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First Reading: Judges Chapter 21 and Ruth Chapter 1
1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.
2 And the people came to Beth-el, and sat there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore.
3 And they said, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to-day one tribe lacking in Israel?
4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.
5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up in the assembly unto Jehovah? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up unto Jehovah to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely be put to death.
6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by Jehovah that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?
8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up unto Jehovah to Mizpah? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.
9 For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.
10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones.
11 And this is the thing that ye shall do: ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.
12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 And the whole congregation sent and spake to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace unto them.
14 And Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.
15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that Jehovah had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel.
18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.
19 And they said, Behold, there is a feast of Jehovah from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
20 And they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards,
21 and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to complain unto us, that we will say unto them, Grant them graciously unto us, because we took not for each man `of them' his wife in battle, neither did ye give them unto them, else would ye now be guilty.
23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they carried off: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them.
24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
1 And it came to pass in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
3 And Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelt there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died both of them; and the woman was left of her two children and of her husband.
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that Jehovah had visited his people in giving them bread.
7 And she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother's house: Jehovah deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9 Jehovah grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Nay, but we will return with thee unto thy people.
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should even have a husband to-night, and should also bear sons;
13 would ye therefore tarry till they were grown? would ye therefore stay from having husbands? nay, my daughters, for it grieveth me much for your sakes, for the hand of Jehovah is gone forth against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her god: return thou after thy sister-in-law.
16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God;
17 where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
18 And when she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking unto her.
19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and `the women' said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full, and Jehovah hath brought me home again empty; why call ye me Naomi, seeing Jehovah hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 51 and 52
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; And sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; `And' my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; And my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
16 For thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: Build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then will thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, In burnt-offering and in whole burnt-offering: Then will they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Psalm 52 For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Abimelech.
1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The lovingkindness of God `endureth' continually.
2 Thy tongue deviseth very wickedness, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3 Thou lovest evil more than good, And lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah
4 Thou lovest all devouring words, thou deceitful tongue.
5 God will likewise destroy thee for ever; He will take thee up, and pluck thee out of thy tent, And root thee out of the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous also shall see `it', and fear, And shall laugh at him, `saying',
7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, But trusted in the abundance of his riches, And strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8 But as for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the lovingkindness of God for ever and ever.
9 I will give thee thanks for ever, because thou hast done it; And I will hope in thy name, for it is good, in the presence of thy saints. Psalm 53 For the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath. Maschil of David.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
The book of Ruth is dated during the period of the Judges. It shows that in a time of national decline and immorality, God preserved a remnant who could serve as the core for a future revival. This would be accomplished in Ruth's descendant, David, from whom the Messiah would come. No indication of the author is given. It is thought that the book was written after the period of the Judges and describes customs of that time period.
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