February 18

Exodus 18

1Now news came to Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, of all God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, and how the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt.

2And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her away,

3And her two sons, one of whom was named Gershom, for he said, I have been living in a strange land:

4And the name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, The God of my father was my help, and kept me safe from the sword of Pharaoh:

5And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to where Moses had put up his tent in the waste land, by the mountain of God.

6And he said to Moses, I, your father-in-law, have come to you, with your wife and your two sons.

7And Moses went out to his father-in-law, and went down on his face before him and gave him a kiss; and they said to one another, Are you well? and they came into the tent.

8And Moses gave his father-in-law an account of all the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians because of Israel, and of all the troubles which had come on them by the way, and how the Lord had given them salvation.

9And Jethro was glad because the Lord had been good to Israel, freeing them from the power of the Egyptians.

10And Jethro said, Praise be to the Lord, who has taken you out of the hand of Pharaoh and out of the hand of the Egyptians; freeing the people from the yoke of the Egyptians.

11Now I am certain that the Lord is greater than all gods, for he has overcome them in their pride.

12Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, made a burned offering to God: and Aaron came, with the chiefs of Israel, and had a meal with Moses’ father-in-law, before God.

13Now on the day after, Moses took his seat to give decisions for the people: and the people were waiting before Moses from morning till evening.

14And when Moses’ father-in-law saw all he was doing, he said, What is this you are doing for the people? why are you seated here by yourself, with all the people waiting before you from morning till evening?

15And Moses said to his father-in-law, Because the people come to me to get directions from God:

16And if they have any question between themselves, they come to me, and I am judge between a man and his neighbour, and I give them the orders and laws of God.

17And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, What you are doing is not good.

18Your strength and that of the people will be completely used up: this work is more than you are able to do by yourself.

19Give ear now to my suggestion, and may God be with you: you are to be the people’s representative before God, taking their causes to him:

20Teaching them his rules and his laws, guiding them in the way they have to go, and making clear to them the work they have to do.

21But for the rest, take from among the people able men, such as have the fear of God, true men hating profits wrongly made; and put such men over them, to be captains of thousands, captains of hundreds and of fifties and of tens;

22And let them be judges in the causes of the people at all times: and let them put before you all important questions, but in small things let them give decisions themselves: in this way, it will be less hard for you, and they will take the weight off you.

23If you do this, and God gives approval, then you will be able to go on without weariness, and all this people will go to their tents in peace.

24So Moses took note of the words of his father-in-law, and did as he had said.

25And he made selection of able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds and of fifties and of tens.

26And they were judges in the causes of the people at all times: the hard questions they put before Moses; but on every small point they gave decisions themselves.

27And Moses let his father-in-law go away, and he went back to his land.

Exodus 19

1In the third month after the children of Israel went out from Egypt, on the same day, they came into the waste land of Sinai.

2And when they had gone away from Rephidim and had come into the waste land of Sinai, they put up their tents in the waste land before the mountain: there Israel put up its tents.

3And Moses went up to God, and the voice of the Lord came to him from the mountain, saying, Say to the family of Jacob, and give word to the children of Israel:

4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I took you, as on eagles’ wings, guiding you to myself.

5If now you will truly give ear to my voice and keep my agreement, you will be my special property out of all the peoples: for all the earth is mine:

6And you will be a kingdom of priests to me, and a holy nation. These are the words which you are to say to the children of Israel.

7And Moses came and sent for the chiefs of the people and put before them all these words which the Lord had given him orders to say.

8And all the people, answering together, said, Whatever the Lord has said we will do. And Moses took back to the Lord the words of the people.

9And the Lord said to Moses, See, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that what I say to you may come to the ears of the people and they may have belief in you for ever. And Moses gave the Lord word of what the people had said.

10And the Lord said to Moses, Go to the people and make them holy today and tomorrow, and let their clothing be washed.

11And by the third day let them be ready: for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai, before the eyes of all the people.

12And let limits be marked out for the people round the mountain, and say to them, Take care not to go up the mountain or near the sides of it: whoever puts his foot on the mountain will certainly come to his death:

13He is not to be touched by a hand, but is to be stoned or have an arrow put through him; man or beast, he is to be put to death: at the long sounding of a horn they may come up to the mountain.

14Then Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and made the people holy; and their clothing was washed.

15And he said to the people, Be ready by the third day: do not come near a woman.

16And when morning came on the third day, there were thunders and flames and a thick cloud on the mountain, and a horn sounding very loud; and all the people in the tents were shaking with fear.

17And Moses made the people come out of their tents and take their places before God; and they came to the foot of the mountain,

18And all the mountain of Sinai was smoking, for the Lord had come down on it in fire: and the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a great burning; and all the mountain was shaking.

19And when the sound of the horn became louder and louder, Moses’ words were answered by the voice of God.

20Then the Lord came down on to Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, and the Lord sent for Moses to come up to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21And the Lord said to Moses, Go down and give the people orders to keep back, for fear that a great number of them, forcing their way through to see the Lord, may come to destruction.

22And let the priests who come near to the Lord make themselves holy, for fear that the Lord may come on them suddenly.

