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Psalm 119:97-120

Mem.

97 
Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For Your words are always with me.
99 
I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers [because of Your word],
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 
I understand more than the aged [who have not observed Your precepts],
Because I have observed and kept Your precepts.
101 
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 
I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 
From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Nun.

105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
106 
I have sworn [an oath] and have confirmed it,
That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.
107 
I am greatly afflicted;
Renew and revive me [giving me life], O Lord, according to Your word.
108 
Accept and take pleasure in the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,
And teach me Your ordinances.
109 
My life is continually [a]in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.
110 
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I do not wander from Your precepts.
111 
I have taken Your testimonies as a heritage forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
112 
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.

Samekh.

113 
I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love and treasure Your law.
114 
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.
115 
Leave me, you evildoers,
That I may keep the commandments of my God [honoring and obeying them].
116 
Uphold me according to Your word [of promise], so that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope [in Your great goodness].
117 
Uphold me that I may be safe,
That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.
118 
You have turned Your back on all those who wander from Your statutes,
For their deceitfulness is useless.
119 
You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross [for they have no value];
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
120 
My flesh trembles in [reverent] fear of You,
And I am afraid and in awe of Your judgments.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 119:109 I.e. in danger.
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Psalm 81-82

God’s Goodness and Israel’s Waywardness.

To the Chief Musician; set to the [a]Philistine lute. A Psalm of Asaph.

81 Sing aloud to God our strength;
Shout for joy to the God of Jacob (Israel).

Raise a song, sound the timbrel,
The sweet sounding lyre with the harp.

Blow the trumpet at the New Moon,
At the [b]full moon, on our feast day.

For this is a statute for Israel,
An ordinance of the God of Jacob.

He established it for a testimony in [c]Joseph
When He went throughout the land of Egypt.
I heard the language [of One whom] I did not know, saying,


“I removed the burden from his shoulder;
His hands were freed from the basket.

“You called in [the time of] trouble and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you—
O Israel, if you would listen to Me!

“Let there be no strange god among you,
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
10 
“I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11 
“But My people would not listen to My voice,
And Israel did not [consent to] obey Me.
12 
“So I gave them up to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in [the path of] their own counsel.
13 
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
14 
“Then I would quickly subdue and humble their enemies
And turn My hand against their adversaries;
15 
Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him and cringe before Him,
And their time of punishment would be forever.
16 
“But I would feed Israel with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Unjust Judgments Rebuked.

A Psalm of Asaph.

82 God stands in the divine assembly;
He judges among the gods (divine beings).

How long will you judge unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.

Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice and maintain the rights of the afflicted and destitute.

Rescue the weak and needy;
Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.


The rulers do not know nor do they understand;
They walk on in the darkness [of complacent satisfaction];
All the foundations of the earth [the fundamental principles of the administration of justice] are shaken.

I said, “You are [d]gods;
Indeed, all of you are sons of the Most High.

“Nevertheless you will die like men
And fall like any one of the princes.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth!
For to You belong all the nations.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 81:1 A technical musical term, meaning uncertain.
  2. Psalm 81:3 Or New Moon, lit covering, i.e. when the moon is “covered” or hidden. This was taken by the ancient rabbis to refer to the festival of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana).
  3. Psalm 81:5 Curiously, in this one verse Joseph’s name has an extra letter, an “h.” In an example of rabbinic lore, the ancient rabbis said that because Joseph sanctified the divine name in private (by resisting Potiphar’s wife) he merited having one letter of the divine name (Yahweh) added to his. Another rabbinic explanation is that when Pharaoh was about to elevate Joseph to power, the astrologers demanded that Joseph speak the 70 languages of the world. The angel Gabriel came to teach him, but Joseph was unable until Gabriel added to his name the extra letter from the divine name.
  4. Psalm 82:6 Most of the ancient rabbis understood the idea of “gods” referring to judges, but some applied vv 6, 7 to the Israelites at Sinai and maintained that they would have become immortal as a result of accepting the Law, if only they had not committed the sin of the golden calf.
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2 Kings 6:1-23

The Axe Head Recovered

Now the [a]sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look now, the place where we [b]live near you is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan [River] and let each man take from there a beam [for the building]; and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one said, “Please be willing to go with your servants.” So he answered, “I shall go.” So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down [some of] the trees. But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it.

The Arameans Plot to Capture Elisha

Now the king of Aram (Syria) was making war against Israel, and he consulted with his servants, saying, “My camp shall be in such and such a place.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, “Be careful not to pass by this place, because the Arameans are pulling back to there.” 10 Then the king of Israel sent word to the place about which Elisha had warned him; so he guarded himself there repeatedly.

11 Now the heart of the king of Aram (Syria) was enraged over this thing. He called his servants and said to them, “Will you not tell me which of us is helping the king of Israel?” 12 One of his servants said, “None [of us is helping him], my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, so that I may send [men] and seize him.” And he was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots and a powerful army there. They came by night and surrounded the city.

15 The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?” 16 Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. 18 When the Arameans came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people (nation) with [c]blindness.” And God struck them with blindness, in accordance with Elisha’s request. 19 Then Elisha said to the Arameans, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me and I will lead you to the man whom you are seeking.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, so that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel (Jehoram) saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” 22 Elisha answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and bow? Serve them bread and water, so that they may eat and drink, and go back to their master [King Ben-hadad].” 23 So the king prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Aram did not come into the land of Israel again.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:1 See note 2:3.
  2. 2 Kings 6:1 Or sit before you. The Hebrew may refer to either a communal living area or an assembly area where the men would be taught by Elisha.
  3. 2 Kings 6:18 This is an unusual Hebrew word that implies they were blinded by a dazzling bright light (see Gen 19:11).
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1 Corinthians 5:9-6:8

I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate with [sexually] immoral people— 10 not meaning the immoral people of this world, or the greedy ones and swindlers, or idolaters, for then you would have to get out of the world and human society altogether! 11 But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as [a]eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders (non-believers)? Do you not judge those who are within the church [to protect the church as the situation requires]? 13 God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [the faith]. Remove the wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

Lawsuits Discouraged

Does any one of you, when he has a [b]complaint (civil dispute) with another [believer], dare to go to law before unrighteous men (non-believers) instead of [placing the issue] before the saints (God’s people)? [c]Do you not know that the saints (God’s people) will [one day] judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent [d]to try trivial (insignificant, petty) cases? Do you not know that we [believers] will judge angels? How much more then [as to] matters of this life? So if you have lawsuits dealing with matters of this life, are you appointing those as judges [to hear disputes] who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is not one wise man among you who [is governed by integrity and] will be able and competent to decide [private disputes] between his fellow believers, but instead, brother goes to law against brother, and that before [judges who are] unbelievers?

Why, the very fact that you have lawsuits with one another is already a defeat. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, it is you who wrong and defraud, and you do this even to your brothers and sisters.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 5:11 In ancient times eating together was an open display of friendship and acceptance of one another.
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:1 I.e. a property or civil claim (not a criminal matter) before it goes to court.
  3. 1 Corinthians 6:2 This is the first of six “Do you not know” statements in this chapter.
  4. 1 Corinthians 6:2 Or to form the smallest courts.
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Matthew 5:38-48

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever [a]slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise]. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, [b]let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender]. 41 And whoever [c]forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [d]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 5:39 In this context the “slap” is not an act of violence, but more likely an insult or violation of one’s rights.
  2. Matthew 5:40 Probably a prohibition against frivolous legal action.
  3. Matthew 5:41 Roman soldiers were allowed to force civilian bystanders to carry their gear one mile for them.
  4. Matthew 5:44 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
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