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2 Samuel 20:14-22:20; Acts 1:1-26; Psalms 121:1-8; Proverbs 16:18 (New English Translation)

2 Samuel 20:14-22:20

14 Sheba traveled through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth Maacah and all the Berite region. When they had assembled, they too joined him. 15 So Joab’s men came and laid siege against him in Abel of Beth Maacah. They prepared a siege ramp outside the city which stood against its outer rampart. As all of Joab’s soldiers were trying to break through the wall so that it would collapse, 16 a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen up! Listen up! Tell Joab, ‘Come near so that I may speak to you.’”

17 When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” He replied, “I am.” She said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” He said, “Go ahead. I’m listening.” 18 She said, “In the past they would always say, ‘Let them inquire in Abel,’ and that is how they settled things. 19 I represent the peaceful and the faithful in Israel. You are attempting to destroy an important city in Israel. Why should you swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”

20 Joab answered, “Get serious! I don’t want to swallow up or destroy anything! 21 That’s not the way things are. There is a man from the hill country of Ephraim named Sheba son of Bicri. He has rebelled against King David. Give me just this one man, and I will leave the city.” The woman said to Joab, “This very minute his head will be thrown over the wall to you!”

22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. Joab blew the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each going to his own home. Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.

23 Now Joab was the general in command of all the army of Israel. Benaiah the son of Jehoida was over the Kerethites and the Perethites. 24 Adoniram was supervisor of the work crews. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the secretary. 25 Sheva was the scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 Ira the Jairite was David’s personal priest.

The Gibeonites Demand Revenge

21 During David’s reign there was a famine for three consecutive years. So David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is because of Saul and his bloodstained family, because he murdered the Gibeonites.”

So the king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke with them. (Now the Gibeonites were not descendants of Israel; they were a remnant of the Amorites. The Israelites had made a promise to them, but Saul tried to kill them because of his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) David said to the Gibeonites, “What can I do for you, and how can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites said to him, “We have no claim to silver or gold from Saul or from his family, nor would we be justified in putting to death anyone in Israel.” David asked, “What then are you asking me to do for you?” They replied to the king, “As for this man who exterminated us and who schemed against us so that we were destroyed and left without status throughout all the borders of Israel— let seven of his male descendants be turned over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, who was the Lord’s chosen one.” The king replied, “I will turn them over.”

The king had mercy on Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, in light of the Lord’s oath that had been taken between David and Jonathan son of Saul. So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah whom she had born to Saul, and the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab whom she had born to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He turned them over to the Gibeonites, and they executed them on a hill before the Lord. The seven of them died together; they were put to death during harvest time—during the first days of the beginning of the barley harvest.

10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest until the rain fell on them, she did not allow the birds of the air to feed on them by day, nor the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the leaders of Jabesh Gilead. (They had secretly taken them from the plaza at Beth Shan. It was there that Philistines publicly exposed their corpses after they had killed Saul at Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and of Jonathan his son from there; they also gathered up the bones of those who had been executed.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin at Zela in the grave of his father Kish. After they had done everything that the king had commanded, God responded to their prayers for the land.

Israel Engages in Various Battles with the Philistines

15 Another battle was fought between the Philistines and Israel. So David went down with his soldiers and fought the Philistines. David became exhausted. 16 Now Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, had a spear that weighed three hundred bronze shekels, and he was armed with a new weapon. He had said that he would kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to David’s aid, striking the Philistine down and killing him. Then David’s men took an oath saying, “You will not go out to battle with us again! You must not extinguish the lamp of Israel!”

18 Later there was another battle with the Philistines, this time in Gob. On that occasion Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of Rapha. 19 Yet another battle occurred with the Philistines in Gob. On that occasion Elhanan the son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 20 Yet another battle occurred in Gath. On that occasion there was a large man who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all! He too was a descendant of Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, killed him. 22 These four were the descendants of Rapha who lived in Gath; they were killed by David and his soldiers.

David Sings to the Lord

22 David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord rescued him from the power of all his enemies, including Saul. He said:

“The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer.
My God is my rocky summit where I take shelter,
my shield, the horn that saves me, my stronghold,
my refuge, my savior. You save me from violence!
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I was delivered from my enemies.
The waves of death engulfed me;
the currents of chaos overwhelmed me.
The ropes of Sheol tightened around me;
the snares of death trapped me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called to my God.
From his heavenly temple he heard my voice;
he listened to my cry for help.
The earth heaved and shook;
the foundations of the sky trembled.
They heaved because he was angry.
Smoke ascended from his nose;
fire devoured as it came from his mouth;
he hurled down fiery coals.
10 He made the sky sink as he descended;
a thick cloud was under his feet.
11 He mounted a winged angel and flew;
he glided on the wings of the wind.
12 He shrouded himself in darkness,
in thick rain clouds.
13 From the brightness in front of him
came coals of fire.
14 The Lord thundered from the sky;
the sovereign One shouted loudly.
15 He shot arrows and scattered them,
lightning and routed them.
16 The depths of the sea were exposed;
the inner regions of the world were uncovered
by the Lord’s battle cry,
by the powerful breath from his nose.
17 He reached down from above and grabbed me;
he pulled me from the surging water.
18 He rescued me from my strong enemy,
from those who hate me,
for they were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in my day of calamity,
but the Lord helped me.
20 He brought me out into a wide open place;
he delivered me because he was pleased with me.

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Acts 1

Jesus Ascends to Heaven

I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. To the same apostles also, after his suffering, he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. While he was with them, he declared, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 As they were still staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.”

A Replacement for Judas is Chosen

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives (which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away). 13 When they had entered Jerusalem, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there. 14 All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16 “Brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit foretold through David concerning Judas—who became the guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was counted as one of us and received a share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man Judas acquired a field with the reward of his unjust deed, and falling headfirst he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 This became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so that in their own language they called that field Hakeldama, that is, “Field of Blood.”) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his house become deserted, and let there be no one to live in it,’ and ‘Let another take his position of responsibility.’ 21 Thus one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus associated with us, 22 beginning from his baptism by John until the day he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness of his resurrection together with us.” 23 So they proposed two candidates: Joseph called Barsabbas (also called Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the hearts of all. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to assume the task of this service and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 Then they cast lots for them, and the one chosen was Matthias; so he was counted with the eleven apostles.

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Psalm 121

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I look up toward the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Creator of heaven and earth!
May he not allow your foot to slip!
May your protector not sleep!
Look! Israel’s protector
does not sleep or slumber!
The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is the shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day,
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
he will protect your life.
The Lord will protect you in all you do,
now and forevermore.

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Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.

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New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

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