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Numbers 19The Message (MSG)

The Red Cow

19 1-4 God spoke to Moses and Aaron: “This is the rule from the Revelation that God commands: Tell the People of Israel to get a red cow, a healthy specimen, ritually clean, that has never been in harness. Present it to Eleazar the priest, then take it outside the camp and butcher it while he looks on. Eleazar will take some of the blood on his finger and splash it seven times in the direction of the Tent of Meeting.

5-8 “Then under Eleazar’s supervision burn the cow, the whole thing—hide, meat, blood, even its dung. The priest then will take a stick of cedar, some sprigs of hyssop, and a piece of scarlet material and throw them on the burning cow. Afterwards the priest must wash his clothes and bathe well with water. He can then come into the camp but he remains ritually unclean until evening. The man who burns the cow must also wash his clothes and bathe with water. He also is unclean until evening.

“Then a man who is ritually clean will gather the ashes of the cow and place them in a ritually clean place outside the camp. The congregation of Israel will keep them to use in the Water-of-Cleansing, an Absolution-Offering.

10 “The man who gathered up the ashes must scrub his clothes; he is ritually unclean until evening. This is to be a standing rule for both native-born Israelites and foreigners living among them.

11-13 “Anyone who touches a dead body is ritually unclean for seven days. He must purify himself with the Water-of-Cleansing on the third day; on the seventh day he will be clean. But if he doesn’t follow the procedures for the third and seventh days, he won’t be clean. Anyone who touches the dead body of anyone and doesn’t get cleansed desecrates God’s Dwelling and is to be excommunicated. For as long as the Water-of-Cleansing has not been sprinkled on him, he remains ritually unclean.

14-15 “This is the rule for someone who dies in his tent: Anyone who enters the tent or is already in the tent is ritually unclean for seven days, and every open container without a lid is unclean.

16-21 “Anyone out in the open field who touches a corpse, whether dead from violent or natural causes, or a human bone or a grave is unclean for seven days. For this unclean person, take some ashes from the burned Absolution-Offering and add some fresh water to it in a bowl. Find a ritually clean man to dip a sprig of hyssop into the water and sprinkle the tent and all its furnishings, the persons who were in the tent, the one who touched the bones of the person who was killed or died a natural death, and whoever may have touched a grave. Then he is to sprinkle the unclean person on the third and seventh days. On the seventh day he is considered cleansed. The cleansed person must then scrub his clothes and take a bath; by evening he is clean. But if an unclean person does not go through these cleansing procedures, he must be excommunicated from the community; he has desecrated the Sanctuary of God. The Water-of-Cleansing has not been sprinkled on him and he is ritually unclean. This is the standing rule for these cases.

“The man who sprinkles the Water-of-Cleansing has to scrub his clothes; anyone else who touched the Water-of-Cleansing is also ritually unclean until evening.

22 “Anything the ritually unclean man touches becomes unclean, and the person who touches what he touched is unclean until evening.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Numbers 20The Message (MSG)

Camp Kadesh

20 In the first month, the entire company of the People of Israel arrived in the Wilderness of Zin. The people stayed in Kadesh.

Miriam died there, and she was buried.

2-5 There was no water there for the community, so they ganged up on Moses and Aaron. They attacked Moses: “We wish we’d died when the rest of our brothers died before God. Why did you haul this congregation of God out here into this wilderness to die, people and cattle alike? And why did you take us out of Egypt in the first place, dragging us into this miserable country? No grain, no figs, no grapevines, no pomegranates—and now not even any water!”

Moses and Aaron walked from the assembled congregation to the Tent of Meeting and threw themselves facedown on the ground. And they saw the Glory of God.

7-8 God spoke to Moses: “Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that’s right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink.”

9-10 Moses took the staff away from God’s presence, as commanded. He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: “Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?”

11 With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock—once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank.

12 God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me, didn’t treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren’t going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them.”

13 These were the Waters of Meribah (Bickering) where the People of Israel bickered with God, and he revealed himself as holy.

14-16 Moses sent emissaries from Kadesh to the king of Edom with this message: “A message from your brother Israel: You are familiar with all the trouble we’ve run into. Our ancestors went down to Egypt and lived there a long time. The Egyptians viciously abused both us and our ancestors. But when we cried out for help to God, he heard our cry. He sent an angel and got us out of Egypt. And now here we are at Kadesh, a town at the border of your land.

17 “Will you give us permission to cut across your land? We won’t trespass through your fields or orchards and we won’t drink out of your wells; we’ll keep to the main road, the King’s Road, straying neither right nor left until we’ve crossed your border.”

18 The king of Edom answered, “Not on your life. If you so much as set a foot on my land, I’ll kill you.”

19 The People of Israel said, “Look, we’ll stay on the main road. If we or our animals drink any water, we’ll pay you for it. We’re harmless—just a company of footsore travelers.”

20-21 He answered again: “No. You may not come through.” And Edom came out and blocked the way with a crowd of people brandishing weapons. Edom refused to let them cross through his land. So Israel had to detour around him.

Camp Hor

22 The People of Israel, the entire company, set out from Kadesh and traveled to Mount Hor.

23-26 God said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor at the border of Edom, “It’s time for Aaron to be gathered into the company of his ancestors. He will not enter the land I am giving to the People of Israel because you both rebelled against my orders at the Waters of Meribah. So take Aaron and his son Eleazar and lead them up Mount Hor. Remove Aaron’s clothes from him and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will be gathered there; Aaron will die.”

27-29 Moses obeyed God’s command. They climbed Mount Hor as the whole congregation watched. Moses took off Aaron’s clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron died on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. The whole congregation, getting the news that Aaron had died, went into thirty days of mourning for him.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 28The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

28 Don’t turn a deaf ear
    when I call you, God.
If all I get from you is
    deafening silence,
I’d be better off
    in the Black Hole.

I’m letting you know what I need,
    calling out for help
And lifting my arms
    toward your inner sanctum.

3-4 Don’t shove me into
    the same jail cell with those crooks,
With those who are
    full-time employees of evil.
They talk a good line of “peace,”
    then moonlight for the Devil.

Pay them back for what they’ve done,
    for how bad they’ve been.
Pay them back for their long hours
    in the Devil’s workshop;
Then cap it with a huge bonus.

Because they have no idea how God works
    or what he is up to,
God will smash them to smithereens
    and walk away from the ruins.

6-7 Blessed be God
    he heard me praying.
He proved he’s on my side;
    I’ve thrown my lot in with him.

Now I’m jumping for joy,
    and shouting and singing my thanks to him.

8-9 God is all strength for his people,
    ample refuge for his chosen leader;
Save your people
    and bless your heritage.
Care for them;
    carry them like a good shepherd.

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 5The Message (MSG)

The Madman

1-5 They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.

6-8 When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then bellowed in protest, “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, “Out! Get out of the man!”)

9-10 Jesus asked him, “Tell me your name.”

He replied, “My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.” Then he desperately begged Jesus not to banish them from the country.

11-13 A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs so we can live in them.” Jesus gave the order. But it was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned.

14-15 Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.

16-17 Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.

18-20 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.

A Risk of Faith

21-24 After Jesus crossed over by boat, a large crowd met him at the seaside. One of the meeting-place leaders named Jairus came. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees, beside himself as he begged, “My dear daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay hands on her so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with him, the whole crowd tagging along, pushing and jostling him.

25-29 A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.

30 At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”

31 His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!”

32-33 But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.

34 Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

35 While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”

36 Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

37-40 He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.

40-43 But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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