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13 Moses: 1-2 Suppose someone who claims to be a prophet, or to have inspired dreams, stands up and tells all of you that some unusual, significant sign or wonder is going to happen, and also says, “I’m here to let you know about some other gods you should be worshiping.” What if the thing that person has predicted actually happens? 3 Don’t listen to what that prophet or dreamer says! The Eternal your God is testing you to see whether you really do love Him completely, with your whole heart and soul. 4 Remain loyal to Him! Fear Him and obey His commands. Listen to His voice. Worship Him alone. Be fervently devoted to Him. 5 But as for that prophet or dreamer, put him to death! He’s tried to turn you away from the Eternal your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and liberated you from slavery. He’s tried to entice you off the path God commanded you to follow. Expel the evil from your community.
6-7 What if someone close to you whispers secretly, “Let’s go worship other gods”? It doesn’t matter if it’s your brother or half-brother, your own son or daughter, your beloved wife or closest friend. Whether they’re gods of the people who live around you or gods of people who live far away—the gods of anyone on the face of the earth! You’ve never worshiped any of these gods before, and neither did your ancestors, because you’re in a covenant relationship with the Eternal. 8-10 So don’t listen to this person. Don’t agree to go worship other gods with him or her. Anyone who entices you like this must be executed! Don’t feel sorry for him, or have mercy on him, or try to hide what he’s done. Stone him to death because he tried to entice you away from the Eternal, your True God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and rescued you from slavery. As the witness to what he said, and as the person he tried to corrupt, you must throw the first deadly stone, and then everyone else will join in. 11 All the rest of the Israelites will hear about this and be afraid, and none of them will dare to do such an evil thing again in your land.
Stoning has been chosen as the method of execution in these cases for several likely reasons: (1) The person who advocates worshiping other gods is like a contagious disease in the midst of Israel. Stoning, killing from a distance, expresses a horror of even touching such a person, for fear of being infected; (2) Stoning is also a community method of execution. Each and every person in the community has to express one’s own loyalty to the Lord and rejection of other gods by participating in this elimination of false worship; (3) Anyone who accuses a person falsely would incur bloodguilt when throwing the first stone of the execution. This would have been a deterrent against false testimony.
Moses: 12 You may hear a report in one of the cities the Eternal your God is giving you to live in: 13 “Some wicked people have abandoned our faith, and they’ve convinced everyone else in their own city to worship other gods we’ve never had anything to do with!” 14 If you ever hear a report like this, conduct a careful, thorough investigation. If you establish conclusively that the report is true, that such a horrible thing has been done within your nation, 15 then bring your swords and execute everyone who lives in that city! Destroy it completely with everything in it—even the livestock. 16 Pile all the city’s goods in the middle of the public square, and then burn down the whole city and everything in it. This will be a burnt offering showing your complete loyalty to the Eternal your God. That city must never be rebuilt; let it remain a ruin forever. 17 Don’t take any of the goods for yourself because they have been banned; destroy everything. Then the Eternal will stop being so furiously angry. He’ll show you mercy and compassion; and you’ll have many descendants, just as He promised your ancestors, 18 if you’ll listen to the voice of the Eternal, your True God, obey all the commands I’m giving you today, and do what He decides is right.
14 Moses: You’re the children of the Eternal, your True God, so don’t cut yourselves or shave off the front of your hair to honor those who die. 2 Remember you are people who have been set apart for Him; He has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the earth.
3 Don’t eat anything that’s forbidden. 4 Here are some examples of land animals you can eat: oxen from your herds; sheep and goats from your flocks; 5 deer, gazelles, roebucks, wild goats, ibexes, antelopes, and mountain sheep, all from the wild. 6 The rule is, you can eat any of the animals that has a divided hoof (that is, a hoof separated into two sections) and chews cud. 7 You can’t eat an animal just because it chews cud or just because it has a divided hoof; both things have to be true. So, for example, the camel, the rabbit, and the rock badger are impure and can’t be eaten because even though they chew cud, they don’t have a divided hoof. 8 The pig is also unclean and can’t be eaten because even though it has a divided hoof, it doesn’t chew cud. Don’t eat the meat of any ritually unclean animals. Don’t even touch their carcasses when they die.
