2 Samuel 14-15 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
14 Joab knew that David couldn’t stop thinking about Absalom, 2-3 and he sent someone to bring in the wise woman who lived in Tekoa. Joab told her, “Put on funeral clothes and don’t use any makeup. Go to the king and pretend you have spent a long time mourning the death of a loved one.” Then he told her what to say.
4 The woman from Tekoa went to David. She bowed very low and said, “Your Majesty, please help me!”
5 David asked, “What’s the matter?”
My husband is dead, and I’m a widow. 6 I had two sons, but they got into a fight out in a field where there was no one to pull them apart, and one of them killed the other. 7 Now all of my relatives have come to me and said, “Hand over your son! We’re going to put him to death for killing his brother.” But what they really want is to get rid of him, so they can take over our land.
Please don’t let them put out my only flame of hope! There won’t be anyone left on this earth to carry on my husband’s name.
8 “Go on home,” David told her. “I’ll take care of this matter for you.”
9 The woman said, “I hope your decision doesn’t cause any problems for you. But if it does, you can blame me.”[a]
10 He said, “If anyone gives you any trouble, bring them to me, and it won’t happen again!”
11 “Please,” she replied, “swear by the Lord your God that no one will be allowed to kill my son!”
He said, “I swear by the living Lord that no one will touch even a hair on his head!”
12 Then she asked, “Your Majesty, may I say something?”
“Yes,” he answered.
13 The woman said:
Haven’t you been hurting God’s people? Your own son had to leave the country. And when you judged in my favor, it was the same as admitting that you should have let him come back. 14 We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But God doesn’t take our lives.[b] Instead, he figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away.
15 Your Majesty, I came here to tell you about my problem, because I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help. 16 In fact, I knew that you would listen and save my son and me from those who want to take the land that God gave us.[c]
17 I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like an angel of God, and I pray that the Lord your God will be with you.
18 Then David said to the woman, “Now I’m going to ask you a question, and don’t try to hide the truth!”
The woman replied, “Please go ahead, Your Majesty.”
19 David asked, “Did Joab put you up to this?”
The woman answered, “Your Majesty, I swear by your life that no one can hide the truth from you. Yes, Joab did tell me what to say, 20 but only to show you the other side of this problem. You must be as wise as the angel of God to know everything that goes on in this country.”
21 David turned to Joab and said, “It seems that I have already given my decision. Go and bring Absalom back.”
22 Joab bowed very low and said, “Your Majesty, I thank you for giving your permission. It shows that you approve of me.”
23 Joab went to Geshur to get Absalom. But when they came back to Jerusalem, 24 David told Joab, “I don’t want to see my son Absalom. Tell him to stay away from me.” So Absalom went to his own house without seeing his father.
Absalom Was Handsome
25 No one in all Israel was as handsome and well-built as Absalom. 26 He got his hair cut once a year, and when the hair was weighed, it came to about five pounds.
27 Absalom had three sons. He also had a daughter named Tamar, who grew up to be very beautiful.
Absalom Finally Sees David
28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing his father. 29 He wanted Joab to talk to David for him. So one day he sent a message asking Joab to come over, but Joab refused. Absalom sent another message, but Joab still refused. 30 Finally, Absalom told his servants, “Joab’s barley field is right next to mine. Go set it on fire!” And they did.
31 Joab went to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”
32 Absalom answered, “You didn’t pay any attention when I sent for you. I want you to ask my father why he told me to come back from Geshur. I was better off there. I want to see my father now! If I’m guilty, let him kill me.”
33 Joab went to David and told him what Absalom had said. David sent for Absalom, and Absalom came. He bowed very low, and David leaned over and kissed him.
Absalom Rebels against David
15 Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men run in front. 2 He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate.[d] Anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, and Absalom would ask each of them, “Where are you from?”
If they said, “I’m from a tribe in the north,” 3 Absalom would say, “You deserve to win your case. It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear complaints like yours. 4 I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone.”
5 Whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out and hug and kiss them. 6 That’s how he treated everyone from Israel who brought a complaint to the king. Soon everyone in Israel liked Absalom better than they liked David.
7 Four years[e] later, Absalom said to David, “Please, let me go to Hebron. I have to keep a promise that I made to the Lord, 8 when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if the Lord would bring me back to live in Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.”[f]
9 David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron. 10-12 He took two hundred men from Jerusalem with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David’s advisor Ahithophel to come.
More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the northern tribes of Israel. The messengers told everyone, “When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, ‘Absalom now rules as king in Hebron!’”
David Has To Leave Jerusalem
13 A messenger came and told David, “Everyone in Israel is on Absalom’s side!”
14 David’s officials were in Jerusalem with him, and he told them, “Let’s get out of here! We’ll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we’re still here. Then he will kill us and everyone else in the city.”
15 The officials said, “Your Majesty, we’ll do whatever you say.”
16-17 David left behind ten of his wives[g] to take care of the palace, but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him.
They stopped at the last house at the edge of the city. 18 Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards[h] marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath.[i] Their commander was Ittai.
19 David spoke to Ittai and said, “You’re a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don’t have to leave with us. Go back and join the new king! 20 You haven’t been with me very long, so why should you have to follow me, when I don’t even know where I’m going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that the Lord will be[j] kind and faithful to you.”
21 Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, just as surely as you and the Lord live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life.”
22 “Then come on!” David said.
So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.
David Sends the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem
23 The people of Jerusalem were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley[k] and along the road toward the desert.
24 Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the tribe of Levi who were carrying the sacred chest. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.
25 Then David said:
Zadok, take the sacred chest back to Jerusalem. If the Lord is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see it and his tent again. 26 But if he says he isn’t pleased with me, then let him do what he knows is best.
27 Zadok, you are a good judge of things,[l] so return to the city and don’t cause any trouble. Take your son Ahimaaz with you. Abiathar and his son Jonathan will also go back. 28 I’ll wait at the river crossing in the desert until I hear from you.
29 Zadok and Abiathar took the sacred chest back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30 David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too.
31 Someone told David, “Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!”
David said, “Please, Lord, keep Ahithophel’s plans from working!”
David Sends Hushai Back as a Spy
If you come with me, you might slow us down.[o] 34 Go back into the city and tell Absalom, “Your Majesty, I am your servant. I will serve you now, just as I served your father in the past.”
Hushai, if you do that, you can help me ruin Ahithophel’s plans. 35 Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you, and you can tell them everything you hear in the palace. 36 Then have them send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what you’ve heard.
37 David’s advisor Hushai slipped back into Jerusalem, just about the same time that Absalom was coming in.
Luke 17:1-19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Faith and Service
17 Jesus said to his disciples:
There will always be something that causes people to sin. But anyone who causes them to sin is in for trouble. A person who causes even one of my little followers to sin 2 would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their neck. 3 So be careful what you do.
Correct any followers[a] of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. 4 Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith stronger!”
6 Jesus replied:
If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!
7 If your servant comes in from plowing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? 8 No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” 9 Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. 10 And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.”
Ten Men with Leprosy
11 On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy[b] came toward him. They stood at a distance 13 and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[c]
On their way they were healed. 15 When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. 16 He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria.
17 Jesus asked, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? 18 Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?” 19 Then Jesus told the man, “You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well.”
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