May 23

1 Samuel 4

1Now at that time the Philistines came together to make war against Israel, and the men of Israel went out to war against the Philistines and took up their position at the side of Eben-ezer: and the Philistines put their forces in position in Aphek.

2And the Philistines put their forces in order against Israel, and the fighting was hard, and Israel was overcome by the Philistines, who put to the sword about four thousand of their army in the field.

3And when the people came back to their tents, the responsible men of Israel said, Why has the Lord let the Philistines overcome us today? Let us get the ark of the Lord’s agreement here from Shiloh, so that it may be with us and give us salvation from the hands of those who are against us.

4So the people sent to Shiloh and got the ark of the agreement of the Lord of armies whose resting-place is between the winged ones; and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were there with the ark of God’s agreement.

5And when the ark of the Lord’s agreement came into the tent-circle, all Israel gave a great cry, so that the earth was sounding with it.

6And the Philistines, hearing the noise of their cry, said, What is this great cry among the tents of the Hebrews? Then it became clear to them that the ark of the Lord had come to the tent-circle.

7And the Philistines, full of fear, said, God has come into their tents. And they said, Trouble is ours! for never before has such a thing been seen.

8Trouble is ours! Who will give us salvation from the hands of these great gods? These are the gods who sent all sorts of blows on the Egyptians in the waste land.

9Be strong, O Philistines, be men! Do not be servants to the Hebrews as they have been to you: go forward to the fight without fear.

10So the Philistines went to the fight, and Israel was overcome, and every man went in flight to his tent: and great was the destruction, for thirty thousand footmen of Israel were put to the sword.

11And the ark of God was taken; and Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were put to the sword.

12And a man of Benjamin went running from the fight and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothing out of order and earth on his head.

13And when he came, Eli was seated by the wayside watching: and in his heart was fear for the ark of God. And when the man came into the town and gave the news, there was a great outcry.

14And Eli, hearing the noise and the cries, said, What is the reason of this outcry? And the man came quickly and gave the news to Eli.

15Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were fixed so that he was not able to see.

16And the man said to Eli, I have come from the army and have come in flight today from the fight. And he said, How did it go, my son?

17And the man said, Israel went in flight from the Philistines, and there has been great destruction among the people, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.

18And at these words about the ark of God, Eli, falling back off his seat by the side of the doorway into the town, came down on the earth so that his neck was broken and death overtook him, for he was an old man and of great weight. He had been judging Israel for forty years.

19And his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and near the time when she would give birth; and when she had the news that the ark of God had been taken and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, her pains came on her suddenly and she gave birth.

20And when she was very near death the women who were with her said, Have no fear, for you have given birth to a son. But she made no answer and gave no attention to it.

21And she gave the child the name of Ichabod, saying, The glory has gone from Israel: because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

22And she said, The glory is gone from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken.

1 Samuel 5

1Now the Philistines, having taken the ark of God, took it with them from Eben-ezer to Ashdod.

2They took the ark of God into the house of Dagon and put it by the side of Dagon.

3And when the people of Ashdod got up early on the morning after, they saw that Dagon had come down to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon up and put him in his place again.

4And when they got up early on the morning after, Dagon had come down to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord; and his head and his hands were broken off on the doorstep; only the base was in its place.

5So to this day no priest of Dagon, or any who come into Dagon’s house, will put his foot on the doorstep of the house of Dagon in Ashdod.

6But the hand of the Lord was hard on the people of Ashdod and he sent disease on them through all the country of Ashdod.

7And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, Let not the ark of the God of Israel be with us, for his hand is hard on us and on Dagon our god.

8So they sent for all the lords of the Philistines to come together there, and said, What are we to do with the ark of the God of Israel? And their answer was, Let the ark of the God of Israel be taken away to Gath. So they took the ark of the God of Israel away.

9But after they had taken it away, the hand of the Lord was stretched out against the town for its destruction: and the signs of disease came out on all the men of the town, small and great.

10So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of the town made an outcry, saying, They have sent the ark of the God of Israel to us for the destruction of us and of our people.

11So they sent and got together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its place, so that it may not be the cause of death to us and to our people: for there was a great fear of death through all the town; the hand of God was very hard on them there.

12And those men who were not overtaken by death were cruelly diseased: and the cry of the town went up to heaven.

Psalms 52

To the chief music-maker. Maschil. Of David. When Doeg the Edomite came to Saul saying, David has come to the house of Ahimelech.

1 Why do you take pride in wrongdoing, lifting yourself up against the upright man all the day?

2Purposing destruction, using deceit; your tongue is like a sharp blade.

3You have more love for evil than for good, for deceit than for works of righteousness. (Selah.)

4Destruction is in all your words, O false tongue.

5But God will put an end to you for ever; driving you out from your tent, uprooting you from the land of the living. (Selah.)

6The upright will see it with fear, and will say, laughing at you:

7See, this is the man who did not make God his strength, but had faith in his goods and his property, and made himself strong in his wealth.

8But I am like a branching olive-tree in the house of God; I have put my faith in his mercy for ever and ever.

9I will give you praise without end for what you have done; I will give honour to your name before your saints, for it is good.

Acts 28:1-16

1And when we were safe, we made the discovery that the island was named Melita.

2And the simple people living there were uncommonly kind to us, for they made a fire for us, and took us in, because it was raining and cold.

3But when Paul had got some sticks together and put them on the fire, a snake came out, because of the heat, and gave him a bite on the hand.

4And when the people saw it hanging on his hand, they said to one another, Without doubt this man has put someone to death, and though he has got safely away from the sea, God will not let him go on living.

5But shaking off the beast into the fire, he got no damage.

6But they had the idea that they would see him becoming ill, or suddenly falling down dead; but after waiting a long time, and seeing that no damage came to him, changing their opinion, they said he was a god.

7Now near that place there was some land, the property of the chief man of the island, who was named Publius; who very kindly took us into his house as his guests for three days.

8And the father of Publius was ill, with a disease of the stomach; to whom Paul went, and put his hands on him, with prayer, and made him well.

9And when this took place, all the others in the island who had diseases came and were made well.

10Then they gave us great honour, and, when we went away, they put into the ship whatever things we were in need of.

11And after three months we went to sea in a ship of Alexandria sailing under the sign of the Dioscuri, which had been at the island for the winter.

12And going into the harbour at Syracuse, we were waiting there for three days.

13And from there, going about in a curve, we came to Rhegium: and after one day a south wind came up and on the day after we came to Puteoli:

14Where we came across some of the brothers, who kept us with them for seven days; and so we came to Rome.

15And the brothers, when they had news of us, came out from town as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to have a meeting with us: and Paul, seeing them, gave praise to God and took heart.

16And when we came into Rome, they let Paul have a house for himself and the armed man who kept watch over him.

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