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ምሕረትና እውነት ከአንተ አይራቁ፤ በአንገትህ እሰራቸው፤ በልብህ ጽላት ጻፋቸው። በእግዚአብሔርና በሰው ፊትም ሞገስንና መልካም ዝናን ታገኛለህ።
““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
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በእግዚአብሔር ቃሉን አመሰግናለሁ፤ በእግዚአብሔር ታመንሁ፥ አልፈራም ሰው ምን ያደርገኛል?

Old Testament: Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah 1 (Listen)

Report from Jerusalem

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Now I was cupbearer to the king.

(ESV)

New Testament: Ephesians 2:11–22

Ephesians 2:11–22 (Listen)

One in Christ

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,Or sojourners">1 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God byOr in">2 the Spirit.

Footnotes

[1] 2:19 Or sojourners
[2] 2:22 Or in

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 33

Psalm 33 (Listen)

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

33   Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
  Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
  Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
  For the word of the LORD is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
  He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.
  Let all the earth fear the LORD;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
  For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.
10   The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11   The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12   Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
13   The LORD looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14   from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15   he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16   The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17   The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18   Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19   that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20   Our soul waits for the LORD;
    he is our help and our shield.
21   For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22   Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:1–2

Proverbs 21:1–2 (Listen)

21   The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
    he turns it wherever he will.
  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
    but the LORD weighs the heart.

(ESV)

Old Testament: Ezra 8–10

Ezra 8–10 (Listen)

Genealogy of Those Who Returned with Ezra

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylonia, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king: Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom. Of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel. Of the sons of David, Hattush. Of the sons of Shecaniah, who was of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, with whom were registered 150 men. Of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men. Of the sons of Zattu,Septuagint; Hebrew lacks of Zattu">1 Shecaniah the son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men. Of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men. Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men. Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him 80 men. Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men. 10 Of the sons of Bani,Septuagint; Hebrew lacks Bani">2 Shelomith the son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men. 11 Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, the son of Bebai, and with him 28 men. 12 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men. 13 Of the sons of Adonikam, those who came later, their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men. 14 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them 70 men.

Ezra Sends for Levites

15 I gathered them to the river that runs to Ahava, and there we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there none of the sons of Levi. 16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of insight, 17 and sent them to Iddo, the leading man at the place Casiphia, telling them what to say to Iddo and his brothers andHebrew lacks and">3 the temple servants at the place Casiphia, namely, to send us ministers for the house of our God. 18 And by the good hand of our God on us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah with his sons and kinsmen, 18; 19 also Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, 20; 20 besides 220 of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites. These were all mentioned by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Priests to Guard Offerings

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kinsmen with them. 25 And I weighed out to them the silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king and his counselors and his lords and all Israel there present had offered. 26 I weighed out into their hand 650 talentsA talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms">4 of silver, and silver vessels worth 200 talents,Revocalization; the number is missing in the Masoretic Text">5 and 100 talents of gold, 27 20 bowls of gold worth 1,000 darics,A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams">6 and two vessels of fine bright bronze as precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD, and the vessels are holy, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers. 29 Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of fathers’ houses in Israel at Jerusalem, within the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30 So the priests and the Levites took over the weight of the silver and the gold and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

31 Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem, and there we remained three days. 33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed into the hands of Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34 The whole was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.

35 At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 36 They also delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s satrapsA satrap was a Persian official">7 and to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and they aided the people and the house of God.

Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy raceHebrew offspring">8 has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure holdHebrew nail, or tent-pin">9 within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protectionHebrew a wall">10 in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”

The People Confess Their Sin

10 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lordOr of the Lord">11 and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night,Probable reading; Hebrew where he went">12 neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. 10 And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11 Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 13 But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter. 14 Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

16 Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men,Syriac; Hebrew And there were selected Ezra . . .">13 heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; 17 and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

Those Guilty of Intermarriage

18 Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers. 19 They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.Or as their reparation">14 20 Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 Of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah,Septuagint; Hebrew Malchijah">15 and Benaiah. 26 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 Of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu. 38 Of the sons of Binnui:Septuagint; Hebrew Bani, Binnui">16 Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and some of the women had even borne children.Or and they put them away with their children">17

Footnotes

[1] 8:5 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks of Zattu
[2] 8:10 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks Bani
[3] 8:17 Hebrew lacks and
[4] 8:26 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[5] 8:26 Revocalization; the number is missing in the Masoretic Text
[6] 8:27 A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams
[7] 8:36 A satrap was a Persian official
[8] 9:2 Hebrew offspring
[9] 9:8 Hebrew nail, or tent-pin
[10] 9:9 Hebrew a wall
[11] 10:3 Or of the Lord
[12] 10:6 Probable reading; Hebrew where he went
[13] 10:16 Syriac; Hebrew And there were selected Ezra . . .
[14] 10:19 Or as their reparation
[15] 10:25 Septuagint; Hebrew Malchijah
[16] 10:38 Septuagint; Hebrew Bani, Binnui
[17] 10:44 Or and they put them away with their children

