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Jeremiah 39:1-41:18; 2 Timothy 1:1-18; Psalms 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 26:1-2 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeremiah 39-41

Jerusalem Is Captured by the Babylonians

39 1-3 In the tenth month[a] of the ninth year that Zedekiah[b] was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar[c] and the Babylonian army began their attack on Jerusalem. They kept the city surrounded for a year and a half. Then, on the ninth day of the fourth month[d] of the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king, they broke through the city walls.

After Jerusalem was captured,[e] Nebuchadnezzar’s highest officials,[f] including Nebo Sarsechim[g] and Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir,[h] took their places at Middle Gate to show they were in control of the city.[i]

When King Zedekiah and his troops saw that Jerusalem had been captured, they tried to escape from the city that same night. They went to the king’s garden, where they slipped through the gate between the two city walls[j] and headed toward the Jordan River valley. But the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah and took him to the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial, then found him guilty and gave orders for him to be punished. Zedekiah’s sons were killed there in front of him, and so were the leaders of Judah’s ruling families. His eyes were poked out, and he was put in chains, so he could be dragged off to Babylonia.

Meanwhile, the Babylonian army had burned the houses in Jerusalem, including[k] the royal palace, and they had broken down the city walls. Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian officer in charge of the guards, led away everyone from the city as prisoners, even those who had deserted to Nebuchadnezzar. 10 Only the poorest people who owned no land were left behind in Judah, and Nebuzaradan gave them fields and vineyards.

11 Nebuchadnezzar had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan: 12 “Find Jeremiah and keep him safe. Take good care of him and do whatever he asks.”

13 Nebuzaradan, Nebushazban, Nergal Sharezer, and the other officers of King Nebuchadnezzar 14 sent some of their troops to bring me from the courtyard of the royal palace guards. They put me in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam[l] and told him to take me to my home. And so I was allowed to stay with the people who remained in Judah.

The Lord Promises To Protect Ebedmelech

15 While I was a prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guard, the Lord told me to say 16 to Ebedmelech from Ethiopia:[m]

I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I warned everyone that I would bring disaster, not prosperity, to this city. Now very soon I will do what I said, and you will see it happen. 17-18 But because you trusted me,[n] I will protect you from the officials of Judah, and when Judah is struck by disaster, I will rescue you and keep you alive. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jeremiah Is Set Free

40 I was led away in chains along with the people of Judah and Jerusalem who were being taken to Babylonia. Nebuzaradan was the officer in charge of the guard, and while we were stopped at Ramah, the Lord had him set me free. Nebuzaradan said:

Jeremiah, the Lord your God warned your people that he would bring disaster on this land. But they continued to rebel against him, and now he has punished them just as he threatened.

Today I am taking the chains off your wrists and setting you free! If you want to, you can come with me to Babylonia, and I will see that you are taken care of. Or if you decide to stay here, you can go wherever you wish. King Nebuchadnezzar[o] has chosen Gedaliah to rule Judah. You can live near Gedaliah, and he will provide for you, or you can live anywhere else you want.

Nebuzaradan gave me a supply of food, then let me leave. I decided to stay with the people of Judah, and I went to live near Gedaliah in Mizpah.

The Harvest Is Brought In

7-8 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, together with Johanan and Jonathan, the two sons of Kareah, had been officers in Judah’s army. And so had Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah from Maacah. They and their troops had been stationed outside Jerusalem and had not been captured. They heard that Gedaliah had been chosen to rule Judah, and that the poorest men, women, and children had not been taken away to Babylonia. So they went to Mizpah and met with their new ruler.

Gedaliah told them, “There’s no need to be afraid of the Babylonians. Everything will be fine, if we live peacefully and obey King Nebuchadnezzar.[p] 10 I will stay here at Mizpah and meet with the Babylonian officials on each of their visits. But you must go back to your towns and bring in the harvest, then store the wine, olive oil, and dried fruit.”

11-12 Earlier, when the Babylonians had invaded Judah, many of the Jews escaped to Moab, Ammon, Edom, and several other countries. But these Jews heard that the king of Babylonia had appointed Gedaliah as ruler of Judah, and that only a few people were left there. So the Jews in these other countries came back to Judah and helped with the grape and fruit harvest, which was especially large that year.

Gedaliah Is Murdered

13 One day, Johanan got together with some of the other men who had been army officers, and they came to Mizpah and met with Gedaliah. 14 They said, “Gedaliah, we came to warn you that King Baalis of Ammon hired Ishmael to murder you!”

