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1 Samuel 14

14 One day Saul’s son, Jonathan, came up with a plan. He turned to his armor-bearer.

Jonathan: Come on. Let’s go down to the Philistines over there.

But he didn’t tell his father what he had decided.

Saul remained outside Gibeah under the pomegranate tree at Migron with about 600 of his soldiers. Ahijah, the son of Ahitub and nephew of Ichabod (who was a son of Phinehas, who was born to Eli, who had been the priest of the Eternal One in Shiloh), was also there with Saul, bearing the priestly vest. None of the people knew that Jonathan had gone.

4-5 The mountain pass that Jonathan took to reach the Philistines was bordered on either end by rocky crags. The one on the north in front of Michmash was called Bozez, and the other on the south near Geba was called Seneh.

Jonathan (to his armor-bearer): Come on! Let’s cross over to this force of Philistines, these uncircumcised, these idol-worshipers. Maybe the Eternal One will fight for us. If He wants to save us, then no force is too big or too small.

Armor-bearer: Do whatever you think is right, and I will follow you. My decision will be your decision.

Jonathan: Now we will approach the Philistines and let them see us. If they say, “Wait there. We are coming to you,” then we will stay where we are, and we will not advance. 10 But if they say, “Come here,” then we will go to them, and that will be the sign that the Eternal has given us power over them.

11 So they let the Philistines see them, and the Philistine soldiers ridiculed them.

Soldiers: Look! There are some Hebrews climbing out of the holes where they’ve been hiding!

12 They signaled to Jonathan and his armor-bearer.

Soldiers: Come here, you two! Come here, and we’ll show you something!

The Philistines believe no one can climb up to them.

Jonathan (to the armor-bearer): Follow me! The Eternal One has assured victory for Israel.

13 Jonathan scrambled up the steep incline on his hands and feet to the Philistine soldiers, his armor-bearer right behind. When he appeared before the Philistines, they fell before him, and he and his armor-bearer killed them right and left. 14 In that first assault, Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed about 20 men within an area of about a half-acre. 15 When the news of this slaughter spread, it caused trembling in the Philistine camp, among the soldiers in the field, even among the whole nation. The garrison of troops was confused and afraid, and the raiding parties who had terrorized Israel trembled. Soon the earth itself quaked, and an awesome trembling abounded.

16 From a distance Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the multitude of Philistines melting away, rushing back and forth.

Saul (to his soldiers): 17 Call the roll. I want to know who is missing from our camp.

After the roll call, they realized Jonathan and his armor-bearer were gone.

Saul (to Ahijah the priest): 18 Bring the covenant chest of the True God here.

The chest of God was traveling with the Israelites in those days. 19 While Saul was talking with Ahijah the priest, the raucous commotion in the Philistine ranks grew. He turned to Ahijah the priest who was consulting the oracle of the Urim and Thummim to determine God’s will.

Saul (to the priest): Withdraw your hand!

20 Then Saul rallied all his troops and led them into battle, and there was so great a confusion that no one knew exactly whom they were fighting. 21 Those Hebrews who had been with the Philistines in their camps changed sides and began fighting alongside the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan, 22 and those Israelites who had gone into hiding in the hill country of Ephraim came flooding out of the hills to fight when they heard the Philistines were running away.

23 So the Eternal One gave Israel the victory that day, and the battle passed beyond Beth-aven. 24 But Saul did a foolish thing: he placed all of his troops under an oath that caused added pressure.

Saul: A curse on anyone who stops to eat before evening comes and I have my revenge on my enemies!

So none of the army ate anything, 25 [although they passed through a forest and by a honeycomb] with honey on the ground. 26 The people passed and the honey was dripping out, but none of them reached out for a taste because they were afraid of Saul’s curse. 27 But Jonathan had not heard Saul’s words, so when he passed the honeycomb, he reached out with the staff he was carrying, took some honey, put it in his mouth, and immediately felt refreshed.

Soldier: 28 Your father strictly charged us not to eat anything! He said we would be cursed if we did; that is why we are so weak with hunger.

Jonathan: 29 Then my father has troubled our people for no reason. See how much stronger I am after tasting the honey? 30 Wouldn’t it have been better if our soldiers had been free to eat some of the food they had taken from the enemy? Our slaughter of the Philistines is not as great as it could be because we are too weak to pursue it!

