April 28 - Acts 12, Joshua 15-17 and Job 28
More PersecutionActs 12 About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.
Peter Is Set Free from Prison6The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, "Hurry! Get up!" At once the chains fell off Peter's hands. 8Then the angel said, "Tighten your belt and put on your sandals." Peter did so, and the angel said, "Put your cloak around you and come with me." 9Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter.
11Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, "Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod's power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen."
12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter's voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15"You are crazy!" they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, "It is his angel."
16Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell this to James and the rest of the believers," he said; then he left and went somewhere else.
18When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards--what had happened to Peter? 19Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death.
After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea.
The Death of Herod20Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king's country.
21On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22"It isn't a man speaking, but a god!" they shouted. 23At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died.
24Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow.
25Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.
The Territory Assigned to JudahJoshua 15 The families of the tribe of Judah received a part of the land described as follows:
The land reached south to the southernmost point of the wilderness of Zin, at the border of Edom. 2This southern border ran from the south end of the Dead Sea, 3went southward from the Akrabbim Pass and on to Zin. It ran south of Kadesh Barnea, past Hezron and up to Addar, turned toward Karka, 4went on to Azmon, and followed the stream on the border of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea, where the border ended. That was the southern border of Judah.
5The eastern border was the Dead Sea, all the way up to the inlet where the Jordan empties into it.
The northern border began there, 6extended up to Beth Hoglah, and went north of the ridge overlooking the Jordan Valley. Then it went up to the Stone of Bohan (Bohan was a son of Reuben), 7from Trouble Valley up to Debir, and then turned north toward Gilgal, which faces Adummim Pass on the south side of the valley. It then went on to the springs of Enshemesh, out to Enrogel, 8and up through Hinnom Valley on the south side of the hill where the Jebusite city of Jerusalem was located. The border then proceeded up to the top of the hill on the west side of Hinnom Valley, at the northern end of Rephaim Valley. 9From there it went to the Springs of Nephtoah and out to the cities near Mount Ephron. There it turned toward Baalah (or Kiriath Jearim), 10where it circled west of Baalah toward the hill country of Edom, went on the north side of Mount Jearim (or Chesalon), down to Beth Shemesh, and on past Timnah. 11The border then went out to the hill north of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, past Mount Baalah, and on to Jamnia. It ended at the Mediterranean Sea, 12which formed the western border.
Within these borders lived the people of the families of Judah.
Caleb Conquers Hebron and Debir
The Cities of Judah20This is the land that the families of the tribe of Judah received as their possession. 21The cities farthest south that belonged to them, those that were near the border of Edom, were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (or Hazor), 26Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Bethpelet, 28Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, 31Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon: twenty-nine cities in all, along with the towns around them.
33The cities in the foothills were Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34Zanoah, Engannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, and Gederothaim: fourteen cities, along with the towns around them.
37There were also Zenan, Hadashah, Migdalgad, 38Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, 41Gederoth, Bethdagon, Naamah, and Makkedah: sixteen cities, along with the towns around them.
42There were also Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah: nine cities, along with the towns around them.
45There was Ekron with its towns and villages, 46and all the cities and towns near Ashdod, from Ekron to the Mediterranean Sea.
47There were Ashdod and Gaza, with their towns and villages, reaching to the stream on the border of Egypt and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
48In the hill country there were Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49Dannah, Kiriath Sepher (or Debir), 50Anab, Eshtemoa, Anim, 51Goshen, Holon, and Giloh: eleven cities, along with the towns around them.
52There were Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54Humtah, Hebron, and Zior: nine cities, along with the towns around them.
55There were Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah: ten cities, along with the towns around them.
58There were Halhul, Bethzur, Gedor, 59Maarath, Bethanoth, and Eltekon: six cities, along with the towns around them.
60There were Kiriath Baal (or Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah: two cities, along with the towns around them.
61In the desert there were Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62Nibshan, Salt City, and Engedi: six cities, along with the towns around them.
63But the people of Judah were not able to drive out the Jebusites, who lived in Jerusalem. The Jebusites still live there with the people of Judah.
The Territory Assigned to Ephraim and West ManassehJoshua 16 The southern boundary of the land assigned to the descendants of Joseph started from the Jordan near Jericho, at a point east of the springs of Jericho, and went into the desert. It went from Jericho up into the hill country as far as Bethel. 2From Bethel it went to Luz, passing on to Ataroth Addar, where the Archites lived. 3It then went west to the area of the Japhletites, as far as the area of Lower Beth Horon. It went on from there to Gezer and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.
4The descendants of Joseph, the tribes of Ephraim and West Manasseh, received this land as their possession.
