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2 Kings 4:18-5:27

18 The child grew up. One day he ran to his father, who was with the harvest workers. 19 He said to his father, “Oh, my head! My head!”

The father said to a young man, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 So he picked up the boy and brought him to his mother.

The boy sat on her lap until noon. Then he died. 21 She went up and laid him down on the bed for the man of God. Then she went out and closed the door. 22 She called her husband and said, “Send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys so that I can hurry to the man of God and come back.”

23 Her husband said, “Why are you going to him today? It’s not a new moon or sabbath.”

She said, “Don’t worry about it.” 24 She saddled the donkey, then said to her young servant, “Drive the donkey hard. Don’t let me slow down unless I tell you.” 25 So she went off and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

As soon as the man of God saw her from a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, it’s the Shunammite woman! 26 Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Are things okay with you, your husband, and your child?’”

She said, “Things are okay.”

27 When she got to the man of God at the mountain, she grabbed his feet. Gehazi came up to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is distraught, but the Lord has hidden the reason from me and hasn’t told me why.”

28 She said, “Did I ask you for a son, sir? Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready, take my staff, and go! If you encounter anyone, don’t stop to greet them. If anyone greets you, don’t reply. Put my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the boy’s mother said, “I swear by your life and by the Lord’s life, I won’t leave you!” So Elisha got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead of them. He set the staff on the young boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy didn’t wake up.”

32 Elisha came into the house and saw the boy lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in and closed the door behind the two of them. Then he prayed to the Lord. 34 He got up on the bed and lay down on top of the child, putting his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes, his hands on the boy’s hands. And as he bent over him, the child’s skin grew warm. 35 Then Elisha got down and paced back and forth in the house. Once again he got up on the bed and bent over the boy, at which point the boy sneezed[a] seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha called for Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” Gehazi called her, and she came to Elisha. He told her, “Pick up your son.” 37 She came and fell at his feet, facedown on the ground. Then she picked up her son and left.

Miracles with food

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. A group of prophets was sitting before him. He said to his servant, “Put on the big pot and cook some stew for the prophets.” 39 So one of them went out to the field to gather plants; he found a wild vine and gathered wild gourds from it, filling his garment. He came and cut them up into the pot of stew, but no one knew what they were.

40 The stew was served to the men, but as they started to eat it, they cried out and said, “There is death in that pot, man of God!” They couldn’t eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Serve the people so they can eat.” At that point, there was nothing bad left in the pot.

42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God some bread from the early produce—twenty loaves of barley bread and fresh grain from his bag.[b] Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”

43 His servant said, “How can I feed one hundred men with this?”

Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat! This is what the Lord says: ‘Eat and there will be leftovers.’” 44 So the servant gave the food to them. They ate and had leftovers, in agreement with the Lord’s word.

Naaman is healed

Naaman, a general for the king of Aram, was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. This man was a mighty warrior, but he had a skin disease.[c] Now Aramean raiding parties had gone out and captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She served Naaman’s wife.

She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could come before the prophet who lives in Samaria. He would cure him of his skin disease.” So Naaman went and told his master what the young girl from the land of Israel had said.

Then Aram’s king said, “Go ahead. I will send a letter to Israel’s king.”

So Naaman left. He took along ten kikkars of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. He brought the letter to Israel’s king. It read, “Along with this letter I’m sending you my servant Naaman so you can cure him of his skin disease.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes. He said, “What? Am I God to hand out death and life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease! You must realize that he wants to start a fight with me.”

When Elisha the man of God heard that Israel’s king had ripped his clothes, he sent word to the king: “Why did you rip your clothes? Let the man come to me. Then he’ll know that there’s a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots. He stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who said, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored and become clean.”

11 But Naaman went away in anger. He said, “I thought for sure that he’d come out, stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t the rivers in Damascus, the Abana[d] and the Pharpar, better than all Israel’s waters? Couldn’t I wash in them and get clean?” So he turned away and proceeded to leave in anger.

13 Naaman’s servants came up to him and spoke to him: “Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.’” 14 So Naaman went down and bathed in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. His skin was restored like that of a young boy, and he became clean.

15 He returned to the man of God with all his attendants. He came and stood before Elisha, saying, “Now I know for certain that there’s no God anywhere on earth except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha said, “I swear by the life of the Lord I serve that I won’t accept anything.”

Naaman urged Elisha to accept something, but he still refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, then let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth. Your servant will never again offer entirely burned offerings or sacrifices to any other gods except the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master comes into Rimmon’s temple to bow down there and is leaning on my arm, I must also bow down in Rimmon’s temple. When I bow down in Rimmon’s temple, may the Lord forgive your servant for doing that.”

19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

But when Naaman had gone some distance from Elisha, 20 Gehazi (who was the servant of Elisha the man of God) thought, My master let this Aramean Naaman off the hook by not accepting the gift he brought! As surely as the Lord lives, I’ll go after him and accept something from him. 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him, so he got down off his chariot to meet him. He said, “Is everything okay?”

22 Gehazi answered, “Yes, but my master sent me to say, ‘Two young men who are members of a group of prophets have just now come to me from the hills of Ephraim. Give them a kikkar of silver and two changes of clothing.’”

23 Naaman said, “By all means, take two kikkars!” He encouraged Gehazi to accept them. He tied two kikkars of silver up in two bags, along with two changes of clothes. Naaman gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them in front of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi arrived at the elevated fortress,[e] he took the items from them and stored them in his house. Then he sent the servants away, and they left. 25 Gehazi then went and stood before his master.

