June 22 - Mark 6.1-29, 2 Samuel 15 and Daniel 9
Jesus Is Rejected at Nazareth
4Jesus said to them, "Prophets are respected everywhere except in their own hometown and by their relatives and their family."
5He was not able to perform any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples
12So they went out and preached that people should turn away from their sins. 13They drove out many demons, and rubbed olive oil on many sick people and healed them.
The Death of John the Baptist
15Others, however, said, "He is Elijah."
Others said, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago."
16When Herod heard it, he said, "He is John the Baptist! I had his head cut off, but he has come back to life!" 17Herod himself had ordered John's arrest, and he had him tied up and put in prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, whom he had married, even though she was the wife of his brother Philip. 18John the Baptist kept telling Herod, "It isn't right for you to marry your brother's wife!"
19So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because of Herod. 20Herod was afraid of John because he knew that John was a good and holy man, and so he kept him safe. He liked to listen to him, even though he became greatly disturbed every time he heard him.
21Finally Herodias got her chance. It was on Herod's birthday, when he gave a feast for all the top government officials, the military chiefs, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22The daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and pleased Herod and his guests. So the king said to the girl, "What would you like to have? I will give you anything you want." 23With many vows he said to her, "I swear that I will give you anything you ask for, even as much as half my kingdom!"
24So the girl went out and asked her mother, "What shall I ask for?"
"The head of John the Baptist," she answered.
25The girl hurried back at once to the king and demanded, "I want you to give me here and now the head of John the Baptist on a plate!"
26This made the king very sad, but he could not refuse her because of the vows he had made in front of all his guests. 27So he sent off a guard at once with orders to bring John's head. The guard left, went to the prison, and cut John's head off; 28then he brought it on a plate and gave it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. 29When John's disciples heard about this, they came and got his body, and buried it.
Absalom Plans Rebellion2 Samuel 15 After this, Absalom provided a chariot and horses for himself, and an escort of fifty men. 2He would get up early and go and stand by the road at the city gate. Whenever someone came there with a dispute that he wanted the king to settle, Absalom would call him over and ask him where he was from. And after the man had told him what tribe he was from, 3Absalom would say, "Look, the law is on your side, but there is no representative of the king to hear your case." 4And he would add, "How I wish I were a judge! Then anyone who had a dispute or a claim could come to me, and I would give him justice." 5When the man would approach Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. 6Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for judgment, and so he won their loyalty.
7After four years Absalom said to King David, "Sir, let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to the LORD. 8While I was living in Geshur in Syria, I promised the LORD that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron."
9"Go in peace," the king said. So Absalom went to Hebron. 10But he sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, "When you hear the sound of trumpets, shout, 'Absalom has become king at Hebron!'" 11There were two hundred men who at Absalom's invitation had gone from Jerusalem with him; they knew nothing of the plot and went in all good faith. 12And while he was offering sacrifices, Absalom also sent to the town of Gilo for Ahithophel, who was one of King David's advisers. The plot against the king gained strength, and Absalom's followers grew in number.
David Flees from Jerusalem13A messenger reported to David, "The Israelites are pledging their loyalty to Absalom."
14So David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!"
15"Yes, Your Majesty," they answered. "We are ready to do whatever you say." 16So the king left, accompanied by all his family and officials, except for ten concubines, whom he left behind to take care of the palace.
17As the king and all his men were leaving the city, they stopped at the last house. 18All his officials stood next to him as the royal bodyguards passed by in front of him. The six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath also passed by, 19and the king said to Ittai, their leader, "Why are you going with us? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner, a refugee away from your own country. 20You have lived here only a short time, so why should I make you wander around with me? I don't even know where I'm going. Go back and take all your people with you--and may the LORD be kind and faithful to you."
21But Ittai answered, "Your Majesty, I swear to you in the LORD's name that I will always go with you wherever you go, even if it means death."
22"Fine!" David answered. "March on!" So Ittai went on with all his men and their dependents. 23The people cried loudly as David's followers left. The king crossed Kidron Brook, followed by his men, and together they went out toward the wilderness.
24Zadok the priest was there, and with him were the Levites, carrying the sacred Covenant Box. They set it down and didn't pick it up again until all the people had left the city. The priest Abiathar was there too. 25Then the king said to Zadok, "Take the Covenant Box back to the city. If the LORD is pleased with me, some day he will let me come back to see it and the place where it stays. 26But if he isn't pleased with me--well, then, let him do to me what he wishes." 27And he went on to say to Zadok, "Look, take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan and go back to the city in peace. 28Meanwhile, I will wait at the river crossings in the wilderness until I receive news from you." 29So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box back into Jerusalem and stayed there.
30David went on up the Mount of Olives crying; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and cried also. 31When David was told that Ahithophel had joined Absalom's rebellion, he prayed, "Please, LORD, turn Ahithophel's advice into nonsense!"
32When David reached the top of the hill, where there was a place of worship, his trusted friend Hushai the Archite met him with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 33David said to him, "You will be of no help to me if you come with me, 34but you can help me by returning to the city and telling Absalom that you will now serve him as faithfully as you served his father. And do all you can to oppose any advice that Ahithophel gives. 35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be there; tell them everything you hear in the king's palace. 36They have their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan with them, and you can send them to me with all the information you gather."
37So Hushai, David's friend, returned to the city just as Absalom was arriving.
Daniel Prays for His PeopleDaniel 9 Darius the Mede, who was the son of Xerxes, ruled over the kingdom of Babylonia. 2In the first year of his reign I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the LORD had told the prophet Jeremiah. 3And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. 4I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed the sins of my people.
I said, "Lord God, you are great, and we honor you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command.
5"We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. 7You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves. This is true of all of us who live in Judea and in Jerusalem and of all the Israelites whom you scattered in countries near and far because they were unfaithful to you. 8Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. 9You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10We did not listen to you, O LORD our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, and so you brought on us the curses that are written in the Law of Moses, your servant. 12You did what you said you would do to us and our rulers. You punished Jerusalem more severely than any other city on earth, 13giving us all the punishment described in the Law of Moses. But even now, O LORD our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14You, O LORD our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you.
15"O Lord our God, you showed your power by bringing your people out of Egypt, and your power is still remembered. We have sinned; we have done wrong. 16You have defended us in the past, so do not be angry with Jerusalem any longer. It is your city, your sacred hill. All the people in the neighboring countries look down on Jerusalem and on your people because of our sins and the evil our ancestors did. 17O God, hear my prayer and pleading. Restore your Temple, which has been destroyed; restore it so that everyone will know that you are God. 18Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen to us, and act! In order that everyone will know that you are God, do not delay! This city and these people are yours."
Gabriel Explains the Prophecy20I went on praying, confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and pleading with the LORD my God to restore his holy Temple. 21While I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came flying down to where I was. It was the time for the evening sacrifice to be offered. 22He explained, "Daniel, I have come here to help you understand the prophecy. 23When you began to plead with God, he answered you. He loves you, and so I have come to tell you the answer. Now pay attention while I explain the vision.
24"Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established, so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the holy Temple will be rededicated. 25Note this and understand it: From the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until God's chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. 26And at the end of that time God's chosen leader will be killed unjustly. The city and the Temple will be destroyed by the invading army of a powerful ruler. The end will come like a flood, bringing the war and destruction which God has prepared. 27That ruler will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half this time is past, he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him."
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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