April 1 - Matthew 25.1-30, Numbers 30-31 and Job 1
The Parable of the Ten Young WomenMatthew 25 "At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there were ten young women who took their oil lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and the other five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them, 4while the wise ones took containers full of oil for their lamps. 5The bridegroom was late in coming, so they began to nod and fall asleep.
6"It was already midnight when the cry rang out, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come and meet him!' 7The ten young women woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8Then the foolish ones said to the wise ones, 'Let us have some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.' 9'No, indeed,' the wise ones answered, 'there is not enough for you and for us. Go to the store and buy some for yourselves.' 10So the foolish ones went off to buy some oil; and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived. The five who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was closed.
11"Later the others arrived. 'Sir, sir! Let us in!' they cried out. 12'Certainly not! I don't know you,' the bridegroom answered."
13And Jesus concluded, "Watch out, then, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The Parable of the Three Servants
19"After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 20The servant who had received five thousand coins came in and handed over the other five thousand. 'You gave me five thousand coins, sir,' he said. 'Look! Here are another five thousand that I have earned.' 21'Well done, you good and faithful servant!' said his master. 'You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!' 22Then the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, 'You gave me two thousand coins, sir. Look! Here are another two thousand that I have earned.' 23'Well done, you good and faithful servant!' said his master. 'You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!' 24Then the servant who had received one thousand coins came in and said, 'Sir, I know you are a hard man; you reap harvests where you did not plant, and you gather crops where you did not scatter seed. 25I was afraid, so I went off and hid your money in the ground. Look! Here is what belongs to you.' 26'You bad and lazy servant!' his master said. 'You knew, did you, that I reap harvests where I did not plant, and gather crops where I did not scatter seed? 27Well, then, you should have deposited my money in the bank, and I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. 28Now, take the money away from him and give it to the one who has ten thousand coins. 29For to every person who has something, even more will be given, and he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken away from him. 30As for this useless servant--throw him outside in the darkness; there he will cry and gnash his teeth.'
Rules about VowsNumbers 30 Moses gave the following instructions to the leaders of the tribes of Israel. 2When a man makes a vow to give something to the LORD or takes an oath to abstain from something, he must not break his promise, but must do everything that he said he would.
3When a young woman still living in her father's house makes a vow to give something to the LORD or promises to abstain from something, 4she must do everything that she vowed or promised unless her father raises an objection when he hears about it. 5But if her father forbids her to fulfill the vow when he hears about it, she is not required to keep it. The LORD will forgive her, because her father refused to let her keep it.
6If an unmarried woman makes a vow, whether deliberately or carelessly, or promises to abstain from something, and then marries, 7she must do everything that she vowed or promised unless her husband raises an objection when he hears about it. 8But if her husband forbids her to fulfill the vow when he hears about it, she is not required to keep it. The LORD will forgive her.
9A widow or a divorced woman must keep every vow she makes and every promise to abstain from something.
10If a married woman makes a vow or promises to abstain from something, 11she must do everything that she vowed or promised unless her husband raises an objection when he hears about it. 12But if her husband forbids her to fulfill the vow when he hears about it, she is not required to keep it. The LORD will forgive her, because her husband prevented her from keeping her vow. 13Her husband has the right to affirm or to annul any vow or promise that she has made. 14But if, by the day after he hears of the vow, he has raised no objection, she must do everything that she has vowed or promised. He has affirmed the vow by not objecting on the day he heard of it. 15But if he later annuls the vow, he must suffer the consequences for the failure to fulfill the vow.
16These are the rules that the LORD gave Moses concerning vows made by an unmarried woman living in her father's house or by a married woman.
The Holy War against MidianNumbers 31 The LORD said to Moses, 2"Punish the Midianites for what they did to the people of Israel. After you have done that, you will die."
3So Moses said to the people, "Get ready for war, so that you can attack Midian and punish them for what they did to the LORD. 4From each tribe of Israel send a thousand men to war."
5So a thousand men were chosen from each tribe, a total of twelve thousand men ready for battle. 6Moses sent them to war under the command of Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who took charge of the sacred objects and the trumpets for giving signals. 7They attacked Midian, as the LORD had commanded Moses, and killed all the men, 8including the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. They also killed Balaam son of Beor.
9The people of Israel captured the Midianite women and children, took their cattle and their flocks, plundered all their wealth, 10and burned all their cities and camps. 11They took all the loot that they had captured, including the prisoners and the animals, 12and brought them to Moses and Eleazar and to the community of the people of Israel, who were at the camp on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.