(ESV)

New Testament: Ephesians 2:1–10

Ephesians 2:1–10 (Listen)

By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodyGreek flesh">1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.Greek like the rest">2 ButOr And">3 God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Footnotes

[1] 2:3 Greek flesh
[2] 2:3 Greek like the rest
[3] 2:4 Or And

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 32

Psalm 32 (Listen)

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A MaskilProbably a musical or liturgical term">1 of David.

32   Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried upHebrew my vitality was changed">2 as by the heat of summer. Selah
  I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
  Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
  surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
  You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.
10   Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11   Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Footnotes

[1] 32:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 32:4 Hebrew my vitality was changed

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 20:28–30

Proverbs 20:28–30 (Listen)

28   Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
    and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
29   The glory of young men is their strength,
    but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30   Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
    strokes make clean the innermost parts.

(ESV)

Old Testament: Ezra 6–7

Ezra 6–7 (Listen)

The Decree of Darius

Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the citadel that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubitsA cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters">1 and its breadth sixty cubits, with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and yourAramaic their">2 associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

The Temple Finished and Dedicated

13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. 14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.

Passover Celebrated

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by every one who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Ezra Sent to Teach the People

Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest—this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.

And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. And EzraAramaic he">3 came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: 12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.Aramaic Perfect (probably a greeting)">4 And now 13 I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17 With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury.

21 “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22 up to 100 talentsA talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms">5 of silver, 100 corsA cor was about 6 bushels or 220 liters">6 of wheat, 100 bathsA bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters">7 of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. 24 We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

25 “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26 Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”

27 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, 28 and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

Footnotes

[1] 6:3 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[2] 6:6 Aramaic their
[3] 7:8 Aramaic he
[4] 7:12 Aramaic Perfect (probably a greeting)
[5] 7:22 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[6] 7:22 A cor was about 6 bushels or 220 liters
[7] 7:22 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters

(ESV)

New Testament: Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1 (Listen)

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithfulSome manuscripts saints who are also faithful (omitting in Ephesus)">1 in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined usOr before him in love, 5having predestined us">2 for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making knownOr he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known . . .">3 to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guaranteeOr down payment">4 of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,Or until God redeems his possession">5 to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your loveSome manuscripts omit your love">6 toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Footnotes

[1] 1:1 Some manuscripts saints who are also faithful (omitting in Ephesus)
[2] 1:5 Or before him in love, 5having predestined us
[3] 1:9 Or he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known . . .
[4] 1:14 Or down payment
[5] 1:14 Or until God redeems his possession
[6] 1:15 Some manuscripts omit your love

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 31

Psalm 31 (Listen)

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

31   In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
  Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
  Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!
  For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
  you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
  Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
  I hateMasoretic Text; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome You hate">1 those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the LORD.
  I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
  and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.
  Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10   For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
  my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away.
11   Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
    especially to my neighbors,
  and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    those who see me in the street flee from me.
12   I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
    I have become like a broken vessel.
13   For I hear the whispering of many—
    terror on every side!—
  as they scheme together against me,
    as they plot to take my life.
14   But I trust in you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15   My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16   Make your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love!
17   O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
    for I call upon you;
  let the wicked be put to shame;
    let them go silently to Sheol.
18   Let the lying lips be mute,
    which speak insolently against the righteous
    in pride and contempt.
19   Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
    which you have stored up for those who fear you
  and worked for those who take refuge in you,
    in the sight of the children of mankind!
20   In the cover of your presence you hide them
    from the plots of men;
  you store them in your shelter
    from the strife of tongues.
21   Blessed be the LORD,
    for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
    when I was in a besieged city.
22   I had said in my alarm,Or in my haste">2
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
  But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help.
23   Love the LORD, all you his saints!
    The LORD preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24   Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the LORD!

Footnotes

[1] 31:6 Masoretic Text; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome You hate
[2] 31:22 Or in my haste

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 20:26–27

Proverbs 20:26–27 (Listen)

26   A wise king winnows the wicked
    and drives the wheel over them.
27   The spiritHebrew breath">1 of man is the lamp of the LORD,
    searching all his innermost parts.

Footnotes

[1] 20:27 Hebrew breath

(ESV)


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