June 20 - Mark 5.1-20, 2 Samuel 13 and Daniel 7
Jesus Heals a Man with Evil Spirits
6He was some distance away when he saw Jesus; so he ran, fell on his knees before him, 7and screamed in a loud voice, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? For God's sake, I beg you, don't punish me!" ( 8He said this because Jesus was saying, "Evil spirit, come out of this man!")
9So Jesus asked him, "What is your name!"
The man answered, "My name is 'Mob'--there are so many of us!" 10And he kept begging Jesus not to send the evil spirits out of that region.
11There was a large herd of pigs near by, feeding on a hillside. 12So the spirits begged Jesus, "Send us to the pigs, and let us go into them." 13He let them go, and the evil spirits went out of the man and entered the pigs. The whole herd--about two thousand pigs in all--rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned.
14The men who had been taking care of the pigs ran away and spread the news in the town and among the farms. People went out to see what had happened, 15and when they came to Jesus, they saw the man who used to have the mob of demons in him. He was sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; and they were all afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the man with the demons, and about the pigs.
17So they asked Jesus to leave their territory.
18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had had the demons begged him, "Let me go with you!"
19But Jesus would not let him. Instead, he told him, "Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you."
20So the man left and went all through the Ten Towns, telling what Jesus had done for him. And all who heard it were amazed.
Amnon and Tamar2 Samuel 13 David's son Absalom had a beautiful unmarried sister named Tamar. Amnon, another of David's sons, fell in love with her. 2He was so much in love with her that he became sick, because it seemed impossible for him to have her; as a virgin, she was kept from meeting men. 3But he had a friend, a very shrewd man named Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shammah. 4Jonadab said to Amnon, "You are the king's son, yet day after day I see you looking sad. What's the matter?"
"I'm in love with Tamar, the sister of my half brother Absalom," he answered.
5Jonadab said to him, "Pretend that you are sick and go to bed. When your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please ask my sister Tamar to come and feed me. I want her to fix the food here where I can see her, and then serve it to me herself.'" 6So Amnon pretended that he was sick and went to bed.
King David went to see him, and Amnon said to him, "Please let Tamar come and make a few cakes here where I can see her, and then serve them to me herself."
7So David sent word to Tamar in the palace: "Go to Amnon's house and fix him some food." 8She went there and found him in bed. She took some dough, prepared it, and made some cakes there where he could see her. Then she baked the cakes 9and emptied them out of the pan for him to eat, but he wouldn't. He said, "Send everyone away"--and they all left. 10Then he said to her, "Bring the cakes here to my bed and serve them to me yourself." She took the cakes and went over to him. 11As she offered them to him, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me!"
12"No," she said. "Don't force me to do such a degrading thing! That's awful! 13How could I ever hold up my head in public again? And you--you would be completely disgraced in Israel. Please, speak to the king, and I'm sure that he will give me to you." 14But he would not listen to her; and since he was stronger than she was, he overpowered her and raped her.
15Then Amnon was filled with a deep hatred for her; he hated her now even more than he had loved her before. He said to her, "Get out!"
16"No," she answered. "To send me away like this is a greater crime than what you just did!"
But Amnon would not listen to her; 17he called in his personal servant and said, "Get this woman out of my sight! Throw her out and lock the door!" 18The servant put her out and locked the door.
Tamar was wearing a long robe with full sleeves, the usual clothing for an unmarried princess in those days. 19She sprinkled ashes on her head, tore her robe, and with her face buried in her hands went away crying. 20When her brother Absalom saw her, he asked, "Has Amnon molested you? Please, sister, don't let it upset you so much. He is your half brother, so don't tell anyone about it." So Tamar lived in Absalom's house, sad and lonely.
21When King David heard what had happened, he was furious. 22And Absalom hated Amnon so much for having raped his sister Tamar that he would no longer even speak to him.
Absalom's Revenge23Two years later Absalom was having his sheep sheared at Baal Hazor, near the town of Ephraim, and he invited all the king's sons to be there. 24He went to King David and said, "Your Majesty, I am having my sheep sheared. Will you and your officials come and take part in the festivities?"
25"No, my son," the king answered. "It would be too much trouble for you if we all went." Absalom insisted, but the king would not give in, and he asked Absalom to leave.
26But Absalom said, "Well, then, will you at least let my brother Amnon come?"
"Why should he?" the king asked. 27But Absalom kept on insisting until David finally let Amnon and all his other sons go with Absalom.
Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king 28and instructed his servants: "Notice when Amnon has had too much to drink, and then when I give the order, kill him. Don't be afraid. I will take the responsibility myself. Be brave and don't hesitate!" 29So the servants followed Absalom's instructions and killed Amnon. All the rest of David's sons mounted their mules and fled.
