typifies early Christian preaching to Gentiles.
  5. 10:34–35 The revelation of God’s choice of Israel to be the people of God did not mean he withheld the divine favor from other people.
  6. 10:36–43 These words are more directed to Luke’s Christian readers than to the household of Cornelius, as indicated by the opening words, “You know.” They trace the continuity between the preaching and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth and the proclamation of Jesus by the early community. The emphasis on this divinely ordained continuity (Acts 10:41) is meant to assure Luke’s readers of the fidelity of Christian tradition to the words and deeds of Jesus.
  7. 10:36 To the Israelites: Luke, in the words of Peter, speaks of the prominent position occupied by Israel in the history of salvation.
  8. 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth: God’s revelation of his plan for the destiny of humanity through Israel culminated in Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, the ministry of Jesus is an integral part of God’s revelation. This viewpoint explains why the early Christian communities were interested in conserving the historical substance of the ministry of Jesus, a tradition leading to the production of the four gospels.
  9. 10:39 We are witnesses: the apostolic testimony was not restricted to the resurrection of Jesus but also included his historical ministry. This witness, however, was theological in character; the Twelve, divinely mandated as prophets, were empowered to interpret his sayings and deeds in the light of his redemptive death and resurrection. The meaning of these words and deeds was to be made clear to the developing Christian community as the bearer of the word of salvation (cf. Acts 1:21–26). Hanging him on a tree: see note on Acts 5:30.
  10. 10:42 As judge of the living and the dead: the apostolic preaching to the Jews appealed to their messianic hope, while the preaching to Gentiles stressed the coming divine judgment; cf. 1 Thes 1:10.
  11. 10:44 Just as the Jewish Christians received the gift of the Spirit, so too do the Gentiles.
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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