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Judges 21:1- Ruth 1:22; John 4:4-42; Psalms 105:1-15; Proverbs 14:25 (Good News Translation)

Judges 21 - Ruth 1

Wives for the Tribe of Benjamin

21 When the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, they had made a solemn promise to the Lord: “None of us will allow a Benjaminite to marry a daughter of ours.” So now the people of Israel went to Bethel and sat there in the presence of God until evening. Loudly and bitterly they mourned: Lord God of Israel, why has this happened? Why is the tribe of Benjamin about to disappear from Israel?”

Early the next morning the people got up and built an altar there. They offered fellowship sacrifices and burned some sacrifices whole. They asked, “Is there any group out of all the tribes of Israel that did not go to the gathering in the Lord's presence at Mizpah?” (They had taken a solemn oath that anyone who had not gone to Mizpah would be put to death.) The people of Israel felt sorry for their brothers the Benjaminites and said, “Today Israel has lost one of its tribes. What shall we do to provide wives for the men of Benjamin who are left? We have made a solemn promise to the Lord that we will not give them any of our daughters.”

When they asked if there was some group out of the tribes of Israel that had not gone to the gathering at Mizpah, they found out that no one from Jabesh in Gilead had been there; at the roll call of the army no one from Jabesh had responded. 10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand of their bravest men with the orders, “Go and kill everyone in Jabesh, including women and children. 11 Kill all the males, and also every woman who is not a virgin.” 12 They found four hundred young virgins among the people in Jabesh, so they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole assembly sent word to the Benjaminites who were at Rimmon Rock and offered to end the war. 14 The Benjaminites came back, and the other Israelites gave them the young women from Jabesh whom they had not killed. But there were not enough of them.

15 The people felt sorry for the Benjaminites because the Lord had broken the unity of the tribes of Israel. 16 So the leaders of the gathering said, “There are no more women in the tribe of Benjamin. What shall we do to provide wives for the men who are left? 17 Israel must not lose one of its twelve tribes. We must find a way for the tribe of Benjamin to survive, 18 but we cannot allow them to marry our daughters, because we have put a curse on anyone who allows a Benjaminite to marry one of our daughters.”

19 Then they thought, “The yearly festival of the Lord at Shiloh is coming soon.” (Shiloh is north of Bethel, south of Lebonah, and east of the road between Bethel and Shechem.) 20 They told the Benjaminites, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to dance during the festival, you come out of the vineyards. Each of you take a wife by force from among them and take her back to the territory of Benjamin with you. 22 If their fathers or brothers come to you[a] and protest, you[b] can tell them, ‘Please let us keep them, because we did not take them from you in battle to be our wives. And since you did not give them to us, you are not guilty of breaking your promise.’”

23 The Benjaminites did this; each of them chose a wife from the young women who were dancing at Shiloh and carried her away. Then they went back to their own territory, rebuilt their towns, and lived there. 24 At the same time the rest of the Israelites left, and every man went back to his own tribe and family and to his own property.

25 There was no king in Israel at that time. Everyone did whatever they pleased.

Elimelech and His Family Move to Moab

1-2 Long ago, in the days before Israel had a king, there was a famine in the land. So a man named Elimelech, who belonged to the clan of Ephrath and who lived in Bethlehem in Judah, went with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion to live for a while in the country of Moab. While they were living there, Elimelech died, and Naomi was left alone with her two sons, who married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. About ten years later Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left all alone, without husband or sons.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

Some time later Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops; so she got ready to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law. They started out together to go back to Judah, but on the way she said to them, “Go back home and stay with your mothers. May the Lord be as good to you as you have been to me and to those who have died. And may the Lord make it possible for each of you to marry again and have a home.”

So Naomi kissed them good-bye. But they started crying 10 and said to her, “No! We will go with you to your people.”

11 “You must go back, my daughters,” Naomi answered. “Why do you want to come with me? Do you think I could have sons again for you to marry? 12 Go back home, for I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought there was still hope, and so got married tonight and had sons, 13 would you wait until they had grown up? Would this keep you from marrying someone else? No, my daughters, you know that's impossible. The Lord has turned against me, and I feel very sorry for you.”[c]

14 Again they started crying. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye and went back home,[d] but Ruth held on to her. 15 So Naomi said to her, “Ruth, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god.[e] Go back home with her.”

