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Leviticus 25:47-27:13

47 Even if some of you Israelites become so much in debt that you must sell yourselves to foreigners in your country, 48 you still have the right to be set free by a relative, such as a brother 49 or uncle or cousin, or some other family member. In fact, if you ever get enough money, you may buy your own freedom 50 by paying your owner for the number of years you would still be a slave before the next Year of Celebration. 51-52 The longer the time until then, the more you will have to pay. 53 And even while you are the slaves of foreigners in your own country, your people must make sure that you are not mistreated. 54 If you cannot gain your freedom in any of these ways, both you and your children will still be set free in the Year of Celebration. 55 People of Israel, I am the Lord your God, and I brought you out of Egypt to be my own servants.

Blessings for Obeying the Lord

The Lord said:

26 I am the Lord your God! So don’t make or worship any sort of idols or images. Respect the Sabbath and honor the place where I am worshiped, because I am the Lord.

Faithfully obey my laws, and I will send rain to make your crops grow and your trees produce fruit. Your harvest of grain and grapes will be so abundant, that you won’t know what to do with it all. You will eat and be satisfied, and you will live in safety. I will bless your country with peace, and you will rest without fear. I will wipe out the dangerous animals and protect you from enemy attacks. You will chase and destroy your enemies, even if there are only five of you and a hundred of them, or only a hundred of you and ten thousand of them. I will treat you with such kindness that your nation will grow strong, and I will also keep my promises to you. 10 Your barns will overflow with grain each year. 11 I will live among you and never again look on you with disgust. 12 I will walk with you—I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, and I rescued you from Egypt, so that you would never again be slaves. I have set you free; now walk with your heads held high.

Punishment for Disobeying the Lord

The Lord said:

14-15 If you disobey me and my laws, and if you break our agreement, 16 I will punish you terribly, and you will be ruined. You will be struck with incurable diseases and with fever that leads to blindness and depression. Your enemies will eat the crops you plant, 17 and I will turn from you and let you be destroyed by your attackers. You will even run at the very rumor of attack. 18 Then, if you still refuse to obey me, I will punish you seven times for each of your sins, 19 until your pride is completely crushed. I will hold back the rain, so the sky above you will be like iron, and the ground beneath your feet will be like copper. 20 All of your hard work will be for nothing—and there will be no harvest of grain or fruit.

21 If you keep rebelling against me, I’ll punish you seven times worse, just as your sins deserve! 22 I’ll send wild animals to attack you, and they will gobble down your children and livestock. So few of you will be left that your roads will be deserted.

23 If you remain my enemies after this, 24 I’ll remain your enemy and punish you even worse. 25 War will break out because you broke our agreement, and if you escape to your walled cities, I’ll punish you with horrible diseases, and you will be captured by your enemies. 26 You will have such a shortage of bread, that ten women will be able to bake their bread in the same oven. Each of you will get only a few crumbs, and you will go hungry.

27 Then if you don’t stop rebelling, 28 I’ll really get furious and punish you terribly for your sins! 29 In fact, you will be so desperate for food that you will eat your own children. 30 I’ll destroy your shrines and tear down your incense altars, leaving your dead bodies piled on top of your idols. And you will be disgusting to me. 31 I’ll wipe out your towns and your places of worship and will no longer be pleased with the smell of your sacrifices. 32 Your land will become so desolate that even your enemies who settle there will be shocked when they see it. 33 After I destroy your towns and ruin your land with war, I’ll scatter you among the nations.

34-35 While you are prisoners in foreign lands, your own land will enjoy years of rest and refreshment, as it should have done each seventh year when you lived there. 36-37 In the land of your enemies, you will tremble at the rustle of a leaf, as though it were a sword. And you will become so weak that you will stumble and fall over each other, even when no one is chasing you. 38 Many of you will die in foreign lands, 39 and others of you will waste away in sorrow as the result of your sins and the sins of your ancestors.

40-41 Then suppose you realize that I turned against you and brought you to the land of your enemies because both you and your ancestors had stubbornly sinned against me. If you humbly confess what you have done and start living right, 42 I’ll keep the promise I made to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will bless your land 43 and let it rest during the time that you are in a foreign country, paying for your rebellion against me and my laws.

44 No matter what you have done, I am still the Lord your God, and I will never completely reject you or become absolutely disgusted with you there in the land of your enemies. 45 While nations watched, I rescued your ancestors from Egypt so that I would be their God. Yes, I am your Lord, and I will never forget our agreement.

46 Moses was on Mount Sinai when the Lord gave him these laws and teachings for the people of Israel.

Making Promises to the Lord

27 The Lord told Moses to say to the community of Israel:

If you ever want to free someone who has been promised to me, 3-7 you may do so by paying the following amounts, weighed according to the official standards:

fifty pieces of silver for men ages twenty to sixty,
and thirty pieces for women;
twenty pieces of silver for young men
ages five to twenty,
and ten pieces for young women;
fifteen pieces of silver for men
ages sixty and above and ten pieces for women;
five pieces of silver for boys
ages one month to five years, and three pieces for girls.

