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Numbers 1-2The Message (MSG)

Census in the Wilderness of Sinai

1-5 God spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai at the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month in the second year after they had left Egypt. He said, “Number the congregation of the People of Israel by clans and families, writing down the names of every male. You and Aaron are to register, company by company, every man who is twenty years and older who is able to fight in the army. Pick one man from each tribe who is head of his family to help you. These are the names of the men who will help you:

from Reuben: Elizur son of Shedeur

from Simeon: Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai

from Judah: Nahshon son of Amminadab

from Issachar: Nethanel son of Zuar

from Zebulun: Eliab son of Helon

10 from the sons of Joseph,
    from Ephraim: Elishama son of Ammihud
    from Manasseh: Gamaliel son of Pedahzur

11 from Benjamin: Abidan son of Gideoni

12 from Dan: Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai

13 from Asher: Pagiel son of Ocran

14 from Gad: Eliasaph son of Deuel

15 from Naphtali: Ahira son of Enan.”

16 These were the men chosen from the congregation, leaders of their ancestral tribes, heads of Israel’s military divisions.

17-19 Moses and Aaron took these men who had been named to help and gathered the whole congregation together on the first day of the second month. The people registered themselves in their tribes according to their ancestral families, putting down the names of those who were twenty years old and older, just as God commanded Moses. He numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.

20-21 The line of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by tribes according to their ancestral families. The tribe of Reuben numbered 46,500.

22-23 The line of Simeon: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Simeon numbered 59,300.

24-25 The line of Gad: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Gad numbered 45,650.

26-27 The line of Judah: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Judah numbered 74,600.

28-29 The line of Issachar: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Issachar numbered 54,400.

30-31 The line of Zebulun: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Zebulun numbered 57,400.

32-33 The line of Joseph: From son Ephraim the men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Ephraim numbered 40,500.

34-35 And from son Manasseh the men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Manasseh numbered 32,200.

36-37 The line of Benjamin: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Benjamin numbered 35,400.

38-39 The line of Dan: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Dan numbered 62,700.

40-41 The line of Asher: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Asher numbered 41,500.

42-43 The line of Naphtali: The men were counted off head by head, every male twenty years and older who was able to fight in the army, registered by clans and families. The tribe of Naphtali numbered 53,400.

44-46 These are the numbers of those registered by Moses and Aaron, registered with the help of the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each representing his ancestral family. The sum total of the People of Israel twenty years old and over who were able to fight in the army, counted by ancestral family, was 603,550.

47-51 The Levites, however, were not counted by their ancestral family along with the others. God had told Moses, “The tribe of Levi is an exception: Don’t register them. Don’t count the tribe of Levi; don’t include them in the general census of the People of Israel. Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of The Dwelling of The Testimony—over all its furnishings and everything connected with it. Their job is to carry The Dwelling and all its furnishings, maintain it, and camp around it. When it’s time to move The Dwelling, the Levites will take it down, and when it’s time to set it up, the Levites will do it. Anyone else who even goes near it will be put to death.

52-53 “The rest of the People of Israel will set up their tents in companies, every man in his own camp under its own flag. But the Levites will set up camp around The Dwelling of The Testimony so that wrath will not fall on the community of Israel. The Levites are responsible for the security of The Dwelling of The Testimony.”

54 The People of Israel did everything that God commanded Moses. They did it all.

Marching Orders

1-2 God spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “The People of Israel are to set up camp circling the Tent of Meeting and facing it. Each company is to camp under its distinctive tribal flag.”

3-4 To the east toward the sunrise are the companies of the camp of Judah under its flag, led by Nahshon son of Amminadab. His troops number 74,600.

5-6 The tribe of Issachar will camp next to them, led by Nethanel son of Zuar. His troops number 54,400.

7-8 And the tribe of Zebulun is next to them, led by Eliab son of Helon. His troops number 57,400.

The total number of men assigned to Judah, troop by troop, is 186,400. They will lead the march.

10-11 To the south are the companies of the camp of Reuben under its flag, led by Elizur son of Shedeur. His troops number 46,500.

12-13 The tribe of Simeon will camp next to them, led by Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. His troops number 59,300.

14-15 And the tribe of Gad is next to them, led by Eliasaph son of Deuel. His troops number 45,650.

16 The total number of men assigned to Reuben, troop by troop, is 151,450. They are second in the order of the march.

17 The Tent of Meeting with the camp of the Levites takes its place in the middle of the march. Each tribe will march in the same order in which they camped, each under its own flag.

