John 8:31–47; 2 Peter 3:1–9; Job 6; Ezekiel 17–19

The Truth Will Set You Free

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, cIf you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will dknow the truth, and the truth ewill set you free. 33 They answered him, fWe are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, You will become free?

34 Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, geveryone who practices sin is a slave1 to sin. 35 hThe slave does not remain in the house forever; ithe son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet jyou seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 kI speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard lfrom your father.

You Are of Your Father the Devil

39 They answered him, mAbraham is our father. Jesus said to them, nIf you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now oyou seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth pthat I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did. They said to him, qWe were not born of sexual immorality. We have rone Fathereven God. 42 Jesus said to them, sIf God were your Father, you would love me, for tI came from God and uI am here. vI came not of my own accord, but whe sent me. 43 xWhy do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot ybear to hear my word. 44 zYou are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. aHe was a murderer from the beginning, and bdoes not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. cWhen he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 dWhoever is of God hears the words of God. eThe reason why you do not hear them is that fyou are not of God.


The Day of the Lord Will Come

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them gI am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, hthat you should remember the predictions of ithe holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come jin the last days with scoffing, kfollowing their own sinful desires. lThey will say, Where is the promise of mhis coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth nwas formed out of water and through water oby the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed pwas deluged with water and qperished. But by the same word rthe heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and sdestruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and ta thousand years as one day. uThe Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise vas some count slowness, but wis patient toward you,1 xnot wishing that any should perish, but ythat all should reach repentance.


Job Replies: My Complaint Is Just

Then Job answered and said:

Oh that my vexation were weighed,

and all my calamity laid in the balances!

For then it would be heavier than zthe sand of the sea;

therefore my words have been rash.

For athe arrows of the Almighty are in me;

my spirit drinks their poison;

the terrors of God are arrayed against me.

Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,

or the ox low over his fodder?

Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,

or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?1

My appetite refuses to touch them;

they are as food that is loathsome to me.2

Oh that I might have my request,

and that God would fulfill my hope,

that it would bplease God to crush me,

that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!

10  This would be my comfort;

I would even exult3 in pain cunsparing,

for I have not denied the words of dthe Holy One.

11  What is my strength, that I should wait?

And what is my end, that I should be patient?

12  Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?

13  Have I any help in me,

when resource is driven from me?

14  He who ewithholds4 kindness from a ffriend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

15  My gbrothers are htreacherous as a torrent-bed,

as torrential istreams that pass away,

16  which are dark with ice,

and where the snow hides itself.

17  When they melt, they disappear;

when it is hot, they vanish from their place.

18  The caravans turn aside from their course;

they go up into jthe waste and perish.

19  The caravans of kTema look,

the travelers of lSheba hope.

20  They are mashamed because they were confident;

they come there and are mdisappointed.

21  For you have now become nothing;

you see my calamity and are afraid.

22  Have I said, Make me a gift?

Or, From your wealth offer a bribe for me?

23  Or, Deliver me from the adversary’s hand?

Or, Redeem me from the hand of nthe ruthless?

24  Teach me, and I will be silent;

make me understand how I have gone astray.

25  How forceful are upright words!

But what does reproof from you reprove?

26  Do you think that you can reprove words,

when the speech of a despairing man is owind?

27  You would even pcast lots over the fatherless,

and bargain over your friend.

28  But now, be pleased to look at me,

for I will not lie to your face.

29  qPlease turn; let no injustice be done.

Turn now; my vindication is at stake.

30  Is there any injustice on my tongue?

Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?


Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine

17 The word of the Lord came to me: cSon of man, dpropound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel; say, Thus says the Lord God: eA great eagle fwith great wings and long pinions, frich in plumage of many colors, came gto Lebanon hand took the top of the cedar. He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. Then he took of the seed of the land iand planted it in fertile soil.1 He placed it beside abundant waters. jHe set it like a willow twig, and it sprouted and became a klow lspreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.

mAnd there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, mand behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from nthe bed where it was planted, that he might water it. iIt had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.

Say, Thus says the Lord God: mWill it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. 10 Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? oWill it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes itwither away on the bed where it sprouted?

11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 Say now to pthe rebellious house, qDo you not know what these things mean? Tell them, behold, rthe king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took her king and her princes and brought them to him to Babylon. 13 sAnd he took one of the royal offspring2 tand made a covenant with him, uputting him under oath (vthe chief men of the land he had taken away), 14 that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and keep his covenant that it might stand. 15 wBut he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors xto Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army. yWill he thrive? Can one escape who does such things? Can he zbreak the covenant and yet escape?

16 aAs I live, declares the Lord God, surely bin the place where the king dwells cwho made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke, in Babylon he shall die. 17 dPharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, ewhen mounds are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives. 18 He despised the oath in breaking the covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and did all these things; he shall not escape. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. I will return it upon his head. 20 fI will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon gand enter into judgment with him there hfor the treachery he has committed against me. 21 And all the pick3 of his troops shall fall by the sword, iand the survivors shall be scattered to every wind, and you shall know that jI am the Lord; I have spoken.

22 Thus says the Lord God: kI myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. lI will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and mI myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 nOn the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. oAnd under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; pI bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up qthe green tree, and make qthe dry tree flourish. rI am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.

The Soul Who Sins Shall Die

18 The word of the Lord came to me: What do you4 mean sby repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, tThe fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? uAs I live, declares the Lord God, vthis proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: wthe soul who sins shall die.

If a man is righteous and does xwhat is just and right if he ydoes not eat upon the mountains or zlift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, adoes not defile his neighbor’s wife bor approach ca woman in her time of menstrual impurity, ddoes not oppress anyone, but erestores to the debtor his pledge, fcommits no robbery, ggives his bread to the hungry gand covers the naked with a garment, hdoes not lend at interest hor take any profit,5 withholds his hand from injustice, iexecutes true justice between man and man, jwalks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfullyhe is righteous; khe shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

10 If he fathers a son who is violent, la shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), mwho even eats upon the mountains, ndefiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, ocommits robbery, odoes not restore the pledge, plifts up his eyes to the idols, qcommits abomination, 13 rlends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; shis blood shall be upon himself.

14 Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, texacts no pledge, ucommits no robbery, vbut gives his bread to the hungry vand covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,6 takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, wand walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; xhe shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, ybehold, he shall die for his iniquity.

19 Yet you say, zWhy should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father? When the son has done awhat is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, bhe shall surely live. 20 cThe soul who sins shall die. dThe son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. eThe righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, fand the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 gBut if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does hwhat is just and right, ihe shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 jNone of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 kHave I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 lBut when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? mNone of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for nthe treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

25 oYet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 lWhen a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, pwhen a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not just. O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

30 Therefore qI will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. rRepent and turn from all your transgressions, slest iniquity be your ruin.7 31 tCast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and umake yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! vWhy will you die, O house of Israel? 32 wFor I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; rso turn, and live.

A Lament for the Princes of Israel

19 And you, xtake up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

What was your mother? yA lioness!

Among lions she crouched;

in the midst of young lions

she reared her cubs.

And she brought up one of her cubs;

zhe became a young lion,

aand he learned to catch prey;

he devoured men.

The nations heard about him;

bhe was caught in their pit,

cand they brought him with hooks

to the land of Egypt.

When she saw that she waited in vain,

that her hope was lost,

dshe took another of her cubs

and made him a young lion.

He prowled among the lions;

he became a young lion,

and he learned to catch prey;

he devoured men,

and seized8 their widows.

He laid waste their cities,

and the land was appalled and all who were in it

at the sound of his roaring.

eThen the nations set against him

from provinces on every side;

fthey spread their net over him;

bhe was taken in their pit.

With hooks ethey put him in a cage9

and gbrought him to the king of Babylon;

they brought him into custody,

that his voice should no more be heard

on hthe mountains of Israel.

10  Your mother was ilike a vine in a vineyard10

planted by the water,

jfruitful and full of branches

kby reason of abundant water.

11  Its strong stems became

rulers’ scepters;

it towered aloft

among the thick boughs;11

it was seen in its height

with the mass of its branches.

12  But the vine was plucked up in fury,

cast down to the ground;

lthe east wind dried up its fruit;

they were stripped off and withered.

As for its strong stem,

fire consumed it.

13  mNow it is planted in the wilderness,

in a dry and thirsty land.

14  nAnd fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,

has consumed its fruit,

oso that there remains in it no strong stem,

no scepter for ruling.

This is pa lamentation and has become a lamentation.