May 16

Judges 20

1Then all the children of Israel took up arms, and the people came together like one man, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and the land of Gilead, before the Lord at Mizpah.

2And the chiefs of the people, out of all the tribes of Israel, took their places in the meeting of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen armed with swords.

3(Now the children of Benjamin had word that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the children of Israel said, Make clear how this evil thing took place.

4Then the Levite, the husband of the dead woman, said in answer, I came to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin, I and my servant-wife, for the purpose of stopping there for the night.

5And the townsmen of Gibeah came together against me, going round the house on all sides by night; it was their purpose to put me to death, and my servant-wife was violently used by them and is dead.

6So I took her, cutting her into parts which I sent through all the country of the heritage of Israel: for they have done an act of shame in Israel.

7Here you all are, you children of Israel; give now your suggestions about what is to be done.

8Then all the people got up as one man and said, Not one of us will go to his tent or go back to his house:

9But this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by the decision of the Lord;

10And we will take ten men out of every hundred, through all the tribes of Israel, a hundred out of every thousand, a thousand out of every ten thousand, to get food for the people, so that they may give to Gibeah of Benjamin the right punishment for the act of shame they have done in Israel.

11So all the men of Israel were banded together against the town, united like one man.

12And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin saying, What is this evil which has been done among you?

13Now give up those good-for-nothing persons in Gibeah so that we may put them to death, clearing away the evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not give ear to the voice of their brothers, the children of Israel.

14And the children of Benjamin came together from all their towns to Gibeah, to go to war with the children of Israel.

15And the children of Benjamin who came that day from the towns were twenty-six thousand men armed with swords, in addition to the people of Gibeah, numbering seven hundred of the best fighting-men,

16Who were left-handed, able to send a stone at a hair without error.

17And the men of Israel, other than Benjamin, were four hundred thousand in number, all armed with swords; they were all men of war.

18And they got up and went up to Beth-el to get directions from God, and the children of Israel said, Who is to be the first to go up to the fight against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah is to go up first.

19So the children of Israel got up in the morning and put themselves in position against Gibeah.

20And the men of Israel went out to war against Benjamin (and the men of Israel put their forces in fighting order against them at Gibeah).

21Then the children of Benjamin came out from Gibeah, cutting down twenty-two thousand of the Israelites that day.

22But the people, the men of Israel, taking heart again, put their forces in order and took up the same position as on the first day.

23Now the children of Israel went up, weeping before the Lord till evening, requesting the Lord and saying, Am I to go forward again to the fight against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the Lord said, Go up against him.

24So the children of Israel went forward against the children of Benjamin the second day.

25And the second day Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah, cutting down eighteen thousand men of the children of Israel, all swordsmen.

26Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up to Beth-el, weeping and waiting there before the Lord, going without food all day till evening, and offering burned offerings and peace-offerings before the Lord.

27And the children of Israel made request to the Lord, (for the ark of the agreement of the Lord was there in those days,

28And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was in his place before it,) and said, Am I still to go on with the fight against the children of Benjamin my brother, or am I to give it up? And the Lord said, Go on; for tomorrow I will give him into your hands.

29So Israel put men secretly all round Gibeah to make a surprise attack on it.

30And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in fighting order against Gibeah as before.

31And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, moving away from the town; and as before, at their first attack, they put to death about thirty men of Israel on the highways, of which one goes up to Beth-el and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country.

32And the children of Benjamin said, They are giving way before us as at first. But the children of Israel said, Let us go in flight and get them away from the town, into the highways.

33So all the men of Israel got up and put themselves in fighting order at Baal-tamar: and those who had been waiting secretly to make a surprise attack came rushing out of their place on the west of Geba.

34And they came in front of Gibeah, ten thousand of the best men in all Israel, and the fighting became more violent; but the children of Benjamin were not conscious that evil was coming on them.

35Then the Lord sent sudden fear on Benjamin before Israel; and that day the children of Israel put to death twenty-five thousand, one hundred men of Benjamin, all of them swordsmen.

36So the children of Benjamin saw that they were overcome: and the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, putting their faith in the watchers who were to make the surprise attack on Gibeah.

37And the watchers, rushing on Gibeah and overrunning it, put all the town to the sword without mercy.

38Now the sign fixed between the men of Israel and those making the surprise attack was that when they made a pillar of smoke go up from the town,

39The men of Israel were to make a turn about in the fight. And Benjamin had overcome and put to death about thirty of the men of Israel, and were saying, Certainly they are falling back before us as in the first fight.

40Then the sign went up out of the town in the pillar of smoke, and the Benjamites, turning back, saw all the town going up in smoke to heaven.