18-19 To the west are the companies of the camp of Ephraim under its flag, led by Elishama son of Ammihud. His troops number 40,500.

20-21 The tribe of Manasseh will set up camp next to them, led by Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. His troops number 32,200.

22-23 And next to him is the camp of Benjamin, led by Abidan son of Gideoni. His troops number 35,400.

24 The total number of men assigned to the camp of Ephraim, troop by troop, is 108,100. They are third in the order of the march.

25-26 To the north are the companies of the camp of Dan under its flag, led by Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. His troops number 62,700.

27-28 The tribe of Asher will camp next to them, led by Pagiel son of Ocran. His troops number 41,500.

29-30 And next to them is the tribe of Naphtali, led by Ahira son of Enan. His troops number 53,400.

31 The total number of men assigned to the camp of Dan number 157,600. They will set out, under their flags, last in the line of the march.

32-33 These are the People of Israel, counted according to their ancestral families. The total number in the camps, counted troop by troop, comes to 603,550. Following God’s command to Moses, the Levites were not counted in with the rest of Israel.

34 The People of Israel did everything the way God commanded Moses: They camped under their respective flags; they marched by tribe with their ancestral families.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Acts 24The Message (MSG)

Paul States His Defense

24 1-4 Within five days, the Chief Priest Ananias arrived with a contingent of leaders, along with Tertullus, a trial lawyer. They presented the governor with their case against Paul. When Paul was called before the court, Tertullus spoke for the prosecution: “Most Honorable Felix, we are most grateful in all times and places for your wise and gentle rule. We are much aware that it is because of you and you alone that we enjoy all this peace and gain daily profit from your reforms. I’m not going to tire you out with a long speech. I beg your kind indulgence in listening to me. I’ll be quite brief.

5-8 “We’ve found this man time and again disturbing the peace, stirring up riots against Jews all over the world, the ringleader of a seditious sect called Nazarenes. He’s a real bad apple, I must say. We caught him trying to defile our holy Temple and arrested him. You’ll be able to verify all these accusations when you examine him yourself.”

The Jews joined in: “Hear, hear! That’s right!”

10-13 The governor motioned to Paul that it was now his turn. Paul said, “I count myself fortunate to be defending myself before you, Governor, knowing how fair-minded you’ve been in judging us all these years. I’ve been back in the country only twelve days—you can check out these dates easily enough. I came with the express purpose of worshiping in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and I’ve been minding my own business the whole time. Nobody can say they saw me arguing in the Temple or working up a crowd in the streets. Not one of their charges can be backed up with evidence or witnesses.

14-15 “But I do freely admit this: In regard to the Way, which they malign as a dead-end street, I serve and worship the very same God served and worshiped by all our ancestors and embrace everything written in all our Scriptures. And I admit to living in hopeful anticipation that God will raise the dead, both the good and the bad. If that’s my crime, my accusers are just as guilty as I am.

16-19 “Believe me, I do my level best to keep a clear conscience before God and my neighbors in everything I do. I’ve been out of the country for a number of years and now I’m back. While I was away, I took up a collection for the poor and brought that with me, along with offerings for the Temple. It was while making those offerings that they found me quietly at my prayers in the Temple. There was no crowd, there was no disturbance. It was some Jews from around Ephesus who started all this trouble. And you’ll notice they’re not here today. They’re cowards, too cowardly to accuse me in front of you.

20-21 “So ask these others what crime they’ve caught me in. Don’t let them hide behind this smooth-talking Tertullus. The only thing they have on me is that one sentence I shouted out in the council: ‘It’s because I believe in the resurrection that I’ve been hauled into this court!’ Does that sound to you like grounds for a criminal case?”

22-23 Felix shilly-shallied. He knew far more about the Way than he let on, and could have settled the case then and there. But uncertain of his best move politically, he played for time. “When Captain Lysias comes down, I’ll decide your case.” He gave orders to the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to more or less give him the run of the place and not prevent his friends from helping him.

24-26 A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, sent for Paul and listened to him talk about a life of believing in Jesus Christ. As Paul continued to insist on right relations with God and his people, about a life of moral discipline and the coming Judgment, Felix felt things getting a little too close for comfort and dismissed him. “That’s enough for today. I’ll call you back when it’s convenient.” At the same time he was secretly hoping that Paul would offer him a substantial bribe. These conversations were repeated frequently.

27 After two years of this, Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus. Still playing up to the Jews and ignoring justice, Felix left Paul in prison.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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