20 April 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading from Joshua, we read how Eleazar helped with dividing the land among the tribes. When Eleazar died, he “was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son, Phinehas, in the hill country of Ephraim”.
After the death of his older brothers, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar suceeded his father, Aaron, as High Priest. Phinehas then succeeded Eleazar as High Priest.
21 Then the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites came near to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of fathers’ houses of the tribes of the children of Israel. 2 They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “Yahweh commanded Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for our livestock.”
3 The children of Israel gave to the Levites out of their inheritance, according to the commandment of Yahweh, these cities with their suburbs. 4 The lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. The children of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, had thirteen cities by lot out of the tribe of Judah, out of the tribe of the Simeonites, and out of the tribe of Benjamin. 5 The rest of the children of Kohath had ten cities by lot out of the families of the tribe of Ephraim, out of the tribe of Dan, and out of the half-tribe of Manasseh. 6 The children of Gershon had thirteen cities by lot out of the families of the tribe of Issachar, out of the tribe of Asher, out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan. 7 The children of Merari according to their families had twelve cities out of the tribe of Reuben, out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun. 8 The children of Israel gave these cities with their suburbs by lot to the Levites, as Yahweh commanded by Moses. 9 They gave out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, these cities which are mentioned by name: 10 and they were for the children of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi; for theirs was the first lot. 11 They gave them Kiriath Arba, named after the father of Anak (also called Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its suburbs around it. 12 But they gave the fields of the city and its villages to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession. 13 To the children of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the man slayer, Libnah with its suburbs, 14 Jattir with its suburbs, Eshtemoa with its suburbs, 15 Holon with its suburbs, Debir with its suburbs, 16 Ain with its suburbs, Juttah with its suburbs, and Beth Shemesh with its suburbs: nine cities out of those two tribes. 17 Out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its suburbs, Geba with its suburbs, 18 Anathoth with its suburbs, and Almon with its suburbs: four cities. 19 All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their suburbs.
20 The families of the children of Kohath, the Levites, even the rest of the children of Kohath, had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. 21 They gave them Shechem with its suburbs in the hill country of Ephraim, the city of refuge for the man slayer, and Gezer with its suburbs, 22 Kibzaim with its suburbs, and Beth Horon with its suburbs: four cities. 23 Out of the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its suburbs, Gibbethon with its suburbs, 24 Aijalon with its suburbs, Gath Rimmon with its suburbs: four cities. 25 Out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Taanach with its suburbs, and Gath Rimmon with its suburbs: two cities. 26 All the cities of the families of the rest of the children of Kohath were ten with their suburbs.
27 They gave to the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the half-tribe of Manasseh Golan in Bashan with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the man slayer, and Be Eshterah with its suburbs: two cities. 28 Out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishion with its suburbs, Daberath with its suburbs, 29 Jarmuth with its suburbs, En Gannim with its suburbs: four cities. 30 Out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with its suburbs, Abdon with its suburbs, 31 Helkath with its suburbs, and Rehob with its suburbs: four cities. 32 Out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the man slayer, Hammothdor with its suburbs, and Kartan with its suburbs: three cities. 33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs.
34 To the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its suburbs, Kartah with its suburbs, 35 Dimnah with its suburbs, and Nahalal with its suburbs: four cities. 36 Out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with its suburbs, Jahaz with its suburbs, 37 Kedemoth with its suburbs, and Mephaath with its suburbs: four cities. 38 Out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the man slayer, and Mahanaim with its suburbs, 39 Heshbon with its suburbs, Jazer with its suburbs: four cities in all. 40 All these were the cities of the children of Merari according to their families, even the rest of the families of the Levites. Their lot was twelve cities.
41 All the cities of the Levites among the possessions of the children of Israel were forty-eight cities with their suburbs. 42 Each of these cities included their suburbs around them. It was this way with all these cities.
