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19 January 2017 Bible Reading

Joseph’s strong faith and moral uprightness were fine with Potiphar as long as they benefited him.

Genesis 39-41:16
39 Joseph was brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites that had brought him down there. 2 Yahweh was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. He was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 His master saw that Yahweh was with him, and that Yahweh made all that he did prosper in his hand. 4 Joseph found favor in his sight. He ministered to him, and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Yahweh’s blessing was on all that he had, in the house and in the field. 6 He left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. He didn’t concern himself with anything, except for the food which he ate.
Joseph was well-built and handsome. 7 After these things, his master’s wife set her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”
8 But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, my master doesn’t know what is with me in the house, and he has put all that he has into my hand. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am, and he has not kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
10 As she spoke to Joseph day by day, he didn’t listen to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 About this time, he went into the house to do his work, and there were none of the men of the house inside. 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!”
He left his garment in her hand, and ran outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had run outside, 14 she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, “Behold, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice. 15 When he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.” 16 She laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. 17 She spoke to him according to these words, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came in to me to mock me, 18 and as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.”
19 When his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your servant did to me,” his wrath was kindled. 20 Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound, and he was there in custody. 21 But Yahweh was with Joseph, and showed kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever they did there, he was responsible for it. 23 The keeper of the prison didn’t look after anything that was under his hand, because Yahweh was with him; and that which he did, Yahweh made it prosper.
40 After these things, the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cup bearer and the chief baker. 3 He put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. They stayed in prison many days. 5 They both dreamed a dream, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the cup bearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison. 6 Joseph came in to them in the morning, and saw them, and saw that they were sad. 7 He asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”
8 They said to him, “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it.”
Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell it to me.”
9 The chief cup bearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, a vine was in front of me, 10 and in the vine were three branches. It was as though it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”
12 Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your office. You will give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, the way you did when you were his cup bearer. 14 But remember me when it will be well with you, and please show kindness to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. 15 For indeed, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head. 17 In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.”
18 Joseph answered, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off you, and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from off you.” 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cup bearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cup bearer to his position again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; 22 but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cup bearer didn’t remember Joseph, but forgot him.
41 At the end of two full years, Pharaoh dreamed: and behold, he stood by the river. 2 Behold, there came up out of the river seven cattle, sleek and fat, and they fed in the marsh grass. 3 Behold, seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. 4 The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 He slept and dreamed a second time: and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. 6 Behold, seven heads of grain, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 In the morning, his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
9 Then the chief cup bearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my faults today. 10 Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. 11 We dreamed a dream in one night, I and he. We dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. 12 There was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams. To each man according to his dream he interpreted. 13 As he interpreted to us, so it was. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothing, and came in to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It isn’t in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Matthew 12:46-13:23
46 While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him. 47 One said to him, “Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you.”
48 But he answered him who spoke to him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 He stretched out his hand towards his disciples, and said, “Behold, my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
13 On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. 12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says,
‘By hearing you will hear,
and will in no way understand;
Seeing you will see,
and will in no way perceive:
15 for this people’s heart has grown callous,
their ears are dull of hearing,
they have closed their eyes;
or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and would turn again;
and I would heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. 17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.
18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Psalm 17:1-15
A Prayer by David.
17 Hear, Yahweh, my righteous plea;
Give ear to my prayer, that doesn’t go out of deceitful lips.
2 Let my sentence come out of your presence.
Let your eyes look on equity.
3 You have proved my heart.
You have visited me in the night.
You have tried me, and found nothing.
I have resolved that my mouth shall not disobey.
4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of your lips,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths.
My feet have not slipped.
6 I have called on you, for you will answer me, God.
Turn your ear to me.
Hear my speech.
7 Show your marvelous loving kindness,
you who save those who take refuge by your right hand from their enemies.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who oppress me,
my deadly enemies, who surround me.
10 They close up their callous hearts.
With their mouth they speak proudly.
11 They have now surrounded us in our steps.
They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth.
12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey,
as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
13 Arise, Yahweh, confront him.
Cast him down.
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword;
14 from men by your hand, Yahweh,
from men of the world, whose portion is in this life.
You fill the belly of your cherished ones.
Your sons have plenty,
and they store up wealth for their children.
15 As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness.
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.

Proverbs 3:33-35
33 Yahweh’s curse is in the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the habitation of the righteous.
34 Surely he mocks the mockers,
but he gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise will inherit glory,
but shame will be the promotion of fools.

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