Day 154 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. David unites Judah and Israel. Jesus ascends into the clouds.
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2 Samuel 3:22-39
2 Samuel 4
2 Samuel 5:1-5
Psalm 69: 13-28
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2 Samuel 3:22-39
22 Joab and some of David’s soldiers were on their way back from a raid on a village. They had many valuable things that they had taken from the enemy. David had just let Abner leave in peace. So he was not there in Hebron with David. 23 Joab and all his army ar- rived at Hebron. The army said to Joab, “Abner came to King David, and David let him leave in peace.”
24 Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you, but you sent him away! Why did you let him go free? 25 You know that he came to spy on you. He came to find out everything you are doing.”
26 Joab left David and sent messengers to get Abner at the well of Sirah. The messengers brought Abner back, but David did not know this. 27 When Abner arrived at Hebron, Joab met him in the gateway. He pulled him aside to talk in private and then stabbed him in the stomach. So he got his revenge against Abner. Joab killed Abner because Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel.
David Cries for Abner
28 Later David heard the news and said, “With the LORD as my witness, I tell you that my kingdom and I are in- nocent of the death of Abner son of Ner. 29 Joab and his family are responsible for
this, so I pray that they will be cursed. May there always be someone in his family who suffers from sores or other skin disease, or is lamed, killed in war, or does not have enough food to eat!”
30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because Abner had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.
31–32 David told Joab and all the people with him to show their sorrow: “Tear your clothes and put on rags. Cry for Abner.” They buried Abner in Hebron. David went to the funeral. He and all the people cried at Abner’s grave.
33 King David sang this sad song at Abner’s funeral:
“Why did Abner die like some foolish criminal?
34 Abner, your hands were not tied.
Your feet were not put in chains.
No, Abner, you were killed by evil men!” Then all the people cried again for Abner. 35 All day long people came to encourage David to eat food. But David had made a special promise. He said, “May God punish me and give me many troubles if I eat bread or any other food before the sun goes down.” 36 All the people saw what happened, and they were pleased with what King David did. 37 Now all the people of Judah and Israel understood that King David had not killed Abner son of Ner.
38 King David said to his officers, “You know that a very important leader died today in Israel. 39 It is true that I am God’s chosen king. But I am not able to deal with these troublesome sons of Zeruiah. May the LORD give them the punishment they deserve.”
2 Samuel 4
Troubles Come to Saul’s Family
Saul’s son Ishbosheth heard that Ab- ner had died at Hebron. Ishbosheth and all his people became very afraid.
2 Two men went to see to Saul’s son.
These two men were captains in the army. They were Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth. (They were Benjamites because the town Beeroth belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. 3 But all the people in Beeroth ran away to Gittaim, and they are still living there today.)
4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth. He was five years old when the news came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed. The woman who cared for Mephibosheth picked him up and ran away. But while running away, she dropped the boy, and he became lame in both feet.
5 Recab and Baanah, sons of Rimmon from Beeroth went to Ishbosheth’s house at noon. Ishbosheth was resting because it was hot. 6–7 Recab and Baanah came into the house as if they were going to get some wheat. Ishbosheth was lying on his bed in his bedroom, and they stabbed and killed him. Then they cut off his head and took it with them. They traveled all night on the road through the Jordan Valley. 8 When they arrived at Hebron, they gave Ishbosheth’s head to David.
Recab and Baanah said to King David, “Here is the head of your enemy, Ishbosheth son of Saul. He tried to kill you, but the LORD has punished Saul and his family for you today.”
9 But David told Recab and his brother Baanah, “As surely as the LORD lives, he is the one who has rescued me from all my troubles! 10 Once before, a man thought he was bringing me good news. He told me, ‘Look! Saul is dead.’ He thought I would reward him for bringing me the news. But I grabbed this man and killed him at Ziklag. 11 I will kill you too and remove this evil from our land because you evil men killed a good man sleeping on his own bed, in his own house.”
12 So David commanded his young helpers* to kill Recab and Baanah. The young men cut off the hands and feet of Recab and Baanah and hanged them by the pool of Hebron. Then they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it where Abner was buried at Hebron.
