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Exodus 17:8-19:15; Matthew 22:34-23:12; Psalm 27:8-14; Proverbs 6:27-35 (Contemporary English Version)

Exodus 17:8-19:15

Israel Defeats the Amalekites

When the Israelites were at Rephidim, they were attacked by the Amalekites. So Moses told Joshua, “Have some men ready to attack the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on a hilltop, holding this walking stick that has the power of God.”

10 Joshua led the attack as Moses had commanded, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood on the hilltop. 11 The Israelites out-fought the Amalekites as long as Moses held up his arms, but they started losing whenever he had to lower them. 12 Finally, Moses was so tired that Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then they stood beside him and supported his arms in the same position until sunset. 13 That’s how Joshua defeated the Amalekites.

14 Afterwards, the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory and read it to Joshua. I want the Amalekites to be forgotten forever.”

15 Moses built an altar and named it “The Lord Gives Me Victory.” 16 Then Moses explained, “This is because I depended on the Lord.[a] But in future generations, the Lord will have to fight the Amalekites again.”

Jethro Visits Moses

18 Jethro was the priest of Midian and the father-in-law of Moses. And he heard what the Lord God had done for Moses and his people, after rescuing them from Egypt.

2-4 In the meantime, Moses had sent his wife Zipporah and her two sons to stay with Jethro, and he had welcomed them. Moses was still a foreigner in Midian when his first son was born, and so Moses said, “I’ll name him Gershom.”[b]

When his second son was born, Moses said, “I’ll name him Eliezer,[c] because the God my father worshiped has saved me from the king of Egypt.”[d]

5-6 While Israel was camped in the desert near Mount Sinai,[e] Jethro sent Moses this message: “I am coming to visit you, and I am bringing your wife and two sons.”

When they arrived, Moses went out and bowed down in front of Jethro, then kissed him. After they had greeted each other, they went into the tent, where Moses told him everything the Lord had done to protect Israel against the Egyptians and their king. He also told him how the Lord had helped them in all of their troubles.

Jethro was so pleased to hear this good news about what the Lord had done, 10 that he shouted, “Praise the Lord! He rescued you and the Israelites from the Egyptians and their king. 11 Now I know that the Lord is the greatest God, because he has rescued Israel from their arrogant enemies.” 12 Jethro offered sacrifices to God. Then Aaron and Israel’s leaders came to eat with Jethro there at the place of worship.

Judges Are Appointed

13 The next morning Moses sat down at the place where he decided legal cases for the people, and everyone crowded around him until evening. 14 Jethro saw how much Moses had to do for the people, and he asked, “Why are you the only judge? Why do you let these people crowd around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered, “Because they come here to find out what God wants them to do. 16 They bring their complaints to me, and I make decisions on the basis of God’s laws.”

17 Jethro replied:

That isn’t the best way to do it. 18 You and the people who come to you will soon be worn out. The job is too much for one person; you can’t do it alone. 19 God will help you if you follow my advice. You should be the one to speak to God for the people, 20 and you should teach them God’s laws and show them what they must do to live right.

21 You will need to appoint some competent leaders who respect God and are trustworthy and honest. Then put them over groups of ten, fifty, a hundred, and a thousand. 22 These judges can handle the ordinary cases and bring the more difficult ones to you. Having them to share the load will make your work easier. 23 This is the way God wants it done. You won’t be under nearly as much stress, and everyone else will return home feeling satisfied.

24 Moses followed Jethro’s advice. 25 He chose some competent leaders from every tribe in Israel and put them over groups of ten, fifty, a hundred, and a thousand. 26 They served as judges, deciding the easy cases themselves, but bringing the more difficult ones to Moses.

27 After Moses and his father-in-law Jethro had said good-by to each other, Jethro returned home.

At Mount Sinai

19 1-2 The Israelites left Rephidim.[f] Then two months after leaving Egypt, they arrived at the desert near Mount Sinai, where they set up camp at the foot of the mountain.

