8 May 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s Bible reading begins the 106th Psalm. This Psalm begins and ends with Hallelujah—”Praise ye the Lord.” In between, the psalm is a sad contemplation of Israel’s sin, made bearable only by the extraordinary patience of God. In other words, it is a psalm of sin and grace.
1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel, and how that they slept with the women who served at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 23 He said to them, “Why do you do such things? for I hear of your evil dealings from all this people. 24 No, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear! You make Yahweh’s people disobey. 25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him; but if a man sins against Yahweh, who will intercede for him?” Notwithstanding, they didn’t listen to the voice of their father, because Yahweh intended to kill them. 26 The child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Yahweh, and also with men. 27 A man of God came to Eli, and said to him, “Yahweh says, ‘Did I reveal myself to the house of your father, when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? 28 Didn’t I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? Didn’t I give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at my sacrifice and at my offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honor your sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel my people?’
30 “Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me forever.’ But now Yahweh says, ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me will be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off your arm, and the arm of your father’s house, that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 You will see the affliction of my habitation, in all the wealth which I will give Israel; and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The man of yours, whom I don’t cut off from my altar, will consume your eyes[c] and grieve your heart; and all the increase of your house will die in the flower of their age.
34 “‘This will be the sign to you, that will come on your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they will both die. 35 I will raise me up a faithful priest, that will do according to that which is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house; and he will walk before my anointed forever. 36 It will happen, that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and will say, “Please put me into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”
3 The child Samuel ministered to Yahweh before Eli. Yahweh’s word was precious in those days. There visions were not frequent. 2 At that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (now his eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see), 3 and God’s lamp hadn’t yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down in Yahweh’s temple, where God’s ark was; 4 Yahweh called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”
He said, “I didn’t call. Lie down again.”
He went and lay down. 6 Yahweh called yet again, “Samuel!”
Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”
He answered, “I didn’t call, my son. Lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know Yahweh, neither was Yahweh’s word yet revealed to him. 8 Yahweh called Samuel again the third time. He arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.”
Eli perceived that Yahweh had called the child. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down. It shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Yahweh; for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Yahweh came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak; for your servant hears.”
11 Yahweh said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even to the end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he didn’t restrain them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be removed with sacrifice or offering forever.”
15 Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of Yahweh’s house. Samuel feared to show Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, “Samuel, my son!”
He said, “Here I am.”
17 He said, “What is the thing that he has spoken to you? Please don’t hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that he spoke to you.”
18 Samuel told him every bit, and hid nothing from him.
He said, “It is Yahweh. Let him do what seems good to him.”
19 Samuel grew, and Yahweh was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of Yahweh. 21 Yahweh appeared again in Shiloh; for Yahweh revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by Yahweh’s word.
4 The word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. 2 The Philistines put themselves in array against Israel. When they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. 3 When the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has Yahweh defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us get the ark of Yahweh’s covenant out of Shiloh and bring it to us, that it may come among us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies.”
4 So the people sent to Shiloh; and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of Armies, who sits above the cherubim: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5 When the ark of Yahweh’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. 6 When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” They understood that Yahweh’s ark had come into the camp. 7 The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” They said, “Woe to us! For there has not been such a thing before. 8 Woe to us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods that struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9 Be strong, and behave like men, O you Philistines, that you not be servants to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Strengthen yourselves like men, and fight!” 10 The Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and each man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter; for thirty thousand footmen of Israel fell. 11 God’s ark was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. 12 A man of Benjamin ran out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn, and with dirt on his head. 13 When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching; for his heart trembled for God’s ark. When the man came into the city and told about it, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, “What does the noise of this tumult mean?”
The man hurried, and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old. His eyes were set, so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am he who came out of the army, and I fled today out of the army.”
He said, “How did the matter go, my son?”
17 He who brought the news answered, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been also a great slaughter among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and God’s ark has been captured.”
18 When he made mention of God’s ark, Eli fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck broke, and he died; for he was an old man, and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.
19 His daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered. When she heard the news that God’s ark was taken, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth; for her pains came on her. 20 About the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Don’t be afraid; for you have given birth to a son.” But she didn’t answer, neither did she regard it. 21 She named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”; because God’s ark was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel; for God’s ark has been taken.”
24 “Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God’s voice; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28 Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. 30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don’t seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.
31 “If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; because you don’t believe him whom he sent.
39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41 I don’t receive glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
106 Praise Yahweh!
Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good,
for his loving kindness endures forever.
2 Who can utter the mighty acts of Yahweh,
or fully declare all his praise?
3 Blessed are those who keep justice.
Blessed is one who does what is right at all times.
4 Remember me, Yahweh, with the favor that you show to your people.
Visit me with your salvation,
5 that I may see the prosperity of your chosen,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance.
6 We have sinned with our fathers.
We have committed iniquity.
We have done wickedly.
7 Our fathers didn’t understand your wonders in Egypt.
They didn’t remember the multitude of your loving kindnesses,
but were rebellious at the sea, even at the Red Sea.
8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake,
that he might make his mighty power known.
9 He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up;
so he led them through the depths, as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them,
and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 The waters covered their adversaries.
There was not one of them left.
12 Then they believed his words.
They sang his praise.
30 The life of the body is a heart at peace,
but envy rots the bones.
31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for his Maker,
but he who is kind to the needy honors him.