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2 Samuel 1:1-2:11; John 12:20-50; Psalms 118:19-29; Proverbs 15:27-28 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Samuel 1:1-2:11

David Finds Out about Saul’s Death

Saul was dead.

Meanwhile, David had defeated the Amalekites and returned to Ziklag. Three days later, a soldier came from Saul’s army. His clothes were torn, and dirt was on his head.[a] He went to David and knelt down in front of him.

David asked, “Where did you come from?”

The man answered, “From Israel’s army. I barely escaped with my life.”

“Who won the battle?” David asked.

The man said, “Our army turned and ran, but many were wounded and died. Even King Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

David asked, “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?”

The young man replied:

I was on Mount Gilboa and saw King Saul leaning on his spear. The enemy’s war chariots and cavalry were closing in on him. When he turned around and saw me, he called me over. I went and asked what he wanted.

Saul asked me, “Who are you?”

“An Amalekite,” I answered.

Then he said, “Kill me! I’m dying, and I’m in terrible pain.”[b]

10 So I killed him. I knew he was too badly wounded to live much longer. Then I took his crown and his arm-band, and I brought them to you, Your Majesty. Here they are.

11 Right away, David and his soldiers tore their clothes in sorrow. 12 They cried all day long and would not eat anything. Everyone was sad because Saul, his son Jonathan, and many of the Lord’s people had been killed in the battle.

13 David asked the young man, “Where is your home?”

The man replied, “My father is an Amalekite, but we live in Israel.”

14-16 David said to him, “Why weren’t you afraid to kill the Lord’s chosen king? And you even told what you did. It’s your own fault that you’re going to die!”

Then David told one of his soldiers, “Come here and kill this man!”

David Sings in Memory of Saul

17 David sang a song in memory of Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he ordered his men to teach the song to everyone in Judah. He called it “The Song of the Bow,” and it can be found in The Book of Jashar.[c] This is the song:

19 Israel, your famous hero
    lies dead on the hills,
and your mighty warriors
    have fallen!
20 Don’t tell it in Gath
or spread the news
    on the streets of Ashkelon.
The godless Philistine women
will be happy
    and jump for joy.
21 Don’t let dew or rain fall
    on the hills of Gilboa.
Don’t let its fields
    grow offerings for God.
There the warriors' shields
    were smeared with mud,
and Saul’s own shield
    was left unpolished.[d]

22 The arrows of Jonathan struck,
    and warriors died.
The sword of Saul cut
    the enemy apart.

23 It was easy to love Saul
    and Jonathan.
Together in life,
    together in death,
they were faster than eagles
    and stronger than lions.

24 Women of Israel, cry for Saul.
He brought you fine red cloth
    and jewelry made of gold.
25 Our warriors have fallen
    in the heat of battle,
and Jonathan lies dead
    on the hills of Gilboa.

26 Jonathan, I miss you most!
I loved you
    like a brother.
You were truly loyal to me,
more faithful than a wife
    to her husband.[e]

27 Our warriors have fallen,
and their weapons[f]
    are destroyed.

David Becomes King of Judah

Later, David asked the Lord, “Should I go back to one of the towns of Judah?”

The Lord answered, “Yes.”

David asked, “Which town should I go to?”

“Go to Hebron,” the Lord replied.

David went to Hebron with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Ahinoam was from Jezreel, and Abigail was the widow of Nabal from Carmel. David also had his men and their families come and live in the villages near Hebron.

The people of Judah met with David at Hebron and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king. Then they told David, “The people from Jabesh in Gilead buried Saul.”

David sent messengers to tell them:

The Lord bless you! You were kind enough to bury Saul your ruler, and I pray that the Lord will be kind and faithful to you. I will be your friend because of what you have done. Saul is dead, but the tribe of Judah has made me their king. So be strong and have courage.

Ishbosheth Becomes King of Israel

Abner the son of Ner[g] had been the general of Saul’s army. He took Saul’s son Ishbosheth[h] across the Jordan River to Mahanaim and made him king of Israel,[i] including the areas of Gilead, Asher,[j] Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin. 10 Ishbosheth was forty years old at the time, and he ruled for two years. But the tribe of Judah made David their king, 11 and he ruled from Hebron for seven and a half years.


  1. 1.2 His clothes. . . his head: People tore their clothes and put dirt on their heads to show they were sad because someone had died.
  2. 1.9 in terrible pain: Or “very weak.”
  3. 1.18 The Book of Jashar: This book may have been a collection of ancient war songs.
  4. 1.21 unpolished: Some shields were made of leather and were polished with olive oil.
  5. 1.26 You. . . husband: Or “You loved me more than a wife could possibly love her husband.”
  6. 1.27 weapons: This may refer to Saul and Jonathan.
  7. 2.8 son of Ner: Abner was Saul’s cousin (see 1 Samuel 14.50).
  8. 2.8 Ishbosheth: One ancient translation has “Ishbaal” (see also 1 Chronicles 8.33). In Hebrew “baal” means “lord” and was used as the name of a Canaanite god. The people of Israel often changed “baal” to “bosheth” (which means “shame”) in personal names. Ishbosheth was probably called Ishvi or Ishyo in 1 Samuel 14.49.
  9. 2.9 Israel: Sometimes “Israel” means the northern tribes and does not include the tribes of Judah and Simeon. That is how it is used in this verse.
  10. 2.9 Asher: The Hebrew text has “Ashur,” which is the Hebrew name for the Assyrians. It may be another spelling for Asher (one of the tribes of Israel) or it may refer to Geshur (a small area between Gilead and Jezreel, east of Lake Galilee).
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John 12:20-50

Some Greeks Want To Meet Jesus

20 Some Greeks[a] had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. 21 Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him.

