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Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:3; Psalms 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Judges 19-20

19 In those days, when there was no king in Isra’el, there was a certain Levi living on the far side of the Efrayim hills who took a woman from Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah to be his concubine. But his concubine was unfaithful to him and left him to go to her father’s house at Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah, where she stayed for some time, four months. Then her husband went after her to persuade her to return; he had his servant with him and a pair of donkeys. She brought him into her father’s house; and when the girl’s father saw him, he was glad to meet him. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, kept him there; so he remained with him three days; they ate, drank and stayed there. On the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to leave. But the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “You’ll feel better if you have a bite of food before you leave.” So the two of them sat down and ate and drank together. Then the girl’s father said to the man, “Please stay one more night, and have a good time.” The man rose to leave, but his father-in-law pressed him, so he stayed there again. The morning of the fifth day, he got up early to leave; but the girl’s father said, “Why don’t you have something to eat, and leave this afternoon?” So the two men ate. When the man got up to leave with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look, it’s almost evening. Please stay the night — you see that it’s getting late. Stay on, enjoy yourself, and tomorrow get going early on your way home.” 10 But the man wouldn’t stay that night; so he got up and left with his concubine and his two saddled donkeys; and they arrived at Y’vus, also known as Yerushalayim.

11 By the time they arrived at Y’vus it was nearly evening; and the servant said to his master, “Why don’t we go on into this city of the Y’vusi and stay there?” 12 But his master said to him, “We won’t go into a city of foreigners which doesn’t belong to the people of Isra’el. We’ll go on across to Giv‘ah.” 13 He said to his servant, “Let’s go, and we’ll get to one of those places; we’ll stay in Giv‘ah or Ramah.” 14 So they went on and kept traveling, until the sun set on them near Giv‘ah, which belongs to Binyamin. 15 There they turned off the road to go and stay in Giv‘ah. He went in and sat down in the city’s open space, since no one had offered his home for them to spend the night.

16 In time, at nightfall, an old man came from his work in the field. He was from the Efrayim hills and was staying in Giv‘ah, although the residents were of Binyamin. 17 The old man looked up, saw the traveler in the city’s open space and said, “Where are you going, and where are you coming from?” 18 He replied, “We’re crossing from Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah to the far side of the Efrayim hills. That’s where I’m from. I went to Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah, and now I’m going to the house of Adonai; but there’s no one here who will let me spend the night in his home. 19 We have straw and food for our donkeys, also bread and wine for me, my concubine and the boy there with your servants; we don’t need anything else.” 20 The old man said, “You’re welcome to stay with me. I’ll take care of anything you lack; just don’t spend the night out in the open.” 21 So he brought him home and gave food to the donkeys. Then they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

22 They were relaxing, when suddenly some men from the city, good-for-nothings, surrounded the house and began beating at the door. “Send out the man who came home with you!” they demanded of the old man whose house it was. “We want to have sex with him!” 23 The man whose house it was went out and said to them, “No, my brothers, please don’t do anything as wrong as this. Look, he’s just a guest in my house; don’t do this degrading thing. 24 Here’s my daughter, who’s a virgin, and his concubine. I’ll bring them out. Mistreat them, do what you want to them, but don’t do such a degrading thing to this man.” 25 However, the men wouldn’t listen to him; so the man took hold of his concubine and brought her out to them. They raped her and abused her all night long; only at dawn did they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her husband was, and she was still there when it grew light. 27 When her husband got up, opened the doors of the house, and went out to go on his way, he saw the woman lying there with her hands stretched out toward the door. 28 He said to her, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer. So he loaded her body on the donkey and began his trip home. 29 On arrival at his house, he got a knife, took hold of his concubine’s body, cut her up into twelve pieces, and sent them to all the regions of Isra’el. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “From the day the people of Isra’el came up from Egypt until now, never has such a thing happened or been seen. What are we going to do about it? Talk it over and decide.”

