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First Reading: Deuteronomy Chapter 31 and 32

Deuteronomy 31

1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.

2 And he said unto them, I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: and Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

3 Jehovah thy God, he will go over before thee; he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt dispossess them: `and' Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as Jehovah hath spoken.

4 And Jehovah will do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, the kings of the Amorites, and unto their land; whom he destroyed.

5 And Jehovah will deliver them up before you, and ye shall do unto them according unto all the commandment which I have commanded you.

6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them: for Jehovah thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of good courage: for thou shalt go with this people into the land which Jehovah hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

8 And Jehovah, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and unto all the elders of Israel.

10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of `every' seven years, in the set time of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,

11 when all Israel is come to appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little ones, and thy sojourner that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear Jehovah your God, and observe to do all the words of this law;

13 and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear Jehovah your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.

14 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tent of meeting.

15 And Jehovah appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud: and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the Tent.

16 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the harlot after the strange gods of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?

18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.

19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach thou it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxed fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant.

21 And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are come upon them, that this song shall testify before them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they frame this day, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.

22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.

23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,

25 that Moses commanded the Levites, that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, saying,

26 Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Jehovah your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against Jehovah; and how much more after my death?

28 Assemble unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them.

29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished.

Deuteronomy 32

1 Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain; My speech shall distil as the dew, As the small rain upon the tender grass, And as the showers upon the herb.

3 For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

4 The Rock, his work is perfect; For all his ways are justice: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, Just and right is he.

5 They have dealt corruptly with him, `they are' not his children, `it is' their blemish; `They are' a perverse and crooked generation.

6 Do ye thus requite Jehovah, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? He hath made thee, and established thee.

7 Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations: Ask thy father, and he will show thee; Thine elders, and they will tell thee.

8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, When he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.

9 For Jehovah's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

10 He found him in a desert land, And in the waste howling wilderness; He compassed him about, he cared for him, He kept him as the apple of his eye.

11 As an eagle that stirreth up her nest, That fluttereth over her young, He spread abroad his wings, he took them, He bare them on his pinions.

12 Jehovah alone did lead him, And there was no foreign god with him.

13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, And he did eat the increase of the field; And he made him to suck honey out of the rock, And oil out of the flinty rock;

14 Butter of the herd, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs, And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the finest of the wheat; And of the blood of the grape thou drankest wine.

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: Thou art waxed fat, thou art grown thick, thou art become sleek; Then he forsook God who made him, And lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

16 They moved him to jealousy with strange `gods'; With abominations provoked they him to anger.

17 They sacrificed unto demons, `which were' no God, To gods that they knew not, To new `gods' that came up of late, Which your fathers dreaded not.

18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, And hast forgotten God that gave thee birth.

19 And Jehovah saw `it', and abhorred `them', Because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.

20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: For they are a very perverse generation, Children in whom is no faithfulness.

21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; They have provoked me to anger with their vanities: And I will move them to jealousy with those that are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, And burneth unto the lowest Sheol, And devoureth the earth with its increase, And setteth on fire the foundations of the mountains.

23 I will heap evils upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them:

24 `They shall be' wasted with hunger, and devoured with burning heat And bitter destruction; And the teeth of beasts will I send upon them, With the poison of crawling things of the dust.

25 Without shall the sword bereave, And in the chambers terror; `It shall destroy' both young man and virgin, The suckling with the man of gray hairs.

26 I said, I would scatter them afar, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men;

27 Were it not that I feared the provocation of the enemy, Lest their adversaries should judge amiss, Lest they should say, Our hand is exalted, And Jehovah hath not done all this.

28 For they are a nation void of counsel, And there is no understanding in them.

29 Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end!

30 How should one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Except their Rock had sold them, And Jehovah had delivered them up?

31 For their rock is not as our Rock, Even our enemies themselves being judges.

32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, And of the fields of Gomorrah: Their grapes are grapes of gall, Their clusters are bitter:

33 Their wine is the poison of serpents, And the cruel venom of asps.

34 Is not this laid up in store with me, Sealed up among my treasures?

35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, At the time when their foot shall slide: For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things that are to come upon them shall make haste.

36 For Jehovah will judge his people, And repent himself for his servants; When he seeth that `their' power is gone, And there is none `remaining', shut up or left at large.

37 And he will say, Where are their gods, The rock in which they took refuge;

38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, `And' drank the wine of their drink-offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your protection.

39 See now that I, even I, am he, And there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, And say, As I live for ever,

41 If I whet my glittering sword, And my hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine adversaries, And will recompense them that hate me.

42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, And my sword shall devour flesh; With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the head of the leaders of the enemy.

43 Rejoice, O ye nations, `with' his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, And will render vengeance to his adversaries, And will make expiation for his land, for his people.

44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.

45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel;

46 And he said unto them, Set your heart unto all the words which I testify unto you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, `even' all the words of this law.

47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.

48 And Jehovah spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,

49 Get thee up into this mountain of Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession;

50 and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:

51 because ye trespassed against me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.

52 For thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither into the land which I give the children of Israel.

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 38 and 39

Psalms 38

1 O Jehovah, rebuke me not in thy wrath; Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, And thy hand presseth me sore.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine indignation; Neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin.

4 For mine iniquities are gone over my head: As a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5 My wounds are loathsome and corrupt, Because of my foolishness.

6 I am pained and bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

7 For my loins are filled with burning; And there is no soundness in my flesh.

8 I am faint and sore bruised: I have groaned by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; And my groaning is not hid from thee.

10 My heart throbbeth, my strength faileth me: As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off.

12 They also that seek after my life lay snares `for me'; And they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, And meditate deceits all the day long.

13 But I, as a deaf man, hear not; And I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14 Yea, I am as a man that heareth not, And in whose mouth are no reproofs.

15 For in thee, O Jehovah, do I hope: Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God.

16 For I said, Lest they rejoice over me: When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17 For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

19 But mine enemies are lively, `and' are strong; And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20 They also that render evil for good Are adversaries unto me, because I follow the thing that is good.

21 Forsake me not, O Jehovah: O my God, be not far from me.

22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. Psalm 39 For the Chief Musician, Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

Psalms 39

1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me.

2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred.

3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: `Then' spake I with my tongue:

4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am.

5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show; Surely they are disquieted in vain: He heapeth up `riches', and knoweth not who shall gather them.

7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.

8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: Make me not the reproach of the foolish.

9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; Because thou didst it.

10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand.

11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: Surely every man is vanity. Selah

12 Hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and give ear unto my cry; Hold not thy peace at my tears: For I am a stranger with thee, A sojourner, as all my fathers were.

13 Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, Before I go hence, and be no more. Psalm 40 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

Bible Background

POETRY IN THE BIBLE

Part 2 of 5

A second form of Hebrew poetry is an alphabetic acrostic. We cannot see this in the English but some of the Psalms written in this form are Psalm 34, 37 and 111. Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic poem by stanza. There are 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. Each verse of each stanza starts with the Hebrew letter of that stanza. For instance, the first eight verses of Psalm 119 begin with the Hebrew letter Aleph. The second eight verses start with the Hebrew letter Beth.

Another interesting feature of Psalm 119 is its consistent theme. Each of the 176 verses has one of the following words: law, command, statue, decree, word, promise, or precept.

 

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