Ephraim5This was the territory of the Ephraimite families: their border ran from Ataroth Addar eastward to Upper Beth Horon, 6and from there to the Mediterranean Sea. Michmethath was on their north. East of there the border bent toward Taanath Shiloh and went past it on the east to Janoah. 7Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, reaching Jericho and ending at the Jordan. 8The border went west from Tappuah to the stream Kanah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the land given to the families of the tribe of Ephraim as their possession, 9along with some towns and villages that were within the borders of Manasseh, but given to the Ephraimites. 10But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived among the Ephraimites to this day, but they have been forced to work as slaves.
West ManassehJoshua 17 A part of the land west of the Jordan was assigned to some of the families descended from Joseph's older son Manasseh. Machir, the father of Gilead, was Manasseh's oldest son and a military hero, so Gilead and Bashan, east of the Jordan, were assigned to him. 2Land west of the Jordan was assigned to the rest of the families of Manasseh: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These were male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and they were heads of families. 3Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, did not have any sons, but only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4They went to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua son of Nun and to the leaders, and said, "The LORD commanded Moses to give us, as well as our male relatives, a part of the land to possess." So, as the LORD had commanded, they were given land along with their male relatives. 5This is why Manasseh received ten shares in addition to Gilead and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan, 6since his female descendants as well as his male descendants were assigned land. The land of Gilead was assigned to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.
7The territory of Manasseh reached from Asher to Michmethath, east of Shechem. The border then went south to include the people of Entappuah. 8The land around Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but the town of Tappuah, on the border, belonged to the descendants of Ephraim. 9The border then went down to the stream Kanah. The cities south of the stream belonged to Ephraim, even though they were in the territory of Manasseh. The border of Manasseh proceeded along the north side of the stream and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. 10Ephraim was to the south, and Manasseh was to the north, with the Mediterranean Sea as their western border. Asher was to the northwest, and Issachar to the northeast. 11Within the territories of Issachar and Asher, Manasseh possessed Beth Shan and Ibleam, along with their surrounding towns, as well as Dor (the one on the coast), Endor, Taanach, Megiddo, and their surrounding towns. 12The people of Manasseh, however, were not able to drive out the people living in those cities, so the Canaanites continued to live there. 13Even when the Israelites became stronger, they did not drive out all the Canaanites, but they did force them to work for them.
Ephraim and West Manasseh Request More Land14The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, "Why have you given us only one part of the land to possess as our own? There are very many of us because the LORD has blessed us."
15Joshua answered, "If there are so many of you and the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, then go into the forests and clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim."
16They replied, "The hill country is not big enough for us, but the Canaanites in the plains have iron chariots, both those who live in Beth Shan and its surrounding towns and those who live in Jezreel Valley."
17Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and West Manasseh, "There are indeed many of you, and you are very powerful. You shall have more than one share. 18The hill country will be yours. Even though it is a forest, you will clear it and take possession of it from one end to the other. As for the Canaanites, you will drive them out, even though they do have iron chariots and are a strong people."
In Praise of WisdomJob 28 There are mines where silver is dug;
There are places where gold is refined.
2We dig iron out of the ground
And melt copper out of the stones.
3Miners explore the deepest darkness.
They search the depths of the earth
And dig for rocks in the darkness.
4Far from where anyone lives
Or human feet ever travel,
They dig the shafts of mines.
There they work in loneliness,
Clinging to ropes in the pits.
5Food grows out of the earth,
But underneath the same earth
All is torn up and crushed.
6The stones of the earth contain sapphires,
And its dust contains gold.
7No hawk sees the roads to the mines,
And no vulture ever flies over them.
8No lion or other fierce beast
Ever travels those lonely roads.
9Miners dig the hardest rocks,
Dig mountains away at their base.
10As they tunnel through the rocks,
They discover precious stones.
11They dig to the sources of rivers
And bring to light what is hidden.
12But where can wisdom be found?
Where can we learn to understand?
13Wisdom is not to be found among mortals;
No one knows its true value.
14The depths of the oceans and seas
Say that wisdom is not found there.
15It cannot be bought with silver or gold.
16The finest gold and jewels
Cannot equal its value.
17It is worth more than gold,
Than a gold vase or finest glass.
18The value of wisdom is more
Than coral or crystal or rubies.
19The finest topaz and the purest gold
Cannot compare with the value of wisdom.
20Where, then, is the source of wisdom?
Where can we learn to understand?
21No living creature can see it,
Not even a bird in flight.
22Even death and destruction
Admit they have heard only rumors.
23God alone knows the way,
Knows the place where wisdom is found,
24Because he sees the ends of the earth,
Sees everything under the sky.
25When God gave the wind its power
And determined the size of the sea;
26When God decided where the rain would fall,
And the path that the thunderclouds travel;
27It was then he saw wisdom and tested its worth--
He gave it his approval.
28God said to us humans,
"To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord.
To understand, you must turn from evil."
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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