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Saturday: Matthew 14-16
Sunday: Romans 11-12
Monday: Genesis 24-27
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The Books of History
Judges 7-11
Wednesday: Psalms 18-20
Thursday: Job 13-14
Friday: Isaiah 34-39

Judges 7

1
Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh.
2
The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,
3
announce now to the people, `Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'" So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
4
But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, `This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, `This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."
5
So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink."
6
Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7
The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
8
So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.
9
During that night the LORD said to Gideon, "Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.
10
If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah
11
and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.
12
The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
13
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying. "A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed."
14
His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands."
15
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands."
16
Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.
17
"Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.
18
When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, `For the LORD and for Gideon.'"
19
Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands.
20
The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"
21
While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
22
When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
23
Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.
24
Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah." So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah.
25
They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.


Judges 8

1
Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, "Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to fight Midian?" And they criticized him sharply.
2
But he answered them, "What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim's grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?
3
God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?" At this, their resentment against him subsided.
4
Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.
5
He said to the men of Succoth, "Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."
6
But the officials of Succoth said, "Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?"
7
Then Gideon replied, "Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers."
8
From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Succoth had.
9
So he said to the men of Peniel, "When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower."
10
Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen.
11
Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and fell upon the unsuspecting army.
12
Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.
13
Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.
14
He caught a young man of Succoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Succoth, the elders of the town.
15
Then Gideon came and said to the men of Succoth, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, `Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?'"
16
He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Succoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers.
17
He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.
18
Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?" "Men like you," they answered, "each one with the bearing of a prince."
19
Gideon replied, "Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you."
20
Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, "Kill them!" But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.
21
Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Come, do it yourself. `As is the man, so is his strength.'" So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels' necks.
22
The Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us--you, your son and your grandson--because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian."
23
But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you."
24
And he said, "I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder." (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)
25
They answered, "We'll be glad to give them." So they spread out a garment, and each man threw a ring from his plunder onto it.
26
The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels' necks.
27
Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
28
Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.
29
Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live.
30
He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.
31
His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech.
32
Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and
34
did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.
35
They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them.


Judges 9

1
Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother's brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother's clan,
2
"Ask all the citizens of Shechem, `Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal's sons rule over you, or just one man?' Remember, I am your flesh and blood."
3
When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."
4
They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech used it to hire reckless adventurers, who became his followers.
5
He went to his father's home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.
6
Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelech king.
7
When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, "Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.
8
One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, `Be our king.'
9
"But the olive tree answered, `Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?'
10
"Next, the trees said to the fig tree, `Come and be our king.'
11
"But the fig tree replied, `Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?'
12
"Then the trees said to the vine, `Come and be our king.'
13
"But the vine answered, `Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?'
14
"Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, `Come and be our king.'
15
"The thornbush said to the trees, `If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'
16
"Now if you have acted honorably and in good faith when you made Abimelech king, and if you have been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family, and if you have treated him as he deserves--
17
and to think that my father fought for you, risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian
18
(but today you have revolted against my father's family, murdered his seventy sons on a single stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is your brother)--
19
if then you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today, may Abimelech be your joy, and may you be his, too!
20
But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!"
21
Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.
22
After Abimelech had governed Israel three years,
23
God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.
24
God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers.
25
In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelech.
26
Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him.
27
After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelech.
28
Then Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should be subject to him? Isn't he Jerub-Baal's son, and isn't Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor, Shechem's father! Why should we serve Abimelech?
29
If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, `Call out your whole army!'"
30
When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry.
31
Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, "Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you.
32
Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields.
33
In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, do whatever your hand finds to do."
34
So Abimelech and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies.
35
Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance to the city gate just as Abimelech and his soldiers came out from their hiding place.
36
When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!" Zebul replied, "You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men."
37
But Gaal spoke up again: "Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and a company is coming from the direction of the soothsayers' tree."
38
Then Zebul said to him, "Where is your big talk now, you who said, `Who is Abimelech that we should be subject to him?' Aren't these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!"
39
So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelech.
40
Abimelech chased him, and many fell wounded in the flight--all the way to the entrance to the gate.
41
Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.
42
The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelech.
43
So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them.
44
Abimelech and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance to the city gate. Then two companies rushed upon those in the fields and struck them down.
45
All that day Abimelech pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it.
46
On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith.
47
When Abimelech heard that they had assembled there,
48
he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, "Quick! Do what you have seen me do!"
49
So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.
50
Next Abimelech went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it.
51
Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women--all the people of the city--fled. They locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof.
52
Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire,
53
a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
54
Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can't say, `A woman killed him.'" So his servant ran him through, and he died.
55
When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home.
56
Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers.
57
God also made the men of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.


Judges 10

1
After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim.
2
He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.
3
He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years.
4
He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair.
5
When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
6
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him,
7
he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites,
8
who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites.
9
The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim; and Israel was in great distress.
10
Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, "We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals."
11
The LORD replied, "When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines,
12
the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands?
13
But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you.
14
Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!"
15
But the Israelites said to the LORD, "We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now."
16
Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer.
17
When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah.
18
The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, "Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead."


Judges 11

1
Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.
2
Gilead's wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. "You are not going to get any inheritance in our family," they said, "because you are the son of another woman."
3
So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.
4
Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel,
5
the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.
6
"Come," they said, "be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites."
7
Jephthah said to them, "Didn't you hate me and drive me from my father's house? Why do you come to me now, when you're in trouble?"
8
The elders of Gilead said to him, "Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be our head over all who live in Gilead."
9
Jephthah answered, "Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me--will I really be your head?"
10
The elders of Gilead replied, "The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say."
11
So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.
12
Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: "What do you have against us that you have attacked our country?"
13
The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah's messengers, "When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably."
14
Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king,
15
saying: "This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites.
16
But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the desert to the Red Sea and on to Kadesh.
17
Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, `Give us permission to go through your country,' but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.
18
"Next they traveled through the desert, skirted the lands of Edom and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was its border.
19
"Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, `Let us pass through your country to our own place.'
20
Sihon, however, did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He mustered all his men and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.
21
"Then the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his men into Israel's hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country,
22
capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.
23
"Now since the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over?
24
Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the LORD our God has given us, we will possess.
25
Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them?
26
For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn't you retake them during that time?
27
I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites."
28
The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.
29
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.
30
And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands,
31
whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
32
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.
33
He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
34
When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.
35
When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break."
36
"My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.
37
But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."
38
"You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.
39
After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite custom
40
that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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