The Army Returns13Moses, Eleazar, and all the other leaders of the community went out of the camp to meet the army. 14Moses became angry with the officers, the commanders of battalions and companies, who had returned from the war. 15He asked them, "Why have you kept all the women alive? 16Remember that it was the women who followed Balaam's instructions and at Peor led the people to be unfaithful to the LORD. That was what brought the epidemic on the LORD's people. 17So now kill every boy and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse, 18but keep alive for yourselves all the girls and all the women who are virgins. 19Now all of you who have killed anyone or have touched a corpse must stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third day and on the seventh day purify yourselves and the women you have captured. 20You must also purify every piece of clothing and everything made of leather, goats' hair, or wood."
21Eleazar the priest said to the men who had returned from battle, "These are the regulations that the LORD has given to Moses. 22-23Everything that will not burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, is to be purified by passing it through fire. Everything else is to be purified by the water for purification. 24On the seventh day you must wash your clothes; then you will be ritually clean and will be permitted to enter the camp."
Division of the Loot25The LORD said to Moses, 26"You and Eleazar, together with the other leaders of the community, are to count everything that has been captured, including the prisoners and the animals. 27Divide what was taken into two equal parts, one part for the soldiers and the other part for the rest of the community. 28From the part that belongs to the soldiers, withhold as a tax for the LORD one out of every five hundred prisoners and the same proportion of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. 29Give them to Eleazar the priest as a special contribution to the LORD. 30From the part given to the rest of the people, take one out of every fifty prisoners and the same proportion of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Give them to the Levites who are in charge of the LORD's Tent." 31Moses and Eleazar did what the LORD commanded.
32-35The following is a list of what was captured by the soldiers, in addition to what they kept for themselves: 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 virgins. 36-40The half share of the soldiers was 337,500 sheep and goats, of which 675 were the tax for the LORD; 36,000 cattle for the soldiers, of which 72 were the tax for the LORD; 30,500 donkeys for the soldiers, of which 61 were the tax for the LORD; and 16,000 virgins for the soldiers, of which 32 were the tax for the LORD. 41So Moses gave Eleazar the tax as a special contribution to the LORD, as the LORD had commanded.
42-46The share of the community was the same as that for the soldiers: 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 virgins. 47From this share Moses took one out of every fifty prisoners and animals, and as the LORD had commanded, gave them to the Levites who were in charge of the LORD's Tent.
48Then the officers who had commanded the army went to Moses 49and reported, "Sir, we have counted the soldiers under our command and not one of them is missing. 50So we are bringing the gold ornaments, armlets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces that each of us has taken. We offer them to the LORD as a payment for our lives, so that he will protect us." 51Moses and Eleazar received the gold, all of which was in the form of ornaments. 52The total contribution of the officers weighed over four hundred pounds. 53Those who were not officers kept the loot they had taken. 54So Moses and Eleazar took the gold to the Tent, so that the LORD would protect the people of Israel.
Satan Tests JobJob 1 There was a man named Job, living in the land of Uz, who worshiped God and was faithful to him. He was a good man, careful not to do anything evil. 2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, one thousand head of cattle, and five hundred donkeys. He also had a large number of servants and was the richest man in the East.
4Job's sons used to take turns giving a feast, to which all the others would come, and they always invited their three sisters to join them. 5The morning after each feast, Job would get up early and offer sacrifices for each of his children in order to purify them. He always did this because he thought that one of them might have sinned by insulting God unintentionally.
6When the day came for the heavenly beings to appear before the LORD, Satan was there among them. 7The LORD asked him, "What have you been doing?"
Satan answered, "I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth."
8"Did you notice my servant Job?" the LORD asked. "There is no one on earth as faithful and good as he is. He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil."
9Satan replied, "Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? 10You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. 11But now suppose you take away everything he has--he will curse you to your face!"
12"All right," the LORD said to Satan, "everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself." So Satan left.
Job's Children and Wealth Are Destroyed13One day when Job's children were having a feast at the home of their oldest brother, 14a messenger came running to Job. "We were plowing the fields with the oxen," he said, "and the donkeys were in a nearby pasture. 15Suddenly the Sabeans attacked and stole them all. They killed every one of your servants except me. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
16Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
17Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Three bands of Chaldean raiders attacked us, took away the camels, and killed all your servants except me. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
18Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, "Your children were having a feast at the home of your oldest son, 19when a storm swept in from the desert. It blew the house down and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
20Then Job got up and tore his clothes in grief. He shaved his head and threw himself face downward on the ground. 21He said, "I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The LORD gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!"
22In spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God.
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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