Today our passages are 1 Chronicles 5:18–6:81; Acts 26:1-32; Psalm 6:1-10; and Proverbs 18:20-21.The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81 (Contemporary English Version)
18The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh had 44,760 soldiers trained to fight in battle with shields, swords, bows, and arrows. 19They fought against the Hagrites and the tribes of Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20Whenever these soldiers went to war against their enemies, they prayed to God and trusted him to help. That's why the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh defeated the Hagrites and their allies. 21These Israelite tribes captured fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep, two thousand donkeys, and one hundred thousand people. 22Many of the Hagrites died in battle, because God was fighting this battle against them. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh lived in that territory until they were taken as prisoners to Assyria. [a]
The Tribe of East Manasseh23East Manasseh was a large tribe, so its people settled in the northern region of Bashan, as far north as Baal-Hermon, [b] Senir, and Mount Hermon. 24Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel were their clan leaders; they were well-known leaders and brave soldiers.
The Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh Are Defeated25The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh were unfaithful to the God their ancestors had worshiped, and they started worshiping the gods of the nations that God had forced out of Canaan. 26So God sent King Tiglath Pileser [c] of Assyria to attack these Israelite tribes. The king led them away as prisoners to Assyria, and from then on, he forced them to live in Halah, Habor, Hara, and near the Gozan River.
1 Chronicles 6
The Descendants of Levi1Levi was the father of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
2Kohath was the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 3Amram was the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam.
Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
4-14Eleazar's descendants included Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azariah, Johanan, Azariah the priest who served in the temple built by King Solomon, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Shallum, Hilkiah, Azariah, Seraiah, and Jehozadak. 15King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia took Jehozadak to Babylon as prisoner when the LORD let the people of Judah and Jerusalem be dragged from their land. [d] 16Levi's three sons had sons of their own. 17Gershon was the father of Libni and Shimei. 18Kohath was the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 19Merari was the father of Mahli and Mushi. These descendants of Levi each became leaders of their own clans.
20-21Gershon's descendants included Libni, Jahath, Zimmah, Joah, Iddo, Zerah, and Jeatherai.
22-24Kohath's descendants included Amminadab, Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah, and Shaul.
25Elkanah was the father of Amasai and Ahimoth. 26-27Ahimoth's descendants included Elkanah, Zophai, Nahath, Eliab, Jeroham, and Elkanah.
28Samuel was the father of Joel [e] and Abijah, born in that order. 29-30Merari's descendants included Mahli, Libni, Shimei, Uzzah, Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah.
The Temple Musicians31After King David had the sacred chest moved to Jerusalem, he appointed musicians from the Levi tribe to be in charge of the music at the place of worship. 32These musicians served at the sacred tent and later at the LORD's temple that King Solomon built.
33-38Here is a list of these musicians and their family lines:
Heman from the Kohathite clan was the director. His ancestors went all the way back to Jacob and included Joel, Samuel, Elkanah, Jeroham, Eliel, Toah, Zuph, Elkanah, Mahath, Amasai, Elkanah, Joel, Azariah, Zephaniah, Tahath, Assir, Ebiasaph, Korah, Izhar, Kohath, Levi.
39-43Asaph was Heman's relative and served as his assistant. Asaph's ancestors included Berechiah, Shimea, Michael, Baaseiah, Malchijah, Ethni, Zerah, Adaiah, Ethan, Zimmah, Shimei, Jahath, Gershon, and Levi.
44-47Ethan was also Heman's relative and served as his assistant. Ethan belonged to the Merari clan, and his ancestors included Kishi, Abdi, Malluch, Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, Amzi, Bani, Shemer, Mahli, Mushi, Merari, and Levi.
48The rest of the Levites were appointed to work at the sacred tent.
The Descendants of Aaron49Only Aaron and his descendants were allowed to offer sacrifices and incense on the two altars at the sacred tent. [f] They were in charge of the most holy place and the ceremonies to forgive sins, just as God's servant Moses had commanded. 50-53Aaron's descendants included his son Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz.
