1 Samuel 15The Message (MSG)
15 1-2 Samuel said to Saul, “God sent me to anoint you king over his people, Israel. Now, listen again to what God says. This is the God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking:
2-3 “‘I’m about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here’s what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction—men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys—the works.’”
4-5 Saul called the army together at Telaim and prepared them to go to war—two hundred companies of infantry from Israel and another ten companies from Judah. Saul marched to Amalek City and hid in the canyon.
6 Then Saul got word to the Kenites: “Get out of here while you can. Evacuate the city right now or you’ll get lumped in with the Amalekites. I’m warning you because you showed real kindness to the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.”
And they did. The Kenites evacuated the place.
7-9 Then Saul went after Amalek, from the canyon all the way to Shur near the Egyptian border. He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn’t include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban.
10-11 Then God spoke to Samuel: “I’m sorry I ever made Saul king. He’s turned his back on me. He refuses to do what I tell him.”
11-12 Samuel was angry when he heard this. He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night. He got up early in the morning to confront Saul but was told, “Saul’s gone. He went to Carmel to set up a victory monument in his own honor, and then was headed for Gilgal.”
By the time Samuel caught up with him, Saul had just finished an act of worship, having used Amalekite plunder for the burnt offerings sacrificed to God.
13 As Samuel came close, Saul called out, “God’s blessings on you! I accomplished God’s plan to the letter!”
14 Samuel said, “So what’s this I’m hearing—this bleating of sheep, this mooing of cattle?”
15 “Only some Amalekite loot,” said Saul. “The soldiers saved back a few of the choice cattle and sheep to offer up in sacrifice to God. But everything else we destroyed under the holy ban.”
16 “Enough!” interrupted Samuel. “Let me tell you what God told me last night.”
Saul said, “Go ahead. Tell me.”
17-19 And Samuel told him. “When you started out in this, you were nothing—and you knew it. Then God put you at the head of Israel—made you king over Israel. Then God sent you off to do a job for him, ordering you, ‘Go and put those sinners, the Amalekites, under a holy ban. Go to war against them until you have totally wiped them out.’ So why did you not obey God? Why did you grab all this loot? Why, with God’s eyes on you all the time, did you brazenly carry out this evil?”
20-21 Saul defended himself. “What are you talking about? I did obey God. I did the job God set for me. I brought in King Agag and destroyed the Amalekites under the terms of the holy ban. So the soldiers saved back a few choice sheep and cattle from the holy ban for sacrifice to God at Gilgal—what’s wrong with that?”
22-23 Then Samuel said,
Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—
24-25 Saul gave in and confessed, “I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people. I let them tell me what to do. Oh, absolve me of my sin! Take my hand and lead me to the altar so I can worship God!”
26 But Samuel refused: “No, I can’t come alongside you in this. You rejected God’s command. Now God has rejected you as king over Israel.”
27-29 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed at his priestly robe and a piece tore off. Samuel said, “God has just now torn the kingdom from you, and handed it over to your neighbor, a better man than you are. Israel’s God-of-Glory doesn’t deceive and he doesn’t dither. He says what he means and means what he says.”
30 Saul tried again, “I have sinned. But don’t abandon me! Support me with your presence before the leaders and the people. Come alongside me as I go back to worship God.”
31 Samuel did. He went back with him. And Saul went to his knees before God and worshiped.
32 Then Samuel said, “Present King Agag of Amalek to me.” Agag came, dragging his feet, muttering that he’d be better off dead.
33 Samuel said, “Just as your sword made many a woman childless, so your mother will be childless among those women!” And Samuel cut Agag down in the presence of God right there in Gilgal.
34-35 Samuel left immediately for Ramah and Saul went home to Gibeah. Samuel had nothing to do with Saul from then on, though he grieved long and deeply over him. But God was sorry he had ever made Saul king in the first place.
1 Samuel 16The Message (MSG)
God Looks into the Heart
16 God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.”
2-3 “I can’t do that,” said Samuel. “Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
God said, “Take a heifer with you and announce, ‘I’ve come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.’ Make sure Jesse gets invited. I’ll let you know what to do next. I’ll point out the one you are to anoint.”
4 Samuel did what God told him. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the town fathers greeted him, but apprehensively. “Is there something wrong?”