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

23 Jesus said:

The time has come for the Son of Man to be given his glory.[b] 24 I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. 25 If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. 26 If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you.

27 Now I am deeply troubled, and I don’t know what to say. But I must not ask my Father to keep me from this time of suffering. In fact, I came into the world to suffer. 28 So Father, bring glory to yourself.

A voice from heaven then said, “I have already brought glory to myself, and I will do it again!” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some of them thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus.

30 Then Jesus told the crowd, “That voice spoke to help you, not me. 31 This world’s people are now being judged, and the ruler of this world[c] is already being thrown out! 32 If I am lifted up above the earth, I will make everyone want to come to me.” 33 Jesus was talking about the way he would be put to death.

34 The crowd said to Jesus, “The Scriptures teach that the Messiah will live forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 Jesus answered, “The light will be with you for only a little longer. Walk in the light while you can. Then you won’t be caught walking blindly in the dark. 36 Have faith in the light while it is with you, and you will be children of the light.”

The People Refuse To Have Faith in Jesus

After Jesus had said these things, he left and went into hiding. 37 He had worked a lot of miracles[d] among the people, but they were still not willing to have faith in him. 38 This happened so that what the prophet Isaiah had said would come true,

“Lord, who has believed
    our message?
And who has seen
    your mighty strength?”

39 The people could not have faith in Jesus, because Isaiah had also said,

40 “The Lord has blinded
    the eyes of the people,
and he has made
    the people stubborn.
He did this so that they
could not see
    or understand,
and so that they
would not turn to the Lord
    and be healed.”

41 Isaiah said this, because he saw the glory of Jesus and spoke about him.[e] 42 Even then, many of the leaders put their faith in Jesus, but they did not tell anyone about it. The Pharisees had already given orders for the people not to have anything to do with anyone who had faith in Jesus. 43 And besides, the leaders liked praise from others more than they liked praise from God.

Jesus Came To Save the World

44 In a loud voice Jesus said:

Everyone who has faith in me also has faith in the one who sent me. 45 And everyone who has seen me has seen the one who sent me. 46 I am the light that has come into the world. No one who has faith in me will stay in the dark.

47 I am not the one who will judge those who refuse to obey my teachings. I came to save the people of this world, not to be their judge. 48 But everyone who rejects me and my teachings will be judged on the last day[f] by what I have said. 49 I don’t speak on my own. I say only what the Father who sent me has told me to say. 50 I know that his commands will bring eternal life. That is why I tell you exactly what the Father has told me.


  1. 12.20 Greeks: Perhaps Gentiles who worshiped with the Jews. See the note at 7.35.
  2. 12.23 be given his glory: See the note at 7.39.
  3. 12.31 world: In the Gospel of John “world” sometimes refers to the people who live in this world and to the evil forces that control their lives.
  4. 12.37 miracles: See the note at 2.11.
  5. 12.41 he saw the glory of Jesus and spoke about him: Or “he saw the glory of God and spoke about Jesus.”
  6. 12.48 the last day: See the note at 6.39.
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Psalm 118:19-29

19 Open the gates of justice!
    I will enter and tell the Lord
    how thankful I am.

20 Here is the gate of the Lord!
    Everyone who does right
    may enter this gate.

21 I praise the Lord
    for answering my prayers
    and saving me.
22 The stone that the builders
    tossed aside
    has now become
    the most important stone.

23 The Lord has done this,
    and it is amazing to us.
24 This day belongs to the Lord!
    Let’s celebrate
    and be glad today.
25 We’ll ask the Lord to save us!
    We’ll sincerely ask the Lord
    to let us win.

26 God bless the one who comes
    in the name of the Lord!
    We praise you from here
    in the house of the Lord.

27 The Lord is our God,
    and he has given us light!
Start the celebration!
    March with palm branches
    all the way to the altar.[a]

28 The Lord is my God!
    I will praise him and tell him
    how thankful I am.

29 Tell the Lord
    how thankful you are,
    because he is kind
    and always merciful.


  1. 118.27 Start. . . altar: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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Proverbs 15:27-28

27 Being greedy causes trouble
    for your family,
    but you protect yourself
    by refusing bribes.
28 Good people think
    before they answer,
    but the wicked speak evil
    without ever thinking.

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