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Deuteronomy 18-20

Provision for Priests and Levites

18 The Levitical priests—indeed, the entire tribe of Levi—will have no allotment or inheritance with Israel; they may eat the burnt offerings of the Lord and of his inheritance. They will have no inheritance in the midst of their fellow Israelites; the Lord alone is their inheritance, just as he had told them. This shall be the priests’ fair allotment from the people who offer sacrifices, whether bull or sheep—they must give to the priest the shoulder, the jowls, and the stomach. You must give them the best of your grain, new wine, and olive oil, as well as the best of your wool when you shear your flocks. For the Lord your God has chosen them and their sons from all your tribes to stand and serve in his name permanently. Suppose a Levite comes by his own free will from one of your villages, from any part of Israel where he is living, to the place the Lord chooses and serves in the name of the Lord his God like his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord. He must eat the same share they do, despite any profits he may gain from the sale of his family’s inheritance.

Provision for Prophetism

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, 11 one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. 12 Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is about to drive them out from before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. 16 This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” 17 The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 19 I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.

20 “But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’— 22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”

Laws Concerning Manslaughter

19 When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses, you must set apart for yourselves three cities in the middle of your land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession. You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent of your land that the Lord your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities. Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live, if he has accidentally killed another without hating him at the time of the accident. Suppose he goes with someone else to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose from the handle and strikes his fellow worker so hard that he dies. The person responsible may then flee to one of these cities to save himself. Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, and kill him, though this is not a capital case since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors and gives you all the land he pledged to them, and then you are careful to observe all these commandments I am giving you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities to these three. 10 You must not shed innocent blood in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. 11 However, suppose a person hates someone else and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, and then flees to one of these cities. 12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger to die. 13 You must not pity him, but purge out the blood of the innocent from Israel, so that it may go well with you.

Laws Concerning Witnesses

14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property, which will have been defined in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

15 A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16 If a false witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, 17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused, 19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you. 21 You must not show pity; the principle will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.

Laws Concerning War with Distant Enemies

20 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers, “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you has built a new house and not dedicated it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else dedicate it. Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it. Or who among you has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s heart as fearful as his own.” Then, when the officers have finished speaking, they must appoint unit commanders to lead the troops.

10 When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. 11 If it accepts your terms and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. 12 If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it. 13 The Lord your God will deliver it over to you and you must kill every single male by the sword. 14 However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city—all its plunder—you may take for yourselves as spoil. You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you. 15 This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations.

Laws Concerning War with Canaanite Nations

16 As for the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing to survive. 17 Instead you must utterly annihilate them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they cannot teach you all the abhorrent ways they worship their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God. 19 If you besiege a city for a long time while attempting to capture it, you must not chop down its trees, for you may eat fruit from them and should not cut them down. A tree in the field is not human that you should besiege it! 20 However, you may chop down any tree you know is not suitable for food, and you may use it to build siege works against the city that is making war with you until that city falls.

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Luke 9:28-50

The Transfiguration

28 Now about eight days after these sayings, Jesus took with him Peter, John, and James, and went up the mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became very bright, a brilliant white. 30 Then two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with him. 31 They appeared in glorious splendor and spoke about his departure that he was about to carry out at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those with him were quite sleepy, but as they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 Then as the men were starting to leave, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he was saying. 34 As he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him!” 36 After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. So they kept silent and told no one at that time anything of what they had seen.

Healing a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

37 Now on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 Then a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son—he is my only child! 39 A spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions and causes him to foam at the mouth. It hardly ever leaves him alone, torturing him severely. 40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 41 Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you and endure you? Bring your son here.” 42 As the boy was approaching, the demon threw him to the ground and shook him with convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 Then they were all astonished at the mighty power of God.

Another Prediction of Jesus’ Suffering

But while the entire crowd was amazed at everything Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples, 44 “Take these words to heart, for the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this statement; its meaning had been concealed from them, so that they could not grasp it. Yet they were afraid to ask him about this statement.

Concerning the Greatest

46 Now an argument started among the disciples as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But when Jesus discerned their innermost thoughts, he took a child, had him stand by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me, for the one who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

On the Right Side

49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he is not a disciple along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

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Psalm 73

Book 3 (Psalms 73-89)

Psalm 73

A psalm by Asaph.

Certainly God is good to Israel,
and to those whose motives are pure!
But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my feet almost slid out from under me.
For I envied those who are proud,
as I observed the prosperity of the wicked.
For they suffer no pain;
their bodies are strong and well-fed.
They are immune to the trouble common to men;
they do not suffer as other men do.
Arrogance is their necklace,
and violence their clothing.
Their prosperity causes them to do wrong;
their thoughts are sinful.
They mock and say evil things;
they proudly threaten violence.
They speak as if they rule in heaven,
and lay claim to the earth.
10 Therefore they have more than enough food to eat,
and even suck up the water of the sea.
11 They say, “How does God know what we do?
Is the sovereign One aware of what goes on?”
12 Take a good look! This is what the wicked are like,
those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.
13 I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure
and maintained a pure lifestyle.
14 I suffer all day long,
and am punished every morning.”
15 If I had publicized these thoughts,
I would have betrayed your loyal followers.
16 When I tried to make sense of this,
it was troubling to me.
17 Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple,
and understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Surely you put them in slippery places;
you bring them down to ruin.
19 How desolate they become in a mere moment!
Terrifying judgments make their demise complete!
20 They are like a dream after one wakes up.
O Lord, when you awake you will despise them.
21 Yes, my spirit was bitter,
and my insides felt sharp pain.
22 I was ignorant and lacked insight;
I was as senseless as an animal before you.
23 But I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me by your wise advice,
and then you will lead me to a position of honor.
25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?
I desire no one but you on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may grow weak,
but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.
27 Yes, look! Those far from you die;
you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is all I need.
I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter,
as I declare all the things you have done.

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Proverbs 12:10

10 A righteous person cares for the life of his animal,
but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel.

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New English Translation (NET)

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