Moses went up the mountain to meet with the Lord God, who told him to say to the people:

You saw what I did in Egypt, and you know how I brought you here to me, just as a mighty eagle carries its young. Now if you will faithfully obey me, you will be my very own people. The whole world is mine, but you will be my holy nation and serve me as priests.

Moses, that is what you must tell the Israelites.

After Moses went back, he reported to the leaders what the Lord had said, and they promised, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses told the Lord about this.

The Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud and let the people hear me speak to you. Then they will always trust you.” Again Moses reported to the people what the Lord had told him.

10 Once more the Lord spoke to Moses:

Go back and tell the people that today and tomorrow they must get themselves ready to meet me. They must wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the day after tomorrow, when I will come down to Mount Sinai, where all of them can see me.

12 Warn the people that they are forbidden to touch any part of the mountain. Anyone who does will be put to death, 13 either with stones or arrows, and no one must touch the body of a person killed in this way. Even an animal that touches this mountain must be put to death. You may go up the mountain only after a signal is given on the trumpet.

14 After Moses went down the mountain, he gave orders for the people to wash their clothes and make themselves acceptable to worship God. 15 He told them to be ready in three days and not to have sex in the meantime.


  1. 17.16 This. . . Lord: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 18.2-4 Gershom: See the note at 2.22.
  3. 18.2-4 Eliezer: In Hebrew “Eliezer” means “God has helped me.”
  4. 18.2-4 saved. . . Egypt: See 2.1-15.
  5. 18.5,6 Mount Sinai: Hebrew “the mountain of God.”
  6. 19.1,2 Rephidim: See the note at 17.1.
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Matthew 22:34-23:12

The Most Important Commandment

34 After Jesus had made the Sadducees look foolish, the Pharisees heard about it and got together. 35 One of them was an expert in the Jewish Law. So he tried to test Jesus by asking, 36 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets[a] are based on these two commandments.

About David’s Son

41 While the Pharisees were still there, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose family will he come from?”

They answered, “He will be a son of King David.”[b]

43 Jesus replied, “How then could the Spirit lead David to call the Messiah his Lord? David said,

44 ’The Lord said to my Lord:
    Sit at my right side[c]
until I make your enemies
    into a footstool for you.’

45 If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be a son of King David?” 46 No one was able to give Jesus an answer, and from that day on, no one dared ask him any more questions.

Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses

23 Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[d] for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. 10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader. 11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. 12 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.


  1. 22.40 the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
  2. 22.42 son of King David: See the note at 9.27.
  3. 22.44 right side: The place of power and honor.
  4. 23.5 wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms. . . tassels: As a sign of their love for the Lord and his teachings, the Jewish people had started wearing Scripture verses in small leather boxes. But the Pharisees tried to show off by making the boxes bigger than necessary. The Jewish people were also taught to wear tassels on the four corners of their robes to show their love for God.
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Psalm 27:8-14

My heart tells me to pray.
I am eager to see your face,
    so don’t hide from me.
I am your servant,
and you have helped me.
    Don’t turn from me in anger.
You alone keep me safe.
    Don’t reject or desert me.
10 Even if my father and mother
should desert me,
    you will take care of me.

11 Teach me to follow, Lord,
and lead me on the right path
    because of my enemies.
12 Don’t let them do to me
    what they want.
People tell lies about me
    and make terrible threats,
13     but I know I will live
    to see how kind you are.

14 Trust the Lord!
Be brave and strong
    and trust the Lord.

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Proverbs 6:27-35

27 If you carry burning coals,
    you burn your clothes;
28     if you step on hot coals,
    you burn your feet.
29 And if you go to bed
with another man’s wife,
    you pay the price.

30 We don’t put up with thieves,
    not even[a] with one who steals
    for something to eat.
31 And thieves who get caught
    must pay back
    seven times what was stolen
    and lose everything.
32 But if you go to bed
    with another man’s wife,
    you will destroy yourself
    by your own stupidity.
33 You will be beaten
    and forever disgraced,
34 because a jealous husband
can be furious and merciless
    when he takes revenge.
35 He won’t let you pay him off,
    no matter what you offer.


  1. 6.30 not even: Or “except.”
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