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2 Samuel 23:24-24:25

24 Included with the thirty were the following: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, 25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa, 27 Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 29 Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin, 30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the wadis of Gaash, 31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan 33 son of Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite (the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah), 38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite 39 and Uriah the Hittite. Altogether there were thirty-seven.

David Displeases the Lord by Taking a Census

24 The Lord’s anger again raged against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go count Israel and Judah.” The king told Joab, the general in command of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba and muster the army, so I may know the size of the army.”

Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God make the army a hundred times larger right before the eyes of my lord the king! But why does my master the king want to do this?”

But the king’s edict stood, despite the objections of Joab and the leaders of the army. So Joab and the leaders of the army left the king’s presence in order to muster the Israelite army.

They crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, on the south side of the city, at the wadi of Gad, near Jazer. Then they went on to Gilead and to the region of Tahtim Hodshi, coming to Dan Jaan and on around to Sidon. Then they went to the fortress of Tyre and all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went on to the Negev of Judah, to Beer Sheba. They went through all the land and after nine months and twenty days came back to Jerusalem.

Joab reported the number of warriors to the king. In Israel there were 800,000 sword-wielding warriors, and in Judah there were 500,000 soldiers.

10 David felt guilty after he had numbered the army. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, O Lord, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”

11 When David got up the next morning, the Lord had already spoken to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 12 “Go, tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three forms of judgment. Pick one of them and I will carry it out against you.’”

13 Gad went to David and told him, “Shall seven years of famine come upon your land? Or shall you flee for three months from your enemy with him in hot pursuit? Or shall there be three days of plague in your land? Now decide what I should tell the one who sent me.” 14 David said to Gad, “I am very upset! I prefer that we be attacked by the Lord, for his mercy is great; I do not want to be attacked by men!”

15 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel from the morning until the completion of the appointed time. Seventy thousand men died from Dan to Beer Sheba. 16 When the angel extended his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented from his judgment. He told the angel who was killing the people, “That’s enough! Stop now!” (Now the Lord’s angel was near the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.)

17 When he saw the angel who was destroying the people, David said to the Lord, “Look, it is I who have sinned and done this evil thing! As for these sheep—what have they done? Attack me and my family.”

David Acquires a Threshing Floor and Constructs an Altar There

18 So Gad went to David that day and told him, “Go up and build an altar for the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David went up as Gad instructed him to do, according to the Lord’s instructions.

20 When Araunah looked out and saw the king and his servants approaching him, he went out and bowed to the king with his face to the ground. 21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy from you the threshing floor so I can build an altar for the Lord, so that the plague may be removed from the people.” 22 Araunah told David, “My lord the king may take whatever he wishes and offer it. Look! Here are oxen for burnt offerings, and threshing sledges and harnesses for wood. 23 I, the servant of my lord the king, give it all to the king!” Araunah also told the king, “May the Lord your God show you favor!” 24 But the king said to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you! I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt sacrifices that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25 Then David built an altar for the Lord there and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. And the Lord accepted prayers for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel.

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Acts 3

Peter and John Heal a Lame Man at the Temple

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time for prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried up, who was placed at the temple gate called “the Beautiful Gate” every day so he could beg for money from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple courts, he asked them for money. Peter looked directly at him (as did John) and said, “Look at us!” So the lame man paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” Then Peter took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. He jumped up, stood and began walking around, and he entered the temple courts with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the man who used to sit and ask for donations at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with astonishment and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter Addresses the Crowd

11 While the man was hanging on to Peter and John, all the people, completely astounded, ran together to them in the covered walkway called Solomon’s Portico. 12 When Peter saw this, he declared to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk by our own power or piety? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! 16 And on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. 19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. 21 This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you. 23 Every person who does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed him, have spoken about and announced these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.’ 26 God raised up his servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each one of you from your iniquities.”

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Psalm 123

Psalm 123

A song of ascents.

I look up toward you,
the one enthroned in heaven.
Look, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a female servant look to the hand of her mistress,
so my eyes will look to the Lord, our God, until he shows us favor.
Show us favor, O Lord, show us favor!
For we have had our fill of humiliation, and then some.
We have had our fill
of the taunts of the self-assured,
of the contempt of the proud.

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Proverbs 16:21-23

21 The one who is wise in heart is called discerning,
and kind speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Insight is like a life-giving fountain to the one who possesses it,
but folly leads to the discipline of fools.
23 A wise person’s heart makes his speech wise
and it adds persuasiveness to his words.

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New English Translation (NET)

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