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Deuteronomy 16-17

Passover

Moses said:

16 People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib,[a] because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. 3-4 Eat all of the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don’t serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt[b] and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt.

For seven days following Passover,[c] don’t make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel.

Don’t offer the Passover sacrifice in just any town where you happen to live. It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt.[d] Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning.

Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don’t do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord.

The Harvest Festival

Moses said to Israel:

Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10-11 go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped and celebrate the Harvest Festival[e] in honor of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12 Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws.

The Festival of Shelters

Moses said to Israel:

13-15 After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest,[f] take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows.

The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honor of the Lord your God.

Three Festivals at the Place of Worship

Moses said:

16 Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival,[g] and the Festival of Shelters. And don’t forget to take along a gift for the Lord. 17 The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be.

Treat Everyone with Justice

Moses said to Israel:

18-19 After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you that become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don’t take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars.[h]

20 People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you.

Don’t Set Up Sacred Poles or Stones

Moses said to Israel:

21 When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don’t set up a sacred pole[i] for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22 And don’t set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things.

Sacrifices That Have Something Wrong with Them

Moses said to Israel:

17 If an ox or a sheep has something wrong with it, don’t offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord your God—he will be disgusted!

Put To Death People Who Worship Idols

Moses said to Israel:

2-3 The Lord your God is giving you towns to live in. But later, a man or a woman in your town may start worshiping other gods, or even the sun, moon, or stars.[j] I have warned you not to worship other gods, because whoever worships them is disobeying the Lord and breaking the agreement he made with you. So when you hear that someone in your town is committing this disgusting sin, you must carefully find out if that person really is guilty. 5-7 But you will need two or three witnesses—one witness isn’t enough to prove a person guilty.

Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones.

Difficult Cases

Moses said to Israel:

8-12 It may be difficult to find out the truth in some legal cases in your town. You may not be able to decide if someone was killed accidentally or murdered. Or you may not be able to tell whether an injury or some property damage was done by accident or on purpose. If the case is too difficult, take it to the court at the place where the Lord your God chooses to be worshiped.

This court will be made up of one judge and several priests[k] who serve at the Lord’s altar. They will explain the law to you and give you their decision about the case. Do exactly what they tell you, or you will be put to death. 13 When other Israelites hear about it, they will be afraid and obey the decisions of the court.

The King

Moses said:

14 People of Israel, after you capture the land the Lord your God is giving you, and after you settle on it, you will say, “We want a king, just like the nations around us.”

15 Go ahead and appoint a king, but make sure that he is an Israelite and that he is the one the Lord has chosen.

16 The king should not have many horses, especially those from Egypt. The Lord has said never to go back there again. 17 And the king must not have a lot of wives—they might tempt him to be unfaithful to the Lord.[l] Finally, the king must not try to get huge amounts of silver and gold.

18 The official copy of God’s laws[m] will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. 19 Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the Lord with fear and trembling 20 and not think that he’s better than everyone else.

If the king completely obeys the Lord’s commands, he and his descendants will rule Israel for many years.

Footnotes:

  1. 16.1 in the month of Abib: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April. Passover was celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth of Abib (see Exodus 12.6; Leviticus 23.4,5).
  2. 16.3,4 the same kind. . . in Egypt: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 16.3,4 seven days following Passover: This period was called the Festival of Thin Bread (see also verse 16).
  4. 16.6 sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt: Or “sunset on the same date as when you left Egypt.”
  5. 16.10,11 Harvest Festival: Traditionally called the “Festival of Weeks,” and known in New Testament times as “Pentecost.”
  6. 16.13-15 After you. . . harvest: Leviticus 23.34 gives the exact date as the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which would be early in October.
  7. 16.16 Harvest Festival: See the note at 16.10,11.
  8. 16.18,19 turn. . . liars: Or “keep innocent people from getting justice.”
  9. 16.21 sacred pole: See the note at 12.3.
  10. 17.2,3 sun, moon, or stars: Some people thought these were gods and worshiped them.
  11. 17.8-12 several priests: The Hebrew text has “the priests, the Levites” ; priests belonged to the Levi tribe.
  12. 17.17 a lot of wives. . . unfaithful to the Lord: A king would often marry the daughter of another king that he was making a treaty with. These foreign women would naturally want to worship their own gods, and would want their husband the king to do so as well.
  13. 17.18 God’s laws: Or “God’s laws for the king.”
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Luke 9:7-27

