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Numbers 26:52-28:15; Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61; Proverbs 11:16-17 (Contemporary English Version)

Numbers 26:52-28:15

52 The Lord said to Moses, 53 “Divide the land of Canaan among these tribes, according to the number of people in each one, 54 so the larger tribes have more land than the smaller ones. 55-56 I will show you[a] what land to give each tribe, and they will receive as much land as they need, according to the number of people in it.”

57 The tribe of Levi included the clans of the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, 58 as well as the clans of Libni, Hebron, Mahli, Mushi, and Korah. Kohath the Levite was the father of Amram, 59 the husband of Levi’s daughter Jochebed, who was born in Egypt. Amram and Jochebed’s three children were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. 60 Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 61 But Nadab and Abihu had died when they offered fire that was unacceptable to the Lord.[b]

62 In the tribe of Levi there were 23,000 men and boys at least a month old. They were not listed with the other tribes, because they would not receive any land in Canaan.

63 Moses and Eleazar counted the Israelites while they were camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. 64 None of the people that Moses and Aaron had counted in the Sinai Desert were still alive, 65 except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. The Lord had said that everyone else would die there in the desert.[c]

The Daughters of Zelophehad Are Given Land

27 Zelophehad[d] was from the Manasseh tribe, and he had five daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

One day his daughters went to the sacred tent, where they met with Moses, Eleazar, and some other leaders of Israel, as well as a large crowd of Israelites. The young women said:

You know that our father died in the desert. But it was for something he did wrong, not for joining with Korah in rebelling against the Lord.

Our father left no sons to carry on his family name. But why should his name die out for that reason? Give us some land like the rest of his relatives in our clan, so our father’s name can live on.

Moses asked the Lord what should be done, and the Lord answered:

Zelophehad’s daughters are right. They should each be given part of the land their father would have received.

Tell the Israelites that when a man dies without a son, his daughter will inherit his land. If he has no daughter, his brothers will inherit the land. 10 But if he has no brothers, his father’s brothers will inherit the land. 11 And if his father has no brothers, the land must be given to his nearest relative in the clan. This is my law, and the Israelites must obey it.

Joshua Is Appointed Israel’s Leader

12 The Lord said to Moses, “One day you will go up into the Abarim Mountains, and from there you will see the land I am giving the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you will die,[e] just like your brother Aaron, 14 because both of you disobeyed me at Meribah near the town of Kadesh in the Zin Desert. When the Israelites insulted me there, you didn’t believe in my holy power.”[f]

15 Moses replied, 16 “You are the Lord God, and you know what is in everyone’s heart. So I ask you to appoint a leader for Israel. 17 Your people need someone to lead them into battle, or else they will be like sheep wandering around without a shepherd.”

18 The Lord answered, “Joshua son of Nun can do the job. Place your hands on him to show that he is the one to take your place. 19 Then go with him and have him stand in front of Eleazar the priest and the Israelites. Appoint Joshua as their new leader 20 and tell them they must now obey him, just as they obey you. 21 But Joshua must depend on Eleazar to find out from me[g] what I want him to do as he leads Israel into battle.”

22 Moses followed the Lord’s instructions and took Joshua to Eleazar and the people, 23 then he placed his hands on Joshua and appointed him Israel’s leader.

Regular Daily Sacrifices

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

Offer sacrifices to me at the appointed times of worship, so that I will smell the smoke and be pleased.

Each day offer two rams a year old as sacrifices to please me.[h] The animals must have nothing wrong with them; one will be sacrificed in the morning, and the other in the evening. Along with each of them, two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. This sacrifice to please me was first offered on Mount Sinai. Finally, along with each of these two sacrifices, a quart of wine must be poured on the altar as a drink offering. The second ram will be sacrificed that evening, along with the other offerings, just like the one sacrificed that morning. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices will please me.

The Sacrifice on the Sabbath

The Lord said:

9-10 On the Sabbath, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices,[i] you must sacrifice two rams a year old to please me.[j] These rams must have nothing wrong with them, and they will be sacrificed with a drink offering and four pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil.

The Sacrifices on the First Day of the Month

The Lord said:

11 On the first day of each month, bring to the altar two bulls, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me.[k] 12 Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 13 and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices will please me.

14-15 Offer two quarts of wine as a drink offering with each bull, one and a half quarts with the ram, and one quart with each of the young rams.

Finally, you must offer a goat[l] as a sacrifice for sin.

