Numbers 15-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Laws about Sacrifices
15 The Lord told Moses 2 to give the Israelites the following laws about offering sacrifices:
3 Bulls or rams or goats[a] are the animals that you may burn on the altar as sacrifices to please me.[b] You may also offer sacrifices voluntarily or because you made a promise, or because they are part of your regular religious ceremonies. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices is pleasing to me.
4-5 If you sacrifice a young ram or goat, you must also offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil as a grain sacrifice. A quart of wine must also be poured on the altar.
6-7 And if the animal is a full-grown ram, you must offer four pounds of flour mixed with one and a half quarts of olive oil. One and a half quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.
8 If a bull is offered as a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing,[c] 9 you must offer six pounds of flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil. 10 Two quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.
11-13 If you are a native Israelite, you must obey these rules each time you offer a bull, a ram, or a goat as a sacrifice. 14 And the foreigners who live among you must also follow these rules. 15-16 This law will never change. I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you.
17-19 When you eat food in the land that I am giving you, remember to set aside some of it as an offering to me. 20 From the first batch of bread dough that you make after each new grain harvest, make a loaf of bread and offer it to me, just as you offer grain. 21 All your descendants must follow this law and offer part of the first batch of bread dough.
22-23 The Lord also told Moses to tell the people what must be done if they ever disobey his laws:
24 If all of you disobey one of my laws without meaning to, you must offer a bull as a sacrifice to please me, together with a grain sacrifice, a wine offering, and a goat as a sacrifice for sin. 25 Then the priest will pray and ask me to forgive you. And since you did not mean to do wrong, and you offered sacrifices, 26 the sin of everyone—both Israelites and foreigners among you—will be forgiven.
27 But if one of you does wrong without meaning to, you must sacrifice a year-old female goat as a sacrifice for sin. 28 The priest will then ask me to forgive you, and your sin will be forgiven.
29 The law will be the same for anyone who does wrong without meaning to, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you.
30-31 But if one of you does wrong on purpose, whether Israelite or foreigner, you have sinned against me by disobeying my laws. You will be sent away and will no longer live among the people of Israel.
A Man Put to Death for Gathering Firewood on the Sabbath
32 Once, while the Israelites were traveling through the desert, a man was caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath.[d] 33 He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. 34 But no one knew what to do with him, so he was not allowed to leave.
35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people to take that man outside the camp and stone him to death!” 36 So he was killed, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
The Tassels on the People’s Clothes
37 The Lord told Moses 38 to say to the people of Israel, “Sew tassels onto the bottom edge of your clothes and tie a purple string to each tassel. 39-40 These will remind you that you must obey my laws and teachings. And when you do, you will be dedicated to me and won’t follow your own sinful desires. 41 I am the Lord your God who led you out of Egypt.”
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram Lead a Rebellion
16 1-2 Korah son of Izhar was a Levite from the Kohathite clan. One day he called together Dathan, Abiram, and On[e] from the Reuben tribe, and the four of them decided to rebel against Moses. So they asked two hundred fifty respected Israelite leaders for their support, and together they went to Moses 3 and Aaron and said, “Why do you think you’re so much better than anyone else? We’re part of the Lord’s holy people, and he’s with all of us. What makes you think you’re the only ones in charge?”
4 When Moses heard this, he knelt down to pray.[f] 5 Then he said to Korah and his followers:
Tomorrow morning the Lord will show us the person he has chosen to be his priest, and that man will faithfully serve him.
6-7 Korah, now here is what you and your followers must do: Get some fire pans, fill them with coals and incense, and place them near the sacred tent. And the man the Lord chooses will be his priest.[g] Korah, this time you Levites have gone too far!
8-9 You know that the God of Israel has chosen you Levites from all Israel to serve him by being in charge of the sacred tent and by helping the community to worship in the proper way. What more do you want? 10 The Lord has given you a special responsibility, and now, Korah, you think you should also be his priest. 11 You and your followers have rebelled against the Lord, not against Aaron.
12 Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they sent back this message: “We won’t come! 13 It’s bad enough that you took us from our rich farmland in Egypt to let us die here in the desert. Now you also want to boss us around! 14 You keep promising us rich farmlands with fertile fields and vineyards—but where are they? Stop trying to trick these people. No, we won’t come to see you.”
15 Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, “Don’t listen to these men! I haven’t done anything wrong to them. I haven’t taken as much as a donkey.”
16 Then he said to Korah, “Tomorrow you and your followers must go with Aaron to the Lord’s sacred tent. 17 Each of you take along your fire pan with incense in it and offer the incense to the Lord.”
18 The next day the men placed incense and coals in their fire pans and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the sacred tent. 19 Meanwhile, Korah had convinced the rest of the Israelites to rebel against their two leaders.
When that happened, the Lord appeared in all his glory 20 and said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Get away from the rest of the Israelites so I can kill them right now!”
22 But the two men bowed down and prayed, “Our God, you gave these people life. Why would you punish everyone here when only one man has sinned?”
23 The Lord answered Moses, 24 “Tell the people to stay away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
25 Moses walked over to Dathan and Abiram, and the other leaders of Israel followed. 26 Then Moses warned the people, “Get away from the tents of these sinful men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them or you’ll be wiped out.” 27 So everyone moved away from those tents, except Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families.