9 You can eat anything that lives in the water if it has fins and scales, 10 but if it doesn’t have fins and scales, then don’t eat it; it’s unclean to you.
11 You can eat any clean bird. 12-18 But here are some examples of birds you shouldn’t eat: birds that hunt and kill, such as the eagle, the falcon, and all kinds of hawks; birds that eat dead flesh, such as the red kite and any other kind of kite, the vulture, the buzzard, and any kind of raven; things that fly around in the night instead of during the day, such as the horned owl, screech owl, little owl, great owl, white owl, and the bat; birds that feed in the water, such as the seagull, pelican, carrion vulture, cormorant, stork, and every kind of heron; and birds that dig in the ground for their food, such as the hoopoe. 19 And don’t eat anything that flies in swarms, such as insects, because they are unclean. 20 But you can eat anything that flies if it is ritually clean.
21 Don’t eat any meat from an animal you find dead of natural causes because its blood remains in the meat. You may give it to the foreigners in your city, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreign merchant. But don’t eat it yourself; you are people who have been set apart for the Eternal your God. Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Behind these dietary restrictions there’s a moral ideal. The people are being told to set up their community life exactly as the Lord instructs, so that all the other nations will take notice and acknowledge Him (4:6). To do this, they must recognize their own special place in the world, stick to their own proper realms, and not deviate from the way they should live within it. This is another way the people are to express their exclusive loyalty to the Lord. In other words, the sacrificial food for God encompasses the daily food for the people. And the Israelites can only eat animals, birds, and insects that exemplify and support life and do not have characteristics and locomotive ability that blur them between these three habitations of land, sea, and sky.
Moses: 22 Every year, when the seeds you’ve sown in your fields have grown into crops, make sure you set aside a tenth of the produce. 23 Bring this tenth of the grain, oil, and new wine from that year’s crop, as well as all firstborn animals from your herds and flocks, to the place the Eternal your God will choose as a place for His name, and have a feast there in His presence. If you do this each year, you’ll learn to fear the Eternal your God always. 24 If the place where He chooses to put His name is far from where you live, and the distance is too great for you to carry a tenth of that year’s produce there—particularly if He has blessed you— 25 then sell everything you would have carried and bring the money yourself to the place the Eternal your God will choose. 26 When you get there, you can still have a celebration. Use some of the money to buy whatever you crave: cattle or sheep, wine or strong drink, or any other special thing you’d really like. You and your household can have a feast in His presence. 27 Be sure to invite any Levites who live in your city. Be especially generous to them because they won’t have any territory and property of their own to pass down to their children as you do.
28-29 But at the end of every third year, keep a tenth of the year’s produce in your own town instead and give it to the needy people there: the Levites—whose tribe won’t have any territory and property of its own to pass down—the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows. Let them come and take as much as they want to eat for as long as these supplies last. If you do this, the Eternal your God will bless you in everything you do.
15 Moses: At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. 2 This is how it will work: anyone who has made a loan to someone else will just let the debtor keep whatever he’s borrowed. That is, if the loan was made to a fellow citizen, to another Israelite, the lender won’t demand repayment because it has been announced that the Eternal is canceling all the debts of His servants. 3 If you’ve made a loan to a foreigner, you can still demand repayment, but let your fellow Israelites keep whatever they’ve borrowed from you. 4-5 However, ideally, there shouldn’t be any poor people among you. If you listen attentively to the voice of the Eternal your God and carefully obey all the commands I’m giving you today, then the Eternal will bless you with great prosperity in the land He’s giving you to live in and pass down within your family. 6 Because the Eternal your God will bless you as He promised, you will lend to many nations, but you won’t borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they won’t rule over you.
