June 24 - Mark 7.1-13, 2 Samuel 17 and Daniel 11.2-20
The Teaching of the Ancestors
3The Pharisees and many others obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. 4None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.
5The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?"
You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,
"All of you praise me with your words,
but you never really think about me.
7It is useless for you to worship me,
when you teach rules made up by humans."
8You disobey God's commands in order to obey what humans have taught. 9You are good at rejecting God's commands so that you can follow your own teachings! 10Didn't Moses command you to respect your father and mother? Didn't he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? 11But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they own has been offered to God. 12You won't let those people help their parents. 13And you ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. You do a lot of other things that are just as bad.
2 Samuel 17 Ahithophel said to Absalom:
Let me choose twelve thousand men and attack David tonight, 2while he is tired and discouraged. He will panic, and everyone with him will run away. I won't kill anyone except David, 3since he's the one you want to get rid of. Then I'll bring the whole nation back to you like a bride coming home to her husband. This way there won't be a civil war.
Hushai Fools Absalom4Absalom and all the leaders of the tribes of Israel agreed that Ahithophel had a good plan. 5Then Absalom said, "Bring in Hushai the Archite. Let's hear what he has to say."
6Hushai came in, and Absalom told him what Ahithophel had planned. Then Absalom said, "Should we do what he says? And if we shouldn't, can you come up with anything better?"
This time Ahithophel's advice isn't so good. 8You know that your father and his followers are real warriors. Right now they are as fierce as a mother bear whose cubs have just been killed. Besides, your father has a lot of experience in fighting wars, and he won't be spending the night with the others. 9He has probably already found a hiding place in a cave or somewhere else.
As soon as anyone hears that some of your soldiers have been killed, everyone will think your whole army has been destroyed. 10Then even those who are as brave as a lion will lose their courage. All Israel knows what a great warrior your father is and what brave soldiers he has.
11My advice is to gather all the fighting men of Israel from the town of Dan in the north down to the town of Beersheba in the south. You will have more soldiers than there are grains of sand on the seashore. Absalom, you should lead them yourself, 12and we will all go to fight David wherever he is. We will fall on him just as dew falls and covers the ground. He and all his soldiers will die! 13If they go into a walled town, we will put ropes around that town and drag it into the river. We won't leave even one small piece of a stone.
14Absalom and the others liked Hushai's plan better than Ahithophel's plan. This was because the LORD had decided to keep Ahithophel's plan from working and to cause trouble for Absalom.
Jonathan and Ahimaaz Tell David the News15Right away, Hushai went to Zadok and Abiathar. He told them what advice Ahithophel had given to Absalom and to the leaders of Israel. He also told them about the advice he had given. 16Then he said, "Hurry! Send someone to warn David not to spend the night on this side of the river. He must get across the river, so he and the others won't be wiped out!"
17Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been waiting at Rogel Spring because they did not want to be seen in Jerusalem. A servant girl went to the spring and gave them the message for David. 18But a young man saw them and went to tell Absalom. So Jonathan and Ahimaaz left and hurried to the house of a man who lived in Bahurim. Then they climbed down into a well in the courtyard. 19The man's wife put the cover on the well and poured grain on top of it, so the well could not be seen.
20Absalom's soldiers came to the woman and demanded, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?"
The woman answered, "They went across the stream."
The soldiers went off to look for the two men. But when they did not find the men, they went back to Jerusalem.
21After the soldiers had gone, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well. They went to David and said, "Hurry! Get ready to cross the river!" Then they told him about Ahithophel's plan.
22David and the others got ready and started crossing the Jordan River. By sunrise all of them were on the other side.
Ahithophel Kills Himself23When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo. He told his family and servants what to do. Then he hanged himself, and they buried him in his family's burial place.
Absalom Puts Amasa in Charge of the Army24David went to the town of Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan River with the army of Israel. 25Absalom put Amasa in Joab's place as commander of the army. Amasa's father was Ithra from the family of Ishmael, and his mother was Abigal, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah. 26The Israelites under Absalom's command set up camp in the region of Gilead.
Friends Bring Supplies to David27After David came to the town of Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash came from Rabbah in Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel came from Lo-Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite came from Rogelim.
28-29Here is a list of what they brought: sleeping mats, blankets, bowls, pottery jars, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese.
They brought the food for David and the others because they knew that everyone would be hungry, tired, and thirsty from being out in the desert.
The Angel's Message to DanielPart One: The Four Kings and their Successors
Daniel 11 2What I am going to tell you is certain to happen. Four kings will rule Persia, one after the other, but the fourth one will become much richer than the others. In fact, his wealth will make him so powerful that he will turn everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3Then a mighty king will come to power and will be able to do whatever he pleases. 4But suddenly his kingdom will be crushed and scattered to the four corners of the earth, where four more kingdoms will rise. But these won't be ruled by his descendants or be as powerful as his kingdom.
5The king of the south will grow powerful. Then one of his generals will rebel and take over most of the kingdom. 6Years later the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom will make a treaty, and the daughter of the king of the south will marry the king of the north. But she will lose her power. Then she, her husband, their child, and the servants who came with her will all be killed.
After this, 7one of her relatives will become the ruler of the southern kingdom. He will attack the army of the northern kingdom and capture its fortresses. 8Then he will carry their idols to Egypt, together with their precious treasures of silver and gold, but it will be a long time before he attacks the northern kingdom again. Some years later 9the king of the north will invade the southern kingdom, but he will be forced back to his own country.
10The sons of the king of the north will gather a huge army that will sweep down like a roaring flood, reaching all the way to the fortress of the southern kingdom. 11But this will make the king of the south angry, and he will defeat this large army from the north. 12The king of the south will feel proud because of the many thousands he has killed. But his victories won't last long, 13because the king of the north will gather a larger and more powerful army than ever before. Then in a few years, he will start invading other countries.
14At this time many of your own people will try to make this vision come true by rebelling against the king of the south, but their rebellion will fail. 15Then the army from the north will surround and capture a fortress in the south, and not even the most experienced troops of the southern kingdom will be able to make them retreat. 16The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land. 17In fact, he will decide to invade the south with his entire army. Then he will attempt to make peace by giving the king of the south a bride from the northern kingdom, but this won't be successful.
18Afterwards, this proud king of the north will invade and conquer many of the nations along the coast, but a military leader will defeat him and make him lose his pride. 19He will retreat to his fortresses in his own country, but on the way he will be defeated and never again be seen.
20The next king of the north will try to collect taxes for the glory of his kingdom. However, he will come to a sudden end in some mysterious way, instead of in battle or because of someone's anger.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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