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Thursday, May 4


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Judges 19:1-20:48

A Levite’s Concubine Degraded

1Now it came about in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah.2But his concubine played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months.3Then her husband arose and went after her to speak tenderly to her in order to bring her back, taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him into her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he was glad to meet him.4His father-in-law, the girl’s father, detained him; and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.5Now on the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go; and the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Sustain yourself with a piece of bread, and afterward you may go.”6So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl’s father said to the man, “Please be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.”7Then the man arose to go, but his father-in-law urged him so that he spent the night there again.8On the fifth day he arose to go early in the morning, and the girl’s father said, “Please sustain yourself, and wait until afternoon”; so both of them ate.9When the man arose to go along with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold now, the day has drawn to a close; please spend the night. Lo, the day is coming to an end; spend the night here that your heart may be merry. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey so that you may go home.”

10But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him.11When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and the servant said to his master, “Please come, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”12However, his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; but we will go on as far as Gibeah.”13He said to his servant, “Come and let us approach one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.”14So they passed along and went their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.15They turned aside there in order to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When they entered, they sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16Then behold, an old man was coming out of the field from his work at evening. Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites.17And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”18He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah. But I am now going to my house, and no man will take me into his house.19“Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.”20The old man said, “Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square.”21So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.

22While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.”23Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.24“Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.”25But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.26As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.

27When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold.28He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” but there was no answer. Then he placed her on the donkey; and the man arose and went to his home.29When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.30All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!”

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

1Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the LORD at Mizpah.2The chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot soldiers who drew the sword.3(Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?”4So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.5“But the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they ravished my concubine so that she died.6“And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel.7“Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.”

8Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house.9“But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot.10“And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to supply food for the people, that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel.”11Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you?13“Now then, deliver up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel.14The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel.15From the cities on that day the sons of Benjamin were numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were numbered, 700 choice men.16Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then the LORD said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah.20The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah.21Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and felled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel.22But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.23The sons of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And the LORD said, “Go up against him.”

24Then the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin the second day.25Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah the second day and felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword.26Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.27The sons of Israel inquired of the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,28and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the LORD said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.30The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times.31The sons of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the field, about thirty men of Israel.32The sons of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.”33Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar; and the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out of Maareh-geba.34When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle became fierce; but Benjamin did not know that disaster was close to them.35And the LORD struck Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all who draw the sword.

36So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah,37the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.38Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city.39Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel, for they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.”40But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Benjamin looked behind them; and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven.41Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that disaster was close to them.42Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them.43They surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest and trod them down opposite Gibeah toward the east.44Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell; all these were valiant warriors.45The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them at Gidom and killed 2,000 of them.46So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors.47But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months.48The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.

John 3:22-4:3

22After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.23John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized—24for John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.26And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”27John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.28“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’29“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.30“He must increase, but I must decrease.

31“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.32“What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.33“He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.34“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.35“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.36“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Jesus Goes to Galilee

1Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John2(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),3He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.

Psalm 104:24-35

24O LORD, how many are Your works!

In wisdom You have made them all;

The earth is full of Your possessions.

25There is the sea, great and broad,

In which are swarms without number,

Animals both small and great.

26There the ships move along,

And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

27They all wait for You

To give them their food in due season.

28You give to them, they gather it up;

You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

29You hide Your face, they are dismayed;

You take away their spirit, they expire

And return to their dust.

30You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;

And You renew the face of the ground.

31Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;

Let the LORD be glad in His works;

32He looks at the earth, and it trembles;

He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;

As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.

35Let sinners be consumed from the earth

And let the wicked be no more.

Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Praise the LORD!

Proverbs 14:22-24

22Will they not go astray who devise evil?

But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.

23In all labor there is profit,

But mere talk leads only to poverty.

24The crown of the wise is their riches,

But the folly of fools is foolishness.