The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

17 [a]The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs(A) from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes.(B) Write the name of each man on his staff. On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name,(C) for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. Place them in the tent of meeting(D) in front of the ark of the covenant law,(E) where I meet with you.(F) The staff belonging to the man I choose(G) will sprout,(H) and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling(I) against you by the Israelites.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.(J)

The next day Moses entered the tent(K) and saw that Aaron’s staff,(L) which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.(M) Then Moses brought out all the staffs(N) from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff(O) in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious.(P) This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!(Q) 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die.(R) Are we all going to die?”

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary,(S) and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood. Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister(T) before the tent of the covenant law. They are to be responsible to you(U) and are to perform all the duties of the tent,(V) but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar. Otherwise both they and you will die.(W) They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting—all the work at the tent—and no one else may come near where you are.(X)

“You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar,(Y) so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you,(Z) dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting.(AA) But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain.(AB) I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift.(AC) Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.(AD)

Offerings for Priests and Levites

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion,(AE) your perpetual share.(AF) You are to have the part of the most holy offerings(AG) that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain(AH) or sin[b](AI) or guilt offerings,(AJ) that part belongs to you and your sons. 10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it.(AK) You must regard it as holy.(AL)

11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings(AM) of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share.(AN) Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean(AO) may eat it.

12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain(AP) they give the Lord(AQ) as the firstfruits of their harvest.(AR) 13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the Lord will be yours.(AS) Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.(AT)

14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted[c] to the Lord(AU) is yours. 15 The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours.(AV) But you must redeem(AW) every firstborn(AX) son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.(AY) 16 When they are a month old,(AZ) you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels[d](BA) of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel,(BB) which weighs twenty gerahs.(BC)

17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow, a sheep or a goat; they are holy.(BD) Splash their blood(BE) against the altar and burn their fat(BF) as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.(BG) 18 Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering(BH) and the right thigh are yours.(BI) 19 Whatever is set aside from the holy(BJ) offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt(BK) before the Lord for both you and your offspring.”

20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them;(BL) I am your share and your inheritance(BM) among the Israelites.

21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes(BN) in Israel as their inheritance(BO) in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.(BP) 22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the tent of meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.(BQ) 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the tent of meeting and bear the responsibility for any offenses they commit against it. This is a lasting ordinance(BR) for the generations to come.(BS) They will receive no inheritance(BT) among the Israelites.(BU) 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord.(BV) That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

25 The Lord said to Moses, 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you(BW) as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.(BX) 27 Your offering will be reckoned(BY) to you as grain from the threshing floor(BZ) or juice from the winepress.(CA) 28 In this way you also will present an offering to the Lord from all the tithes(CB) you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the Lord’s portion to Aaron the priest. 29 You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’

30 “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress.(CC) 31 You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the tent of meeting.(CD) 32 By presenting the best part(CE) of it you will not be guilty in this matter;(CF) then you will not defile the holy offerings(CG) of the Israelites, and you will not die.’”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 17:1 In Hebrew texts 17:1-13 is numbered 17:16-28.
  2. Numbers 18:9 Or purification
  3. Numbers 18:14 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord.
  4. Numbers 18:16 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams

The Helper of Israel

41 “Be silent(A) before me, you islands!(B)
    Let the nations renew their strength!(C)
Let them come forward(D) and speak;
    let us meet together(E) at the place of judgment.

“Who has stirred(F) up one from the east,(G)
    calling him in righteousness(H) to his service[a]?(I)
He hands nations over to him
    and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust(J) with his sword,
    to windblown chaff(K) with his bow.(L)
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,(M)
    by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
    calling(N) forth the generations from the beginning?(O)
I, the Lord—with the first of them
    and with the last(P)—I am he.(Q)

The islands(R) have seen it and fear;
    the ends of the earth(S) tremble.
They approach and come forward;
    they help each other
    and say to their companions, “Be strong!(T)
The metalworker(U) encourages the goldsmith,(V)
    and the one who smooths with the hammer
    spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
    The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.(W)

