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Exodus 1The Message (MSG)

1-5 These are the names of the Israelites who went to Egypt with Jacob, each bringing his family members:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

Seventy persons in all generated by Jacob’s seed. Joseph was already in Egypt.

6-7 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers—that whole generation. But the children of Israel kept on reproducing. They were very prolific—a population explosion in their own right—and the land was filled with them.

“A New King . . . Who Didn’t Know Joseph”

8-10 A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, “There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something: Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us.”

11-14 So they organized them into work-gangs and put them to hard labor under gang-foremen. They built the storage cities Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder the Egyptians worked them the more children the Israelites had—children everywhere! The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labor. They made them miserable with hard labor—making bricks and mortar and back-breaking work in the fields. They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload.

15-16 The king of Egypt had a talk with the two Hebrew midwives; one was named Shiphrah and the other Puah. He said, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the sex of the baby. If it’s a boy, kill him; if it’s a girl, let her live.”

17-18 But the midwives had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the king of Egypt ordered; they let the boy babies live. The king of Egypt called in the midwives. “Why didn’t you obey my orders? You’ve let those babies live!”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous. Before the midwife can get there, they’ve already had the baby.”

20-21 God was pleased with the midwives. The people continued to increase in number—a very strong people. And because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.

22 So Pharaoh issued a general order to all his people: “Every boy that is born, drown him in the Nile. But let the girls live.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Exodus 2The Message (MSG)

Moses

1-3 A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.

4-6 The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”

Then his sister was before her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes. Go.” The girl went and called the child’s mother.

Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me. I’ll pay you.” The woman took the child and nursed him.

10 After the child was weaned, she presented him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, “I pulled him out of the water.”

11-12 Time passed. Moses grew up. One day he went and saw his brothers, saw all that hard labor. Then he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew—one of his relatives! He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

13 The next day he went out there again. Two Hebrew men were fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?”

14 The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?”

Then Moses panicked: “Word’s gotten out—people know about this.”

15 Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses, but Moses got away to the land of Midian. He sat down by a well.

16-17 The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, filling the troughs and watering their father’s sheep. When some shepherds came and chased the girls off, Moses came to their rescue and helped them water their sheep.

18 When they got home to their father, Reuel, he said, “That didn’t take long. Why are you back so soon?”

19 “An Egyptian,” they said, “rescued us from a bunch of shepherds. Why, he even drew water for us and watered the sheep.”

20 He said, “So where is he? Why did you leave him behind? Invite him so he can have something to eat with us.”

21-22 Moses agreed to settle down there with the man, who then gave his daughter Zipporah (Bird) to him for his wife. She had a son, and Moses named him Gershom (Sojourner), saying, “I’m a sojourner in a foreign country.”

23 Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:

24 God listened to their groanings.

God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

25 God saw what was going on with Israel.

God understood.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 88The Message (MSG)

A Korah Prayer of Heman

88 1-9 God, you’re my last chance of the day.
    I spend the night on my knees before you.
Put me on your salvation agenda;
    take notes on the trouble I’m in.
I’ve had my fill of trouble;
    I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
    one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
    one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
    I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
    sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.
I’m battered senseless by your rage,
    relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger.
You turned my friends against me,
    made me horrible to them.
I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
    blinded by tears of pain and frustration.

9-12 I call to you, God; all day I call.
    I wring my hands, I plead for help.
Are the dead a live audience for your miracles?
    Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you?
Does your love make any difference in a graveyard?
    Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell?
Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark,
    your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

13-18 I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help,
    at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak.
Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear?
    Why do you make yourself scarce?
For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting;
    I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.
Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life;
    I’m bleeding, black-and-blue.
You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side,
    raining down blows till I’m nearly dead.
You made lover and neighbor alike dump me;
    the only friend I have left is Darkness.

The Message (MSG)

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

Luke 21The Message (MSG)

21 1-4 Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”

Watch Out for Doomsday Deceivers

5-6 One day people were standing around talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was, the splendor of its stonework and memorial gifts. Jesus said, “All this you’re admiring so much—the time is coming when every stone in that building will end up in a heap of rubble.”

They asked him, “Teacher, when is this going to happen? What clue will we get that it’s about to take place?”

8-9 He said, “Watch out for the doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One,’ or, ‘The end is near.’ Don’t fall for any of that. When you hear of wars and uprisings, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.”

10-11 He went on, “Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Huge earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. You’ll think at times that the very sky is falling.

12-15 “But before any of this happens, they’ll arrest you, hunt you down, and drag you to court and jail. It will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’ll end up on the witness stand, called to testify. Make up your mind right now not to worry about it. I’ll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters.

16-19 “You’ll even be turned in by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. Even so, every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in my care; nothing of you will be lost. Staying with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.

Vengeance Day

20-24 “When you see soldiers camped all around Jerusalem, then you’ll know that she is about to be devastated. If you’re living in Judea at the time, run for the hills. If you’re in the city, get out quickly. If you’re out in the fields, don’t go home to get your coat. This is Vengeance Day—everything written about it will come to a head. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Incredible misery! Torrential rage! People dropping like flies; people dragged off to prisons; Jerusalem under the boot of barbarians until the nations finish what was given them to do.

25-26 “It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.

27-28 “And then—then!—they’ll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style—a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!”

29-33 He told them a story. “Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God’s kingdom is about here. Don’t brush this off: I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.

34-36 “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”

37-38 He spent his days in the Temple teaching, but his nights out on the mountain called Olives. All the people were up at the crack of dawn to come to the Temple and listen to him.

The Message (MSG)

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

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