Exodus 23-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Equal Justice for All
The Lord said:
23 Don’t spread harmful rumors or help a criminal by giving false evidence.
2 Always tell the truth in court, even if everyone else is[a] dishonest and stands in the way of justice. 3 And don’t favor the poor, simply because they are poor.
4 If you find an ox or a donkey that has wandered off, take it back where it belongs, even if the owner is your enemy.
5 If a donkey is overloaded and falls down, you must do what you can to help, even if it belongs to someone who doesn’t like you.[b]
6 Make sure that the poor are given equal justice in court. 7 Don’t bring false charges against anyone or sentence an innocent person to death. I won’t forgive you if you do.
8 Don’t accept bribes. Judges are blinded and justice is twisted by bribes.
9 Don’t mistreat foreigners. You were foreigners in Egypt, and you know what it is like.
Laws for the Sabbath
The Lord said:
10 Plant and harvest your crops for six years, 11 but let the land rest during the seventh year. The poor are to eat what they want from your fields, vineyards, and olive trees during that year, and when they have all they want from your fields, leave the rest for wild animals.
12 Work the first six days of the week, but rest and relax on the seventh day. This law is not only for you, but for your oxen, donkeys, and slaves, as well as for any foreigners among you.
13 Make certain that you obey everything I have said. Don’t pray to other gods or even mention their names.
Three Annual Festivals
The Lord said:
14 Celebrate three festivals each year in my honor.
15 Celebrate the Festival of Thin Bread by eating bread made without yeast, just as I have commanded.[c] Do this at the proper time during the month of Abib,[d] because it is the month when you left Egypt. And make certain that everyone brings the proper offerings.
17 Your men must come to these three festivals each year to worship me.
18 Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. And make sure that the fat of the animal is burned that same day.
19 Each year bring the best part of your first harvest to the place of worship.
Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
A Promise and a Warning
The Lord said:
20 I am sending an angel to protect you and to lead you into the land I have ready for you. 21 Carefully obey everything the angel says, because I am giving him complete authority, and he won’t tolerate rebellion. 22 If you faithfully obey him, I will be a fierce enemy of your enemies. 23 My angel will lead you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Don’t worship their gods or follow their customs. Instead, destroy their idols and shatter their stone images.
25 Worship only me, the Lord your God! I will bless you with plenty of food and water and keep you strong. 26 Your women will give birth to healthy children, and everyone will live a long life.
27 I will terrify those nations and make your enemies so confused that they will run from you. 28 I will make the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites panic as you approach. 29 But I won’t do all this in the first year, because the land would become poor, and wild animals would be everywhere. 30 Instead, I will force out your enemies little by little and give your nation time to grow strong enough to take over the land.
31 I will see that your borders reach from the Red Sea[g] to the Euphrates River and from the Mediterranean Sea to the desert. I will let you defeat the people who live there, and you will force them out of the land. 32 But you must not make any agreements with them or with their gods. 33 Don’t let them stay in your land. They will trap you into sinning against me and worshiping their gods.
The People Agree To Obey God
24 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on this mountain. Bring along Aaron, as well as his two sons Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s leaders. They must worship me at a distance, 2 but you are to come near. Don’t let anyone else come up.”
3 Moses gave the Lord’s instructions to the people, and they promised, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded!” 4 Then Moses wrote down what the Lord had said.
The next morning Moses got up early. He built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up a large stone for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He also sent some young men to burn offerings and to sacrifice bulls as special offerings[h] to the Lord. 6 Moses put half of the blood from the animals into bowls and sprinkled the rest on the altar. 7 Then he read aloud the Lord’s commands and promises, and the people shouted, “We will obey the Lord and do everything he has commanded!”
8 Moses took the blood from the bowls and sprinkled it on the people. Next, he told them, “With this blood the Lord makes his agreement with you.”
9 Moses and Aaron, together with Nadab and Abihu and the seventy leaders, went up the mountain 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something that looked like a pavement made out of sapphire,[i] and it was as bright as the sky.
11 Even though these leaders of Israel saw God, he did not punish them. So they ate and drank.
Moses on Mount Sinai
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up on the mountain and stay here for a while. I will give you the two flat stones on which I have written the laws that my people must obey.” 13 Moses and Joshua his assistant got ready, then Moses started up the mountain to meet with God.
14 Moses had told the leaders, “Wait here until we come back. Aaron and Hur will be with you, and they can settle any arguments while we are away.”
15 When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, a cloud covered it, 16 and the bright glory of the Lord came down and stayed there. The cloud covered the mountain for six days, and on the seventh day the Lord told Moses to come into the cloud. 17-18 Moses did so and stayed there forty days and nights. To the people, the Lord’s glory looked like a blazing fire on top of the mountain.
Matthew 20:1-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Workers in a Vineyard
20 As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said:
Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2 After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day’s work, he sent them off to his vineyard.
3 About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. 4 He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. 5 So they went.
At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do.
6 Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”
7 “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard.
8 That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. 9 When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day’s pay.
10 The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, 11 they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12 They said, “The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!”
13 The owner answered one of them, “Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14 Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?”
16 Jesus then said, “So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first.”
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