Day 161 | Absalom moves towards Jerusalem | Shimei curses King David | The Apostle Stephen is questioned
Day 161 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. Absalom moves towards Jerusalem. David and his family are displaced and move towards the Jordan River. Shimei curses King David. The Apostle Stephen is questioned by the High Council.
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2 Samuel 15: 13-37
2 Samuel 16: 1-14
Psalm 71: 19-24
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2 Samuel 15: 13-37
David Learns About Absalom’s Plans
13 A man came in to tell the news to David. The man said, “The people of Israel are beginning to follow Absalom.”
14 Then David said to all his officers who were still in Jerusalem with him, “Come on, we cannot let him trap us here in Jerusalem. Hurry up, before he catches us. He will destroy all of us and Jerusalem in the battle.”
15 The king’s officers told him, “We will do whatever you tell us.”
David and His People Escape
16 King David left with everyone in his family, except ten of his slave women. He left them to take care of the house. 17 The king left with everyone in his house following him on foot. They stopped at the last house in the city. 18 All the king’s officers passed by him. And all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites and the Gittites (600 men from Gath) passed by the king.
19 The king said to Ittai from Gath, “Why are you also going with us? You are a foreigner; this is not your homeland. Go back and stay with the new king. 20 You came to join me only yesterday. You don’t need to wander from place to place with me. Take your brothers and go back. May the Lord be kind and faithful to you.”
21 But Ittai answered the king, “As the LORD lives, and as long as you live, I will stay with you, in life or death!”
22 David said to Ittai, “Then come, let’s go and cross Kidron Brook.”
So Ittai from Gath and all his people and their children crossed over Kidron Brook. 23 The crowds of people watching King David leave were crying loudly. The king and all those going with him crossed over Kidron Brook and continued towards the desert. 24 Zadok and all the Levites with him were carrying the Box of God’s Agreement. They set it down, and Abiathar said prayers‡ until all the people had left Jerusalem.
25 King David said to Zadok, “Take God’s Holy Box back to Jerusalem. If the LORD is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see Jerusalem and his Temple. 26 But if he says he is not pleased with me, let him do whatever he wants to me.”
27 The king said to Zadok the priest, “Surely you can see what’s happening! Go back to the city in peace.¶ Take your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan son of Abiathar. 28 I will be waiting near the places where people cross the river into the desert. I will wait there until I hear from you.”
29 So Zadok and Abiathar took God’s Holy Box back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
David’s Prayer Against Ahithophel
30 David walked up the path to the Mount of Olives. He was crying. His head was covered, and he went without sandals on his feet. All the people with David also covered their heads and were crying as they walked with him.
31 Someone told David, “Ahithophel is one who joined in Absalom’s plot against you.” Then David prayed, “LORD, I ask you to make Ahithophel give only foolish advice.” 32 David reached the top of the Mount of Olives, a place where people worshipped God. Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him. Hushai’s coat was torn, and there was dirt on his head.
33 David said to Hushai, “If you go with me, you will be just one more person to care for. 34 But if you go back to Jerusalem, you can disagree with Ahithophel and make his advice useless. Tell Absalom, ‘King, I am your servant. I served your father, but now I will serve you.’ 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you. You must tell them everything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan will be with them. You can send them to tell me everything you hear.”
37 So David’s friend Hushai went back to Jerusalem and arrived there at the same time that Absalom was also entering the city.
2 Samuel 16: 1-14
Ziba Meets David
David went a short way over the top of the Mount of Olives and met Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth. Ziba had two donkeys with saddles on them. The donkeys also carried 200 loaves of bread, 100 bunches of raisins, 100 summer fruits and a wineskin full of wine. 2 King David said to Ziba, “What are these things for?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s family to ride on. The bread and the summer fruit are for the servants to eat. And the wine is refreshment for whoever begins to feel weak in the desert.”
3 Then the king asked, “And where is Mephibosheth?”*
Ziba answered the king, “Mephibosheth is staying in Jerusalem. He said, ‘Today the Israelites will give my father’s kingdom back to me.’”
4 Then the king said to Ziba, “All right, I now give you everything that belonged to Mephibosheth.”
Ziba said, “I bow to you. I pray I will always be able to please you.”
Shimei Curses David
5 As David came to Bahurim, a man from Saul’s family, Shimei son of Gera, came out cursing David again and again. 6 Shimei began throwing stones at David and his officers. Both the people and the soldiers gathered around David to protect him. 7 Shimei cursed David. He said, “Get out, get out, you no-good murderer!† 8 The LORD is punishing you because you killed people in Saul’s family. You stole Saul’s place as king. But now the same bad things are happening to you. The LORD has given the kingdom to your son Absalom because you are a murderer.”
9 Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dying dog curse you, my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off Shimei’s head.”
10 But the king answered, “What can I do, sons of Zeruiah? Yes, Shimei is cursing me, but the LORD told him to curse me. And who can ask him why he did that?”