31 So after this victory, after the Israelites had crushed the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, they were faint. 32 When evening came and they were permitted to eat, they seized the spoils of battle, took sheep and oxen and calves, slaughtered them on the ground, and ate them with their blood, which is strictly forbidden by the law of Moses. 33 This was reported to Saul.

Soldier: Look, our soldiers are sinning against the Eternal One by eating the meat together with the blood of those animals!

Saul: You should not have done this. Roll a large stone before me here so I can prepare an altar. 34 Go among the people and tell them, “Bring your oxen or sheep; kill them here, and eat, but do not sin against the Eternal by eating the meat together with the blood.”

So all the soldiers brought their own animals that night and slaughtered them at the stone altar. 35 This was the first altar Saul built to the Eternal One.

Saul: 36 Let us go down against the Philistine forces tonight and attack them until morning, until not one of them is left alive.

His followers encouraged him to do as he wished, everyone that is, except for the priest.

Priest (protesting): Let us consult the True God.

So Saul and his priest come before the Lord and perform the appropriate rituals so that he can know the will of God.

Saul (to God): 37 Do You want me to go after the Philistines tonight? If we go, will You give Israel victory?

But God did not answer him that day. 38 So he gathered the people together.

Saul: Come now, all you leaders of the land. Let us determine where we have sinned today. 39 For as the Eternal One—the God who delivers Israel—lives, wherever the sin lies, even in my son Jonathan, that person will surely die!

No one among the people answered him. 40 So Saul separated himself and Jonathan from the others, ordering the people to stand on one side and he and Jonathan on the other.

People: Do as you please.

41 Then Saul asked the Eternal One, the God of Israel, to reveal the truth. [The priest consulted the stones of the divine oracle to determine whether the sin was committed by the common people of Israel or by someone in his royal family.] The oracle indicated that the family of Saul, not the people of Israel, was at fault.

Saul (to the priest): 42 Cast again to see whether it is me or my son Jonathan.

The results indicated Jonathan.

Saul (to Jonathan): 43 What have you done?

Jonathan: I certainly tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff I carried. I am ready to die.

Saul: 44 May the True God do the same and more to me, my son. Jonathan, you must die.

But the people step in to protect Jonathan.

People (to Saul): 45 Would you execute Jonathan, the one who won Israel’s great victory? Of course not! As the Eternal One lives, not a hair of his head should be harmed because he worked with the True God today to give us victory!

So the people ransomed Jonathan, and he was not killed. 46 Saul, now humiliated, stopped pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines who were left returned to their own land.

47 When Saul entered into his kingship, he made war with all of Israel’s enemies—Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Throughout his life he fought and condemned them. 48 He fought bravely and defeated the Amalekites and rescued Israel from the onslaught of all those who plundered her.

49 Saul’s three sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua, and his two daughters were Merab (the firstborn) and Michal (the younger). 50 Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz, and the commander of his forces was his cousin Abner, son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish, the father of Saul, and Ner, the father of Abner, were sons of Abiel.

52 The Israelites fought hard against the Philistines throughout Saul’s reign; and whenever Saul found a strong or brave fighter, he added him to his forces.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

John 7:31-53

31 In the crowd, there were many in whom faith was taking hold.

Believers in the Crowd: When the Anointed arrives, will He perform any more signs than this man has done?

32 Some Pharisees were hanging back in the crowd, overhearing the gossip about Him. The temple authorities and the Pharisees took action and sent officers to arrest Jesus.

Jesus: 33 I am going to be with you for a little while longer; then I will return to the One who sent Me. 34 You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me. Where I am, you are unable to come.

Some Jews in the Crowd (to each other): 35 Where could He possibly go that we could not find Him? You don’t think He’s about to go into the Dispersion and teach our people scattered among the Greeks, do you? 36 What do you think He means, “You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me,” and, “Where I am, you are unable to come”?

37 On the last day, the biggest day of the festival, Jesus stood again and spoke aloud.

Jesus: If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. 38 If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.

39 Jesus was referring to the realities of life in the Spirit made available to everyone who believes in Him. But the Spirit had not yet arrived because Jesus had not been glorified.

The Holy Spirit connects believers to the Father and His Son. So any fear about being disconnected from God may be abandoned; the Creator of the Universe dwells within His people, sustains them, and will accomplish the impossible through them.

Some of the Crowd: 40 This man is definitely the Prophet.

Others: 41 This is God’s Anointed, the Liberating King!

Still Others: Is it possible for the Anointed to come from Galilee? 42 Don’t the Hebrew Scriptures say that He will come from Bethlehem, King David’s village, and be a descendant of King David?