These sacrifices are to be offered on the first day of each month, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices.[m]


  1. 26.55,56 I will show you: The Hebrew text has “Cast lots to find out.” Pieces of wood or stone (called “lots”) were used to find out what the Lord wanted his people to do.
  2. 26.61 Nadab and Abihu. . . the Lord: See 3.1-4 and Leviticus 10.1,2.
  3. 26.64,65 None of the people. . . the desert: See 14.26-30.
  4. 27.1 Zelophehad: Hebrew “Zelophehad son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph.” See also 26.28-34; 36.1-12.
  5. 27.12,13 One day. . . you will die: The story of Moses' death is in Deuteronomy 34.1-8.
  6. 27.14 both of you. . . my holy power: See 20.1-13.
  7. 27.21 from me: The Hebrew text has “by the urim,” something used by the priests to get answers from the Lord.
  8. 28.3 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 6.11.
  9. 28.9,10 regular daily sacrifices: See 28.1-8.
  10. 28.9,10,11 sacrifice. . . to please me: See the note at 6.11.
  11. 28.9,10,11 sacrifice. . . to please me: See the note at 6.11.
  12. 28.14,15 goat: See the note at 7.12-83.
  13. 28.14,15 regular daily sacrifices: See 28.1-8.
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Luke 3:1-22

The Preaching of John the Baptist

For fifteen years[a] Emperor Tiberius had ruled that part of the world. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod[b] was the ruler of Galilee. Herod’s brother, Philip, was the ruler in the countries of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was the ruler of Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish high priests.[c]

At that time God spoke to Zechariah’s son John, who was living in the desert. So John went along the Jordan Valley, telling the people, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.” Isaiah the prophet wrote about John when he said,

“In the desert
    someone is shouting,
‘Get the road ready
    for the Lord!
Make a straight path
    for him.
Fill up every valley
and level every mountain
    and hill.
Straighten the crooked paths
and smooth out
    the rough roads.
Then everyone will see
    the saving power of God.’”

Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.[d] An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”

10 The crowds asked John, “What should we do?”

11 John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.”

12 When tax collectors[e] came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13 John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.”

14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”

John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.”

15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”

16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.[f] He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork[g] is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”

18 In many different ways John preached the good news to the people. 19 But to Herod the ruler, he said, “It was wrong for you to take Herodias, your brother’s wife.” John also said that Herod had done many other bad things. 20 Finally, Herod put John in jail, and this was the worst thing he had done.

The Baptism of Jesus

21 While everyone else was being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. Then as he prayed, the sky opened up, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”


  1. 3.1 For fifteen years: This was either A.D. 28 or 29, and Jesus was about thirty years old (see 3.23).
  2. 3.1 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  3. 3.2 Annas and Caiaphas. . . high priests: Annas was high priest from A.D. 6 until 15. His son-in-law Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18 until 37.
  4. 3.8 children for Abraham: The Jewish people thought they were God’s chosen people because of God’s promises to their ancestor Abraham.
  5. 3.12 tax collectors: These were usually Jewish people who paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes. They were hated by other Jews who thought of them as traitors to their country and to their religion.
  6. 3.16 untie his sandals: This was the duty of a slave.
  7. 3.17 threshing fork: After Jewish farmers had trampled out the grain, they used a large fork to pitch the grain and the husks into the air. Wind would blow away the light husks, and the grain would fall back to the ground, where it could be gathered up.
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Psalm 61

(A psalm by David for the music leader. Use with stringed instruments.)

Under the Protection of God

61 Please listen, God,
    and answer my prayer!
I feel hopeless,
    and I cry out to you
    from a faraway land.

Lead me to the mighty rock[a]
    high above me.
You are a strong tower,
    where I am safe
    from my enemies.

Let me live with you forever
    and find protection
    under your wings, my God.
You heard my promises,
    and you have blessed me,
    just as you bless everyone
    who worships you.

Let the king have a long
    and healthy life.
May he always rule
    with you, God, at his side;
    may your love and loyalty
    watch over him.

I will sing your praises
    and will always
    keep my promises.


  1. 61.2 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
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Proverbs 11:16-17

16 A gracious woman
    will be respected,
    but a man must work hard
    to get rich.[a]
17 Kindness is rewarded—
    but if you are cruel,
    you hurt yourself.


  1. 11.16 but. . . rich: Or “a ruthless man will only get rich.”
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