Herod Is Worried

Herod[a] the ruler heard about all that was happening, and he was worried. Some people were saying that John the Baptist had come back to life. Others were saying that Elijah had come[b] or that one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I had John’s head cut off! Who is this I hear so much about?” Herod was eager to meet Jesus.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

10 The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone. 11 But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God’s kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.

12 Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It is like a desert!”

13 Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.”

But they replied, “We have only five small loaves of bread[c] and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food.” 14 There were about five thousand men in the crowd.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Have the people sit in groups of fifty.” 15 They did this, and all the people sat down. 16 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.

17 Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.

Who Is Jesus?

18 When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, “What do people say about me?”

19 They answered, “Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah[d] or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life.”

20 Jesus then asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah sent from God.”

21 Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.

Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death

22 Jesus told his disciples, “The nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.”

23 Then Jesus said to all the people:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24 If you want to save your life,[e] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. 25 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life? 26 If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels. 27 You can be sure that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God’s kingdom.

Footnotes:

  1. 9.7 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  2. 9.8 Elijah had come: Many of the Jewish people expected the prophet Elijah to come and prepare the way for the Messiah.
  3. 9.13 small loaves of bread: These would have been flat and round or in the shape of a bun.
  4. 9.19 Elijah: See the note at 9.8.
  5. 9.24 life: In verses 24,25 a Greek word which often means “soul” is translated “life” and “yourself.”
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Psalm 72

(By Solomon.)

A Prayer for God To Guide and Help the King

72 Please help the king
to be honest and fair
    just like you, our God.
Let him be honest and fair
with all your people,
    especially the poor.
Let peace and justice rule
    every mountain and hill.
Let the king defend the poor,
rescue the homeless,
    and crush
    everyone who hurts them.
Let the king live[a] forever
    like the sun and the moon.
Let him be as helpful as rain
    that refreshes the meadows
    and the ground.
Let the king be fair
    with everyone,
and let there be peace
    until the moon
    falls from the sky.

Let his kingdom reach
    from sea to sea,
    from the Euphrates River
    across all the earth.
Force the desert tribes
    to accept his rule,
    and make his enemies
    crawl in the dirt.
10 Force the rulers of Tarshish[b]
and of the islands
    to pay taxes to him.
Make the kings of Sheba
    and of Seba[c] bring gifts.
11     Make other rulers bow down
    and all nations serve him.

12 Do this because the king
rescues the homeless
    when they cry out,
    and he helps everyone
    who is poor and in need.
13 The king has pity
on the weak and the helpless
    and protects those in need.
14 He cares when they hurt,
    and he saves them from cruel
    and violent deaths.

15 Long live the king!
    Give him gold from Sheba.
    Always pray for the king
    and praise him each day.
16 Let cities overflow with food
and hills be covered with grain,
    just like Mount Lebanon.
Let the people in the cities
    prosper like wild flowers.
17 May the glory of the king
shine brightly forever
    like the sun in the sky.
Let him make nations prosper
    and learn to praise him.

18 Lord God of Israel,
we praise you.
    Only you can work miracles.
19 We will always praise
    your glorious name.
Let your glory be seen
everywhere on earth.
    Amen and amen.

20 This ends the prayers
    of David, the son of Jesse.

Footnotes:

  1. 72.5 Let the king live: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Let them worship you.”
  2. 72.10 Tarshish: Possibly a city in Spain.
  3. 72.10 Sheba. . . Seba: Sheba may have been a place in what is now southwest Arabia, and Seba may have been in southern Arabia.
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Proverbs 12:8-9

Good sense is worthy of praise,
    but stupidity is a curse.
It’s better to be ordinary
    and have only one servant[a]
    than to think you are somebody
    and starve to death.

Footnotes:

  1. 12.9 It’s. . . servant: Or “It is better just to have an ordinary job.”
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