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31 March 2017 Bible Reading

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy, we consider the problem of blemished or damaged sacrifices, which are an abomination to God. We would never consider re-gifting to someone we dearly love.

In the reading from Luke 9, we read of Herod the Tetrarch.  This refers to Herod Antipas, who is generally identified as Herod throughout the New Testament up to the point in history that closes at Acts 4:27.  He was, in a sense, ‘king’ of Galilee and Peraea, but his power was limited and he was subordinate to the Roman governor in the region. This is the Herod who ordered the execution of John, the baptizer. He is not Herod the Great, who ruled in Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth. Other ‘Herods’ include King Herod Agrippa I, referred to in Acts 12. The Romans had become distracted elsewhere in their empire, so they increased the power of Herod Agrippa I, made him king over the Province of Judea, where he served as a vassal to Rome. to confuse the issue more, neither of these ‘Herods’ is Herod Agrippa II – the King Agrippa who Paul almost persuaded to be a Christian.

Deuteronomy 16-17:20
16 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to Yahweh your God; for in the month of Abib Yahweh your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 You shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Yahweh shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it. You shall eat unleavened bread with it seven days, even the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste; that you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 No yeast shall be seen with you in all your borders seven days; neither shall any of the flesh, which you sacrifice the first day at evening, remain all night until the morning. 5 You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you; 6 but at the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came out of Egypt. 7 You shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your God chooses. In the morning you shall return to your tents. 8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to Yahweh your God. You shall do no work. 9 You shall count for yourselves seven weeks. From the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain you shall begin to number seven weeks. 10 You shall keep the feast of weeks to Yahweh your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give, according as Yahweh your God blesses you. 11 You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God: you, your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are among you, in the place which Yahweh your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt. You shall observe and do these statutes. 13 You shall keep the feast of tents seven days, after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and from your wine press. 14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you, your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your gates. 15 You shall keep a feast to Yahweh your God seven days in the place which Yahweh chooses; because Yahweh your God will bless you in all your increase, and in all the work of your hands, and you shall be altogether joyful. 16 Three times in a year all of your males shall appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he chooses: in the feast of unleavened bread, in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tents. They shall not appear before Yahweh empty. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to Yahweh your God’s blessing which he has given you. 18 You shall make judges and officers in all your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you, according to your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality. You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise, and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 You shall follow that which is altogether just, that you may live, and inherit the land which Yahweh your God gives you. 21 You shall not plant for yourselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Yahweh your God, which you shall make for yourselves. 22 Neither shall you set yourself up a sacred stone which Yahweh your God hates.
17 You shall not sacrifice to Yahweh your God an ox, or a sheep, in which is a defect, or anything evil; for that is an abomination to Yahweh your God. 2 If there is found among you, within any of your gates which Yahweh your God gives you, a man or woman who does that which is evil in Yahweh your God’s sight, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the stars of the sky, which I have not commanded; 4 and you are told, and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire diligently. Behold, if it is true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out that man or that woman, who has done this evil thing, to your gates, even that same man or woman; and you shall stone them to death with stones. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death. At the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall remove the evil from among you. 8 If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which Yahweh your God chooses. 9 You shall come to the priests who are Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days. You shall inquire, and they shall give you the verdict. 10 You shall do according to the decisions of the verdict which they shall give you from that place which Yahweh chooses. You shall observe to do according to all that they shall teach you: 11 according to the decisions of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before Yahweh your God, or to the judge, even that man shall die. You shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
14 When you have come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and possess it, and dwell in it, and say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me”; 15 you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom Yahweh your God chooses. You shall set as king over you one from among your brothers. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, “You shall not go back that way again.” 17 He shall not multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away. He shall not greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
18 It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. 19 It shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear Yahweh his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the middle of Israel.

Luke 9:7-27
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him; and he was very perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this, about whom I hear such things?” He sought to see him. 10 The apostles, when they had returned, told him what things they had done.
He took them, and withdrew apart to a deserted place of a city called Bethsaida. 11 But the multitudes, perceiving it, followed him. He welcomed them, and spoke to them of God’s Kingdom, and he cured those who needed healing. 12 The day began to wear away; and the twelve came, and said to him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and farms, and lodge, and get food, for we are here in a deserted place.”
13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.”
They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we should go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For they were about five thousand men.
He said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so, and made them all sit down. 16 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 They ate, and were all filled. They gathered up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
18 As he was praying alone, the disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do the multitudes say that I am?”
19 They answered, “‘John the Baptizer,’ but others say, ‘Elijah,’ and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again.”
20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21 But he warned them, and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.”
23 He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self? 26 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in his glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you the truth: There are some of those who stand here, who will in no way taste of death, until they see God’s Kingdom.”

Psalm 72:1-20
By Solomon.
72 God, give the king your justice;
your righteousness to the royal son.
2 He will judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 The mountains shall bring prosperity to the people.
The hills bring the fruit of righteousness.
4 He will judge the poor of the people.
He will save the children of the needy,
and will break the oppressor in pieces.
5 They shall fear you while the sun endures;
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 He will come down like rain on the mown grass,
as showers that water the earth.
7 In his days, the righteous shall flourish,
and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more.
8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 Those who dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him.
His enemies shall lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tarshish and of the islands will bring tribute.
The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11 Yes, all kings shall fall down before him.
All nations shall serve him.
12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries;
the poor, who has no helper.
13 He will have pity on the poor and needy.
He will save the souls of the needy.
14 He will redeem their soul from oppression and violence.
Their blood will be precious in his sight.
15 They shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba.
Men shall pray for him continually.
They shall bless him all day long.
16 Abundance of grain shall be throughout the land.
Its fruit sways like Lebanon.
Let it flourish, thriving like the grass of the field.
17 His name endures forever.
His name continues as long as the sun.
Men shall be blessed by him.
All nations will call him blessed.
18 Praise be to Yahweh God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever!
Let the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and amen.
20 This ends the prayers by David, the son of Jesse.

Proverbs 12:8-9
8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom,
but he who has a warped mind shall be despised.
9 Better is he who is lightly esteemed, and has a servant,
than he who honors himself, and lacks bread.

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