43 So Yahweh gave to Israel all the land which he swore to give to their fathers. They possessed it, and lived in it. 44 Yahweh gave them rest all around, according to all that he swore to their fathers. Not a man of all their enemies stood before them. Yahweh delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Nothing failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
22 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2 and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you, and have listened to my voice in all that I commanded you. 3 You have not left your brothers these many days to this day, but have performed the duty of the commandment of Yahweh your God. 4 Now Yahweh your God has given rest to your brothers, as he spoke to them. Therefore now return and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you beyond the Jordan. 5 Only take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you, to love Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away; and they went to their tents. 7 Now to the one half-tribe of Manasseh Moses had given inheritance in Bashan; but to the other half gave Joshua among their brothers beyond the Jordan westward. Moreover when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, 8 and spoke to them, saying, “Return with much wealth to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with brass, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the plunder of your enemies with your brothers.”
9 The children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their possession, which they owned, according to the commandment of Yahweh by Moses. 10 When they came to the region about the Jordan, that is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, a great altar to look at. 11 The children of Israel heard this, “Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar in the border of the land of Canaan, in the region around the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the children of Israel.” 12 When the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up against them to war. 13 The children of Israel sent to the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest. 14 With him were ten princes, one prince of a fathers’ house for each of the tribes of Israel; and they were each head of their fathers’ houses among the thousands of Israel. 15 They came to the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of Yahweh, ‘What trespass is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away today from following Yahweh, in that you have built yourselves an altar, to rebel today against Yahweh? 17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves to this day, although there came a plague on the congregation of Yahweh, 18 that you must turn away today from following Yahweh? It will be, since you rebel today against Yahweh, that tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 However, if the land of your possession is unclean, then pass over to the land of the possession of Yahweh, in which Yahweh’s tabernacle dwells, and take possession among us; but don’t rebel against Yahweh, nor rebel against us, in building an altar other than the altar of Yahweh our God. 20 Didn’t Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the devoted thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? That man didn’t perish alone in his iniquity.’”
20 On one of those days, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the Good News, the priests and scribes came to him with the elders. 2 They asked him, “Tell us: by what authority do you do these things? Or who is giving you this authority?”
3 He answered them, “I also will ask you one question. Tell me: 4 the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?”
5 They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” 7 They answered that they didn’t know where it was from.
8 Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
9 He began to tell the people this parable. “A man planted a vineyard, and rented it out to some farmers, and went into another country for a long time. 10 At the proper season, he sent a servant to the farmers to collect his share of the fruit of the vineyard. But the farmers beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 He sent yet another servant, and they also beat him, and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 He sent yet a third, and they also wounded him, and threw him out. 13 The lord of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. It may be that seeing him, they will respect him.’
14 “But when the farmers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 They threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy these farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.”
When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!”
17 But he looked at them, and said, “Then what is this that is written,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
the same was made the chief cornerstone?’
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces,
but it will crush whomever it falls on to dust.”
19 The chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him that very hour, but they feared the people—for they knew he had spoken this parable against them. 20 They watched him, and sent out spies, who pretended to be righteous, that they might trap him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the power and authority of the governor. 21 They asked him, “Teacher, we know that you say and teach what is right, and aren’t partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test me? 24 Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
They answered, “Caesar’s.”
25 He said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
26 They weren’t able to trap him in his words before the people. They marveled at his answer, and were silent.
A contemplation by Ethan, the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the loving kindness of Yahweh forever.
With my mouth, I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I indeed declare, “Love stands firm forever.
You established the heavens.
Your faithfulness is in them.”
3 “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David, my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
and build up your throne to all generations.’”
5 The heavens will praise your wonders, Yahweh;
your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh?
Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like Yahweh,
7 a very awesome God in the council of the holy ones,
to be feared above all those who are around him?
8 Yahweh, God of Armies, who is a mighty one, like you?
Yah, your faithfulness is around you.
9 You rule the pride of the sea.
When its waves rise up, you calm them.
10 You have broken Rahab in pieces, like one of the slain.
You have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours.
The earth also is yours;
the world and its fullness.
You have founded them.
12 The north and the south, you have created them.
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
13 You have a mighty arm.
Your hand is strong, and your right hand is exalted.
15 Good understanding wins favor;
but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16 Every prudent man acts from knowledge,
but a fool exposes folly.