Psalm 71:19-24 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
22 I will praise you with the harp
Acts 6:1-7:19 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
The choosing of the seven
6 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) – Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia – who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, ‘We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.’
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, ‘This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.’
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin
7 Then the high priest asked Stephen, ‘Are these charges true?’
2 To this he replied: ‘Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 “Leave your country and your people,” God said, “and go to the land I will show you.”[b]
4 ‘So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: “For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,” God said, “and afterwards they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.”[c] 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
9 ‘Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
11 ‘Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.
17 ‘As the time drew near for God to fulfil his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18 Then “a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt”.[d] 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
2 Samuel 15:13-16:14 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
13 A messenger came and told David, ‘The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.’
14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.’
15 The king’s officials answered him, ‘Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.’
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, ‘Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.’[a]
21 But Ittai replied to the king, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.’
22 David said to Ittai, ‘Go ahead, march on.’ So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
23 The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on towards the wilderness.
24 Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favour in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling-place again. 26 But if he says, “I am not pleased with you,” then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.’
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, ‘Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.’ 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. 31 Now David had been told, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ So David prayed, ‘Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.’
32 When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, ‘If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, “Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,” then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.’
37 So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.
David and Ziba
16 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.
2 The king asked Ziba, ‘Why have you brought these?’
Ziba answered, ‘The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.’
3 The king then asked, ‘Where is your master’s grandson?’
Ziba said to him, ‘He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, “Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.”’
4 Then the king said to Ziba, ‘All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.’
‘I humbly bow,’ Ziba said. ‘May I find favour in your eyes, my lord the king.’
Shimei curses David
5 As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. 6 He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. 7 As he cursed, Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!’
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.’
10 But the king said, ‘What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” who can ask, “Why do you do this?”’
11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjaminite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.’
13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.