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First Reading: 2 Samuel Chapter 19 and 20
2 Samuel 19
1 And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.
2 And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people; for the people heard say that day, The king grieveth for his son.
3 And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people that are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
4 And the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
5 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, who this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;
6 in that thou lovest them that hate thee, and hatest them that love thee. For thou hast declared this day, that princes and servants are nought unto thee: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.
7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants; for I swear by Jehovah, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry a man with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that hath befallen thee from thy youth until now.
8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king is sitting in the gate: and all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his tent.
9 And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king delivered us out of the hand of our enemies, and he saved us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land from Absalom.
10 And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?
11 And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, `to bring him' to his house.
12 Ye are my brethren, ye are my bone and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?
13 And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.
14 And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as `the heart of' one man; so that they sent unto the king, `saying', Return thou, and all thy servants.
15 So the king returned, and came to the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to bring the king over the Jordan.
16 And Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite, who was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.
17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went through the Jordan in the presence of the king.
18 And there went over a ferry-boat to bring over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, when he was come over the Jordan.
19 And he said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
20 For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come this day the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.
21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed Jehovah's anointed?
22 And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
23 And the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace.
25 And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?
26 And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go with the king; because thy servant is lame.
27 And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.
28 For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king; yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet that I should cry any more unto the king?
29 And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I say, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come in peace unto his own house.
31 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim; and he went over the Jordan with the king, to conduct him over the Jordan.
32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king with sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.
33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will sustain thee with me in Jerusalem.
34 And Barzillai said unto the king, How many are the days of the years of my life, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?
35 I am this day fourscore years old: can I discern between good and bad? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
36 Thy servant would but just go over the Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
37 Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, by the grave of my father and my mother. But behold, thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.
38 And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.
39 And all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over: and the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.
40 So the king went over to Gilgal, and Chimham went over with him: and all the people of Judah brought the king over, and also half the people of Israel.
41 And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and brought the king, and his household, over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?
42 And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then are ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all at the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift?
43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more `right' in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
2 Samuel 20
1 And there happened to be there a base fellow, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew the trumpet, and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.
2 So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.
3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and provided them with sustenance, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
4 Then said the king to Amasa, Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be thou here present.
5 So Amasa went to call `the men of' Judah together; but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him.
6 And David said to Abishai, Now will Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.
7 And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. And Joab was girded with his apparel of war that he had put on, and thereon was a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.
9 And Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with thee, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.
10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he smote him therewith in the body, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. And Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
11 And there stood by him one of Joab's young men, and said, He that favoreth Joab, and he that is for David, let him follow Joab.
12 And Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a garment over him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.
13 When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
14 And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Beth-maacah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
16 Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.
17 And he came near unto her; and the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thy handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.
18 Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask `counsel' at Abel: and so they ended `the matter'.
19 I am of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of Jehovah?
20 And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
21 The matter is not so: but a man of the hill-country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David; deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.
22 Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. And he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
23 Now Joab was over all the host of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites;
24 and Adoram was over the men subject to taskwork; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder;
25 and Sheva was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests;
26 and also Ira the Jairite was chief minister unto David.
Second Reading: Galatians Chapter 1
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead),
2 and all the brethren that are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father:
5 to whom `be' the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel;
7 which is not another `gospel' only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.
9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.
11 For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man.
12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but `it came to me' through revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it:
14 and I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, `even' from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace,
16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
20 Now touching the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Then I came unto the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 but they only heard say, He that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc;
24 and they glorified God in me.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 1 of 2
Galatians is a letter written by Paul the Apostle to the new Christians in the area of Galatia. It was written about 48 to 50 A.D. The letter focuses on the divisions that Jewish-Christians were causing among new Gentile converts. These Judaizers were trying to convince the Gentiles that Paul's authority was given by men and not by God, and that they needed to be circumcised and to keep the ritual law in order to be saved. Paul argued that both Jew and Gentile alike enjoy in Christ complete salvation by God's grace. They are justified, adopted, renewed, and made heirs according to the promises of the Abrahamic covenant. Reliance on the Law was only a bondage to death and could not produce life-giving freedom, as only Christ can grant that freedom. Paul was showing that all legalistic variations of the Gospel are perversions of it and should be shown as such. Salvation and holiness are gifts of God through Christ Jesus and cannot be earned by legalism.
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