The Towns for the Levites
(Joshua 21.1-42)54Aaron's descendants belonged to the Levite clan of Kohath, and they were the first group chosen to receive towns to live in. 55They received the town of Hebron in the territory of Judah and the pastureland around it. 56But the farmland and villages around Hebron were given to Caleb son of Jephunneh. 57-59So Aaron's descendants received the following Safe Towns [g] and the pastureland around them: Hebron, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan, and Beth-Shemesh. 60From the Benjamin tribe they were given the towns of Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth and the pastureland around them. Thirteen towns were given to Aaron's descendants. 61The rest of the Levite clan of Kohath received ten towns from West Manasseh.
62The Levite clan of Gershon received thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh in Bashan.
63The Levite clan of Merari received twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
64So the people of Israel gave the Levites towns to live in and the pastureland around them. 65All the towns were chosen with the LORD's help, [h] including those towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 66Some of the families of the Kohath clan received their towns from the tribe of Ephraim. 67-69These families received the following Safe Towns and the pastureland around them: Shechem in the hill country, Gezer, Jokmeam, Beth-Horon, Aijalon, and Gath-Rimmon. 70And from West Manasseh they received Aner and Bileam, together with their pastureland.
71The Gershonite clan received two towns from the tribe of East Manasseh: Golan in Bashan and Ashtaroth, including the pastureland around them. 72-73The Gershonites also received four towns from the tribe of Issachar: Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth, and Anem, including the pastureland around them. 74-75The Gershonites received four towns from the tribe of Asher: Mashal, Abdon, Hukok, and Rehob, including the pastureland around them. 76Finally, the Gershonites received three towns from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kiriathaim, including the pastureland around them.
77The rest of the Merari clan received the towns of Rimmono and Tabor and their pastureland from the tribe of Zebulun. 78-79They also received four towns east of the Jordan River from the tribe of Reuben: Bezer in the flatlands, Jahzah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath, including the pastures around them. 80-81And from the tribe of Gad the Merarites received the towns of Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, and Jazer, including the pastureland around them.
- 1 Chronicles 5:22 they were taken as prisoners to Assyria: See 2 Kings 15.29; 17.5-23.
- 1 Chronicles 5:23 Baal-Hermon: The location of this place is unknown.
- 1 Chronicles 5:26 King Tiglath Pileser: The Hebrew text also includes "King Pul," another name by which he was known.
- 1 Chronicles 6:15 King Nebuchadnezzar. . . dragged from their land: See 2 Kings 24.8-17; 25.1-21.
- 1 Chronicles 6:28 Joel: Two ancient translations (see also verse 33 and 1 Samuel 8.1,2); this name is not in the Hebrew text.
- 1 Chronicles 6:49 the two altars at the sacred tent: The Hebrew text mentions two different altars: A large altar for offering sacrifices, and a smaller altar for offering incense.
- 1 Chronicles 6:57 Safe Towns: These were special towns set aside where a person who had accidentally killed someone could run for protection from the victim's relatives (see Numbers 35.9-15; Deuteronomy 19.1-13; Joshua 20.1-9).
- 1 Chronicles 6:65 with the LORD's help: The Hebrew text has "by lot." Pieces of wood or stone (called "lots") were used to find out what God wanted his people to do.
Acts 26:1-32 (Contemporary English Version)
Paul's Defense before Agrippa1Agrippa told Paul, "You may now speak for yourself."
Paul stretched out his hand and said:
2King Agrippa, I am glad for this chance to defend myself before you today on all these charges that my own people have brought against me. 3You know a lot about our religious customs and the beliefs that divide us. So I ask you to listen patiently to me.
4-5All the Jews have known me since I was a child. They know what kind of life I have lived in my own country and in Jerusalem. And if they were willing, they could tell you that I was a Pharisee, a member of a group that is stricter than any other. 6Now I am on trial because I believe the promise God made to our people long ago.
7Day and night our twelve tribes have earnestly served God, waiting for his promised blessings. King Agrippa, because of this hope, the Jewish leaders have brought charges against me. 8Why should any of you doubt that God raises the dead to life?
9I once thought that I should do everything I could to oppose Jesus from Nazareth. 10I did this first in Jerusalem, and with the authority of the chief priests I put many of God's people in jail. I even voted for them to be killed. 11I often had them punished in our meeting places, and I tried to make them give up their faith. In fact, I was so angry with them, that I went looking for them in foreign cities.