28 Moses said to the crowd, “The Lord has chosen me and told me to do these things—it wasn’t my idea. And here’s how you will know: 29 If these men die a natural death, it means the Lord hasn’t chosen me. 30 But suppose the Lord does something that has never been done before. For example, what if a huge crack appears in the ground, and these men and their families fall into it and are buried alive, together with everything they own? Then you will know they have turned their backs on the Lord!”
31 As soon as Moses said this, the ground under the men opened up 32-33 and swallowed them alive, together with their families and everything they owned. Then the ground closed back up, and they were gone.
34 The rest of the Israelites heard their screams, so they ran off, shouting, “We don’t want that to happen to us!”
35 Suddenly the Lord sent a fire that burned up the two hundred fifty men who had offered incense to him.
36 Then the Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Aaron’s son Eleazar to take the fire pans from the smoldering fire and scatter the coals. The pans are now sacred, 38 because they were used for offering incense to me. Have them hammered into a thin layer of bronze as a covering for the altar. Those men died because of their sin, and now their fire pans will become a warning for the rest of the community.”
39 Eleazar collected the pans and had them hammered into a thin layer of bronze as a covering for the altar, 40 just as the Lord had told Moses. The pans were a warning to the Israelites that only Aaron’s descendants would be allowed to offer incense to the Lord. Anyone else who tried would be punished like Korah and his followers.
The Israelites Rebel and Are Punished
41 The next day the people of Israel again complained against Moses and Aaron, “The two of you killed some of the Lord’s people!”
42 As the people crowded around them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the sacred tent, and the Lord appeared in his glory in the cloud covering the tent. 43 So Moses and Aaron walked to the front of the tent, 44 where the Lord said to them, 45 “Stand back! I am going to wipe out these Israelites once and for all.”
They immediately bowed down and prayed. 46 Then Moses told Aaron, “Grab your fire pan and fill it with hot coals from the altar. Put incense in it, then quickly take it to where the people are and offer it to the Lord, so they can be forgiven. The Lord is very angry, and people have already started dying!”
47-48 Aaron did exactly what he had been told. He ran over to the crowd of people and stood between the dead bodies and the people who were still alive. He placed the incense on the pan, then offered it to the Lord and asked him to forgive the people’s sin. The disease immediately stopped spreading, and no one else died from it. 49 But fourteen thousand seven hundred Israelites were dead, not counting those who had died with Korah and his followers.
50 Aaron walked back and stood with Moses at the sacred tent.
Mark 6:1-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus
6 Jesus left and returned to his hometown[a] with his disciples. 2 The next Sabbath he taught in the Jewish meeting place. Many of the people who heard him were amazed and asked, “How can he do all this? Where did he get such wisdom and the power to work these miracles? 3 Isn’t he the carpenter,[b] the son of Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? Don’t his sisters still live here in our town?” The people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.
4 But Jesus said, “Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their relatives and their own family.” 5 Jesus could not work any miracles there, except to heal a few sick people by placing his hands on them. 6 He was surprised that the people did not have any faith.
Instructions for the Twelve Apostles
Jesus taught in all the neighboring villages. 7 Then he called together his twelve apostles and sent them out two by two with power over evil spirits. 8 He told them, “You may take along a walking stick. But don’t carry food or a traveling bag or any money. 9 It’s all right to wear sandals, but don’t take along a change of clothes. 10 When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. 11 If any place won’t welcome you or listen to your message, leave and shake the dust from your feet[c] as a warning to them.”
12 The apostles left and started telling everyone to turn to God. 13 They forced out many demons and healed a lot of sick people by putting olive oil[d] on them.
The Death of John the Baptist
14 Jesus became so well-known that Herod the ruler[e] heard about him. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, who had come back to life with the power to work miracles. 15 Others thought he was Elijah[f] or some other prophet who had lived long ago. 16 But when Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “This must be John! I had his head cut off, and now he has come back to life.”
17-18 Herod had earlier married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. But John had told him, “It isn’t right for you to take your brother’s wife!” So, in order to please Herodias, Herod arrested John and put him in prison.
19 Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she could not do it 20 because Herod was afraid of John and protected him. He knew that John was a good and holy man. Even though Herod was confused by what John said,[g] he was glad to listen to him. And he often did.
21 Finally, Herodias got her chance when Herod gave a great birthday celebration for himself and invited his officials, his army officers, and the leaders of Galilee. 22 The daughter of Herodias[h] came in and danced for Herod and his guests. She pleased them so much that Herod said, “Ask for anything, and it’s yours! 23 I swear that I will give you as much as half of my kingdom, if you want it.”
24 The girl left and asked her mother, “What do you think I should ask for?”
Her mother answered, “The head of John the Baptist!”
25 The girl hurried back and told Herod, “Right now on a platter I want the head of John the Baptist!”
26 The king was very sorry for what he had said. But he did not want to break the promise he had made in front of his guests. 27 At once he ordered a guard to cut off John’s head there in prison. 28 The guard put the head on a platter and took it to the girl. Then she gave it to her mother.
29 When John’s followers learned that he had been killed, they took his body and put it in a tomb.
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