11 January 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading includes the 10th Psalm. This is a Psalm of sorrow, confusion and frustration upon considering the apparent prosperity of the wicked. One of the great challenges of this existence is to somehow rise above the material concerns and striving of a single moment, to see our lives and the physical world as part of a far grander whole. This is no easy task, but it begins with confidence in the wisdom of God, which is the conclusion of the psalmist, here. Our devotion to ever greater spirituality will bring with it greater insight and peace — after all, the success of wickedness is only apparent, not actual.
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to Yahweh. 53 The servant brought out jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother. 54 They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.”
55 Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go.”
56 He said to them, “Don’t hinder me, since Yahweh has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.”
57 They said, “We will call the young lady, and ask her.” 58 They called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”
She said, “I will go.”
59 They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, “Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your offspring possess the gate of those who hate them.”
61 Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South. 63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, “Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “It is my master.”
She took her veil, and covered herself. 66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
25 Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba, and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4 The sons of Midian were: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, 6 but to the sons of Abraham’s concubines, Abraham gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country. 7 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred seventy-five years. 8 Abraham gave up his spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre, 10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife. 11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived by Beer Lahai Roi.
12 Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to the order of their birth: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments: twelve princes, according to their nations. 17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred thirty-seven years. He gave up his spirit and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They lived from Havilah to Shur that is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. He lived opposite all his relatives.
19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife. 21 Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren. Yahweh was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her. She said, “If it is so, why do I live?” She went to inquire of Yahweh. 23 Yahweh said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb.
Two peoples will be separated from your body.
The one people will be stronger than the other people.
The elder will serve the younger.”
24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau. 26 After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esau’s heel. He was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27 The boys grew. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he ate his venison. Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
31 Jacob said, “First, sell me your birthright.”
32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?”
33 Jacob said, “Swear to me first.”
He swore to him. He sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils. He ate and drank, rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.
26 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar. 2 Yahweh appeared to him, and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about. 3 Live in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For I will give to you, and to your offspring, all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of the sky, and will give all these lands to your offspring. In your offspring will all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
6 Isaac lived in Gerar. 7 The men of the place asked him about his wife. He said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “My wife”, lest, he thought, “the men of the place might kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to look at.” 8 When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was caressing Rebekah, his wife. 9 Abimelech called Isaac, and said, “Behold, surely she is your wife. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister?’”
Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die because of her.’”
10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!”
11 Abimelech commanded all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. Yahweh blessed him. 13 The man grew great, and grew more and more until he became very great. 14 He had possessions of flocks, possessions of herds, and a great household. The Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped, and filled with earth. 16 Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side.
19 A scribe came, and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
21 Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Behold, a violent storm came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep. 25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, “Save us, Lord! We are dying!”
26 He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.
27 The men marveled, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
28 When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way. 29 Behold, they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them. 31 The demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!”
They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water. 33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons. 34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.
10 Why do you stand far off, Yahweh?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance, the wicked hunt down the weak.
They are caught in the schemes that they devise.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s cravings.
He blesses the greedy, and condemns Yahweh.
4 The wicked, in the pride of his face,
has no room in his thoughts for God.
5 His ways are prosperous at all times.
He is haughty, and your laws are far from his sight.
As for all his adversaries, he sneers at them.
6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be shaken.
For generations I shall have no trouble.”
7 His mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression.
Under his tongue is mischief and iniquity.
8 He lies in wait near the villages.
From ambushes, he murders the innocent.
His eyes are secretly set against the helpless.
9 He lurks in secret as a lion in his ambush.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless.
He catches the helpless, when he draws him in his net.
10 The helpless are crushed.
They fall under his strength.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten.
He hides his face.
He will never see it.”
12 Arise, Yahweh!
God, lift up your hand!
Don’t forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked person condemn God,
and say in his heart, “God won’t call me into account?”
14 But you do see trouble and grief.
You consider it to take it into your hand.
You help the victim and the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked.
As for the evil man, seek out his wickedness until you find none.
7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your body,
and nourishment to your bones.