30While they were on their way home, David was told: "Absalom has killed all your sons--not one of them is left!" 31The king stood up, tore his clothes in sorrow, and threw himself to the ground. The servants who were there with him tore their clothes also. 32But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shammah, said, "Your Majesty, they haven't killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. You could tell by looking at Absalom that he had made up his mind to do this from the time that Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33So don't believe the news that all your sons are dead; only Amnon was killed."
34In the meantime Absalom had fled.
Just then the soldier on sentry duty saw a large crowd coming down the hill on the road from Horonaim. He went to the king and reported what he had seen. 35Jonadab said to David, "Those are your sons coming, just as I said they would." 36As soon as he finished saying this, David's sons came in; they started crying, and David and his officials also cried bitterly.
37-38Absalom fled and went to the king of Geshur, Talmai son of Ammihud, and stayed there three years. David mourned a long time for his son Amnon; 39but when he got over Amnon's death, he was filled with longing for his son Absalom.
DANIEL DESCRIBES HIS VISIONS (7.1--12.13)
Daniel's Vision of the Four BeastsDaniel 7 In the first year that Belshazzar was king of Babylonia, I had a dream and saw a vision in the night. I wrote the dream down, and this is the record 2of what I saw that night:
Winds were blowing from all directions and lashing the surface of the ocean. 3Four huge beasts came up out of the ocean, each one different from the others. 4The first one looked like a lion, but had wings like an eagle. While I was watching, the wings were torn off. The beast was lifted up and made to stand up straight. And then a human mind was given to it.
5The second beast looked like a bear standing on its hind legs. It was holding three ribs between its teeth, and a voice said to it, "Go on, eat as much meat as you can!"
6While I was watching, another beast appeared. It looked like a leopard, but on its back there were four wings, like the wings of a bird, and it had four heads. It had a look of authority about it.
7As I was watching, a fourth beast appeared. It was powerful, horrible, terrifying. With its huge iron teeth it crushed its victims, and then it trampled on them. Unlike the other beasts, it had ten horns. 8While I was staring at the horns, I saw a little horn coming up among the others. It tore out three of the horns that were already there. This horn had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting proudly.
The Vision of the One Who Has Been Living Forever9While I was looking, thrones were put in place. One who had been living forever sat down on one of the thrones. His clothes were white as snow, and his hair was like pure wool. His throne, mounted on fiery wheels, was blazing with fire, 10and a stream of fire was pouring out from it. There were many thousands of people there to serve him, and millions of people stood before him. The court began its session, and the books were opened.
11While I was looking, I could still hear the little horn bragging and boasting. As I watched, the fourth beast was killed, and its body was thrown into the flames and destroyed. 12The other beasts had their power taken away, but they were permitted to go on living for a limited time.
13During this vision in the night, I saw what looked like a human being. He was approaching me, surrounded by clouds, and he went to the one who had been living forever and was presented to him. 14He was given authority, honor, and royal power, so that the people of all nations, races, and languages would serve him. His authority would last forever, and his kingdom would never end.
The Visions Are Explained15The visions I saw alarmed me, and I was deeply disturbed. 16I went up to one of those standing there and asked him to explain it all. So he told me the meaning. 17He said, "These four huge beasts are four empires which will arise on earth. 18And the people of the Supreme God will receive royal power and keep it forever and ever."
19Then I wanted to know more about the fourth beast, which was not like any of the others--the terrifying beast which crushed its victims with its bronze claws and iron teeth and then trampled on them. 20And I wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and the horn that had come up afterward and had made three of the horns fall. It had eyes and a mouth and was boasting proudly. It was more terrifying than any of the others.
21While I was looking, that horn made war on God's people and conquered them. 22Then the one who had been living forever came and pronounced judgment in favor of the people of the Supreme God. The time had arrived for God's people to receive royal power.
23This is the explanation I was given: "The fourth beast is a fourth empire that will be on the earth and will be different from all other empires. It will crush the whole earth and trample it down. 24The ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will appear; he will be very different from the earlier ones and will overthrow three kings. 25He will speak against the Supreme God and oppress God's people. He will try to change their religious laws and festivals, and God's people will be under his power for three and a half years. 26Then the heavenly court will sit in judgment, take away his power, and destroy him completely. 27The power and greatness of all the kingdoms on earth will be given to the people of the Supreme God. Their royal power will never end, and all rulers on earth will serve and obey them."
28This is the end of the account. I was so frightened that I turned pale, and I kept everything to myself.
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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