June 13 - Mark 1.1-20, 2 Samuel 2.1-3.1 and Daniel 1
The Preaching of John the Baptist
"God said, 'I will send my messenger ahead of you
to open the way for you.'
3Someone is shouting in the desert,
'Get the road ready for the Lord;
make a straight path for him to travel!'"
4So John appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. "Turn away from your sins and be baptized," he told the people, "and God will forgive your sins." 5Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.
6John wore clothes made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 7He announced to the people, "The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
12At once the Spirit made him go into the desert, 13where he stayed forty days, being tempted by Satan. Wild animals were there also, but angels came and helped him.
Jesus Calls Four Fishermen
16As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, catching fish with a net. 17Jesus said to them, "Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people." 18At once they left their nets and went with him.
19He went a little farther on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat getting their nets ready. 20As soon as Jesus saw them, he called them; they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went with Jesus.
David Is Made King of Judah2 Samuel 2 After this, David asked the LORD, "Shall I go and take control of one of the towns of Judah?"
"Yes," the LORD answered.
"Which one?" David asked.
"Hebron," the LORD said. 2So David went to Hebron, taking with him his two wives: Ahinoam, who was from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabal's widow, who was from Carmel. 3He also took his men and their families, and they settled in the towns around Hebron. 4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and anointed David as king of Judah.
When David heard that the people of Jabesh in Gilead had buried Saul, 5he sent some men there with the message: "May the LORD bless you for showing your loyalty to your king by burying him. 6And now may the LORD be kind and faithful to you. I too will treat you well because of what you have done. 7Be strong and brave! Saul your king is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me as their king."
Ishbosheth Is Made King of Israel8The commander of Saul's army, Abner son of Ner, had fled with Saul's son Ishbosheth across the Jordan to Mahanaim. 9There Abner made Ishbosheth king of the territories of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin, and indeed over all Israel. 10He was forty years old when he was made king of Israel, and he ruled for two years.
But the tribe of Judah was loyal to David, 11and he ruled in Hebron over Judah for seven and a half years.
War between Israel and Judah12Abner and the officials of Ishbosheth went from Mahanaim to the city of Gibeon. 13Joab, whose mother was Zeruiah, and David's other officials met them at the pool, where they all sat down, one group on one side of the pool and the other group on the opposite side. 14Abner said to Joab, "Let's have some of the young men from each side fight an armed contest."
"All right," Joab answered.
15So twelve men, representing Ishbosheth and the tribe of Benjamin, fought twelve of David's men. 16Each man caught his opponent by the head and plunged his sword into his opponent's side, so that all twenty-four of them fell down dead together. And so that place in Gibeon is called "Field of Swords."
17Then a furious battle broke out, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David's men. 18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel, who could run as fast as a wild deer, 19started chasing Abner, running straight for him. 20Abner looked back and said, "Is that you, Asahel?"
"Yes," he answered.
21"Stop chasing me!" Abner said. "Run after one of the soldiers and take what he has." But Asahel kept on chasing him. 22Once more Abner said to him, "Stop chasing me! Why force me to kill you? How could I face your brother Joab?" 23But Asahel would not quit; so Abner, with a backward thrust of his spear, struck him through the stomach so that the spear came out at his back. Asahel dropped to the ground dead, and everyone who came to the place where he was lying stopped and stood there.
24But Joab and Abishai started out after Abner, and at sunset they came to the hill of Ammah, which is to the east of Giah on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25The men from the tribe of Benjamin gathered around Abner again and took their stand on the top of a hill. 26Abner called out to Joab, "Do we have to go on fighting forever? Can't you see that in the end there will be nothing but bitterness? We are your relatives. How long will it be before you order your men to stop chasing us?"
27"I swear by the living God," Joab answered, "that if you had not spoken, my men would have kept on chasing you until tomorrow morning." 28Then Joab blew the trumpet as a signal for his men to stop pursuing the Israelites; and so the fighting stopped.
29Abner and his men marched through the Jordan Valley all that night; they crossed the Jordan River, and after marching all the next morning, they arrived back at Mahanaim.
30When Joab gave up the chase, he gathered all his men and found that nineteen of them were missing, in addition to Asahel. 31David's men had killed 360 of Abner's men from the tribe of Benjamin. 32Joab and his men took Asahel's body and buried it in the family tomb at Bethlehem. Then they marched all night and at dawn arrived back at Hebron.
2 Samuel 3 The fighting between the forces supporting Saul's family and those supporting David went on for a long time. As David became stronger and stronger, his opponents became weaker and weaker.
THE STORY OF DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS (1.1--6.28)
The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar's CourtDaniel 1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.
3The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
8Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, "The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don't look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me."
11So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12"Test us for ten days," he said. "Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look."
14He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.
17God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.
18At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king's court. 20No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.
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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