Gedaliah refused to believe them, 15 so Johanan went to Gedaliah privately and said, “Let me kill Ishmael. No one will find out who did it. There are only a few people left in Judah, but they are depending on you. And if you are murdered, they will be scattered or killed.”

16 Gedaliah answered, “Don’t kill Ishmael! What you’ve said about him can’t be true.”

41 But in the seventh month,[q] Ishmael[r] came to Mizpah with ten of his soldiers. He had been one of the king’s officials and was a member of the royal family. Ishmael and his men were invited to eat with Gedaliah. During the meal, Ishmael and his soldiers killed Gedaliah, the man chosen as ruler of Judah by the king of Babylonia. Then they killed the Jews who were with Gedaliah, and they also killed the Babylonian soldiers who were there.

The next day, the murders had still not been discovered, when eighty men came down the road toward Mizpah from the towns of Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. They were on their way to the temple to offer gifts of grain and incense to the Lord. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, because they were mourning.

Ishmael went out the town gate to meet them. He pretended to be weeping, and he asked them to come into Mizpah to meet with Gedaliah, the ruler of Judah. But after they were inside the town, Ishmael had his soldiers kill them and throw their bodies into a well. He let ten of the men live, because they offered to give him supplies of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey they had hidden in a field. The well that he filled with bodies had been dug by King Asa[s] of Judah to store rainwater, because he was afraid that King Baasha[t] of Israel might surround Mizpah and keep the people from getting to their water supply.

10 Nebuzaradan, King Nebuchadnezzar’s[u] officer in charge of the guard, had left King Zedekiah’s[v] daughters and many other people at Mizpah, and he had put Gedaliah in charge of them. But now Ishmael took them all prisoner and led them toward Ammon, on the other side of the Jordan River.

11 Johanan and the other army officers heard what Ishmael had done. 12 So they and their troops chased Ishmael and caught up with him at the large pit at Gibeon. 13 When Ishmael’s prisoners saw Johanan and the officers, they were happy 14 and turned around and ran toward Johanan. 15 But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped and went to Ammon.

Johanan Decides To Take the People to Egypt

16 Johanan and the officers had rescued the women, children, and royal officials that Ishmael had taken prisoner after killing Gedaliah. Johanan led the people from Gibeon 17-18 toward Egypt. They wanted to go there, because they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they found out that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the ruler appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar.[w]

The People Ask Jeremiah To Pray for Them

On the way to Egypt, we[x] stopped at the town of Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem.

Footnotes:

  1. 39.1-3 the tenth month: Tebeth, the tenth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-December to mid-January.
  2. 39.1-3 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  3. 39.1-3 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  4. 39.1-3 fourth month: Tammuz, the fourth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-June to mid-July.
  5. 39.1-3 After Jerusalem was captured: This phrase is from 38.28.
  6. 39.1-3 highest officials: The Hebrew text gives Nergal Sharezer’s title as “the Rabmag,” and Nebo Sarsechim’s title as “the Rabsaris,” but the exact meaning of the titles and the duties of these offices are not known.
  7. 39.1-3 Nebo Sarsechim: Probably another form of the name Nebushazban (see verse 13).
  8. 39.1-3 Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Probably Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law, who was king of Babylonia 560-556 B.C. It is also possible that the Hebrew text mentions a second official named Nergal Sharezer.
  9. 39.1-3 took their places. . . control of the city: The rulers and leaders often sat in the broad open area at the gate of a city to take care of official business and hold trials.
  10. 39.4 the gate between the two city walls: The construction of the city walls at this point is not known.
  11. 39.8 the houses in Jerusalem, including: Or “the temple and.”
  12. 39.14 son of Ahikam: Hebrew “son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan.”
  13. 39.16 Ethiopia: See the note at 38.7,8.
  14. 39.17,18 you trusted me: See 38.7-13, where Ebedmelech helped Jeremiah.
  15. 40.5,9 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  16. 40.5,9 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  17. 41.1 seventh month: Tishri, also called Ethanim, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-September to mid-October.
  18. 41.1 Ishmael: Hebrew “Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama.”
  19. 41.9 Asa: Ruled 911-870 B.C.
  20. 41.9 Baasha: Ruled 909-886 B.C.
  21. 41.10 Nebuchadnezzar’s: See the note at 21.2.
  22. 41.10 Zedekiah’s: See the note at 1.3.
  23. 41.17,18 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  24. 41.17,18 we: The group of people included Jeremiah, since he had been staying with Gedaliah near Mizpah (see 40.6).
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2 Timothy 1

From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.

God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible.

Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!