2 Samuel 5:1-5
The Israelites Make David King
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. They said to David, “Look, we are one family!† 2 Even when Saul was our king, you were the one who led us into battle. And you were the one who brought Israel back home from war. The LORD himself told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people, the Israelites.
You will be the ruler over Israel.’”
3 So all the leaders of Israel came to meet with King David at Hebron. He made an agreement with them in Hebron in front of the LORD, and they anointed David to be the king of Israel.
4 David was 30 years old when he began to rule. He was king for 40 years. 5 In Hebron he ruled over Judah for 7 years and 6 months, and in Jerusalem, he ruled over all Israel and Judah for 33 years.
Luke Writes Another Book
The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day he was carried up into heaven. Before he went, he talked to the apostles he had chosen. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he told them what they should do. 3 This was after his death, but he showed them that he was alive, proving it to them in many ways. The apostles saw Jesus many times during the 40 days after he was raised from death. He spoke to them about God’s kingdom. 4 Once when Je- sus was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, “Wait here until you receive what the Father promised to send. Remember, I told you about it before. 5 John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus Is Lifted Up Into Heaven
6 The apostles were all together. They asked Jesus, “Lord, is this the time for you to give the people of Israel their kingdom again?”
7 Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only one who has the authority to decide dates and times. They are not for you to know. 8 But the Holy Spirit will come on you and give you power. You will be my witnesses. You will tell people everywhere about me—in Jerusalem, in the rest of Judea, in Samaria and in every part of the world.”
9 After Jesus said this, he was lifted up into the sky. While they were watching, he went into a cloud, and they could not see him. 10 They were staring into the sky where he had gone. Suddenly two men wearing white clothes were standing beside them. 11 They said, “Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.”
A New Apostle Is Chosen
12 Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about a kilometer from Jerusalem. 13 When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. These are the ones who were there: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot and Judas (the son of James).
14 The apostles were all together. They were constantly praying with the same purpose. Some women, Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers were there with the apostles.
15 After a few days, about 120 believers met together. Peter stood up to speak to them. 16–17 He said, “Brothers and sisters, in the Scriptures the Holy Spirit said through David that something must happen. He was talking about Judas, one of our own group. Judas served together with us. The Spirit said that Judas would lead men to arrest Jesus.”
18 Judas was paid for doing this. He used the money to buy a field. There he fell on his head, his body broke open and all his intestines poured out. 19 And all the people of Jerusalem learned about this. That is why they named that field Akeldama, which in their language means “field of blood”.
20 Peter said, “In the book of Psalms, this is written about Judas:
‘People should not go near his place; no one should live there.’*
And it is also written:
‘Let another man have his work.’
21–22 “So now another man must join us and be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. He must be one of those men who were part of our group during all the time the Lord Jesus was with us. He must have been with us from the time John was baptizing people until the day when Jesus was carried away from us into heaven.”
Psalm 69: 13-28
13 As for me, LORD, this is my prayer to you:
Please accept me!
God, I want you to answer me with love. I know I can trust you to save me.
14 Pull me from the mud,
and don’t let me sink down deeper.
Save me from those who hate me and from this deep water.
15 Don’t let the waves drown me
or the deep sea swallow me
or the grave close its mouth on me.
16 Answer me, LORD,
from the goodness of your faithful love.
Out of your great kindness turn to me and help me!
17 Don’t turn away from your servant.
I am in trouble, so hurry and help me!
18 Come and save me;
rescue me from my enemies.
19 You know the insults I have suffered. You know all my enemies,
and you saw how they shamed me.
20 I feel the pain of their hateful words. They make me feel weak and helpless! I wanted some sympathy,
but there was none.
I waited for someone to comfort me, but no one came.
21 They gave me poison, not food.
They gave me vinegar, not wine.
22 Their tables are covered with food.
Let their fellowship meals destroy them.
23 Let them go blind
and their backs become weak.
24 Show them how angry you are.
Let them feel what your anger can do.
25 Make their homes empty; don’t let anyone live there.
26 They try to hurt people you have already punished.
They tell everyone about the suffering of those you hurt.
27 Punish them for the bad things they have done;
don’t show them how good you can be.
28 Erase their names from the book of life,
and take them off the list of those who do what is right.
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