20 All the people of Isra’el came out, from Dan to Be’er-sheva, including Gil‘ad; the community assembled with one accord before Adonai at Mitzpah. The leaders of all the tribes of Isra’el presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. Now the people of Binyamin heard that the people of Isra’el had gone up to Mitzpah. The people of Isra’el said, “Tell us, how was this crime committed?” The Levi, the husband of the murdered woman, answered, “I came to Giv‘ah, which belongs to Binyamin, I and my concubine, to stay the night; and the men in Giv‘ah attacked me and surrounded the house I was staying in at night. They wanted to kill me, but instead they raped my concubine to death. I took my concubine’s body, cut it into pieces and sent them throughout all the territories belonging to Isra’el ; because they committed a shockingly obscene and degrading crime in Isra’el. Look, you are all people of Isra’el. So discuss what to do, and give your advice here and now.”

All the people stood up in agreement and said, “None of us will go home to his tent or his house. What we will do now to Giv‘ah is this: we’ll draw lots, 10 we’ll take ten men out of each hundred throughout all the tribes of Isra’el, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to collect food for the others. When these come to Giv‘ah in Binyamin, they will avenge the crime that was committed.” 11 Thus all the men of Isra’el, joined together in complete agreement, assembled to attack the city.

12 The tribes of Isra’el sent men throughout all the tribe of Binyamin with this message: “What is this crime committed by some of your people? 13 Turn over these good-for-nothings who are in Giv‘ah at once, so that we can execute them and rid Isra’el of such evil.” But the people of Binyamin refused to obey the order of their kinsmen the people of Isra’el. 14 Instead the people of Binyamin gathered themselves together from their cities and went to Giv‘ah to fight the people of Isra’el. 15 On that day there were 26,000 men from Binyamin armed with swords, besides the inhabitants of Giv‘ah, who numbered 700 specially chosen men. 16 All of these 700 specially picked men were left-handed, and every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 The army of Isra’el, apart from Binyamin, numbered 400,000 men with swords; they were all experienced soldiers. 18 The army of Isra’el began by going up to Beit-El, where they asked God, “Who should go up first to attack the army of Binyamin?” Adonai said, “Y’hudah first.” 19 So the army of Isra’el got up in the morning and set up their camp near Giv‘ah. 20 Then the army of Isra’el went out to attack Binyamin and set up their battle line in front of Giv‘ah. 21 But the army of Binyamin came out of Giv‘ah and slaughtered the army of Isra’el; on that day 22,000 men fell. 22 The people, the men of Isra’el, restored their morale and again positioned themselves for battle where they had been the first day. 23 Then the army of Isra’el went up and cried before Adonai until evening. They asked Adonai, “Should we attack our kinsmen the people of Binyamin again? Adonai answered, “Attack them.”

24 So the army of Isra’el went out to attack the army of Binyamin the second day. 25 But Binyamin went out against them from Giv‘ah the second day and slaughtered the army of Isra’el; 18,000 men armed with swords fell. 26 Then the whole army of Isra’el, all the people, went up to Beit-El and cried and sat there in the presence of Adonai. They fasted that day until evening, offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to Adonai, 27 and asked Adonai what to do. The ark for the covenant of God was there at that time; 28 and Pinchas the son of El‘azar, the son of Aharon, stood before it at that time. They asked, “Should we still go out to battle again against our kinsmen the people of Binyamin, or should we stop?” Adonai answered, “Attack, because tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

29 Isra’el hid some men around Giv‘ah, 30 and on the third day Isra’el attacked the army of Binyamin and took a position against Giv‘ah as they had the other times. 31 Again the army of Binyamin went out against the people. Lured away from the city, they began attacking and killing some of the people, as they had the other times — they killed about thirty men of Isra’el in the countryside and on the roads, one of which goes up to Beit-El and the other to Giv‘ah. 32 The army of Binyamin said, “They’re defeated, just as before.” But the army of Isra’el said, “Let’s run off and draw them away from the city onto the roads.” 33 All the men of Isra’el left their places and took up a battle position at Ba‘al-Tamar, while the other Isra’el men burst out of their hiding places at Ma‘areh-Geva. 34 Ten thousand men chosen out of all Isra’el came over to attack Giv‘ah, and the combat was intense. But the army of Binyamin didn’t know that they were about to be defeated. 35 For Adonai routed Binyamin in Isra’el’s presence; that day the army of Isra’el destroyed 25,100 men of Binyamin, all of whom carried swords; 36 and the people of Binyamin realized that they had been beaten.