Do Not Be Ashamed of the Lord

Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because that will make me truly happy. I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure that you have it as well. So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you.[a] Use it well. God’s Spirit[b] doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.

Don’t be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news.

God saved us and chose us
    to be his holy people.
We did nothing
    to deserve this,
but God planned it
    because he is so kind.
Even before time began
God planned for Christ Jesus
    to show kindness to us.

10 Now Christ Jesus has come
to show us the kindness
    of God.
Christ our Savior defeated death
and brought us
    the good news.
It shines like a light
and offers life
    that never ends.

11 My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher.[c] 12 That’s why I am suffering now. But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with.[d] 13 Now follow the example of the correct teaching I gave you, and let the faith and love of Christ Jesus be your model. 14 You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you.

15 You know that everyone in Asia has turned against me, especially Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16 I pray that the Lord will be kind to the family of Onesiphorus. He often cheered me up and wasn’t ashamed of me when I was put in jail. 17 Then after he arrived in Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. 18 I pray that the Lord Jesus will ask God to show mercy to Onesiphorus on the day of judgment. You know how much he helped me in Ephesus.

Footnotes:

  1. 1.6 when I placed my hands on you: Church leaders placed their hands on people who were being appointed to preach or teach (see 1 Timothy 4.14).
  2. 1.7 God’s Spirit: Or “God.”
  3. 1.11 teacher: Some manuscripts add “of the Gentiles.”
  4. 1.12 what he has trusted me with: Or “what I have trusted him with.”
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Psalm 90-91

BOOK IV

(Psalms 90-106)

(A prayer by Moses, the man of God.)

God Is Eternal

90 Our Lord, in all generations
    you have been our home.
You have always been God—
    long before the birth
    of the mountains,
    even before you created
    the earth and the world.

At your command we die
    and turn back to dust,
    but a thousand years
    mean nothing to you!
They are merely a day gone by
    or a few hours in the night.

You bring our lives to an end
    just like a dream.
We are merely tender grass
    that sprouts and grows
in the morning,
    but dries up by evening.
Your furious anger frightens
    and destroys us,
and you know all of our sins,
    even those we do in secret.

Your anger is a burden
each day we live,
    then life ends like a sigh.
10 We can expect seventy years,
or maybe eighty,
    if we are healthy,
    but even our best years
    bring trouble and sorrow.
Suddenly our time is up,
    and we disappear.
11 No one knows the full power
    of your furious anger,
    but it is as great as the fear
    that we owe to you.
12 Teach us to use wisely
    all the time we have.

13 Help us, Lord! Don’t wait!
    Pity your servants.
14 When morning comes,
    let your love satisfy
    all our needs.
Then we can celebrate
    and be glad for what time
    we have left.
15 Make us happy for as long
    as you caused us trouble
    and sorrow.
16 Do wonderful things for us,
    your servants,
    and show your mighty power
    to our children.
17 Our Lord and our God,
    treat us with kindness
    and let all go well for us.
    Please let all go well!

The Lord Is My Fortress

91 Live under the protection
    of God Most High
    and stay in the shadow
    of God All-Powerful.
Then you will say to the Lord,
“You are my fortress,
    my place of safety;
    you are my God,
    and I trust you.”

The Lord will keep you safe
from secret traps
    and deadly diseases.
He will spread his wings
over you
    and keep you secure.
    His faithfulness is like
    a shield or a city wall.[a]

You won’t need to worry
about dangers at night
    or arrows during the day.
And you won’t fear diseases
that strike in the dark
    or sudden disaster at noon.

You will not be harmed,
    though thousands fall
    all around you.
And with your own eyes
you will see
    the punishment
    of the wicked.
The Lord Most High
    is your fortress.
Run to him for safety,
10     and no terrible disasters
    will strike you
    or your home.

11 God will command his angels
to protect you
    wherever you go.
12 They will carry you
    in their arms,
    and you won’t hurt your feet
    on the stones.
13 You will overpower
the strongest lions
    and the most deadly snakes.

14 The Lord says,
“If you love me
    and truly know who I am,
    I will rescue you
    and keep you safe.
15 When you are in trouble,
    call out to me.
I will answer and be there
    to protect and honor you.
16     You will live a long life
    and see my saving power.”

Footnotes:

  1. 91.4 city wall: One possible meaning for a difficult Hebrew word; it may possibly mean some kind of shield or weapon.
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Proverbs 26:1-2

Don’t Be a Fool

26 Expecting snow in summer
    and rain in the dry season
    makes more sense
    than honoring a fool.
A curse you don’t deserve
will take wings
    and fly away
    like a sparrow or a swallow.

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