7 If, in one of the towns in the land the Eternal your God is giving you, a fellow Israelite does become poor, don’t ignore him and limit your generosity just because the debt will be forgiven. 8 Open your hand willingly, and generously lend as much as is needed at the time. 9 Don’t think like this: “It’s almost the seventh year when debts are canceled. If I lend anything to this other person now, I’ll never get it back!” If you think this way, you’ll be hostile toward your neighbors and you won’t give them anything. They’ll cry out to the Eternal against you, and He’ll consider what you’ve done a sin. 10 So give generously to the person in need. Don’t feel badly about this when you’re doing it; because of your generosity, the Eternal your God will bless you in everything you do, in every project you begin. 11 Unfortunately, there will always be poor people throughout the country. That’s why I’m giving you this command: give generously to your fellow Israelite, to the poor and needy in the land.
12 If a fellow Israelite, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you as a slave, only make that person serve you for six years. In the seventh year, set him free from your service. 13 And don’t send him away destitute! 14 Provide generously: give sheep and goats, grain and wine. Give some of what the Eternal your God has blessed you with. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and He liberated you from another master so you could serve Him. That’s why I’m commanding you today to do this. 16-18 Don’t feel you’ve been cheated when you set your slave free. It would have cost you twice as much to hire someone to do the same work over those six years, and He will bless you in everything you do because of your generosity. But perhaps your slave will say to you at the end of the six years, “I don’t want to be set free! I love you and your whole family. It’s really good for me to be here with you.” You can accept a slave like this into lifetime service. Perform a special ceremony to mark his new status. Have the slave stand right next to the door of your house, take an awl, and drive it through the slave’s ear lobe into the door. Then pull it out. This will make marks in the ear lobe and in the door that will symbolize the slave. Either a male or a female slave can enter lifetime service this way with this physical mark.
19 If the firstborn of any animal in your herd or flock is a male, set it apart or consecrate it for the Eternal your God. Don’t put the firstborn of any ox to work, and don’t shear your firstborn sheep. These animals already belong to the Eternal One, so their labor and products belong to Him too. 20 Bring them every year to the place the Eternal will choose, and make them part of the feast you and your household eat in the presence of the Eternal your God. 21 But if the firstborn has some defect such as lameness or blindness—any serious problem—don’t offer it as a sacrifice to Him. 22 Instead eat it as a regular meal in your own city. This is not a sacred meal, so people don’t need to be ritually pure to eat it. It will be like eating a gazelle or a deer. 23 But don’t eat its blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
40 When Jesus and His disciples crossed the lake, another crowd was waiting to welcome Him. 41 A man made his way through the crowd. His name was Jairus, and he was a synagogue official. Like the man on the other side of the lake, this dignified man also fell at Jesus’ feet, begging Jesus to visit his home 42 where his only daughter, a girl of 12, lay dying. Jesus set out with Jairus. The crowd came along, too, pressing hard against Him.
43 In the crowd was a woman. She had suffered from an incurable menstrual disorder for 12 years [and had spent her livelihood on doctors with no effect].[a] It had kept her miserable and ritually unclean, unable to participate fully in Jewish life. 44 She followed Jesus, until she could reach Him. She touched the fringe of the robe Jesus wore, and at that moment the bleeding stopped.
Jesus (stopping and looking about): 45 Who touched Me?
Some in the Crowd (everyone speaking at once): Not me.
Another in the Crowd: It wasn’t me either.
Peter [and those with him][b] (intervening): Master, what kind of question is that, with this huge crowd all around You and many people touching You on all sides?
Jesus: 46 I felt something. I felt power going out from Me. I know that somebody touched Me.
47 The woman now realized her secret was going to come out sooner or later, so she stepped out of the crowd, shaking with fear, and she fell down in front of Jesus. Then she told her story in front of everyone—why she touched Him, what happened as a result.
Jesus: 48 Your faith has made you well again, daughter. Go in peace.
49 Right at that instant, one of Jairus’s household servants arrived.
Servant: Sir, your daughter is dead. It’s no use bothering the Teacher with this anymore.
Jesus (interrupting Jairus before he could speak): 50 Don’t be afraid. Just believe. She’ll be well again.