Elisha said to Gehazi, “Where did you come from, Gehazi?”

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi replied.

26 Elisha said to him, “Wasn’t my heart going along with you[f] when the man got off his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to accept silver, clothes, olive trees, vineyards, sheep, cattle, or male and female servants? 27 Naaman’s skin disease will now cling to you and to your descendants forever!” And Gehazi left Elisha’s presence, flaky like snow with skin disease.


  1. 2 Kings 4:35 Or gasped; Heb uncertain
  2. 2 Kings 4:42 Or still on its stem
  3. 2 Kings 5:1 Traditionally leprosy, a kind of scale skin disease
  4. 2 Kings 5:12 Or Amana
  5. 2 Kings 5:24 Or hillside; Heb uncertain
  6. 2 Kings 5:26 LXX; MT lacks along with you.
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Acts 15:1-35

The Jerusalem Council

15 Some people came down from Judea teaching the family of believers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom we’ve received from Moses, you can’t be saved.” Paul and Barnabas took sides against these Judeans and argued strongly against their position.

The church at Antioch appointed Paul, Barnabas, and several others from Antioch to go up to Jerusalem to set this question before the apostles and the elders. The church sent this delegation on their way. They traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling stories about the conversion of the Gentiles to everyone. Their reports thrilled the brothers and sisters. When they arrived in Jerusalem, the church, the apostles, and the elders all welcomed them. They gave a full report of what God had accomplished through their activity. Some believers from among the Pharisees stood up and claimed, “The Gentiles must be circumcised. They must be required to keep the Law from Moses.”

The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter. After much debate, Peter stood and addressed them, “Fellow believers, you know that, early on, God chose me from among you as the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and come to believe. God, who knows people’s deepest thoughts and desires, confirmed this by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, but purified their deepest thoughts and desires through faith. 10 Why then are you now challenging God by placing a burden on the shoulders of these disciples that neither we nor our ancestors could bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we and they are saved in the same way, by the grace of the Lord Jesus.”

12 The entire assembly fell quiet as they listened to Barnabas and Paul describe all the signs and wonders God did among the Gentiles through their activity. 13 When Barnabas and Paul also fell silent, James responded, “Fellow believers, listen to me. 14 Simon reported how, in his kindness, God came to the Gentiles in the first place, to raise up from them a people of God. 15 The prophets’ words agree with this; as it is written,

16 After this I will return,
        and I will rebuild David’s fallen tent;
        I will rebuild what has been torn down.
            I will restore it
17             so that the rest of humanity will seek the Lord,
                even all the Gentiles who belong to me.
The Lord says this, the one who does these things[a]
18     known from earliest times.

19 “Therefore, I conclude that we shouldn’t create problems for Gentiles who turn to God. 20 Instead, we should write a letter, telling them to avoid the pollution associated with idols, sexual immorality, eating meat from strangled animals, and consuming blood. 21 After all, Moses has been proclaimed in every city for a long time, and is read aloud every Sabbath in every synagogue.”

Letter to the Gentile believers

22 The apostles and the elders, along with the entire church, agreed to send some delegates chosen from among themselves to Antioch, together with Paul and Barnabas. They selected Judas Barsabbas and Silas, who were leaders among the brothers and sisters. 23 They were to carry this letter:

The apostles and the elders, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings! 24 We’ve heard that some of our number have disturbed you with unsettling words we didn’t authorize. 25 We reached a united decision to select some delegates and send them to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul. 26 These people have devoted their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas. They will confirm what we have written. 28 The Holy Spirit has led us to the decision that no burden should be placed on you other than these essentials: 29 refuse food offered to idols, blood, the meat from strangled animals, and sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid such things. Farewell.

30 When Barnabas, Paul, and the delegates were sent on their way, they went down to Antioch. They gathered the believers and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it, delighted with its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas were prophets, and they said many things that encouraged and strengthened the brothers and sisters. 33 Judas and Silas stayed there awhile, then were sent back with a blessing of peace from the brothers and sisters to those who first sent them.[b] 35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, where, together with many others, they taught and proclaimed the good news of the Lord’s word.


  1. Acts 15:17 Amos 9:11-12
  2. Acts 15:33 Critical editions of the Gk New Testament do not include 15:34 Silas decided to remain there.
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Psalm 141

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

141 I cry out to you, Lord: Come to me—quickly!
    Listen to my voice when I cry out to you!
Let my prayer stand before you like incense;
    let my uplifted hands be like the evening offering.

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep close watch over the door that is my lips.
Don’t let my heart turn aside to evil things
        so that I don’t do wicked things with evildoers,
        so I don’t taste their delicacies.

Instead, let the righteous discipline me;
    let the faithful correct me!
Let my head never reject that kind of fine oil,
    because my prayers are always against the deeds of the wicked.[a]
Their leaders will fall from jagged cliffs,
    but my words will be heard because they are pleasing.[b]
Our bones[c] have been scattered at the mouth of the grave,[d]
    just like when the ground is broken up and plowed.[e]

But my eyes are on you, my Lord God.
    I take refuge in you; don’t let me die!
Protect me from the trap they’ve set for me;
    protect me from the snares of the evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets—all together!—
    but let me make it through safely.


  1. Psalm 141:5 Heb uncertain
  2. Psalm 141:6 Heb uncertain
  3. Psalm 141:7 LXX manuscripts, Syr their bones; DSS (11QPsa) my bones
  4. Psalm 141:7 Heb Sheol
  5. Psalm 141:7 Heb uncertain
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Proverbs 17:23

23 The wicked take secret bribes
    to twist the way of justice.

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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