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Numbers 30-31

Making Promises to the Lord

30 The Lord told Moses to say to Israel’s tribal leaders:

When one of you men makes a promise to the Lord,[a] you must keep your word.

Suppose a young woman who is still living with her parents makes a promise to the Lord. If her father hears about it and says nothing, she must keep her promise. But if he hears about it and objects, then she no longer has to keep her promise. The Lord will forgive her, because her father did not agree with the promise.

6-7 Suppose a woman makes a promise to the Lord and then gets married. If her husband later hears about the promise but says nothing, she must do what she said, whether she meant it or not. But if her husband hears about the promise and objects, she no longer has to keep it, and the Lord will forgive her.

Widows and divorced women must keep every promise they make to the Lord.

10 Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the Lord. 11 If her husband hears about the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said. 12 But if he hears about the promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The Lord will forgive her, because her husband would not allow her to keep the promise. 13 Her husband has the final say about any promises she makes to the Lord. 14 If her husband hears about a promise and says nothing about it for a whole day, she must do what she said—since he did not object, the promise must be kept. 15 But if he waits until the next day to stop her from keeping her promise, he is the one who must be punished.

16 These are the laws that the Lord gave Moses about husbands and wives, and about young daughters who still live at home.

Israel’s War against Midian

31 The Lord said to Moses, “Before you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished for what they did to Israel.”[b]

Then Moses told the people, “The Lord wants to punish the Midianites. So have our men prepare for battle. Each tribe will send a thousand men to fight.”

Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were prepared for battle, Moses sent them off to war. Phinehas the son of Eleazar went with them and took along some things from the sacred tent[c] and the trumpets for sounding the battle signal.

The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. They killed all the men, including Balaam son of Beor and the five Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. The Israelites captured every woman and child, then led away the Midianites' cattle and sheep, and took everything else that belonged to them. 10 They also burned down the Midianite towns and villages.

11 Israel’s soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. 12-13 Then they returned to their own camp in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.

14 Moses became angry with the army commanders 15 and said, “I can’t believe you let the women live! 16 They are the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal Peor. That’s why the Lord punished us by killing so many of our people. 17 You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex. 18 But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.”

19 Then Moses said to the soldiers, “If you killed anyone or touched a dead body, you are unclean and have to stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh days, you must go through a ceremony to make yourselves and your captives clean. 20 Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goat’s hair, or wood.”

21-23 Eleazar then explained, “If you need to purify something that won’t burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire. After you take it out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with the water. Do all of this, just as the Lord commanded Moses. 24 Wash your clothes on the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp.”

Everything Taken from the Midianites Is Divided

25 The Lord told Moses:

26-27 Make a list of everything taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. Then divide them between the soldiers and the rest of the people. Eleazar the priest and the family leaders will help you.

28-29 From the half that belongs to the soldiers, set aside for the Lord one out of every five hundred people or animals and give these to Eleazar.

30 From the half that belongs to the people, set aside one out of every fifty and give these to the Levites in charge of the sacred tent.

31 Moses and Eleazar followed the Lord’s instructions 32-35 and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 young women who had never had sex.

36-47 Each half included 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 young women. From the half that belonged to the soldiers, Moses counted out 675 sheep and goats, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys, and 32 women and gave them to Eleazar to be dedicated to the Lord. Then from the half that belonged to the people, Moses set aside one out of every fifty animals and women, as the Lord had said, and gave them to the Levites.

48 The army commanders went to Moses 49 and said, “Sir, we have counted our troops, and not one soldier is missing. 50 So we want to give the Lord all the gold jewelry we took from the Midianites. It’s our gift to him for watching over us and our troops.”