16 But Ruth answered, “Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the Lord's worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death[f] separate me from you!”

18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

19 They went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived, the whole town became excited, and the women there exclaimed, “Is this really Naomi?”

20 “Don't call me Naomi,” she answered; “call me Marah,[g] because Almighty God has made my life bitter. 21 When I left here, I had plenty, but the Lord has brought me back without a thing. Why call me Naomi when the Lord Almighty has condemned me and sent me trouble?”

22 This, then, was how Naomi came back from Moab with Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the barley harvest was just beginning.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 21:22 One ancient translation you; Hebrew us.
  2. Judges 21:22 Probable text you; Hebrew we.
  3. Ruth 1:13 sorry for you; or bitter about what has happened to you.
  4. Ruth 1:14 One ancient translation and went back home; Hebrew does not have these words.
  5. Ruth 1:15 god; or gods.
  6. Ruth 1:17 anything but death; or even death.
  7. Ruth 1:20 In Hebrew Naomi means “pleasant” and Marah means “bitter.”
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John 4:4-42

on his way there he had to go through Samaria.

In Samaria he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.)

The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)[a]

10 Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you don't have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water? 12 It was our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well; he and his children and his flocks all drank from it. You don't claim to be greater than Jacob, do you?”

13 Jesus answered, “Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, 14 but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”

15 “Sir,” the woman said, “give me that water! Then I will never be thirsty again, nor will I have to come here to draw water.”

16 “Go and call your husband,” Jesus told her, “and come back.”

17 “I don't have a husband,” she answered.

Jesus replied, “You are right when you say you don't have a husband. 18 You have been married to five men, and the man you live with now is not really your husband. You have told me the truth.”

19 “I see you are a prophet, sir,” the woman said. 20 “My Samaritan ancestors worshiped God on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where we should worship God.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the time will come when people will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans do not really know whom you worship; but we Jews know whom we worship, because it is from the Jews that salvation comes. 23 But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God's Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants. 24 God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.”

25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.”

26 Jesus answered, “I am he, I who am talking with you.”

27 At that moment Jesus' disciples returned, and they were greatly surprised to find him talking with a woman. But none of them said to her, “What do you want?” or asked him, “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, 29 “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?” 30 So they left the town and went to Jesus.

31 In the meantime the disciples were begging Jesus, “Teacher, have something to eat!”

32 But he answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 So the disciples started asking among themselves, “Could somebody have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” Jesus said to them, “is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do. 35 You have a saying, ‘Four more months and then the harvest.’ But I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested! 36 The one who reaps the harvest is being paid and gathers the crops for eternal life; so the one who plants and the one who reaps will be glad together. 37 For the saying is true, ‘Someone plants, someone else reaps.’ 38 I have sent you to reap a harvest in a field where you did not work; others worked there, and you profit from their work.”

39 Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them, and Jesus stayed there two days.

41 Many more believed because of his message, 42 and they told the woman, “We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Savior of the world.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 4:9 Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use; or Jews will have nothing to do with Samaritans.
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Psalm 105:1-15

God and His People

105 Give thanks to the Lord,
proclaim his greatness;
    tell the nations what he has done.
Sing praise to the Lord;
    tell the wonderful things he has done.
Be glad that we belong to him;
    let all who worship him rejoice.
Go to the Lord for help;
    and worship him continually.
5-6 You descendants of Abraham, his servant;
    you descendants of Jacob, the man he chose:
remember the miracles that God performed
    and the judgments that he gave.

The Lord is our God;
    his commands are for all the world.
He will keep his covenant forever,
    his promises for a thousand generations.
He will keep the agreement he made with Abraham
    and his promise to Isaac.
10 The Lord made a covenant with Jacob,
    one that will last forever.
11 “I will give you the land of Canaan,” he said.
    “It will be your own possession.”

12 God's people were few in number,
    strangers in the land of Canaan.
13 They wandered from country to country,
    from one kingdom to another.
14 But God let no one oppress them;
    to protect them, he warned the kings:
15 “Don't harm my chosen servants;
    do not touch my prophets.”

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Proverbs 14:25

25 A witness saves lives when he tells the truth; when he tells lies, he betrays people.

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