Bible 2015: 19 June Daily Bible Reading
Context and Comment:
When Paul and his fellow travelers “set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia”, they sailed up the River Cestris, which was navigable in those days. In modern times, the river has been diverted into the fields for irrigation.
1 Kings 20-21:29
20 Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; and there were thirty-two kings with him, with horses and chariots. He went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it. 2 He sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, into the city, and said to him, “Thus says Ben Hadad, 3 ‘Your silver and your gold is mine. Your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.’”
4 The king of Israel answered, “It is according to your saying, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have.”
5 The messengers came again, and said, “Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent indeed to you, saying, “You shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your children; 6 but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they will search your house, and the houses of your servants; whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hand, and take it away.”’”
7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Please notice how this man seeks mischief; for he sent to me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I didn’t deny him.”
8 All the elders and all the people said to him, “Don’t listen, and don’t consent.”
9 Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant at the first I will do; but this thing I cannot do.’”
The messengers departed, and brought him back the message. 10 Ben Hadad sent to him, and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria will be enough for handfuls for all the people who follow me.”
11 The king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Don’t let him who puts on his armor brag like he who takes it off.’”
12 When Ben Hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the pavilions, he said to his servants, “Prepare to attack!” They prepared to attack the city.
13 Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, “Yahweh says, ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today; and you will know that I am Yahweh.’”
14 Ahab said, “By whom?”
He said, “Yahweh says, ‘By the young men of the princes of the provinces.’”
Then he said, “Who shall begin the battle?”
He answered, “You.”
15 Then he mustered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two. After them, he mustered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. 16 They went out at noon. But Ben Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17 The young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben Hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out from Samaria.”
18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive.”
19 So these went out of the city, the young men of the princes of the provinces, and the army which followed them. 20 They each killed his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them. Ben Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21 The king of Israel went out, and struck the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter. 22 The prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do; for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.”
23 The servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their place. 25 Muster an army, like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. We will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than them.”
He listened to their voice, and did so. 26 At the return of the year, Ben Hadad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27 The children of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and went against them. The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of young goats; but the Syrians filled the country. 28 A man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Yahweh says, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “Yahweh is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys”; therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’”
29 They encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand footmen of the Syrians in one day. 30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men who were left. Ben Hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner room. 31 His servants said to him, “See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life.”
32 So they put sackcloth on their bodies and ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, “Your servant Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”
He said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”
33 Now the men observed diligently, and hurried to take this phrase; and they said, “Your brother Ben Hadad.”
Then he said, “Go, bring him.”
Then Ben Hadad came out to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34 Ben Hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore. You shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.”
“I”, said Ahab, “will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him, and let him go.
35 A certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by Yahweh’s word, “Please strike me!”
The man refused to strike him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed Yahweh’s voice, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will kill you.” As soon as he had departed from him, a lion found him and killed him.
37 Then he found another man, and said, “Please strike me.”
The man struck him and wounded him. 38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, he cried to the king; and he said, “Your servant went out into the middle of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man! If by any means he is missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40 As your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”
The king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be. You yourself have decided it.”
41 He hurried, and took the headband away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized that he was one of the prophets. 42 He said to him, “Yahweh says, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life will take the place of his life, and your people take the place of his people.’”
43 The king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry, and came to Samaria.
21 After these things, Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near my house; and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.”
3 Naboth said to Ahab, “May Yahweh forbid me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”
4 Ahab came into his house sullen and angry because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He laid himself down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sad, that you eat no bread?”
6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ He answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’”
7 Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be merry. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and to the nobles who were in his city, who lived with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. 10 Set two men, base fellows, before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king!’ Then carry him out, and stone him to death.”
11 The men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had instructed them in the letters which she had written and sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. 13 The two men, the base fellows, came in and sat before him. The base fellows testified against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king!” Then they carried him out of the city and stoned him to death with stones. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned, and is dead.”
15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned, and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
17 Yahweh’s word came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who dwells in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Yahweh says, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Yahweh says, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs will lick your blood, even yours.”’”
20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, my enemy?”
He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do that which is evil in Yahweh’s sight. 21 Behold, I will bring evil on you, and will utterly sweep you away and will cut off from Ahab everyone who urinates against a wall, and him who is shut up and him who is left at large in Israel. 22 I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah for the provocation with which you have provoked me to anger, and have made Israel to sin.” 23 Yahweh also spoke of Jezebel, saying, “The dogs will eat Jezebel by the rampart of Jezreel. 24 The dogs will eat he who dies of Ahab in the city; and the birds of the sky will eat he who dies in the field.”
25 But there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26 He did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel. 27 When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
28 Yahweh’s word came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab humbles himself before me? Because he humbles himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days will I bring the evil on his house.”
24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their service, also taking with them John who was called Mark.
13 Now in the assembly that was at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.”
3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had also John as their attendant. 6 When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith. 9 But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, 10 and said, “Full of all deceit and all cunning, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!”
Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
13 Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But they, passing on from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia. They went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. 15 After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak.”
137 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down.
Yes, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows in that land,
we hung up our harps.
3 For there, those who led us captive asked us for songs.
Those who tormented us demanded songs of joy:
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing Yahweh’s song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill.
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I don’t remember you;
if I don’t prefer Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, Yahweh, against the children of Edom,
the day of Jerusalem;
who said, “Raze it!
Raze it even to its foundation!”
8 Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
he will be happy who rewards you,
as you have served us.
9 Happy shall he be,
who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock.
16 Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom,
since he has no understanding?