51 Moses and Eleazar accepted the jewelry from the commanders, 52 and its total weight was over four hundred pounds. 53 This did not include the things that the soldiers had kept for themselves. 54 So Moses and Eleazar placed the gold in the Lord’s sacred tent to remind Israel of what had happened.[d]

Footnotes:

  1. 30.2 a promise to the Lord: Either the promise of a gift or the promise to do something.
  2. 31.2 Midianites. . . to Israel: See 25.1-18.
  3. 31.6 Phinehas. . . sacred tent: Phinehas would serve as the priest during the battle, so he took along the things needed to ask God what he wanted done.
  4. 31.54 to remind. . . happened: Or “so the Lord would continue to help Israel.”
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Luke 4:1-30

Jesus and the Devil

When Jesus returned from the Jordan River, the power of the Holy Spirit was with him, and the Spirit led him into the desert. For forty days Jesus was tested by the devil, and during that time he went without eating.[a] When it was all over, he was hungry.

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are God’s Son, tell this stone to turn into bread.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say, ‘No one can live only on food.’”

Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place and quickly showed him all the nations on earth. The devil said, “I will give all this power and glory to you. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. Just worship me, and you can have it all.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:

‘Worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him!’”

Finally, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on top of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. 10-11 The Scriptures say:

‘God will tell his angels
    to take care of you.
They will catch you
    in their arms,
and you will not hurt
    your feet on the stones.’”

12 Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’”

13 After the devil had finished testing Jesus in every way possible, he left him for a while.

Jesus Begins His Work

14 Jesus returned to Galilee with the power of the Spirit. News about him spread everywhere. 15 He taught in the Jewish meeting places, and everyone praised him.

The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus

16 Jesus went back to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as usual he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath. When he stood up to read from the Scriptures, 17 he was given the book of Isaiah the prophet. He opened it and read,

18 “The Lord’s Spirit
    has come to me,
because he has chosen me
to tell the good news
    to the poor.
The Lord has sent me
to announce freedom
    for prisoners,
to give sight to the blind,
to free everyone
    who suffers,
19 and to say, ‘This is the year
    the Lord has chosen.’”

20 Jesus closed the book, then handed it back to the man in charge and sat down. Everyone in the meeting place looked straight at Jesus.

21 Then Jesus said to them, “What you have just heard me read has come true today.”

22 All the people started talking about Jesus and were amazed at the wonderful things he said. They kept on asking, “Isn’t he Joseph’s son?”

23 Jesus answered:

You will certainly want to tell me this saying, “Doctor, first make yourself well.” You will tell me to do the same things here in my own hometown that you heard I did in Capernaum. 24 But you can be sure that no prophets are liked by the people of their own hometown.

25 Once during the time of Elijah there was no rain for three and a half years, and people everywhere were starving. There were many widows in Israel, 26 but Elijah was sent only to a widow in the town of Zarephath near the city of Sidon. 27 During the time of the prophet Elisha, many men in Israel had leprosy.[b] But no one was healed, except Naaman who lived in Syria.

28 When the people in the meeting place heard Jesus say this, they became so angry 29 that they got up and threw him out of town. They dragged him to the edge of the cliff on which the town was built, because they wanted to throw him down from there. 30 But Jesus slipped through the crowd and got away.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.2 went without eating: See the note at 2.37.
  2. 4.27 leprosy: In biblical times the word “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
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Psalm 63

(A psalm by David when he was in the desert of Judah.)

God’s Love Means More than Life

63 You are my God. I worship you.
    In my heart, I long for you,
    as I would long for a stream
    in a scorching desert.

I have seen your power
and your glory
    in the place of worship.
Your love means more
than life to me,
    and I praise you.
As long as I live,
    I will pray to you.
I will sing joyful praises
and be filled with excitement
    like a guest at a banquet.

I think about you
    before I go to sleep,
    and my thoughts turn to you
    during the night.
You have helped me,
    and I sing happy songs
    in the shadow of your wings.
I stay close to you,
    and your powerful arm
    supports me.

All who want to kill me
    will end up in the ground.
10 Swords will run them through,
    and wild dogs will eat them.

11 Because of you, our God,
    the king will celebrate
with your faithful followers,
    but liars will be silent.

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Proverbs 11:20-21

20 The Lord hates sneaky people,
    but he likes everyone
    who lives right.
21 You can be sure of this:
    All crooks will be punished,
    but God’s people won’t.

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