15 July 2017 Bible Reading
What is the profit of being a Jew, or of circumcision? Paul examines these questions in today’s passage.
1 Chronicles 19-21:30
19 After this, Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his place. 2 David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.”
So David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun, to comfort him. 3 But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, “Do you think that David honors your father, in that he has sent comforters to you? Haven’t his servants come to you to search, to overthrow, and to spy out the land?” 4 So Hanun took David’s servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle at their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 Then some people went and told David how the men were treated. He sent to meet them; for the men were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”
6 When the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent one thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, out of Arammaacah, and out of Zobah. 7 So they hired for themselves thirty-two thousand chariots, and the king of Maacah with his people, who came and encamped near Medeba. The children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle. 8 When David heard of it, he sent Joab with all the army of the mighty men. 9 The children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the gate of the city; and the kings who had come were by themselves in the field. 10 Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose some of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians. 11 The rest of the people he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother; and they put themselves in array against the children of Ammon. 12 He said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you are to help me; but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will help you. 13 Be courageous, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. May Yahweh do that which seems good to him.”
14 So Joab and the people who were with him came near to the front of the Syrians to the battle; and they fled before him. 15 When the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai his brother, and entered into the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.
16 When the Syrians saw that they were defeated by Israel, they sent messengers, and called out the Syrians who were beyond the River, with Shophach the captain of the army of Hadadezer leading them. 17 David was told that; so he gathered all Israel together, passed over the Jordan, came to them, and set the battle in array against them. So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. 18 The Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed of the Syrian men seven thousand chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and also killed Shophach the captain of the army. 19 When the servants of Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with David, and served him. The Syrians would not help the children of Ammon any more.
20 At the time of the return of the year, at the time when kings go out, Joab led out the army, and wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Joab struck Rabbah, and overthrew it. 2 David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it. It was set on David’s head, and he brought very much plunder out of the city. 3 He brought out the people who were in it, and had them cut with saws, with iron picks, and with axes. David did so to all the cities of the children of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
4 After this, war arose at Gezer with the Philistines. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, of the sons of the giant; and they were subdued.
5 Again there was war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 6 There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant. 7 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother killed him. 8 These were born to the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
21 Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to take a census of Israel. 2 David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, “Go, count Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring me word, that I may know how many there are.”
3 Joab said, “May Yahweh make his people a hundred times as many as they are. But, my lord the king, aren’t they all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of guilt to Israel?”
4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, then came to Jerusalem. 5 Joab gave up the sum of the census of the people to David. All those of Israel were one million one hundred thousand men who drew a sword; and in Judah were four hundred seventy thousand men who drew a sword. 6 But he didn’t count Levi and Benjamin among them; for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.
7 God was displeased with this thing; therefore he struck Israel. 8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. But now, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”
9 Yahweh spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Yahweh says, “I offer you three things. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.”’”
11 So Gad came to David, and said to him, “Yahweh says, ‘Take your choice: 12 either three years of famine; or three months to be consumed before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days the sword of Yahweh, even pestilence in the land, and Yahweh’s angel destroying throughout all the borders of Israel. Now therefore consider what answer I shall return to him who sent me.’”
13 David said to Gad, “I am in distress. Let me fall, I pray, into Yahweh’s hand; for his mercies are very great. Don’t let me fall into man’s hand.”
14 So Yahweh sent a pestilence on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. 15 God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was about to destroy, Yahweh saw, and he relented of the disaster, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough. Now withdraw your hand.” Yahweh’s angel was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David lifted up his eyes, and saw Yahweh’s angel standing between earth and the sky, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem.
Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 David said to God, “Isn’t it I who commanded the people to be counted? It is even I who have sinned and done very wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Yahweh my God, be against me, and against my father’s house; but not against your people, that they should be plagued.”
18 Then Yahweh’s angel commanded Gad to tell David that David should go up and raise an altar to Yahweh on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spoke in Yahweh’s name.
20 Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshing floor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground.
22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar to Yahweh on it. You shall sell it to me for the full price, that the plague may be stopped from afflicting the people.”
23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes. Behold, I give the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meal offering. I give it all.”
24 King David said to Ornan, “No; but I will most certainly buy it for the full price. For I will not take that which is yours for Yahweh, nor offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
25 So David gave to Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. 26 David built an altar to Yahweh there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on Yahweh; and he answered him from the sky by fire on the altar of burnt offering.
27 Then Yahweh commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that Yahweh had answered him in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 29 For Yahweh’s tabernacle, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering, were at that time in the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David couldn’t go before it to inquire of God; for he was afraid because of the sword of Yahweh’s angel.
25 For circumcision indeed profits, if you are a doer of the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, won’t his uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision? 27 Won’t the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.
3 Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the revelations of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written,
“That you might be justified in your words,
and might prevail when you come into judgment.”
5 But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do. 6 May it never be! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 Why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), “Let us do evil, that good may come?” Those who say so are justly condemned.
For the Chief Musician. By David.
11 In Yahweh, I take refuge.
How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain!”
2 For, behold, the wicked bend their bows.
They set their arrows on the strings,
that they may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?
4 Yahweh is in his holy temple.
Yahweh is on his throne in heaven.
His eyes observe.
His eyes examine the children of men.
5 Yahweh examines the righteous,
but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates.
6 On the wicked he will rain blazing coals;
fire, sulfur, and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For Yahweh is righteous.
He loves righteousness.
The upright shall see his face.
10 Delicate living is not appropriate for a fool,
much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger.
It is his glory to overlook an offense.
12 The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.