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Numbers 6-7; Mark 12:38-13:13; Psalm 49; Proverbs 10:27-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Numbers 6-7

Rules for Nazirites

The Lord told Moses to say to the people of Israel:

If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, you must no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don’t drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins— not even the seeds or skins.

Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must never cut your hair.

During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8 not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.

If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10 Then on the next day, bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11 He will offer one of the birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a sacrifice to please me.[a] You will then be forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12 But the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the sacrifice to make things right.

13 When you have completed your promised time of being a Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14 and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with them: a year-old ram as a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice for sin, and a full-grown ram as a sacrifice to ask my blessing.[b] 15 Wine offerings and grain sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin wafers brushed with oil.

16 The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17 Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the wine, grain, and bread.

18 After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head, and put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.

19 Once the meat from the ram’s shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20 You will hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up[c] in dedication to me. Then he can eat the meat from the ram’s shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink wine.

21 These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer more, you must do so.

The Blessing for the People

22 The Lord told Moses, 23 “When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they must say:

24 I pray that the Lord
    will bless and protect you,
25 and that he will show you mercy
    and kindness.
26 May the Lord be good to you
    and give you peace.”

27 Then the Lord said, “If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give them my blessing.”

The Leaders Bring Gifts to the Sacred Tent

When Moses had finished setting up the sacred tent, he dedicated it to the Lord, together with its furnishings, the altar, and its equipment. Then the twelve tribal leaders of Israel, the same men who had been in charge of counting the people,[d] came to the tent with gifts for the Lord. They brought six strong carts and twelve oxen—one ox from each leader and a cart from every two.

The Lord said to Moses, “Accept these gifts, so the Levites can use them here at the sacred tent for carrying the sacred things.”

Then Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites, 7-8 who were under the leadership of Ithamar son of Aaron. Moses gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites for their work, and four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites for their work. But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were in charge of the sacred objects that had to be carried on their shoulders.

10 On the day the altar was dedicated, the twelve leaders brought offerings for its dedication. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “Each day one leader is to give his offering for the dedication.”

12-83 So each leader brought the following gifts:

a silver bowl that weighed over three pounds and a silver sprinkling bowl weighing almost two pounds, both of them filled with flour and olive oil as grain sacrifices and weighed according to the official standards;

a small gold dish filled with incense;

a young bull, a full-grown ram, and a year-old ram as sacrifices to please the Lord;[e]

a goat[f] as a sacrifice for sin;

and two bulls, five full-grown rams, five goats, and five rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.[g]

The tribal leaders brought their gifts and offerings in the following order:

On the first day
    Nahshon from Judah,
on the second day
    Nethanel from Issachar,
on the third day
    Eliab from Zebulun,
on the fourth day
    Elizur from Reuben,
on the fifth day
    Shelumiel from Simeon,
on the sixth day
    Eliasaph from Gad,
on the seventh day
    Elishama from Ephraim,
on the eighth day
    Gamaliel from Manasseh,
on the ninth day
    Abidan from Benjamin,
on the tenth day
    Ahiezer from Dan,
on the eleventh day
    Pagiel from Asher,
on the twelfth day
    Ahira from Naphtali.

84-88 And so when the altar was dedicated to the Lord, these twelve leaders brought the following gifts:

twelve silver bowls and twelve silver sprinkling bowls, weighing a total of about sixty pounds, according to the official standards;

twelve gold dishes filled with incense and weighing about three pounds;

twelve bulls, twelve full-grown rams, and twelve rams a year old as sacrifices to please the Lord, along with the proper grain sacrifices;

twelve goats as sacrifices for sin;

and twenty-four bulls, sixty full-grown rams, sixty goats, and sixty rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.

89 Whenever Moses needed to talk with the Lord, he went into the sacred tent, where he heard the Lord’s voice coming from between the two winged creatures above the lid of the sacred chest.


  1. 6.11 sacrifice to please me: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a “whole burnt offering,” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV it is often called “a sacrifice to please the Lord.”
  2. 6.14 sacrifice to ask my blessing: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a “peace offering” or an “offering of well-being.” A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to ask the Lord’s blessing, and so in the CEV it is often called a “sacrifice to ask the Lord’s blessing.”
  3. 6.20 lift them up: See the note at 5.25.
  4. 7.2 the same men. . . the people: See 1.1-19.
  5. 7.12-83 sacrifices to please the Lord: See the note at 6.11.
  6. 7.12-83 goat: Hebrew “male goat.”
  7. 7.12-83 sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing: See the note at 6.14.
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Mark 12:38-13:13

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

38 As Jesus was teaching, he said:

Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39 They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40 But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all.

A Widow’s Offering

41 Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42 Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43 Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said:

I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44 Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on.

The Temple Will Be Destroyed

13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look at these beautiful stones and wonderful buildings!”

Jesus replied, “Do you see these huge buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place.”

Warning about Trouble

Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. They asked, “When will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

Jesus answered:

Watch out and don’t let anyone fool you! Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.

When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end. Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.

Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. 10 But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.

11 When you are arrested, don’t worry about what you will say. You will be given the right words when the time comes. But you will not really be the ones speaking. Your words will come from the Holy Spirit.

12 Brothers and sisters will betray each other and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.

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Psalm 49

(A psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)

Don’t Depend on Wealth

49 Everyone on this earth,
    now listen to what I say!
    Listen, no matter who you are,
    rich or poor.
I speak words of wisdom,
    and my thoughts make sense.
I have in mind a mystery
    that I will explain
    while playing my harp.

Why should I be afraid
    in times of trouble,
    when I am surrounded
    by vicious enemies?
They trust in their riches
    and brag about
    all of their wealth.
You cannot buy back your life
    or pay off God!
    It costs far too much
    to buy back your life.
You can never pay God enough
    to stay alive forever
    and safe from death.

10 We see that wise people die,
    and so do stupid fools.
    Then their money is left
    for someone else.
11 The grave[a] will be their home
    forever and ever,
    although they once had land
    of their own.
12 Our human glory disappears,
    and, like animals, we die.

13 Here is what happens to fools
    and to those who trust
    the words of fools:
14 They are like sheep
with death as their shepherd,
    leading them to the grave.[b]
In the morning God’s people
    will walk all over them,
    as their bodies lie rotting
    in their home, the grave.
15 But God will rescue me
    from the power of death.

16 Don’t let it bother you
    when others get rich
    and live in luxury.
17 Soon they will die
    and all of their wealth
    will be left behind.

18 We humans are praised
    when we do well,
    and all of us are glad
    to be alive.
19 But we each will go down
    to our ancestors,
    never again to see
    the light of day.
20 Our human glory disappears,
    and, like animals, we die.


  1. 49.11 The grave: Some ancient translations; Hebrew “Their inward thoughts.”
  2. 49.14 as their. . . grave: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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Proverbs 10:27-28

27 If you respect the Lord,
    you will live longer;
    if you keep doing wrong,
    your life will be cut short.
28 If you obey the Lord,
    you will be happy,
    but there is no future
    for the wicked.

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