5 “Nothing’s wrong. I’ve come to sacrifice this heifer and lead you in the worship of God. Prepare yourselves, be consecrated, and join me in worship.” He made sure Jesse and his sons were also consecrated and called to worship.
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”
7 But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
8 Jesse then called up Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. Samuel said, “This man isn’t God’s choice either.”
9 Next Jesse presented Shammah. Samuel said, “No, this man isn’t either.”
10 Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “God hasn’t chosen any of these.”
11 Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”
“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”
Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”
12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.
God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”
13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Samuel left and went home to Ramah.
David—An Excellent Musician
14 At that very moment the Spirit of God left Saul and in its place a black mood sent by God settled on him. He was terrified.
15-16 Saul’s advisors said, “This awful tormenting depression from God is making your life miserable. O Master, let us help. Let us look for someone who can play the harp. When the black mood from God moves in, he’ll play his music and you’ll feel better.”
17 Saul told his servants, “Go ahead. Find me someone who can play well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the young men spoke up, “I know someone. I’ve seen him myself: the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, an excellent musician. He’s also courageous, of age, well-spoken, and good-looking. And God is with him.”
19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse requesting, “Send your son David to me, the one who tends the sheep.”
20-21 Jesse took a donkey, loaded it with a couple of loaves of bread, a flask of wine, and a young goat, and sent his son David with it to Saul. David came to Saul and stood before him. Saul liked him immediately and made him his right-hand man.
22 Saul sent word back to Jesse: “Thank you. David will stay here. He’s just the one I was looking for. I’m very impressed by him.”
23 After that, whenever the bad depression from God tormented Saul, David got out his harp and played. That would calm Saul down, and he would feel better as the moodiness lifted.
1 Chronicles 5The Message (MSG)
The Family of Reuben
5 1-2 The family of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Though Reuben was Israel’s firstborn, after he slept with his father’s concubine, a defiling act, his rights as the firstborn were passed on to the sons of Joseph son of Israel. He lost his “firstborn” place in the family tree. And even though Judah became the strongest of his brothers and King David eventually came from that family, the firstborn rights stayed with Joseph.
3 The sons of Reuben, firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
4-6 The descendants of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, Micah his son, Reaiah his son, Baal his son, and Beerah his son, whom Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria took into exile. Beerah was the prince of the Reubenites.
7-10 Beerah’s brothers are listed in the family tree by families: first Jeiel, followed by Zechariah: then Bela son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel. Joel lived in the area from Aroer to Nebo and Baal Meon. His family occupied the land up to the edge of the desert that goes all the way to the Euphrates River, since their growing herds of livestock spilled out of Gilead. During Saul’s reign they fought and defeated the Hagrites; they then took over their tents and lived in them on the eastern frontier of Gilead.
11-12 The family of Gad were their neighbors in Bashan, as far as Salecah: Joel was the chief, Shapham the second-in-command, and then Janai, the judge in Bashan.
13-15 Their brothers, by families, were Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia, and Eber—seven in all. These were the sons of Abihail son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz. Ahi son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, was head of their family.
16 The family of Gad lived in Gilead and Bashan, including the outlying villages and extending as far as the pastures of Sharon.
17 They were all written into the official family tree during the reigns of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.
18-22 The families of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men trained for war—physically fit and skilled in handling shield, sword, and bow. They fought against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. God helped them as they fought. God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. God answered their prayers because they trusted him. They plundered the Hagrite herds and flocks: 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, and 2,000 donkeys. They also captured 100,000 people. Many were killed, because the battle was God’s. They lived in that country until the exile.
23-26 The half-tribe of Manasseh had a large population. They occupied the land from Bashan to Baal Hermon, that is, to Senir (Mount Hermon). The heads of their families were Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel—brave warriors, famous, and heads of their families. But they were not faithful to the God of their ancestors. They took up with the ungodly gods of the peoples of the land whom God had gotten rid of before they arrived. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria) to take the families of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He deported them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan. They’ve been there ever since.
Matthew 1The Message (MSG)
1 The family tree of Jesus Christ, David’s son, Abraham’s son:
2-6 Abraham had Isaac,
6-11 David had Solomon (Uriah’s wife was the mother),
12-16 When the Babylonian exile ended,
Jeconiah had Shealtiel,
17 There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David,
The Birth of Jesus
18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:
Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.