If you have promised to give someone to me and can’t afford to pay the full amount for that person’s release, you will be taken to a priest, and he will decide how much you can afford.

If you promise to sacrifice an animal to me, it becomes holy, and there is no way you can set it free. 10 If you try to substitute any other animal, no matter how good, for the one you promised, they will both become holy and must be sacrificed. 11 Donkeys are unfit for sacrifice, so if you promise me a donkey,[a] you must bring it to the priest, 12 and let him determine its value. 13 But if you want to buy it back, you must pay an additional twenty percent.

Footnotes:

  1. 27.11 Donkeys. . . donkey: The Hebrew text has “If you promise me an unclean animal,” which probably refers to a donkey (see Exodus 13.13; 34.20).
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Mark 10:32-52

Jesus Again Tells about His Death

32 The disciples were confused as Jesus led them toward Jerusalem, and his other followers were afraid. Once again, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and told them what was going to happen to him. He said:

33 We are now on our way to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death and hand him over to foreigners,[a] 34 who will make fun of him and spit on him. They will beat him and kill him. But three days later he will rise to life.

The Request of James and John

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, will you do us a favor?”

36 Jesus asked them what they wanted, 37 and they answered, “When you come into your glory, please let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left.”[b]

38 Jesus told them, “You don’t really know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink from the cup[c] that I must soon drink from or be baptized as I must be baptized?”[d]

39 “Yes, we are!” James and John answered.

Then Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from the cup from which I must drink. And you will be baptized just as I must! 40 But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for God to decide.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with James and John. 42 But Jesus called the disciples together and said:

You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over the people they rule. 43 But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 44 And if you want to be first, you must be everyone’s slave. 45 The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue[e] many people.

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus

46 Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David,[f] have pity on me!” 48 Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him over!”

They called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you.” 50 The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus.

51 Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man answered, “Master,[g] I want to see!”

52 Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”

Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.

Footnotes:

  1. 10.33 foreigners: The Romans who ruled Judea at this time.
  2. 10.37 right side. . . left: The most powerful people in a kingdom sat at the right and left side of the king.
  3. 10.38 drink from the cup: In the Scriptures a “cup” is sometimes used as a symbol of suffering. To “drink from the cup” would be to suffer.
  4. 10.38 as I must be baptized: Baptism is used with the same meaning that “cup” has in this verse.
  5. 10.45 rescue: The Greek word often, though not always, means the payment of a price to free a slave or a prisoner.
  6. 10.47 Son of David: The Jewish people expected the Messiah to be from the family of King David, and for this reason the Messiah was often called the “Son of David.”
  7. 10.51 Master: A Hebrew word that may also mean “Teacher.”
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Psalm 45

(A special psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader. To the tune “Lilies.” A love song.)

For a Royal Wedding

45 My thoughts are filled
with beautiful words
    for the king,
and I will use my voice
    as a writer would use
    pen and ink.

No one is as handsome as you!
    Your words are always kind.
    That is why God
    will always bless you.
Mighty king, glorious ruler,
strap on your sword
    and ride out in splendor!
Win victories for truth
    and mercy and justice.
    Do fearsome things
    with your powerful arm.
Send your sharp arrows
    through enemy hearts
    and make all nations fall
    at your feet.

You are God, and you will rule
    forever as king.[a]
    Your royal power
    brings about justice.
You love justice and hate evil.
    And so, your God chose you
    and made you happier
    than any of your friends.
The sweet aroma of the spices
myrrh, aloes, and cassia,
    covers your royal robes.
You enjoy the music of harps
    in palaces decorated
    with ivory.
Daughters of kings are here,
and your bride stands
    at your right side,
    wearing a wedding gown
    trimmed with pure gold.[b]

10 Bride of the king,
    listen carefully to me.
    Forget your own people
    and your father’s family.
11 The king is your husband,
    so do what he desires.
12 All of the richest people
    from the city of Tyre
    will try to influence you
13     with precious treasures.

Your bride, my king,
    has inward beauty,[c]
    and her wedding gown is woven
    with threads of gold.
14 Wearing the finest garments,
    she is brought to you,
    followed by her young friends,
    the bridesmaids.
15 Everyone is excited,
    as they follow you
    to the royal palace.

16 Your sons and your grandsons
will also be kings
    as your ancestors were.
You will make them the rulers
    everywhere on earth.

17 I will make your name famous
    from now on,
    and you will be praised
    forever and ever.

Footnotes:

  1. 45.6 You. . . king: Or “God has made you king, and you will rule forever.”
  2. 45.9 trimmed with pure gold: Hebrew has “with gold from Ophir,” which may have been in Africa or India. Gold from there was considered the very best.
  3. 45.13 has inward beauty: Or “is dressed in her room.”
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Proverbs 10:22

22 When the Lord blesses you
with riches,
    you have nothing to regret.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. 10.22 When. . . regret: Or “No matter how hard you work, your riches really come From the Lord.”
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