51-52 As they approached the house, the whole neighborhood was full of the sound of mourning—weeping, wailing, loud crying. Jesus told everyone to stay outside—everyone except Peter, John, James, and, of course, the girl’s father and mother.
Jesus (to the mourners): Please stop weeping. The girl isn’t dead. She’s only asleep.
53 They knew for certain that she was dead, so their bitter tears now mixed with mocking laughter.
54 Meanwhile, inside, Jesus took the girl’s hand.
Jesus: Child, get up!
55 She started breathing again, and she sat right up.
Jesus: Get her something to eat.
56 Her parents were amazed, but Jesus sternly told them to keep what had happened a secret.
So concludes an almost breathtaking succession of encounters between Jesus and people in need. Each story is unique; Jesus responds to each person as an individual, and there is no detectable formula to His way of treating people—except that in every case, His interactions are characterized by love and compassion.
Now Jesus takes His ministry of teaching the kingdom of God in word and deed to a new level: He sends out His disciples to do what they have seen Him do. Jesus commissions the twelve to multiply His ministry. They will go out from and then return to Jesus with reports of what they’ve experienced and learned. But it’s hard for them to get any time alone to talk. There are so many people who want time with Jesus!
9 Jesus convened a gathering of the twelve. He gave them power and authority to free people from all demonic spirits and to heal them of diseases. 2 He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3-5 These were His instructions:
6 The disciples left on their journeys from village to village. They preached the good news, and they healed the sick everywhere they went.
1 I have found shelter in You, Eternal One;
I count on You to shield me always from humiliation and disgrace.
2 Rescue and save me in Your justice.
Turn Your ear to me, and hurry to deliver me from my enemies.
3 Be my rock of refuge where I can always hide.
You have given the order to keep me safe;
You are my solid ground—my rock and my fortress.
4 Save me from the power of sinful people, O my God,
from the grip of unjust and cruel men.
5 For You are my hope, Eternal One;
You, Lord, have been the source of my confidence since I was young.
6 I have leaned upon You since I came into this world;
I have relied on You since You took me safely from my mother’s body,
So I will ever praise You.
7 Many find me a mystery,
but You are my rock and my shelter—my soul’s asylum.
8 My mouth overflows with praise to You
and proclaims Your magnificence all day long.
9 Do not set me aside when I am old;
do not abandon me when I am worn out.
10 For my enemies often voice evil against me;
those who desire to kill me plot together in secret.
11 They say, “God has abandoned him;
let’s go after him right now and seize him.
There’s no one around to rescue him.”
12 God, stay close by me.
Come quick, O my God, and help me!
13 May my enemies be covered in shame and then die;
may those who seek to harm me
be overwhelmed with contempt and disgrace.
14 But I will keep hope alive,
and my praise to You will grow exponentially.
15 I will bear witness to Your merciful acts;
throughout the day I will speak of all the ways You deliver,
although, I admit, I do not know the entirety of either.
16 I will come with stories of Your great acts, my Lord, the Eternal.
I will remind them of Your justice, only Yours.
17 You have taught me since I was young, O God,
and I still proclaim the wonderful things You have done.
18 Now as I grow old and my hair turns gray,
I ask that You not abandon me, O God.
Allow me to share with the generation to come
about Your power;
Let me speak about Your strength and wonders
to all those yet to be born.
19 God, Your justice stretches to the heavens,
You who have done mighty things!
Who is like You, O God?
20 You have made me see hard times: I’ve experienced many miserable days,
but You will restore me again.
You will raise me up
from the deep pit.
21 You will greatly increase my status
and be my comfort once again.
22 I will praise You with music played on a harp
because You have been faithful, O my God.
I will sing praises to You with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy
as I sing Your praises;
my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me.
24 All day long I will declare how Your justice saved me,
for those who have plotted to bring me harm
are now ashamed and humiliated.
5 The thoughts of the right-living tend toward justice,
but the guidance of the wicked is trickery and treachery.
6 The words of the wicked ambush from the shadows, seeking blood,
but the speech of the honest keeps them free.
7 The wrongdoers are overthrown—no one is left!
But the house of the right-living remains strong.