“But you, Israel, my servant,(X)
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,(Y)
    you descendants of Abraham(Z) my friend,(AA)
I took you from the ends of the earth,(AB)
    from its farthest corners I called(AC) you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;(AD)
    I have chosen(AE) you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear,(AF) for I am with you;(AG)
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen(AH) you and help(AI) you;
    I will uphold you(AJ) with my righteous right hand.(AK)

11 “All who rage(AL) against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;(AM)
those who oppose(AN) you
    will be as nothing and perish.(AO)
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.(AP)
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing(AQ) at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand(AR)
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help(AS) you.
14 Do not be afraid,(AT) you worm(AU) Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help(AV) you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer,(AW) the Holy One(AX) of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,(AY)
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains(AZ) and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.(BA)
16 You will winnow(BB) them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale(BC) will blow them away.(BD)
But you will rejoice(BE) in the Lord
    and glory(BF) in the Holy One(BG) of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,(BH)
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.(BI)
But I the Lord will answer(BJ) them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake(BK) them.
18 I will make rivers flow(BL) on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert(BM) into pools of water,(BN)
    and the parched ground into springs.(BO)
19 I will put in the desert(BP)
    the cedar and the acacia,(BQ) the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers(BR) in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress(BS) together,(BT)
20 so that people may see and know,(BU)
    may consider and understand,(BV)
that the hand(BW) of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One(BX) of Israel has created(BY) it.

21 “Present your case,(BZ)” says the Lord.
    “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.(CA)
22 “Tell us, you idols,
    what is going to happen.(CB)
Tell us what the former things(CC) were,
    so that we may consider them
    and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,(CD)
23     tell us what the future holds,
    so we may know(CE) that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,(CF)
    so that we will be dismayed(CG) and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing(CH)
    and your works are utterly worthless;(CI)
    whoever chooses you is detestable.(CJ)

25 “I have stirred(CK) up one from the north,(CL) and he comes—
    one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads(CM) on rulers as if they were mortar,
    as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning,(CN) so we could know,
    or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
    no one foretold(CO) it,
    no one heard any words(CP) from you.
27 I was the first to tell(CQ) Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
    I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.(CR)
28 I look but there is no one(CS)
    no one among the gods to give counsel,(CT)
    no one to give answer(CU) when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
    Their deeds amount to nothing;(CV)
    their images(CW) are but wind(CX) and confusion.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 41:2 Or east, / whom victory meets at every step

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra,(A) where a disciple named Timothy(B) lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer(C) but whose father was a Greek. The believers(D) at Lystra and Iconium(E) spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.(F) As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders(G) in Jerusalem(H) for the people to obey.(I) So the churches were strengthened(J) in the faith and grew daily in numbers.(K)

Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia(L) and Galatia,(M) having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.(N) When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus(O) would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.(P) During the night Paul had a vision(Q) of a man of Macedonia(R) standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we(S) got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel(T) to them.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

11 From Troas(U) we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi,(V) a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia.(W) And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath(X) we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira(Y) named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart(Z) to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household(AA) were baptized,(AB) she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,(AC) we were met by a female slave who had a spirit(AD) by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God,(AE) who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.(AF)

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money(AG) was gone, they seized Paul and Silas(AH) and dragged(AI) them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar(AJ) 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans(AK) to accept or practice.”(AL)

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.(AM) 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer(AN) was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.(AO)

25 About midnight(AP) Paul and Silas(AQ) were praying and singing hymns(AR) to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.(AS) At once all the prison doors flew open,(AT) and everyone’s chains came loose.(AU) 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.(AV) 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.(AW) 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”(AX)

31 They replied, “Believe(AY) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved(AZ)—you and your household.”(BA) 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night(BB) the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.(BC) 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he(BD) was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer(BE) told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”(BF)

37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens,(BG) and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.(BH) 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.(BI) 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house,(BJ) where they met with the brothers and sisters(BK) and encouraged them. Then they left.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 16:12 The text and meaning of the Greek for the leading city of that district are uncertain.