Genesis 16-17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Hagar and Ishmael
16 Abram’s wife Sarai had not been able to have any children. But she owned a young Egyptian slave woman named Hagar, 2 and Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has not given me any children. Sleep with my slave, and if she has a child, it will be mine.”[a] Abram agreed, 3 and Sarai gave him Hagar to be his wife. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. 4 Later, when Hagar knew she was going to have a baby, she became proud and was hateful to Sarai.
5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “It’s all your fault![b] I gave you my slave woman, but she has been hateful to me ever since she found out she was pregnant. You have done me wrong, and you will have to answer to the Lord for this.”
6 Abram said, “All right! She’s your slave, and you can do whatever you want with her.” But Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
7 Hagar stopped to rest at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur. While she was there, the angel of the Lord came to her 8 and asked, “Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She answered, “I’m running away from Sarai, my owner.”
9 The angel said, “Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11 I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael,[c] because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12 But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”
13 Hagar thought, “Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?”[d] So from then on she called him, “The God Who Sees Me.”[e] 14 That’s why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered, “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”[f]
15-16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.
God’s Promise to Abraham
17 Abram was ninety-nine years old when the Lord appeared to him again and said, “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, 2 I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.” 3 Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said:
4-5 I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham.[g] 6 I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings.
7 I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God. 8 I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.
9 Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me. 10-11 As the sign that you are keeping this promise, you must circumcise every man and boy in your family. 12-13 From now on, your family must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old. You must even circumcise any man or boy you have as a slave, both those born in your homes and those you buy from foreigners. This will be a sign that my promise to you will last forever. 14 Any man who isn’t circumcised hasn’t kept his promise to me and cannot be one of my people.
15 Abraham, your wife’s name will now be Sarah instead of Sarai. 16 I will bless her, and you will have a son by her. She will become the mother of nations, and some of her descendants will even be kings.
17 Abraham bowed with his face to the ground and thought, “I am almost a hundred years old. How can I become a father? And Sarah is ninety. How can she have a child?” So he started laughing. 18 Then he asked God, “Why not let Ishmael[h] inherit what you have promised me?”
19 But God answered:
No! You and Sarah will have a son. His name will be Isaac,[i] and I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants.
20 I have heard what you asked me to do for Ishmael, and so I will also bless him with many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make his family a great nation. 21 But your son Isaac will be born about this time next year, and the promise I am making to you and your family will be for him and his descendants forever.
22 God finished speaking to Abraham and then left.
23-27 On that same day Abraham obeyed God by circumcising Ishmael. Abraham was also circumcised, and so were all other men and boys in his household, including his servants and slaves. He was ninety-nine years old at the time, and his son Ishmael was thirteen.
Matthew 5:27-48 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
27 You know the commandment which says, “Be faithful in marriage.” 28 But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, poke it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to end up in hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
31 You have been taught that a man who divorces his wife must write out divorce papers for her.[a] 32 But I tell you not to divorce your wife unless she has committed some terrible sexual sin.[b] If you divorce her, you will cause her to be unfaithful, just as any man who marries her is guilty of taking another man’s wife.
33 You know that our ancestors were told, “Don’t use the Lord’s name to make a promise unless you are going to keep it.” 34 But I tell you not to swear by anything when you make a promise! Heaven is God’s throne, so don’t swear by heaven. 35 The earth is God’s footstool, so don’t swear by the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great king, so don’t swear by it. 36 Don’t swear by your own head. You cannot make one hair white or black. 37 When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.
38 You know that you have been taught, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39 But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek,[c] turn and let that person slap your other cheek. 40 If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. 41 If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.[d] 42 When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.
43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46 If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors[e] love their friends. 47 If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.
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