1 Save me, O Eternal One, from the evil men who seek my life. Shield me from this band of violent men. 2 Their hearts devise evil! They conspire against me; they are constantly causing a storm of war. 3 These snakes have sharpened their tongues; viper venom hides beneath their lips.[a]
4 Keep me from the grip of these cruel men, O Eternal One. Shield me from this band of violent men whose only intention is to trip me up and undermine all I do. 5 Those arrogant people are trying to catch me; they’ve laid their trap, hiding a net along my path; their traps are set, and I am the prey.
6 “Eternal One,” I said, “You are my one and only God. Hear me, O Eternal, hear my humble cry for rescue. 7 O Lord, Eternal One, power of my deliverance, You are my helmet in the day of battle. 8 So do not fulfill the desires of these evildoers, Eternal One; do not advance their evil schemes, lest they brag about their successes.
9 “As for the gang leader of those who surround me, let their mischievous words cover them; smother them in trouble. 10 Let hot coals fall from heaven upon them and cast them into the roaring fires. May they sink into the muddy marsh from which there is no return. 11 Let no liar find a home anywhere in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man and do him in quickly.”
12 I am certain the Eternal supports the cause of the distressed; the poor will receive the justice they deserve. 13 Indeed, the just-living will glorify Your name, and honorable people will be at home in Your presence.
16 These are the words of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.
Eternal One: When these prophets “prophesy” to you, filling you with empty hopes, do not listen to one word! They do not speak for Me. They speak of visions they have only imagined. 17 They keep saying to those who openly reject My word, “Don’t worry, the Eternal has promised you peace.” And to those stubborn souls who go their own way, they say, “Don’t worry, nothing bad will happen to you.”
18 Which one of these false prophets has stood in the presence of the Eternal and heard His voice or seen His plan? Who of them has paid attention to His word and truly listened?
19 Behold, the storm of the Eternal’s wrath will now break open, swirling down out of the sky like a whirlwind onto the heads of the wicked. 20 The Eternal’s anger will not relent until He has carried out His most fervent plans. You will understand all of this in the days to come.
21 Eternal One: I did not send these so-called prophets, but they have run to you with their empty words. I did not speak to them, but they claim to speak for Me. 22 If only they had stood in My presence and heard My voice, then they would have spoken My words to My people! They would have turned this nation back from its evil ways and evil deeds.
16 Listen: I am sending you out to be sheep among wolves. You must be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. 17 You must be careful. You must be discerning. You must be on your guard. There will be men who try to hand you over to their town councils and have you flogged in their synagogues. 18 Because of Me, naysayers and doubters will try to make an example out of you by trying you before rulers and kings. 19 When this happens—when you are arrested, dragged to court—don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. The words you should speak will be given to you. For at that moment, 20 it will not be you speaking; it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 Your task will be fraught with betrayal: brother will betray brother, even to the point of death; fathers will betray their children, and children will rebel against their fathers, even to the point of death. 22-23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next town. This is the truth: you will not be able to witness to every town in Israel before the Son of Man comes. Everyone will hate you because of Me. But remember: the one who stays on the narrow path until the end will be saved.
24 A student is no greater than his teacher, and a servant is never greater than his master. 25 It is sufficient if the student is like his teacher and the servant like his master. If people call the head of a house “Beelzebul,” which means “devil,” just imagine what they’re calling the members of his household.
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