97 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands and coastlands be glad.
Clouds and thick darkness surround Him [as at Sinai];
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries on all sides.
His lightnings have illuminated the world;
The earth has seen and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory and brilliance.
Let all those be [deeply] ashamed who serve carved images,
Who boast in idols.
Worship Him, all you gods!
Zion heard this and was glad,
And the daughters (cities) of Judah rejoiced [in relief]
Because of Your judgments, O Lord.
For You are the Lord Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
You who love the Lord, hate evil;
He protects the souls of His godly ones (believers),
He rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown [like seed] for the righteous and illuminates their path,
And [irrepressible] joy [is spread] for the upright in heart [who delight in His favor and protection].
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones [those whose moral and spiritual integrity places them in right standing with God],
And praise and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
99 The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble [with submissive wonder]!
He sits enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!
The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is exalted and magnified above all the peoples.
Let them [reverently] praise Your great and awesome name;
Holy is He.
The strength of the King loves justice and righteous judgment;
You have established fairness;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob (Israel).
Exalt the Lord our God
And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He.
Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called on His name;
They called upon the Lord and He answered them.
He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
They kept His testimonies
And the statutes that He gave them.
You answered them, O Lord our God;
You were a forgiving God to them,
And yet an avenger of their evil practices.
Exalt the Lord our God
And worship at His holy hill [Zion, the temple mount],
For the Lord our God is holy.
100 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness and delight;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.
Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, [a]not we ourselves [and we are His].
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.
94 O Lord God, You to whom vengeance belongs,
O God, You to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth [in judgment]!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
Give to the proud a fitting compensation.
O Lord, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked rejoice in triumph?
They pour out words, speaking arrogant things;
All who do evil boast proudly.
They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict and abuse Your heritage.
[a]They kill the widow and the alien
And murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob (Israel) notice it.”
Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?
He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.
For the Lord will not abandon His people,
Nor will He abandon His inheritance.
For judgment will again be righteous,
And all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who will stand up for me against the evildoers?
Who will take a stand for me against those who do wickedness?
If the Lord had not been my help,
I would soon have dwelt in [the land of] silence.
If I say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your compassion and lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your comforts delight me.
Can a throne of destruction be allied with You,
One which frames and devises mischief by decree [under the sacred name of law]?
They band themselves together against the life of the righteous
And condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.
95 O come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with songs.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth;
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it [by His command];
And His hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and prayer].
For He is our God
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts and become spiritually dull as at Meribah [the place of strife],
And as at Massah [the place of testing] in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, even though they had seen My work [of miracles].
“For forty years I was grieved and disgusted with that generation,
And I said, ‘They are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not acknowledge or regard My ways.’
“Therefore I swore [an oath] in My wrath,
‘They absolutely shall not enter My rest [the land of promise].’”
29 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did right in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that David his father (forefather) had done.
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord [which his father had closed] and repaired them [and replaced the gold overlay].
30 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and to Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast to the Lord God of Israel. 2 For the king and his officials and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate the Passover in the [a]second month, 3 since they could not celebrate it at that time because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people assembled at Jerusalem. 4 Thus the [decision to set a] new time pleased the king and the entire assembly. 5 So they decided to circulate a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people were to come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel, at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed [for a long time]. 6 So the runners went throughout Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his officials, in accordance with the command of the king, saying, “O sons (descendants) of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), so that He will return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand (power) of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror (lifeless, desolate), just as you see. 8 Now do not stiffen your neck [becoming obstinate] like your fathers, but yield to the Lord and come to His sanctuary which He has sanctified and set apart forever, and serve the Lord your God, so that His burning anger will turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers (relatives) and your children will find compassion in the presence of those who led them away captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”
10 So the runners (couriers) passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but the people laughed at them with scorn and mocked them. 11 Yet some of the men of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them one heart to do that which the king and the officials had commanded by the word of the Lord.
13 Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month; it was a very large assembly. 14 They took action and removed the [pagan] altars which were in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Brook Kidron [the dumping place for the ashes of such repulsive things]. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were ashamed of themselves, and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood at their accustomed stations, in accordance with the Law of Moses, the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood [which they received] from the hand of the Levites [on the altar]. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves [that is, become ceremonially clean and free from all sin]; so the Levites had to slaughter the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, in order to make them holy for the Lord. 18 For the majority of the people, many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, and yet they ate the Passover contrary to what had been prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon 19 everyone who sets his heart to seek God—the Lord God of his fathers—even though it is not in accordance with the [ceremonial] purification [rules] of the sanctuary.” 20 So the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people [of their uncleanness]. 21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests praised the Lord day after day, singing to the Lord with loud instruments. 22 Hezekiah spoke [b]encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good understanding in the things of the Lord. So the people ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate [the feast] for another seven days; and they celebrated it another seven days with joy. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the officials gave the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. And a large number of priests consecrated themselves [for service]. 25 All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners (resident aliens, foreigners) who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27 Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
32 But I want you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but the married man is concerned about worldly things, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or the virgin is concerned about the matters of the Lord, how to be holy and set apart both in body and in spirit; but a married woman is concerned about worldly things, how she may please her husband. 35 Now I say this for your own benefit; not to restrict you, but to promote what is appropriate and secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 But if any man thinks that he is not acting properly and honorably toward his virgin daughter, [[a]by not permitting her to marry], if she is [b]past her youth, and it must be so, let him do as he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. 37 But the man who stands firmly committed in his heart, having no compulsion [to yield to his daughter’s request], and has authority over his own will, and has decided in his own heart to keep his own virgin [daughter from being married], he will do well. 38 So then both the father who gives his virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
39 A wife is bound [to her husband by law] as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry whomever she wishes, only [provided that he too is] in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion a widow is happier if she stays as she is. And I think that I also have the Spirit of God [in this matter].
7 “[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. 2 For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give that which is holy to [b]dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, for they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7 “[c]Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will [instead] give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will [instead] give him a snake? 11 If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.
12 “So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets.