Matthew 3 (Listen)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

(ESV)

Next Chapter: 2 Samuel 2

2 Samuel 2 (Listen)

David Anointed King of Judah

After this David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the LORD, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Ish-bosheth Made King of Israel

But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

The Battle of Gibeon

12 Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15 Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is at Gibeon. 17 And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

18 And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 And Asahel pursued Abner, and as he went, he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” 23 But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the people of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and became one group and took their stand on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?” 27 And Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would not have given up the pursuit of their brothers until the morning.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men stopped and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight anymore.

29 And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, and marching the whole morning, they came to Mahanaim. 30 Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing from David’s servants nineteen men besides Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had struck down of Benjamin 360 of Abner’s men. 32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19 (Listen)

  Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
    than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
  Desire without knowledge is not good,
    and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
  When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
    his heart rages against the LORD.
  Wealth brings many new friends,
    but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
  A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
  Many seek the favor of a generous man,
    and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
  All a poor man’s brothers hate him;
    how much more do his friends go far from him!
  He pursues them with words, but does not have them.
  Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
    he who keeps understanding will discover good.
  A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who breathes out lies will perish.
10   It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
    much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11   Good sense makes one slow to anger,
    and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
12   A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion,
    but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13   A foolish son is ruin to his father,
    and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14   House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
    but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
15   Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
    and an idle person will suffer hunger.
16   Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
    he who despises his ways will die.
17   Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD,
    and he will repay him for his deed.
18   Discipline your son, for there is hope;
    do not set your heart on putting him to death.
19   A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
    for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
20   Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in the future.
21   Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
22   What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
    and a poor man is better than a liar.
23   The fear of the LORD leads to life,
    and whoever has it rests satisfied;
    he will not be visited by harm.
24   The sluggard buries his hand in the dish
    and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25   Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
    reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
26   He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
    is a son who brings shame and reproach.
27   Cease to hear instruction, my son,
    and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28   A worthless witness mocks at justice,
    and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29   Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
    and beating for the backs of fools.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Psalm 50

Psalm 50 (Listen)

God Himself Is Judge

A Psalm of Asaph.

  The Mighty One, God the LORD,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.
  Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
  He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
  “Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
  The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah
  “Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
  Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
  I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
10   For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
11   I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
12   “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
13   Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14   Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
15   and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
16   But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
17   For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
18   If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.
19   “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
20   You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
21   These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
  But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
22   “Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
23   The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

(ESV)

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