The men of Isra’el, trusting the ones they had put in place to ambush Binyamin, gave ground to the men of Binyamin. 37 Then the men who had been lying in wait rushed in on Giv‘ah, drew their swords and destroyed the city. 38 The army of Isra’el and the ambushers had agreed that as a signal they would make a huge cloud of smoke rise from the city, 39 at which time the men of Isra’el would turn back. When this happened, Binyamin began to attack. They killed about thirty of Isra’el’s men and said, “Clearly we’re defeating them again, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the smoke signal began rising from the city, the men of Binyamin looked behind them and saw the whole city going up to the sky in smoke. 41 Then, as the men of Isra’el reversed direction, those of Binyamin were overcome with terror. When they saw that disaster had come upon them, 42 they turned their backs on the men of Isra’el and made for the road to the desert. But the battle followed them, and those who came out of the city destroyed them from the rear. 43 They surrounded the men of Binyamin, chased them and trampled them down across from Giv‘ah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men of Binyamin fell, all of them experienced soldiers. 45 They turned and fled toward the desert to the Rock of Rimmon; and 5,000 of them were killed on the roads. They followed them to Gid‘om and killed another 2,000. 46 Thus the total number from Binyamin who fell that day was 25,000 experienced, sword-bearing soldiers. 47 But 600 turned and fled toward the desert to the Rock of Rimmon, and lived there four months. 48 The men of Isra’el turned back on the people of Binyamin and killed them with the sword, the entire city, the cattle and everything they found. Moreover, they set on fire all the cities they encountered.

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John 3:22-4:3

22 After this, Yeshua and his talmidim went out into the countryside of Y’hudah, where he stayed awhile with them and immersed people. 23 Yochanan too was immersing at Einayim, near Shalem, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to be immersed. 24 (This was before Yochanan’s imprisonment.)

25 A discussion arose between some of Yochanan’s talmidim and a Judean about ceremonial washing; 26 and they came to Yochanan and said to him, “Rabbi, you know the man who was with you on the other side of the Yarden, the one you spoke about? Well, here he is, immersing; and everyone is going to him!” 27 Yochanan answered, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from Heaven. 28 You yourselves can confirm that I did not say I was the Messiah, but that I have been sent ahead of him. 29 The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom’s friend, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must become more important, while I become less important.

31 “He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth is from the earth and talks from an earthly point of view; he who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies about what he has actually seen and heard, yet no one accepts what he says! 33 Whoever does accept what he says puts his seal on the fact that God is true, 34 because the one whom God sent speaks God’s words. For God does not give him the Spirit in limited degree — 35 the Father loves the Son and has put everything in his hands. 36 Whoever trusts in the Son has eternal life. But whoever disobeys the Son will not see that life but remains subject to God’s wrath.”

When Yeshua learned that the P’rushim had heard he was making and immersing more talmidim than Yochanan (although it was not Yeshua himself who immersed but his talmidim), Yeshua left Y’hudah and set out again for the Galil.

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Psalm 104:24-35

24 What variety there is in your works, Adonai!
How many [of them there are]!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creations.

25 Look at the sea, so great, so wide!
It teems with countless creatures,
living beings, both large and small.
26 The ships are there, sailing to and fro;
Livyatan, which you formed to play there.

27 All of them look to you
to give them their food when they need it.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are well satisfied.
29 If you hide your face, they vanish;
if you hold back their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
30 If you send out your breath, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of Adonai last forever!
May Adonai rejoice in his works!
32 When he looks at the earth, it trembles;
when he touches the mountains, they pour out smoke.
33 I will sing to Adonai as long as I live,
sing praise to my God all my life.
34 May my musings be pleasing to him;
I will rejoice in Adonai.
35 May sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more!
Bless Adonai, my soul!


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Proverbs 14:22-24

22 Won’t those who plot evil go astray?
    But grace and truth are for those who plan good.

23 In all work there is profit,
    but mere talk produces only poverty.
24 The crown of the wise is their riches,
    but the folly of fools is just that — folly.

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Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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