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Leviticus 19-20The Message (MSG)

“I Am God, Your God”

19 1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the congregation of Israel. Tell them, Be holy because I, God, your God, am holy.

“Every one of you must respect his mother and father.

“Keep my Sabbaths. I am God, your God.

“Don’t take up with no-god idols. Don’t make gods of cast metal. I am God, your God.

5-8 “When you sacrifice a Peace-Offering to God, do it as you’ve been taught so it is acceptable. Eat it on the day you sacrifice it and the day following. Whatever is left until the third day is to be burned up. If it is eaten on the third day it is polluted meat and not acceptable. Whoever eats it will be held responsible because he has violated what is holy to God. That person will be cut off from his people.

9-10 “When you harvest your land, don’t harvest right up to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings from the harvest. Don’t strip your vineyard bare or go back and pick up the fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am God, your God.

11 “Don’t steal.

“Don’t lie.

“Don’t deceive anyone.

12 “Don’t swear falsely using my name, violating the name of your God. I am God.

13 “Don’t exploit your friend or rob him.

“Don’t hold back the wages of a hired hand overnight.

14 “Don’t curse the deaf; don’t put a stumbling block in front of the blind; fear your God. I am God.

15 “Don’t pervert justice. Don’t show favoritism to either the poor or the great. Judge on the basis of what is right.

16 “Don’t spread gossip and rumors.

“Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger. I am God.

17 “Don’t secretly hate your neighbor. If you have something against him, get it out into the open; otherwise you are an accomplice in his guilt.

18 “Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people.

“Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.

19 “Keep my decrees.

“Don’t mate two different kinds of animals.

“Don’t plant your fields with two kinds of seed.

“Don’t wear clothes woven of two kinds of material.

20-22 “If a man has sex with a slave girl who is engaged to another man but has not yet been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be an investigation. But they aren’t to be put to death because she wasn’t free. The man must bring a Compensation-Offering to God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, a ram of compensation. The priest will perform the ritual of atonement for him before God with the ram of compensation for the sin he has committed. Then he will stand forgiven of the sin he committed.

23-25 “When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, don’t eat the fruit for three years; consider it inedible. By the fourth year its fruit is holy, an offering of praise to God. Beginning in the fifth year you can eat its fruit; you’ll have richer harvests this way. I am God, your God.

26 “Don’t eat meat with blood in it.

“Don’t practice divination or sorcery.

27 “Don’t cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard.

28 “Don’t gash your bodies on behalf of the dead.

“Don’t tattoo yourselves. I am God.

29 “Don’t violate your daughter by making her a whore—the whole country would soon become a brothel, filled with sordid sex.

30 “Keep my Sabbaths and revere my Sanctuary: I am God.

31 “Don’t dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums; you’ll pollute your souls. I am God, your God.

32 “Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God. I am God.

33-34 “When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God.

35-36 “Don’t cheat when measuring length, weight, or quantity. Use honest scales and weights and measures. I am God, your God. I brought you out of Egypt.

37 “Keep all my decrees and all my laws. Yes, do them. I am God.”

20 1-5 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, Each and every Israelite and foreigner in Israel who gives his child to the god Molech must be put to death. The community must kill him by stoning. I will resolutely reject that man and cut him off from his people. By giving his child to the god Molech he has polluted my Sanctuary and desecrated my holy name. If the people of the land look the other way as if nothing had happened when that man gives his child to the god Molech and fail to kill him, I will resolutely reject that man and his family, and him and all who join him in prostituting themselves in the rituals of the god Molech I will cut off from their people.

“I will resolutely reject persons who dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums, prostituting themselves in their practices. I will cut them off from their people.

7-8 “Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.

“Any and every person who curses his father or mother must be put to death. By cursing his father or mother he is responsible for his own death.

10 “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—the wife, say, of his neighbor—both the man and the woman, the adulterer and adulteress, must be put to death.

11 “If a man has sex with his father’s wife, he has violated his father. Both the man and woman must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths.

12 “If a man has sex with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is perverse. And they are responsible for their own deaths.

13 “If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. They must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths.

14 “If a man marries both a woman and her mother, that’s wicked. All three of them must be burned at the stake, purging the wickedness from the community.

15 “If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death and you must kill the animal.

16 “If a woman has sex with an animal, you must kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death. And they are responsible for their deaths.

17 “If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother, and they have sex, that’s a disgrace. They must be publicly cut off from their people. He has violated his sister and will be held responsible.

18 “If a man sleeps with a woman during her period and has sex with her, he has uncovered her ‘fountain’ and she has revealed her ‘fountain’—both of them must be cut off from their people.

19 “Don’t have sex with your aunt on either your mother’s or father’s side. That violates a close relative. Both of you are held responsible.

20 “If a man has sex with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible and die childless.

21 “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it’s a defilement. He has shamed his brother. They will be childless.

22-23 “Do what I tell you, all my decrees and laws; live by them so that the land where I’m bringing you won’t vomit you out. You simply must not live like the nations I’m driving out before you. They did all these things and I hated every minute of it.

24-26 “I’ve told you, remember, that you will possess their land that I’m giving to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am God, your God, who has distinguished you from the nations. So live like it: Distinguish between ritually clean and unclean animals and birds. Don’t pollute yourselves with any animal or bird or crawling thing which I have marked out as unclean for you. Live holy lives before me because I, God, am holy. I have distinguished you from the nations to be my very own.

27 “A man or woman who is a medium or sorcerer among you must be put to death. You must kill them by stoning. They’re responsible for their own deaths.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Matthew 27:51-66The Message (MSG)

51-53 At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)

54 The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

55-56 There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers.

The Tomb

57-61 Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, arrived. His name was Joseph. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linens, put it in his own tomb, a new tomb only recently cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Then he went off. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed, sitting in plain view of the tomb.

62-64 After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, “Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will be raised.’ We’ve got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There’s a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, ‘He’s risen from the dead.’ Then we’ll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first.”

65-66 Pilate told them, “You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can.” So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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