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Exodus 13:17-15:18

The Lord Leads His People

17 After the king[a] had finally let the people go, the Lord did not lead them through Philistine territory, though that was the shortest way. God had said, “If they are attacked, they may decide to return to Egypt.” 18 So he led them around through the desert and toward the Red Sea.[b]

The Israelites left Egypt, prepared for battle.

19 Moses had them take along the bones of Joseph, whose dying words had been, “God will come to your rescue, and when he does, be sure to take along my bones.”

20 The people of Israel left Succoth and camped at Etham at the border of Egypt near the desert. 21-22 During the day the Lord went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the Lord could lead them at all times, whether day or night.

The Israelites Cross the Red Sea

14 At Etham the Lord said to Moses:

Tell the people of Israel to turn back and camp across from Pi-Hahiroth near Baal-Zephon, between Migdol and the Red Sea.[c] The king[d] will think they were afraid to cross the desert and that they are wandering around, trying to find another way to leave the country. I will make the king stubborn again, and he will try to catch you. Then I will destroy him and his army. People everywhere will praise me for my victory, and the Egyptians will know that I really am the Lord.

The Israelites obeyed the Lord and camped where he told them.

When the king of Egypt heard that the Israelites had finally left, he and his officials changed their minds and said, “Look what we have done! We let them get away, and they will no longer be our slaves.”

The king got his war chariot and army ready. He commanded his officers in charge of his six hundred best chariots and all his other chariots to start after the Israelites. The Lord made the king so stubborn that he went after them, even though the Israelites proudly[e] went on their way. But the king’s horses and chariots and soldiers caught up with them while they were camping by the Red Sea near Pi-Hahiroth and Baal-Zephon.

10 When the Israelites saw the king coming with his army, they were frightened and begged the Lord for help. 11 They also complained to Moses, “Wasn’t there enough room in Egypt to bury us? Is that why you brought us out here to die in the desert? Why did you bring us out of Egypt anyway? 12 While we were there, didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? We had rather be slaves in Egypt than die in this desert!”

13 But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you keep calling out to me for help? Tell the Israelites to move forward. 16 Then hold your walking stick over the sea. The water will open up and make a road where they can walk through on dry ground. 17 I will make the Egyptians so stubborn that they will go after you. Then I will be praised because of what happens to the king and his chariots and cavalry. 18 The Egyptians will know for sure that I am the Lord.”

19 All this time God’s angel had gone ahead of Israel’s army, but now he moved behind them. A large cloud had also gone ahead of them, 20 but now it moved between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud gave light to the Israelites, but made it dark for the Egyptians, and during the night they could not come any closer.

21 Moses stretched his arm over the sea, and the Lord sent a strong east wind that blew all night until there was dry land where the water had been. The sea opened up, 22 and the Israelites walked through on dry land with a wall of water on each side.

23 The Egyptian chariots and cavalry went after them. 24 But before daylight the Lord looked down at the Egyptian army from the fiery cloud and made them panic. 25 Their chariot wheels got stuck,[f] and it was hard for them to move. So the Egyptians said to one another, “Let’s leave these people alone! The Lord is on their side and is fighting against us.”

26 The Lord told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward the sea—the water will cover the Egyptians and their cavalry and chariots.” 27 Moses stretched out his arm, and at daybreak the water rushed toward the Egyptians. They tried to run away, but the Lord drowned them in the sea. 28 The water came and covered the chariots, the cavalry, and the whole Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them was left alive. 29 But the sea had made a wall of water on each side of the Israelites; so they walked through on dry land.

30 On that day, when the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore, they knew that the Lord had saved them. 31 Because of the mighty power he had used against the Egyptians, the Israelites worshiped him and trusted him and his servant Moses.

The Song of Moses

15 Moses and the Israelites sang this song in praise of the Lord:

I sing praises to the Lord
    for his great victory!
He has thrown the horses
and their riders
    into the sea.
The Lord is my strength,
the reason for my song,
    because he has saved me.
I praise and honor the Lord
he is my God
and the God
    of my ancestors.
The Lord is his name,
    and he is a warrior!
He threw the chariots and army
of Egypt’s king[g]
    into the Red Sea,[h]
and he drowned the best
    of the king’s officers.
They sank to the bottom
    just like stones.

