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First Reading: Deuteronomy Chapter 31 and 32
31:1 Joshua the New Leader of Israel
Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2 And he said to them: "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the LORD has said to me,'You shall not cross over this Jordan.' 3 The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said. 4 And the LORD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. 5 The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel,"Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."
9 The Law to Be Read Every Seven Years
So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi,
who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.
10 And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years,
at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11
when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which
He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather
the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is
within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD
your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their
children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God
as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess."
14 Prediction of Israel's Rebellion
Then the LORD said to Moses,"Behold, the days approach when you must die;
call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of meeting, that I may
So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tabernacle of meeting. 15 Now the LORD appeared at the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood above the door of the tabernacle.
16 And the LORD said to Moses: "Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then My anger shall be aroused 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 befall them, so that they will say in that day,'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?' 18 And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods.
19 "Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. 20 When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. 21 Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them."
22 Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel. 23 Then He inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said,"Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them, and I will be with you."
24 So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; 27 for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death? 28 Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands."
30 The Song of Moses
Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of
this song until they were ended:
"Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching drop as the rain,My speech distill as the dew,As raindrops on the tender herb,And as showers on the grass. 3 For I proclaim the name of the LORD:Ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect;For all His ways are justice,A God of truth and without injustice;Righteous and upright is He.
5 "They have corrupted themselves;They are not His children,Because of their blemish:A perverse and crooked generation. 6 Do you thus deal with the LORD,O foolish and unwise people?Is He not your Father, who bought you?Has He not made you and established you?
7 "Remember the days of old,Consider the years of many generations.Ask your father, and he will show you;Your elders, and they will tell you: 8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,When He separated the sons of Adam,He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the LORD's portion is His people;Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
10 "He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;He encircled him, He instructed him,He kept him as the apple of His eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest,Hovers over its young,Spreading out its wings, taking them up,Carrying them on its wings, 12 So the LORD alone led him,And there was no foreign god with him.
13 "He made him ride in the heights of the earth,That he might eat the produce of the fields;He made him draw honey from the rock,And oil from the flinty rock; 14 Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock,With fat of lambs;And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,With the choicest wheat;And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
15 "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;You grew fat, you grew thick,You are obese!Then he forsook God who made him,And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16 They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not to God,To gods they did not know,To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. 18 Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful,And have forgotten the God who fathered you.
19 "And when the LORD saw it, He spurned 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 will be,For they are a perverse generation,Children in whom is no faith. 21 They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation;I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. 22 For a fire is kindled in My anger,And shall burn to the lowest hell;It shall consume the earth with her increase,And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23'I will heap disasters on them;I will spend My arrows on them. 24 They shall be wasted with hunger,Devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction;I will also send against them the teeth of beasts,With the poison of serpents of the dust. 25 The sword shall destroy outside;There shall be terror within For the young man and virgin,The nursing child with the man of gray hairs. 26 I would have said, "I will dash them in pieces,I will make the memory of them to cease from among men," 27 Had I not feared the wrath of the enemy,Lest their adversaries should misunderstand,Lest they should say,"Our hand is high;And it is not the LORD who has done all this."'
28 "For they are a nation void of counsel,Nor is there any understanding in them. 29 Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,That they would consider their latter end! 30 How could one chase a thousand,And two put ten thousand to flight,Unless their Rock had sold them,And the LORD had surrendered them? 31 For their rock is not like our Rock,Even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of SodomAnd 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 cobras.
34'Is this not laid up in store with Me,Sealed up among My treasures? 35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;Their foot shall slip in due time;For the day of their calamity is at hand,And the things to come hasten upon them.'
36 "For the LORD will judge His people And have compassion on His servants,When He sees that their power is gone,And there is no one remaining, bond or free. 37 He will say:'Where are their gods,The rock in which they sought refuge? 38 Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,And drank the wine of their drink offering?Let them rise and help you,And be your refuge.
39'Now see that I, even I, am He,And there is no God besides Me;I kill and I make alive;I wound and I heal;Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. 40 For I raise My hand to heaven,And say, "As I live forever, 41 If I whet My glittering sword,And My hand takes hold on judgment,I will render vengeance to My enemies,And repay those who hate Me. 42 I will make My arrows drunk with blood,And My sword shall devour flesh,With the blood of the slain and the captives,From the heads of the leaders of the enemy."'
43 "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants,And render vengeance to His adversaries;He will provide atonement for His land and His people."
44 So Moses came with Joshua the son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45 Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 and he said to them:"Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess."
48 Moses to Die on Mount Nebo
Then the LORD spoke to Moses that very same day, saying: 49 "Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession; 50 and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people; 51 because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel. 52 Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel."Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 38 and 39
38:1 Prayer in Time of Chastening
A Psalm of David. To bring to remembrance.
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! 2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply,And Your hand presses me down.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger,Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness.
6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly;I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are full of inflammation,And there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and severely broken;I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire is before You;And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart pants, my strength fails me;As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague,And my relatives stand afar off. 12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me;Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction,And plan deception all the day long.
13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth. 14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear,And in whose mouth is no response.
15 For in You, O LORD, I hope;You will hear, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, "Hear me, lest they rejoice over me,Lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me."
17 For I am ready to fall,And my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I will declare my iniquity;I will be in anguish over my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong;And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. 20 Those also who render evil for good,They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.
21 Do not forsake me, O LORD;O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me,O Lord, my salvation!
39:1 Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness
To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
I said, "I will guard my ways,Lest I sin with my tongue;I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,While the wicked are before me." 2 I was mute with silence,I held my peace even from good;And my sorrow was stirred up. 3 My heart was hot within me;While I was musing, the fire burned.Then I spoke with my tongue:
4 "LORD, make me to know my end,And what is the measure of my days,That I may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,And my age is as nothing before You;Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;Surely they busy themselves in vain;He heaps up riches,And does not know who will gather them.
7 "And now, Lord, what do I wait for?My hope is in You. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions;Do not make me the reproach of the foolish. 9 I was mute, I did not open my mouth,Because it was You who did it. 10 Remove Your plague from me;I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. 11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity,You make his beauty melt away like a moth;Surely every man is vapor.Selah
12 "Hear my prayer, O LORD,And give ear to my cry;Do not be silent at my tears;For I am a stranger with You,A sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength,Before I go away and am no more."
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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