12King Agrippa, one day I was on my way to Damascus with the authority and permission of the chief priests. 13About noon I saw a light brighter than the sun. It flashed from heaven on me and on everyone traveling with me. 14We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, "Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? It's foolish to fight against me!"
15"Who are you?" I asked.
Then the Lord answered, "I am Jesus! I am the one you are so cruel to. 16Now stand up. I have appeared to you, because I have chosen you to be my servant. You are to tell others what you have learned about me and what I will show you later."
17The Lord also said, "I will protect you from the Jews and from the Gentiles that I am sending you to. 18I want you to open their eyes, so that they will turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then their sins will be forgiven, and by faith in me they will become part of God's holy people."
19King Agrippa, I obeyed this vision from heaven. 20First I preached to the people in Damascus, and then I went to Jerusalem and all over Judea. Finally, I went to the Gentiles and said, "Stop sinning and turn to God! Then prove what you have done by the way you live."
21That is why some men grabbed me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22But all this time God has helped me, and I have preached both to the rich and to the poor. I have told them only what the prophets and Moses said would happen. 23I told them how the Messiah would suffer and be the first to be raised from death, so that he could bring light to his own people and to the Gentiles.
24Before Paul finished defending himself, Festus shouted, "Paul, you're crazy! Too much learning has driven you out of your mind."
25But Paul replied, "Honorable Festus, I am not crazy. What I am saying is true, and it makes sense. 26None of these things happened off in a corner somewhere. I am sure that King Agrippa knows what I am talking about. That's why I can speak so plainly to him."
27Then Paul said to Agrippa, "Do you believe what the prophets said? I know you do."
28Agrippa asked Paul, "In such a short time do you think you can talk me into being a Christian?"
29Paul answered, "Whether it takes a short time or a long time, I wish you and everyone else who hears me today would become just like me! Except, of course, for these chains."
30Then King Agrippa, Governor Festus, Bernice, and everyone who was with them got up. 31But before they left, they said, "This man isn't guilty of anything. He doesn't deserve to die or to be put in jail."
32Agrippa told Festus, "Paul could have been set free, if he had not asked to be tried by the Roman Emperor."
Psalm 6:1-10 (Contemporary English Version)
(A psalm by David for the music leader. Use stringed instruments. (Psalm 6 instruments: The Hebrew text adds " according to the sheminith," which may refer to a musical instrument with eight strings.) )
A Prayer in Time of Trouble1Don't punish me, LORD,
or even correct me
when you are angry!
2Have pity on me and heal
my feeble body.
My bones tremble with fear,
3and I am in deep distress.
How long will it be?
4Turn and come to my rescue.
Show your wonderful love
and save me, LORD.
5If I die, I cannot praise you
or even remember you.
6My groaning has worn me out.
At night my bed and pillow
are soaked with tears.
7Sorrow has made my eyes dim,
and my sight has failed
because of my enemies.
8You, LORD, heard my crying,
and those hateful people
had better leave me alone.
9You have answered my prayer
and my plea for mercy.
10My enemies will be ashamed
as they quickly run away
in complete disgrace.
Proverbs 18:20-21 (Contemporary English Version)
20Make your words good--
you will be glad you did.
21Words can bring death or life!
Talk too much, and you will eat
everything you say.
Verse of the Day
“I worship at your holy temple and praise you for your love and your faithfulness. You were true to your word and made yourself more famous than ever before.” - Psalm 138:2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Irish playwright, novelist, essayist and poet, Oscar Wilde wrote, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
A Joke for Today
Three Pastors were having lunch together at a diner. The first Pastor said, "Ya know, since summer started I've been having trouble with mice in my church. I've tried everything--noise, spray, cats--nothing seems to scare them away.
The second Pastor then said "Yea, me too. I've got hundreds living in the basement of the church. I've set traps and even called an expert to get rid of them, yet they still won't go away."
With a grin on his face, the third Pastor said, "I had the same problem so I baptized all mine and made them members of the church... Haven't seen one back since!!!"