With the tremendous force
of your right arm, our Lord,
    you crushed your enemies.
What a great victory was yours,
as you defeated everyone
    who opposed you.
Your fiery anger wiped them out,
    as though they were straw.
You were so furious
that the sea piled up
    like a wall,
and the ocean depths
    curdled like cheese.

Your enemies boasted
    that they would
pursue and capture us,
divide up our possessions,
treat us as they wished,
then take out their swords
    and kill us right there.
10 But when you got furious,
they sank like lead,
    swallowed by ocean waves.

11 Our Lord, no other gods
compare with you—
    Majestic and holy!
    Fearsome and glorious!
    Miracle worker!
12 When you signaled
    with your right hand,
your enemies were swallowed
    deep into the earth.

13 The people you rescued
were led by your powerful love
    to your holy place.
14 Nations learned of this
    and trembled—
Philistines shook with horror.
15 The leaders of Edom and of Moab
    were terrified.
Everyone in Canaan fainted,
16     struck down by fear.
Our Lord, your powerful arm
    kept them still as a rock
until the people you rescued
for your very own
    had marched by.

17 You will let your people settle
    on your chosen mountain,
where you built your home
    and your temple.
18 Our Lord, you will rule forever!

Footnotes:

  1. 13.17 Philistine territory: The shortest land route from the Nile Delta to Canaan; it was the southern section of the major road that led to Megiddo and then on to Mesopotamia by way of Asia Minor.
  2. 13.18 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph “Sea of Reeds,” one of the marshes or fresh water lakes, near the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This identification is based on Exodus 13.17—14.9, which lists the towns on the route of the Israelites before crossing the sea. In the Greek translation of the Scriptures made about 200 B.C., the “Sea of Reeds” was named “Red Sea.”
  3. 14.2 Red Sea: Hebrew hayyam “the Sea,” understood as yam suph, “Sea of Reeds” (see also the note at 13.18).
  4. 14.3 The king: See the note at 1.11.
  5. 14.8 proudly: Or “victoriously.”
  6. 14.25 stuck: The Samaritan Hebrew text and two ancient translations; Hebrew “came off.”
  7. 15.4 Egypt’s king: See the note at 1.11.
  8. 15.4,22 Red Sea: See the note at 13.18.
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Matthew 21:23-46

A Question about Jesus' Authority

23 Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25 Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”

They thought it over and said to each other, “We can’t say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That’s why we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27 So they told Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”

A Story about Two Sons

28 Jesus said:

I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the older son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today!” 29 His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The man then told his younger son to go work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn’t go. 31 Which one of the sons obeyed his father?

“The older one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.

Then Jesus told them:

You can be sure that tax collectors[a] and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will! 32 When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.

Renters of a Vineyard

33 Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:

A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.

34 When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35 But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36 He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.

37 Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38 But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

40 Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”

41 The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”

42 Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,

‘The stone that the builders
    tossed aside
is now the most important
    stone of all.
This is something
the Lord has done,
    and it is amazing to us.’

43 I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”[b]

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46 So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.

Footnotes:

  1. 21.31 tax collectors: See the note at 5.46.
  2. 21.44 pieces: Verse 44 is not in some manuscripts.
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Psalm 26

(By David.)

The Prayer of an Innocent Person

26 Show that I am right, Lord!
    I stay true to myself,
    and I have trusted you
    without doubting.
Test my thoughts and find out
    what I am like.
I never forget your kindness,
    and I am always faithful
    to you.[a]
I don’t spend my time
with worthless liars
    or go with evil crowds.

I wash my hands, Lord,
    to show my innocence,
and I worship at your altar,
    while gratefully singing
    about your wonders.
I love the temple
where you live,
    and where
    your glory shines.
Don’t sweep me away,
    as you do sinners.
Don’t punish me with death
as you do those people
    who are brutal
10     or full of meanness
    or who bribe others.
11 I stay true to myself.
    Be kind and rescue me.

12 Now I stand on solid ground!
And when your people meet,
    I will praise you, Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 26.3 I am. . . to you: Or “I trust your faithfulness.”
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Proverbs 6:16-19

16 There are six or seven
kinds of people
    the Lord doesn’t like:
17 Those who are too proud
    or tell lies or murder,
18     those who make evil plans
    or are quick to do wrong,
19 those who tell lies in court
    or stir up trouble
    in a family.

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