May 10 - Acts 19.21-41, Judges 11.34-12.15 and Job 40
The Riot in EphesusActs 19 21After these things had happened, Paul made up his mind to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go on to Jerusalem. "After I go there," he said, "I must also see Rome." 22So he sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia, while he spent more time in the province of Asia.
23It was at this time that there was serious trouble in Ephesus because of the Way of the Lord. 24A certain silversmith named Demetrius made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis, and his business brought a great deal of profit to the workers. 25So he called them all together with others whose work was like theirs and said to them, "Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this work. 26Now, you can see and hear for yourselves what this fellow Paul is doing. He says that hand-made gods are not gods at all, and he has succeeded in convincing many people, both here in Ephesus and in nearly the whole province of Asia. 27There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed--the goddess worshiped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!"
28As the crowd heard these words, they became furious and started shouting, "Great is Artemis of Ephesus!" 29The uproar spread throughout the whole city. The mob grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were traveling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theater. 30Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. 31Some of the provincial authorities, who were his friends, also sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theater. 32Meanwhile the whole meeting was in an uproar: some people were shouting one thing, others were shouting something else, because most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33Some of the people concluded that Alexander was responsible, since the Jews made him go up to the front. Then Alexander motioned with his hand for the people to be silent, and he tried to make a speech of defense. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted together the same thing for two hours: "Great is Artemis of Ephesus!"
35At last the city clerk was able to calm the crowd. "Fellow Ephesians!" he said. "Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell down from heaven. 36Nobody can deny these things. So then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless. 37You have brought these men here even though they have not robbed temples or said evil things about our goddess. 38If Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against anyone, we have the authorities and the regular days for court; charges can be made there. 39But if there is something more that you want, it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of citizens. 40For after what has happened today, there is the danger that we will be accused of a riot. There is no excuse for all this uproar, and we would not be able to give a good reason for it." 41After saying this, he dismissed the meeting.
Jephthah's DaughterJudges 11 34When Jephthah went back home to Mizpah, there was his daughter coming out to meet him, dancing and playing the tambourine. She was his only child. 35When he saw her, he tore his clothes in sorrow and said, "Oh, my daughter! You are breaking my heart! Why must it be you that causes me pain? I have made a solemn promise to the LORD, and I cannot take it back!"
36She told him, "If you have made a promise to the LORD, do what you said you would do to me, since the LORD has given you revenge on your enemies, the Ammonites." 37But she asked her father, "Do this one thing for me. Leave me alone for two months, so that I can go with my friends to wander in the mountains and grieve that I must die a virgin." 38He told her to go and sent her away for two months. She and her friends went up into the mountains and grieved because she was going to die unmarried and childless. 39After two months she came back to her father. He did what he had promised the LORD, and she died still a virgin.
This was the origin of the custom in Israel 40that the Israelite women would go out for four days every year to grieve for the daughter of Jephthah of Gilead.
Jephthah and the EphraimitesJudges 12 The men of Ephraim prepared for battle; they crossed the Jordan River to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross the border to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We'll burn the house down over your head!"
2But Jephthah told them, "My people and I had a serious quarrel with the Ammonites. I did call you, but you would not rescue me from them. 3When I saw that you were not going to, I risked my life and crossed the border to fight them, and the LORD gave me victory over them. So why are you coming up to fight me now?" 4Then Jephthah brought all the men of Gilead together, fought the men of Ephraim and defeated them. (The Ephraimites had said, "You Gileadites in Ephraim and Manasseh, you are deserters from Ephraim!") 5In order to keep the Ephraimites from escaping, the Gileadites captured the places where the Jordan could be crossed. When any Ephraimite who was trying to escape would ask permission to cross, the men of Gilead would ask, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No," 6they would tell him to say "Shibboleth." But he would say "Sibboleth," because he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they would grab him and kill him there at one of the Jordan River crossings. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed.
7Jephthah led Israel for six years. Then he died and was buried in his hometown in Gilead.
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon8After Jephthah, Ibzan from Bethlehem led Israel. 9He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters in marriage outside the clan and brought thirty young women from outside the clan for his sons to marry. Ibzan led Israel for seven years, 10then he died and was buried at Bethlehem.
11After Ibzan, Elon from Zebulun led Israel for ten years. 12Then he died and was buried at Aijalon in the territory of Zebulun.
13After Elon, Abdon son of Hillel from Pirathon led Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. Abdon led Israel for eight years, 15then he died and was buried at Pirathon in the territory of Ephraim in the hill country of the Amalekites.
Job 40 1-2Job, you challenged Almighty God;
will you give up now, or will you answer?
3-4I spoke foolishly, LORD. What can I answer?
I will not try to say anything else.
5I have already said more than I should.
6Then out of the storm the LORD spoke to Job once again.
7Now stand up straight,
and answer my questions.
8Are you trying to prove that I am unjust--
to put me in the wrong and yourself in the right?
9Are you as strong as I am?
Can your voice thunder as loud as mine?
10If so, stand up in your honor and pride;
clothe yourself with majesty and glory.
11Look at those who are proud;
pour out your anger and humble them.
12Yes, look at them and bring them down;
crush the wicked where they stand.
13Bury them all in the ground;
bind them in the world of the dead.
14Then I will be the first to praise you
and admit that you won the victory yourself.
15Look at the monster Behemoth;
I created him and I created you.
He eats grass like a cow,
16 but what strength there is in his body,
and what power there is in his muscles!
17His tail stands up like a cedar,
and the muscles in his legs are strong.
18His bones are as strong as bronze,
and his legs are like iron bars.
19The most amazing of all my creatures!
Only his Creator can defeat him.
20Grass to feed him grows
on the hills where wild beasts play.
21He lies down under the thorn bushes,
and hides among the reeds in the swamp.
22The thorn bushes and the willows by the stream
give him shelter in their shade.
23He is not afraid of a rushing river;
he is calm when the Jordan dashes in his face.
24Who can blind his eyes and capture him?
Or who can catch his snout in a trap?
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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