Genesis 49-50 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jacob Blesses His Sons
49 Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
3 Reuben, you are my oldest,
5 Simeon and Levi,
8 Judah, you will be praised
13 Zebulun, you will settle
14 Issachar, you are a strong donkey
16 Dan,[c] you are the tribe
18 Our Lord, I am waiting
19 Gad,[d] you will be attacked,
20 Asher, you will eat food
21 Naphtali, you are a wild deer
22 Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
27 Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
29-31 Jacob told his sons:
Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32 Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
33 When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died. 50 1 Joseph started crying, then leaned over to hug and kiss his father.
2 Joseph gave orders for Jacob’s body to be embalmed, 3 and it took the usual forty days.
The Egyptians mourned seventy days for Jacob. 4 When the time of mourning was over, Joseph said to the Egyptian leaders, “If you consider me your friend, please speak to the king[i] for me. 5 Just before my father died, he made me promise to bury him in his burial cave in Canaan. If the king will give me permission to go, I will come back here.”
6 The king answered, “Go to Canaan and keep your promise to your father.”
7-9 When Joseph left Goshen with his brothers, his relatives, and his father’s relatives to bury Jacob, many of the king’s highest officials and even his military chariots and cavalry went along. The Israelites left behind only their children, their cattle, and their sheep and goats.
10 After crossing the Jordan River and reaching Atad’s threshing place, Joseph had everyone mourn and weep seven days for his father. 11 The Canaanites saw this and said, “The Egyptians are in great sorrow.” Then they named the place “Egypt in Sorrow.”[j]
12 So Jacob’s sons did just as their father had instructed. 13 They took him to Canaan and buried him in Machpelah Cave, the burial place Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite.
14 After the funeral, Joseph, his brothers, and everyone else returned to Egypt.
Joseph’s Promise to His Brothers
15 After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers said to each other, “What if Joseph still hates us and wants to get even with us for all the cruel things we did to him?”
16 So they sent this message to Joseph:
Before our father died, 17 he told us, “You did some cruel and terrible things to Joseph, but you must ask him to forgive you.”
Now we ask you to please forgive the terrible things we did. After all, we serve the same God that your father worshiped.
When Joseph heard this, he started crying.
18 Right then, Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to the ground in front of him and said, “We are your slaves.”
19 But Joseph told them, “Don’t be afraid! I have no right to change what God has decided. 20 You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing. 21 Don’t be afraid! I will take care of you and your children.” After Joseph said this, his brothers felt much better.
22 Joseph lived in Egypt with his brothers until he died at the age of one hundred ten. 23 Joseph lived long enough to see Ephraim’s children and grandchildren. He also lived to see the children of Manasseh’s son Machir, and he welcomed them into his family. 24 Before Joseph died, he told his brothers, “I won’t live much longer. But God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 Now promise me that you will take my body with you when God leads you to that land.”
26 So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of one hundred ten; his body was embalmed and put in a coffin.
Matthew 13:31-58 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Stories about a Mustard Seed and Yeast
31 Jesus told them another story:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. 32 Although it is the smallest of all seeds, it grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches.
33 Jesus also said:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a woman mixes a little yeast into three big batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.
The Reason for Teaching with Stories
34 Jesus used stories when he spoke to the people. In fact, he did not tell them anything without using stories. 35 So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet[a] had said,
“I will use stories
Jesus Explains the Story about the Weeds
36 After Jesus left the crowd and went inside,[b] his disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the story about the weeds in the wheat field.”
37 Jesus answered:
The one who scattered the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seeds are the people who belong to the kingdom. The weed seeds are those who belong to the evil one, 39 and the one who scattered them is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and angels are the ones who bring in the harvest.
40 Weeds are gathered and burned. That’s how it will be at the end of time. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everyone who does wrong or causes others to sin. 42 Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 43 But everyone who has done right will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. If you have ears, pay attention!
A Hidden Treasure
44 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds a treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field.
A Valuable Pearl
45 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. 46 After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.
A Fish Net
47 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away. 49 That’s how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. 50 Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.
New and Old Treasures
51 Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, “Yes, we do.”
52 So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus
53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left 54 and went to his hometown. He taught in their meeting place, and the people were so amazed that they asked, “Where does he get all this wisdom and the power to work these miracles? 55 Isn’t he the son of the carpenter? Isn’t Mary his mother, and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56 Don’t his sisters still live here in our town? How can he do all this?” 57 So the people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.
But Jesus said, “Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their own family.” 58 And because the people did not have any faith, Jesus did not work many miracles there.
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