May 17

Judges 21

1Now the men of Israel had taken an oath in Mizpah, saying, Not one of us will give his daughter as a wife to Benjamin.

2And the people came to Beth-el, waiting there till evening before God, and gave themselves up to bitter weeping.

3And they said, O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this fate come on Israel, that today one tribe has been cut off from Israel?

4Then on the day after, the people got up early and made an altar there, offering burned offerings and peace-offerings.

5And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel, who did not come up to the Lord at the meeting of all Israel? For they had taken a great oath that whoever did not come up to Mizpah to the Lord was to be put to death.

6And the children of Israel were moved with pity for Benjamin their brother, saying, Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel.

7What are we to do about wives for those who are still living? For we have taken an oath by the Lord that we will not give them our daughters for wives.

8And they said, Which one of the tribes of Israel did not come up to Mizpah to the Lord? And it was seen that no one had come from Jabesh-gilead to the meeting.

9For when the people were numbered, not one man of the people of Jabesh-gilead was present.

10So they (the meeting) sent twelve thousand of the best fighting-men, and gave them orders, saying, Go and put the people of Jabesh-gilead to the sword without mercy, with their women and their little ones.

11And this is what you are to do: every male, and every woman who has had sex relations with a man, you are to put to the curse, but you are to keep safe the virgins. And they did so.

12Now there were among the people of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had never had sex relations with a man; these they took to their tents in Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

13And all the meeting sent to the men of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, offering them peace.

14Then Benjamin came back; and they gave them the women whom they had kept from death among the women of Jabesh-gilead: but still there were not enough for them.

15And the people were moved with pity for Benjamin, because the Lord had let his wrath loose on the tribes of Israel.

16Then the responsible men of the meeting said, What are we to do about wives for the rest of them, seeing that the women of Benjamin are dead?

17And they said, How is the rest of Benjamin to be given offspring so that one tribe of Israel may not be put out of existence,

18Seeing that we may not give them our daughters as wives? For the children of Israel had taken an oath, saying, Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin.

19And they said, See, every year there is a feast of the Lord in Shiloh, which is to the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway which goes up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

20And they said to the men of Benjamin, Go into the vine-gardens, waiting there secretly,

21And watching; and if the daughters of Shiloh come out to take part in the dances, then come from the vine-gardens and take a wife for every one of you from among the daughters of Shiloh, and go back to the land of Benjamin.

22And when their fathers or their brothers come and make trouble, you are to say to them, Give them to us as an act of grace; for we did not take them as wives for ourselves in war; and if you yourselves had given them to us you would have been responsible for the broken oath.

23So the men of Benjamin did this, and got wives for themselves for every one of their number, taking them away by force from the dance; then they went back to their heritage, building up their towns and living in them.

24Then the children of Israel went away from there, every man to his tribe and his family, every man went back to his heritage.

25In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did what seemed right to him.

Psalms 46

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

1 God is our harbour and our strength, a very present help in trouble.

2For this cause we will have no fear, even though the earth is changed, and though the mountains are moved in the heart of the sea;

3Though its waters are sounding and troubled, and though the mountains are shaking with their violent motion. (Selah.)

4There is a river whose streams make glad the resting-place of God, the holy place of the tents of the Most High.

5God has taken his place in her; she will not be moved: he will come to her help at the dawn of morning.

6The nations were angry, the kingdoms were moved; at the sound of his voice the earth became like wax.

7The Lord of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our high tower. (Selah.)

8Come, see the works of the Lord, the destruction which he has made in the earth.

9He puts an end to wars over all the earth; by him the bow is broken, and the spear cut in two, and the carriage burned in the fire.

10Be at peace in the knowledge that I am God: I will be lifted up among the nations, I will be honoured through all the earth.

11The Lord of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our high tower. (Selah.)

Acts 24:10-17

10Then when the ruler had given him a sign to make his answer, Paul said, Because I have knowledge that you have been a judge over this nation for a number of years, I am glad to make my answer:

11Seeing that you are able to make certain of the fact that it is not more than twelve days from the time when I came up to Jerusalem for worship;

12And they have not seen me in argument with any man in the Temple, or working up the feelings of the people, in the Synagogues or in the town:

13And they are not able to give facts in support of the things which they say against me now.

14But this I will say openly to you, that I do give worship to the God of our fathers after that Way, which to them is not the true religion: but I have belief in all the things which are in the law and in the books of the prophets:

15Hoping in God for that which they themselves are looking for, that there will be a coming back from the dead for upright men and wrongdoers.

16And in this, I do my best at all times to have no reason for shame before God or men.

17Now after a number of years I came to give help and offerings to my nation:

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