43 Rumors and opinions about the true identity of Jesus divided the crowd. 44 Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one dared to touch Him.

45 The officers who had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to take Jesus into custody returned empty-handed, and they faced some hard questions.

Chief Priest and Pharisees: Where is Jesus? Why didn’t you capture Him?

Officers: 46 We listened to Him. Never has a man spoken like this man.

Pharisees: 47 So you have also been led astray? 48 Can you find one leader or educated Pharisee who believes this man? Of course not. 49 This crowd is plagued by ignorance about the teachings of the law; that is why they will listen to Him. That is also why they are under God’s curse.

50 Nicodemus, the Pharisee who approached Jesus under the cloak of darkness, was present when the officers returned empty-handed. He addressed the leaders.

Nicodemus: 51 Does our law condemn someone without first giving him a fair hearing and learning something about him?

Pharisees (ignoring Nicodemus’s legal point): 52 Are you from Galilee too? Look it up for yourself; no real prophet is supposed to come from Galilee.

[53 The time came for everyone to go home.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 109

Psalm 109

For the worship leader. A song of David.

O True God of my every praise, do not keep silent!
My enemies have opened their wicked, deceit-filled mouths and blown their foul breath on me.
They have slandered me with their twisted tongues
And unleashed loathsome words that swirl around me.
Though I have done nothing, they attack me.
Though I offer them love and keep them in my prayers, they accuse me;
Though I treat them well, they answer me with evil;
though I give them love, they reply with a gesture of hatred.

Here’s what they say: Find some evil scoundrel to go after him.
Let’s get some accuser to level charges against him.
At his trial, let’s make sure he is found guilty
so that even his prayers become evidence that convicts him.
Let his days be few, his life cut short;
let another take over his position.
Lay waste to his family—
let his children become orphans and his wife a widow.
10 Let his children wander the streets—his legacy, homeless beggars
scavenging for food,
[driven out of] the rubble and slums where they live.
11 Let the bankers take what is his;
strangers help themselves to what little is left of all he’s earned.
12 Let there be no one around to offer him compassion,
nor anyone to give his fatherless children warmth or kindness.
13 Let his family line come to an end—
no future generations to carry on his name!
14 Let the sins of his fathers be remembered before the Eternal,
and the sins of his mother never be erased.
15 Let their offenses always be before the Eternal
so that the memory of this family is long forgotten by all the people of the earth,
16 Because it never occurred to him to show compassion;
instead, he oppressed the poor, afflicted,
and brokenhearted and sent them to their death.
17 He loved to invoke a curse—so let his curses come back to him.
He preferred not to speak a blessing—so let all blessings be far from him.
18 He wrapped himself with cursing, draped around him like a cape;
may it flood his body like water
and seep into his bones like oil.
19 Let those curses wrap around him like a cloak on a cold night,
like a belt tightly knotted around him every day.
20 Let the Eternal so reward my accusers,
all those who speak and plot evil against me.
21 But You, my Master, the Eternal,
treat me with kindness for the sake of Your name, the good of Your reputation;
because Your unfailing love is so good, O deliver me!
22 You see, I am poor and needy,
and my heart is broken inside me.
23 My life is fading away like a shadow that vanishes in the evening;
I am like a locust easily brushed off the shoulder.
24 I can barely stand; my knees are weak from not eating;
I am haggard and drawn, just skin and bones.
25 I have become a person of contempt to my accusers;
whenever they see me, they taunt me, shaking their heads in disapproval.

26 Help me, Eternal One my God; come to my rescue!
Save me through Your unfailing love.
27 Let everyone know that You are the source of my salvation
that You, Eternal One, have done this mighty work.
28 Let them utter a curse, if they will, but You will speak a blessing;
[when they come to attack,] let them know utter shame.
Then Your servant will celebrate and praise You!
29 Let my enemies be clothed with disgrace and humiliation;
let them be dressed in a robe of their own shame.
30 I will continually give thanks to the Eternal
with the praises of my mouth;
I will praise Him in the company of many.
31 For He always stands in support of the afflicted and needy
to rescue their souls from those who judge and condemn them.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 15:5-7

Fools refuse their parents’ guidance,
but sensible children accept correction.
Great treasure may be found where the right-living make their home,
but trouble awaits the wicked at every turn.
When the wise speak, knowledge spreads far and wide,
but fools care nothing about such matters.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

 

 

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