May 10 - Acts 19.21-41, Judges 11.34-12.15 and Job 40

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The Riot in Ephesus

Acts 19 21After all of this had happened, Paul decided to visit Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. Paul had said, "From there I will go on to Rome." 22So he sent his two helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia. But he stayed on in Asia for a while.
23At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord's Way. 24A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. 25Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:
Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. 26But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. 27Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!

28When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!" 29Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held.
30Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord's followers would not let him. 31A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go.
32Some of the people in the meeting were shouting one thing, and others were shouting something else. Everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there.
33Several of the Jewish leaders pushed a man named Alexander to the front of the crowd and started telling him what to say. He motioned with his hand and tried to explain what was going on. 34But when the crowd saw that he was Jewish, they all shouted for two hours, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!"
35Finally, a town official made the crowd be quiet. Then he said:
People of Ephesus, who in the world doesn't know that our city is the center for worshiping the great goddess Artemis? Who doesn't know that her image which fell from heaven is right here? 36No one can deny this, and so you should calm down and not do anything foolish. 37You have brought men in here who have not robbed temples or spoken against our goddess.
38If Demetrius and his workers have a case against these men, we have courts and judges. Let them take their complaints there. 39But if you want to do more than that, the matter will have to be brought before the city council. 40We could easily be accused of starting a riot today. There is no excuse for it! We cannot even give a reason for this uproar.

41After saying this, he told the people to leave.

Jephthah's Daughter

Judges 11 34When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, the first one to meet him was his daughter. She was playing a tambourine and dancing to celebrate his victory, and she was his only child.
35"Oh!" Jephthah cried. Then he tore his clothes in sorrow and said to his daughter, "I made a sacred promise to the LORD, and I must keep it. Your coming out to meet me has broken my heart."
36"Father," she said, "you made a sacred promise to the LORD, and he let you defeat the Ammonites. Now, you must do what you promised, even if it means I must die. 37But first, please let me spend two months, wandering in the hill country with my friends. We will cry together, because I can never get married and have children."
38"Yes, you may have two months," Jephthah said.
She and some other girls left, and for two months they wandered in the hill country, crying because she could never get married and have children. 39Then she went back to her father. He did what he had promised, and she never got married.
That's why 40every year, Israelite girls walk around for four days, weeping for Jephthah's daughter.

The Ephraim Tribe Fights Jephthah's Army

Judges 12 The men of the Ephraim tribe got together an army and went across the Jordan River to Zaphon to meet with Jephthah. They said, "Why did you go to war with the Ammonites without asking us to help? Just for that, we're going to burn down your house with you inside!"
2"But I did ask for your help," Jephthah answered. "That was back when the people of Gilead and I were having trouble with the Ammonites, and you wouldn't do a thing to help us. 3So when we realized you weren't coming, we risked our lives and attacked the Ammonites. And the LORD let us defeat them. There's no reason for you to come here today to attack me."
4But the men from Ephraim said, "You people of Gilead are nothing more than refugees from Ephraim. You even live on land that belongs to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh."
So Jephthah called together the army of Gilead, then they attacked and defeated the army from Ephraim. 5The army of Gilead also posted guards at all the places where the soldiers from Ephraim could cross the Jordan River to return to their own land.
Whenever one of the men from Ephraim would try to cross the river, the guards would say, "Are you from Ephraim?"
"No," the man would answer, "I'm not from Ephraim."
6The guards would then tell them to say "Shiboleth," because they knew that people of Ephraim could say "Sibboleth," but not "Shiboleth."
If the man said "Sibboleth," the guards would grab him and kill him right there. Altogether, forty-two thousand men from Ephraim were killed in the battle and at the Jordan.
7Jephthah was a leader of Israel for six years, before he died and was buried in his hometown Mizpah in Gilead.


8Ibzan, the next leader of Israel, came from Bethlehem. 9He had thirty daughters and thirty sons, and he let them all marry outside his clan.
Ibzan was a leader for seven years, 10before he died and was buried in Bethlehem.


11Elon from the Zebulun tribe was the next leader of Israel. He was a leader for ten years, 12before he died and was buried in Aijalon that belonged to the Zebulun tribe.


13-15Abdon the son of Hillel was the next leader of Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, and each one of them had his own donkey. Abdon was a leader for eight years, before he died and was buried in his hometown of Pirathon, which is located in the part of the hill country of Ephraim where Amalekites used to live.

The LORD Continues

I Am the LORD All-Powerful

Job 40 *1I am the LORD All-Powerful,
2but you have argued that I am wrong.
Now you must answer me.

3Job said to the LORD:
4Who am I to answer you?
5I did speak once or twice, but never again.

6Then out of the storm
the LORD said to Job:
7Face me and answer the questions I ask!
8Are you trying to prove that you are innocent
by accusing me of injustice?
9Do you have a powerful arm and a thundering voice
that compare with mine?
10If so, then surround yourself with glory and majesty.
*11Show your furious anger!
Throw down and crush 12all who are proud and evil.
13Wrap them in grave clothes and bury them together
in the dusty soil.
14Do this, and I will agree that you have won this argument.

I Created You

15I created both you and the hippopotamus.
It eats only grass like an ox,
16but look at the mighty muscles in its body 17and legs.
Its tail is like a cedar tree, and its thighs are thick.
18The bones in its legs are like bronze or iron.

19I made it more powerful than any other creature,
yet I am stronger still.
20Undisturbed, it eats grass
while the other animals play nearby.
*21It rests in the shade of trees along the riverbank
22or hides among reeds in the swamp.
23It remains calm and unafraid
with the Jordan River rushing and splashing in its face.
24There is no way to capture a hippopotamus--
not even by hooking its nose or blinding its eyes.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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