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2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-35; Psalms 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23 (New English Translation)

2 Kings 4:18-5:27

18 The boy grew and one day he went out to see his father who was with the harvest workers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!” His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 So he picked him up and took him to his mother. He sat on her lap until noon and then died. 21 She went up and laid him down on the prophet’s bed. She shut the door behind her and left. 22 She called to her husband, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so I can go see the prophet quickly and then return.” 23 He said, “Why do you want to go see him today? It is not the new moon or the Sabbath.” She said, “Everything’s fine.” 24 She saddled the donkey and told her servant, “Lead on. Do not stop unless I say so.”

25 So she went to visit the prophet at Mount Carmel. When he saw her at a distance, he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, it’s the Shunammite woman. 26 Now, run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you well? Are your husband and the boy well?’” She told Gehazi, “Everything’s fine.” 27 But when she reached the prophet on the mountain, she grabbed hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to push her away, but the prophet said, “Leave her alone, for she is very upset. The Lord has kept the matter hidden from me; he didn’t tell me about it.” 28 She said, “Did I ask my master for a son? Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t mislead me?’” 29 Elisha told Gehazi, “Tuck your robes into your belt, take my staff, and go! Don’t stop to exchange greetings with anyone! Place my staff on the child’s face.” 30 The mother of the child said, “As certainly as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So Elisha got up and followed her back.

31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them. He placed the staff on the child’s face, but there was no sound or response. When he came back to Elisha he told him, “The child did not wake up.” 32 When Elisha arrived at the house, there was the child lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in by himself and closed the door. Then he prayed to the Lord. 34 He got up on the bed and spread his body out over the boy; he put his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes over the boy’s eyes, and the palms of his hands against the boy’s palms. He bent down over him, and the boy’s skin grew warm. 35 Elisha went back and walked around in the house. Then he got up on the bed again and bent down over him. The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha called to Gehazi and said, “Get the Shunammite woman.” So he did so and she came to him. He said to her, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet, and bowed down. Then she picked up her son and left.

Elisha Makes a Meal Edible

38 Now Elisha went back to Gilgal, while there was famine in the land. Some of the prophets were visiting him and he told his servant, “Put the big pot on the fire and boil some stew for the prophets.” 39 Someone went out to the field to gather some herbs and found a wild vine. He picked some of its fruit, enough to fill up the fold of his robe. He came back, cut it up, and threw the slices into the stew pot, not knowing they were harmful. 40 The stew was poured out for the men to eat. When they ate some of the stew, they cried out, “Death is in the pot, O prophet!” They could not eat it. 41 He said, “Get some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now pour some out for the men so they may eat.” There was no longer anything harmful in the pot.

Elisha Miraculously Feeds a Hundred People

42 Now a man from Baal Shalisha brought some food for the prophet—twenty loaves of bread made from the firstfruits of the barley harvest, as well as fresh ears of grain. Elisha said, “Set it before the people so they may eat.” 43 But his attendant said, “How can I feed a hundred men with this?” He replied, “Set it before the people so they may eat, for this is what the Lord says, ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” 44 So he set it before them; they ate and had some left over, just as the Lord predicted.

Elisha Heals a Syrian General

Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. Raiding parties went out from Syria and took captive from the land of Israel a young girl, who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. She told her mistress, “If only my master were in the presence of the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”

Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. The king of Syria said, “Go! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten suits of clothes. He brought the letter to the king of Israel. It read: “This is a letter of introduction for my servant Naaman, whom I have sent to be cured of his skin disease.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill or restore life? Why does he ask me to cure a man of his skin disease? Certainly you must see that he is looking for an excuse to fight me!”

When Elisha the prophet heard that the king had torn his clothes, he sent this message to the king, “Why did you tear your clothes? Send him to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored and you will be healed.” 11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease. 12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana and Pharpar, are better than any of the waters of Israel! Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, you would have been willing to do it. It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. His skin became as smooth as a young child’s and he was healed.

15 He and his entire entourage returned to the prophet. Naaman came and stood before him. He said, “For sure I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel! Now, please accept a gift from your servant.” 16 But Elisha replied, “As certainly as the Lord lives (whom I serve), I will take nothing from you.” Naaman insisted that he take it, but he refused. 17 Naaman said, “If not, then please give your servant a load of dirt, enough for a pair of mules to carry, for your servant will never again offer a burnt offering or sacrifice to a god other than the Lord. 18 May the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to worship, and he leans on my arm and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” 19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

When he had gone a short distance, 20 Gehazi, the prophet Elisha’s servant, thought, “Look, my master did not accept what this Syrian Naaman offered him. As certainly as the Lord lives, I will run after him and accept something from him.” 21 So Gehazi ran after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?” 22 He answered, “Everything is fine. My master sent me with this message, ‘Look, two servants of the prophets just arrived from the Ephraimite hill country. Please give them a talent of silver and two suits of clothes.’” 23 Naaman said, “Please accept two talents of silver. He insisted, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, along with two suits of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them for Gehazi. 24 When he arrived at the hill, he took them from the servants and put them in the house. Then he sent the men on their way.

25 When he came and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant hasn’t been anywhere.” 26 Elisha replied, “I was there in spirit when a man turned and got down from his chariot to meet you. This is not the proper time to accept silver or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, sheep, cattle, and male and female servants. 27 Therefore Naaman’s skin disease will afflict you and your descendants forever!” When Gehazi went out from his presence, his skin was as white as snow.

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Acts 15:1-35

The Jerusalem Council

15 Now some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate with them, the church appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this point of disagreement. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they were relating at length the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all the things God had done with them. But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”

Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate about this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, has testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between them and us, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.”

12 The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 After they stopped speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has explained how God first concerned himself to select from among the Gentiles a people for his name. 15 The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written,

16 After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David;
I will rebuild its ruins and restore it,
17 so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord,
namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from long ago.

19 “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, leaders among the brothers, to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. 23 They sent this letter with them:

From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.

30 So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement. 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech. 33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord.

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Psalm 141

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

O Lord, I cry out to you. Come quickly to me!
Pay attention to me when I cry out to you!
May you accept my prayer like incense,
my uplifted hands like the evening offering!
O Lord, place a guard on my mouth!
Protect the opening of my lips!
Do not let me have evil desires,
or participate in sinful activities
with men who behave wickedly.
I will not eat their delicacies.
May the godly strike me in love and correct me!
May my head not refuse choice oil!
Indeed, my prayer is a witness against their evil deeds.
They will be thrown down the side of a cliff by their judges.
They will listen to my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the soil,
so our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
Surely I am looking to you, O sovereign Lord.
In you I take shelter.
Do not expose me to danger!
Protect me from the snare they have laid for me,
and the traps the evildoers have set.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I escape.

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Proverbs 17:23

23 A wicked person receives a bribe secretly
to pervert the ways of justice.

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New English Translation (NET)

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