11 David also said to Abishai and all his servants, “Look, my very own son is trying to kill me, so why shouldn’t this man from the tribe of Benjamin want to do the same? Leave him alone. Let him continue to curse me. The LORD told him to do this. 12 Maybe the LORD will see the wrong things that are happening to me and give me something good for every bad thing that Shimei says today.” 13 So David and his men went on their way down the road, but Shimei kept following David. He walked on the other side of the road by the side of the hill. He kept cursing David on his way. Shimei also threw stones and dirt at David.
14 King David and all his people came to the Jordan River. They were tired, so they rested and refreshed themselves there.
Seven Men Chosen for a Special Work
More and more people were becoming followers of Jesus. But during
this same time, the Greek-speaking followers began to complain against the other Jewish followers. They said that their widows were not getting their share of what the followers received every day. 2 The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together.
The apostles said to them, “It would not be right for us to give up our work of teaching God’s word in order to be in charge of getting food to people. 3 So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men who have a good reputation. They must be full of wisdom and the Spirit. We will give them this work to do. 4 Then we can use all our time to pray and to teach the word of God.”
5 The whole group liked the idea. So they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Ti- mon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus (a man from Antioch who had become a Jew). 6 Then they put these men before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.†
7 The word of God was reaching more and more people. The group of followers in Jerusalem became larger and larger. Even a big group of Jewish priests believed and obeyed.
Some Jews Against Stephen
8 Stephen received a great blessing. God gave him power to do great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 But some of the Jews there were from the synagogue of Free Men, as it was called. The group included Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and Asia. They started arguing with Stephen. 10 But the Spirit was helping him speak with wisdom. His words were so strong that these Jews could not argue with him.
11 So they told some men to say, “We heard Stephen saying things that insult Moses and God!” 12 This upset the people, the older leaders and the teachers of the law. They became so angry that they came and grabbed Stephen and took him to a meeting of the high council.
13 They brought some men into the meeting to tell lies about Stephen. These men said, “This man is always saying things against this holy place and against the Law of Moses. 14 We heard him say that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy this place and change what Moses told us to do.”
15 Everyone there in the council meeting was staring at Stephen. They saw that his face looked like the face of an angel.
The high priest said to Stephen, “Is all this true?” 2 Stephen answered, “My Jewish fathers and brothers, listen to me. Our great and glorious God appeared to Abraham, our ancestor when he was in Mesopotamia. This was before he lived in Haran. 3 God said to him, ‘Leave your country and your people and go to the country I will show you.’* 4 “So Abraham left the country of
Chaldea.† He went to live in Haran. After his father died, God sent him to this place, where you live now. 5 But God did not give Abraham any of this land, not even a foot of it. But God promised that in the future he would give Abra- ham this land for himself and for his children. This was before Abraham had any children.
6 “This is what God said to him: ‘Your descendants will live in another country. They will be foreigners. The people there will make them slaves and mistreat them for 400 years. 7 But I will punish the nation that made them slaves.’‡ And God also said, ‘After those things happen, your people will come out of that country. Then they will worship me here in this place.’
8 “God made an agreement with Abra- ham; the sign for this agreement was circumcision. And so when Abraham had a son, he circumcised him when he was eight days old. His son’s name was Isaac. Isaac also circumcised his son Jacob. And Jacob did the same for his sons, who became the twelve great ancestors of our people.
9 “These ancestors of ours became jealous of their brother Joseph and sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him 10 and saved him from all his troubles. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt then. He liked Joseph and respected him because of the wisdom God gave him. Pharaoh gave Joseph the job of being a governor of Egypt. He even let him rule over all the people in Pharaoh’s house. 11 But all the land of Egypt and of Canaan became dry. It became too dry to produce food, and the people suffered very much. Our people could not find anything to eat.
12 “But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt. So he sent our people there. This was their first trip to Egypt. 13 Then they went there a second time. This time Joseph told his brothers who he was. And Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 Then Joseph sent his brothers to tell his father Jacob to come to Egypt. He also invited all his relatives, a total of 75 people. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our other ances- tors lived there until they died. 16 Later, their bodies were moved to Shechem, where they were put in a tomb. It was the same tomb that Abraham had bought in Shechem from the sons of Hamor. He paid them with silver.
17 “The number of our people in Egypt grew. There were more and more of our people there. The promise that God made to Abraham was soon to come true. 18 Then a different king began to rule Egypt, one who knew nothing about Joseph. 19 This king tricked our people. He was cruel to them, making them leave their children outside to die.
Psalm 71: 19-24
19 God, your goodness reaches far above the skies.
You have done wonderful things. God, there is no one like you.
20 You have let me see troubles and hard times,
but you will give me new life;
you will lift me up from this pit of death!
21 You will help me do even greater things.
You will comfort me again!
22 I will sing and praise you with a harp, my God,
because you always do what you promise.
I will play my lyre and sing praise to you, the Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy,
singing songs of praise to you for saving me.
24 My tongue will sing about your goodness all the time,
because those who wanted to harm me have been defeated and disgraced.
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