41And the men of Israel had made a turn about, and the men of Benjamin were overcome with fear, for they saw that evil had overtaken them.

42So turning their backs on the men of Israel, they went in the direction of the waste land; but the fight overtook them; and those who came out of the town were heading them off and putting them to the sword.

43And crushing Benjamin down, they went after them, driving them from Nohah as far as the east side of Gibeah.

44Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin came to their death, all strong men of war.

45And turning, they went in flight to the rock of Rimmon in the waste land: and on the highways five thousand of them were cut off by the men of Israel, who, pushing on hard after them to Geba, put to death two thousand more.

46So twenty-five thousand of the swordsmen of Benjamin came to their end that day, all strong men of war.

47But six hundred men, turning back, went in flight to the rock of Rimmon in the waste land, and were living on the rock of Rimmon for four months.

48And the men of Israel, turning again against the children of Benjamin, put to the sword without mercy all the towns and the cattle and everything there was, burning every town which came into their hands.

Psalms 45

To the chief music-maker; put to Shoshannim. Of the sons of Korah. Maschil. A Song of loves.

1 My heart is flowing over with good things; my words are of that which I have made for a king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

2You are fairer than the children of men; grace is flowing through your lips; for this cause the blessing of God is with you for ever.

3Put on your sword, make it ready at your side, O strong chief, with your glory and power.

4And go nobly on in your power, because you are good and true and without pride; and your right hand will be teaching you things of fear.

5Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s haters; because of them the peoples are falling under you.

6Your seat of power, O God, is for ever and ever; the rod of your kingdom is a rod of honour.

7You have been a lover of righteousness and a hater of evil: and so God, your God, has put the oil of joy on your head, lifting you high over all other kings.

8Your robes are full of the smell of all sorts of perfumes and spices; music from the king’s ivory houses has made you glad.

9Kings’ daughters are among your noble women: on your right is the queen in gold of Ophir.

10O daughter, give thought and attention, and let your ear be open; no longer keep in mind your people, and your father’s house;

11So will the king have a great desire for you, seeing how beautiful you are; because he is your lord, give him honour.

12And the daughters of Tyre will be there with an offering; those who have wealth among the people will be looking for your approval.

13In the great house the king’s daughter is all shining: her clothing is worked with gold.

14She will come before the king in robes of needlework; the virgins in her train will come before you.

15With joy and rapture will they come; they will go into the king’s house.

16Your children will take the place of your fathers; so that you may make them rulers over all the earth.

17I will keep the memory of your name living through all generations; and because of this the people will give you praise for ever.

Acts 23:23-35

23And he sent for two captains and said, Make ready two hundred men, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, to go to Caesarea, at the third hour of the night:

24And get beasts so that they may put Paul on them, and take him safely to Felix, the ruler.

25And he sent a letter in these words:

26Claudius Lysias, to the most noble ruler, Felix, peace be with you.

27This man was taken by the Jews, and was about to be put to death by them, when I came on them with the army and took him out of danger, having knowledge that he was a Roman.

28And, desiring to get at the reason for their attack on him, I took him down to their Sanhedrin:

29Then it became clear to me that it was a question of their law, and that nothing was said against him which might be a reason for prison or death.

30And when news was given to me that a secret design was being made against the man, I sent him straight away to you, giving orders to those who are against him to make their statements before you.

31So the armed men, as they were ordered, took Paul and came by night to Antipatris.

32But on the day after, they sent the horsemen on with him, and went back to their place:

33And they, when they came to Caesarea, gave the letter to the ruler, and took Paul before him.

34And after reading it, he said, What part of the country do you come from? And, hearing that he was from Cilicia,

35I will give hearing to your cause, he said, when those who are against you have come. And he gave orders for him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

Acts 24:1-9

1And after five days, the high priest, Ananias, came with certain of the rulers, and an expert talker, one Tertullus; and they made a statement to Felix against Paul.

2And when he had been sent for, Tertullus, starting his statement, said, Because by you we are living in peace, and through your wisdom wrongs are put right for this nation,

3In all things and in all places we are conscious of our great debt to you, most noble Felix.

4But, so that I may not make you tired, I make a request to you of your mercy, to give hearing to a short statement.

5For this man, in our opinion, is a cause of trouble, a maker of attacks on the government among Jews through all the empire, and a chief mover in the society of the Nazarenes:

6Who, in addition, was attempting to make the Temple unclean: whom we took,

8And from whom you will be able, by questioning him yourself, to get knowledge of all the things which we say against him.

9And the Jews were in agreement with his statement, saying that these things were so.

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