2 Samuel 23-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
David’s Last Words
23 These are the last words
5 I have ruled this way,
The Three Warriors
8 These are the names of David’s warriors:
9 The next one of the Three Warriors was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite. One time when the Philistines were at war with Israel, he and David dared the Philistines to fight them. Every one of the Israelite soldiers turned and ran, 10 except Eleazar. He killed Philistines until his hand was cramped, and he couldn’t let go of his sword. When Eleazar finished, all the Israelite troops had to do was come back and take the enemies' weapons and armor. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day.
11 Next was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. One time the Philistines brought their army together to destroy a crop of peas growing in a field near Lehi. The rest of Israel’s soldiers ran away from the Philistines, 12 but Shammah stood in the middle of the field and killed the Philistines. The crops were saved, and the Lord gave Israel a great victory.
13 One year at harvest time, the Three Warriors[h] went to meet David at Adullam Cave.[i] The Philistine army had set up camp in Rephaim Valley 14 and had taken over Bethlehem. David was in his fortress, 15 and he was very thirsty. He said, “I wish I had a drink from the well by the gate at Bethlehem.”
16 The Three Warriors[j] sneaked into the Philistine camp and got some water from the well near Bethlehem’s gate. But after they brought the water back to David, he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as a sacrifice 17 and said to the Lord, “I can’t drink this water! It’s like the blood of these men who risked their lives to get it for me.”
The Three Warriors did these brave deeds.
The Thirty Warriors
18 Joab’s brother Abishai was the leader of the Thirty Warriors,[k] and in one battle he killed three hundred men with his spear. He was as famous as the Three Warriors 19 and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. He was the commander of the Thirty Warriors, but he still did not become one of the Three Warriors.
20 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did some amazing things. He killed two of Moab’s best fighters,[l] and on a snowy day he went down into a pit and killed a lion. 21 Another time, he killed an Egyptian, as big as a giant.[m] The Egyptian was armed with a spear, but Benaiah only had a club. Benaiah grabbed the spear from the Egyptian and killed him with it. 22-23 Benaiah did these things. He never became one of the Three Warriors, but he was just as famous as they were and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. David made him the leader of his bodyguard.
24-39 Some of the Thirty Warriors were:
Asahel the brother of Joab
David Counts the People
24 The Lord was angry at Israel again, and he made David think it would be a good idea to count the people in Israel and Judah. 2 So David told Joab and the army officers,[r] “Go to every tribe in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north all the way south to Beersheba, and count everyone who can serve in the army. I want to know how many there are.”
3 Joab answered, “I hope the Lord your God will give you a hundred times more soldiers than you already have. I hope you will live to see that day! But why do you want to do a thing like this?”
4 But when David refused to change his mind, Joab and the army officers went out and started counting the people. 5 They crossed the Jordan River and began with[s] Aroer and the town in the middle of the river valley. From there they went toward Gad and on as far as Jazer. 6 They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in Syria.[t] Then they went to Dan, Ijon,[u] and on toward Sidon. 7 They came to the fortress of Tyre, then went through every town of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Finally, they went to Beersheba in the Southern Desert of Judah. 8 After they had gone through the whole land, they went back to Jerusalem. It had taken them nine months and twenty days.
9 Joab came and told David, “In Israel there are eight hundred thousand who can serve in the army, and in Judah there are five hundred thousand.”
The Lord Punishes David
10 After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the Lord, “What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. Lord, please forgive me.”
11 Before David even got up the next morning, the Lord had told David’s prophet Gad 12-13 to take a message to David. Gad went to David and told him:
You must choose one of three ways for the Lord to punish you: Will there be seven[v] years when the land won’t grow enough food for your people? Or will your enemies chase you and make you run from them for three months? Or will there be three days of horrible disease in your land? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God, who sent me.
14 David was really frightened and said, “It’s a terrible choice to make! But the Lord is kind, and I’d rather have him punish us than for anyone else to do it.”
15-16 So that morning, the Lord sent an angel to spread a horrible disease everywhere in Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. And before it was over, seventy thousand people had died.
When the angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord felt sorry for all the suffering he had caused and told the angel, “That’s enough! Don’t touch them.” This happened at the threshing place that belonged to Araunah the Jebusite.
17 David saw the angel killing everyone and told the Lord, “These people are like sheep with me as their shepherd.[w] I have sinned terribly, but they have done nothing wrong. Please, punish me and my family instead of them!”
David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Place
18-19 That same day the prophet Gad came and told David, “Go to the threshing place that belongs to Araunah and build an altar there for the Lord.”
So David went.
20 Araunah looked and saw David and his soldiers coming up toward him. He went over to David, bowed down low, 21 and said, “Your Majesty! Why have you come to see me?”
David answered, “I’ve come to buy your threshing place. I have to build the Lord an altar here, so this disease will stop killing the people.”
22 Araunah said, “Take whatever you want and offer your sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the sacrifice. You can use the threshing-boards[x] and the wooden yokes for the fire. 23 Take them—they’re yours! I hope the Lord your God will be pleased with you.”
24 But David answered, “No! I have to pay you what they’re worth. I can’t offer the Lord my God a sacrifice that I got for nothing.” So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25 Then he built an altar for the Lord. He sacrificed animals and burned them on the altar.
The Lord answered the prayers of the people, and no one else died from the terrible disease.
Luke 19:1-27 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
19 Jesus was going through Jericho, 2 where a man named Zacchaeus lived. He was in charge of collecting taxes[a] and was very rich. 3-4 Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like. But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree.
5 When Jesus got there, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today.” 6 Zacchaeus hurried down and gladly welcomed Jesus.
7 Everyone who saw this started grumbling, “This man Zacchaeus is a sinner! And Jesus is going home to eat with him.”
8 Later that day Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much[b] to everyone I have ever cheated.”
A Story about Ten Servants
11 The crowd was still listening to Jesus as he was getting close to Jerusalem. Many of them thought that God’s kingdom would soon appear, 12 and Jesus told them this story:
A prince once went to a foreign country to be crowned king and then to return. 13 But before leaving, he called in ten servants and gave each of them some money. He told them, “Use this to earn more money until I get back.”
14 But the people of his country hated him, and they sent messengers to the foreign country to say, “We don’t want this man to be our king.”
15 After the prince had been made king, he returned and called in his servants. He asked them how much they had earned with the money they had been given.
16 The first servant came and said, “Sir, with the money you gave me I have earned ten times as much.”
17 “That’s fine, my good servant!” the king said. “Since you have shown that you can be trusted with a small amount, you will be given ten cities to rule.”
18 The second one came and said, “Sir, with the money you gave me, I have earned five times as much.”
19 The king said, “You will be given five cities.”
20 Another servant came and said, “Sir, here is your money. I kept it safe in a handkerchief. 21 You are a hard man, and I was afraid of you. You take what isn’t yours, and you harvest crops you didn’t plant.”
22 “You worthless servant!” the king told him. “You have condemned yourself by what you have just said. You knew that I am a hard man, taking what isn’t mine and harvesting what I’ve not planted. 23 Why didn’t you put my money in the bank? On my return, I could have had the money together with interest.”
24 Then he said to some other servants standing there, “Take the money away from him and give it to the servant who earned ten times as much.”
25 But they said, “Sir, he already has ten times as much!”
26 The king replied, “Those who have something will be given more. But everything will be taken away from those who don’t have anything. 27 Now bring me the enemies who didn’t want me to be their king. Kill them while I watch!”
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