Genesis 13-15 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Abram and Lot Separate
13 Abram and Sarai took everything they owned and went to the Southern Desert. Lot went with them.
2 Abram was very rich. He owned many cattle, sheep, and goats, and had a lot of silver and gold. 3 Abram moved from place to place in the Southern Desert. And finally, he went north and set up his tents between Bethel and Ai, 4 where he had earlier camped and built an altar. There he worshiped the Lord.
5 Lot, who was traveling with him, also had sheep, goats, and cattle, as well as his own family and slaves. 6-7 At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the same area, and so there wasn’t enough pastureland left for Abram and Lot with all of their animals. Besides this, the men who took care of Abram’s animals and the ones who took care of Lot’s animals started quarreling.
8 Abram said to Lot, “We are close relatives. We shouldn’t argue, and our men shouldn’t be fighting one another. 9 There is plenty of land for you to choose from. Let’s separate. If you go north, I’ll go south; if you go south, I’ll go north.”
10 This happened before the Lord had destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And when Lot looked around, he saw there was plenty of water in the Jordan Valley. All the way to Zoar the valley was as green as the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt. 11 So Lot chose the whole Jordan Valley for himself, and as he started toward the east, he and Abram separated. 12 Abram stayed in the land of Canaan. But Lot settled near the cities of the valley and put up his tents not far from Sodom, 13 where the people were evil and sinned terribly against the Lord.
Abram Moves to Hebron
14 After Abram and Lot had gone their separate ways, the Lord said to Abram:
Look around to the north, south, east, and west. 15 I will give you and your family all the land you can see. It will be theirs forever! 16 I will give you more descendants than there are specks of dust on the earth, and someday it will be easier to count the specks of dust than to count your descendants. 17 Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you.
18 Abram took down his tents and went to live near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar in honor of the Lord.
Abram Rescues Lot
14 About this time, King Amraphel of Babylonia,[a] King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2 attacked King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, also known as the city of Zoar. 3-4 King Chedorlaomer and his allies had ruled these last five kings for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year the kings rebelled and came together in Siddim Valley, which is now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea.
5 A year later King Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth-Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, and the Emites in Shaveh-Kiriathaim. 6 They also defeated the Horites in the hill country of Edom,[b] as far as El-Paran, near the desert.
7 They went back to the city of Enmishpat, better known as Kadesh. Then they captured all the land that belonged to the Amalekites, and they defeated the Amorites who were living in Hazazon-Tamar.
8-9 At Siddim Valley, the armies of the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela fought the armies of King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar. The valley 10 was full of tar pits, and when the troops from Sodom and Gomorrah started running away, some of them fell into the pits. Others escaped to the hill country. 11 Their enemies took everything of value from Sodom and Gomorrah, including their food supplies. 12 They also captured Abram’s nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom. They took him and his possessions and then left.
13 At this time Abram the Hebrew was living near the oaks that belonged to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner were Abram’s friends. Someone who had escaped from the battle told Abram 14 that his nephew Lot had been taken away. Three hundred eighteen of Abram’s servants were fighting men, so he took them and followed the enemy as far north as the city of Dan.
15 That night, Abram divided up his troops, attacked from all sides, and won a great victory. But some of the enemy escaped to the town of Hobah north of Damascus, 16 and Abram went after them. He brought back his nephew Lot, together with Lot’s possessions and the women and everyone else who had been captured.
Abram Is Blessed by Melchizedek
17 Abram returned after he had defeated King Chedorlaomer and the other kings. Then the king of Sodom went to meet Abram in Shaveh Valley, which is also known as King’s Valley.
18 King Melchizedek of Salem was a priest of God Most High. He brought out some bread and wine 19 and said to Abram:
“I bless you in the name
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “All I want are my people. You can keep everything else.”
22 Abram answered:
The Lord God Most High made the heavens and the earth. And I have promised him 23 that I won’t keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread. Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich. 24 Let my share be the food that my men have eaten. But Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre went with me, so give them their share of what we brought back.
The Lord’s Promise to Abram
15 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”
2 But Abram answered, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own.[c] 3 You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”
4 The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.
The Lord Makes Another Promise to Abram
7 The Lord said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”
8 Abram asked, “Lord God, how can I know the land will be mine?”
9 Then the Lord told him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram obeyed the Lord. Then he cut[d] the animals in half and laid the two halves of each animal opposite each other on the ground. But he did not cut the doves and pigeons in half. 11 And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening. 13-15 Then the Lord said:
Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.
But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them. They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years. But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.
17 Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot[g] and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal. 18 At that time the Lord made an agreement with Abram and told him:
I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River[h] on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River. 19 They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Matthew 5:1-26 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Sermon on the Mount
5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down.[a]
Jesus' disciples gathered around him, 2 and he taught them:
3 God blesses those people
11 God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.
Salt and Light
13 You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.
14 You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
The Law of Moses
17 Don’t suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets.[e] I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning. 18 Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you that not even a period or comma will ever disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen.
19 If you reject even the least important command in the Law and teach others to do the same, you will be the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. But if you obey and teach others its commands, you will have an important place in the kingdom. 20 You must obey God’s commands better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obey them. If you don’t, I promise you that you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
21 You know that our ancestors were told, “Do not murder” and “A murderer must be brought to trial.” 22 But I promise you that if you are angry with someone,[f] you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.
23 So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.
25 Before you are dragged into court, make friends with the person who has accused you of doing wrong. If you don’t, you will be handed over to the judge and then to the officer who will put you in jail. 26 I promise you that you will not get out until you have paid the last cent you owe.
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