23And Moses said to the Lord, The people will not be able to come up the mountain, for you gave us orders to put limits round the mountain, marking it out and making it holy.

24And the Lord said to him, Go down, and you and Aaron may come up; but let not the priests and the people make their way through to the Lord, or he will come on them suddenly.

25So Moses went down to the people and said this to them.

Proverbs 8

1Is not wisdom crying out, and the voice of knowledge sounding?

2At the top of the highways, at the meeting of the roads, she takes her place;

3Where the roads go into the town her cry goes out, at the doorways her voice is loud:

4I am crying out to you, O men; my voice comes to the sons of men.

5Become expert in reason, O you simple ones; you foolish ones, take training to heart.

6Give ear, for my words are true, and my lips are open to give out what is upright.

7For good faith goes out of my mouth, and false lips are disgusting to me.

8All the words of my mouth are righteousness; there is nothing false or twisted in them.

9They are all true to him whose mind is awake, and straightforward to those who get knowledge.

10Take my teaching, and not silver; get knowledge in place of the best gold.

11For wisdom is better than jewels, and all things which may be desired are nothing in comparison with her.

12I, wisdom, have made wise behaviour my near relation; I am seen to be the special friend of wise purposes.

13The fear of the Lord is seen in hating evil: pride, a high opinion of oneself, the evil way, and the false tongue, are unpleasing to me.

14Wise design and good sense are mine; reason and strength are mine.

15Through me kings have their power, and rulers give right decisions.

16Through me chiefs have authority, and the noble ones are judging in righteousness.

17Those who have given me their love are loved by me, and those who make search for me with care will get me.

18Wealth and honour are in my hands, even wealth without equal and righteousness.

19My fruit is better than gold, even than the best gold; and my increase is more to be desired than silver.

20I go in the road of righteousness, in the way of right judging:

21So that I may give my lovers wealth for their heritage, making their store-houses full.

22The Lord made me as the start of his way, the first of his works in the past.

23From eternal days I was given my place, from the birth of time, before the earth was.

24When there was no deep I was given birth, when there were no fountains flowing with water.

25Before the mountains were put in their places, before the hills was my birth:

26When he had not made the earth or the fields or the dust of the world.

27When he made ready the heavens I was there: when he put an arch over the face of the deep:

28When he made strong the skies overhead: when the fountains of the deep were fixed:

29When he put a limit to the sea, so that the waters might not go against his word: when he put in position the bases of the earth:

30Then I was by his side, as a master workman: and I was his delight from day to day, playing before him at all times;

31Playing in his earth; and my delight was with the sons of men.

32Give ear to me then, my sons: for happy are those who keep my ways.

33Take my teaching and be wise; do not let it go.

34Happy is the man who gives ear to me, watching at my doors day by day, keeping his place by the pillars of my house.

35For whoever gets me gets life, and grace from the Lord will come to him.

36But he who does evil to me, does wrong to his soul: all my haters are in love with death.

Hebrews 13

1Go on loving your brothers in the faith.

2Take care to keep open house: because in this way some have had angels as their guests, without being conscious of it.

3Keep in mind those who are in chains, as if you were chained with them, and those who are in trouble, as being yourselves in the body.

4Let married life be honoured among all of you and not made unclean; for men untrue in married life will be judged by God.

5Be free from the love of money and pleased with the things which you have; for he himself has said, I will be with you at all times.

6So that we say with a good heart, The Lord is my helper; I will have no fear: what is man able to do to me?

7Keep in mind those who were over you, and who gave you the word of God; seeing the outcome of their way of life, let your faith be like theirs.

8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

9Do not be turned away by different strange teachings, because it is good for your hearts to be made strong by grace, and not by meats, which were of no profit to those who took so much trouble over them.

10We have an altar from which those priests who are servants in the Tent may not take food.

11For the bodies of the beasts whose blood is taken into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin are burned outside the circle of the tents.

12For this reason Jesus was put to death outside the walls, so that he might make the people holy by his blood.

13Let us then go out to him outside the circle of the tents, taking his shame on ourselves.

14For here we have no fixed resting-place, but our search is for the one which is to come.

15Let us then make offerings of praise to God at all times through him, that is to say, the fruit of lips giving witness to his name.

16But go on doing good and giving to others, because God is well-pleased with such offerings.

17Give ear to those who are rulers over you, and do as they say: for they keep watch over your souls, ready to give an account of them; let them be able to do this with joy and not with grief, because that would be of no profit to you.

18Make prayers for us, for we are certain that our hearts are free from the sense of sin, desiring the right way of life in all things.

19I make this request more strongly, in the hope of coming back to you more quickly.

20Now may the God of peace, who made that great keeper of his flock, even our Lord Jesus, come back from the dead through the blood of the eternal agreement,

21Make you full of every good work and ready to do all his desires, working in us whatever is pleasing in his eyes through Jesus Christ; and may the glory be given to him for ever and ever. So be it.

22But, brothers, take kindly the words which I have said for your profit; for I have not sent you a long letter.

23Our brother Timothy has been let out of prison; and if he comes here in a short time, he and I will come to you together.

24Give words of love from me to those who are rulers over you, and to all the saints. Those who are in Italy send you their love.

25May grace be with you all.

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