The Parable of the Lost Sheep
3 So he told them this parable: 4 d“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, eif he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine fin the open country, and ggo after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, hhe lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for iI have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who jrepents than over ninety-nine krighteous persons who need no repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,1 if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before lthe angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Instructions for the Church
3 Honor widows dwho are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn eto show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for fthis is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She gwho is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and hcontinues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but ishe who is self-indulgent is jdead even while she lives. 7 kCommand these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for lmembers of his household, he has mdenied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been nthe wife of one husband,1 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has nshown hospitality, ohas washed the feet of the saints, has pcared for the afflicted, and has qdevoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when rtheir passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also sgossips and tbusybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have uyounger widows marry, bear children, vmanage their households, and wgive the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 xFor some have already strayed after Satan.
Warning Against the Adulteress
7 hMy son, keep my words
and htreasure up my commandments with you;
2 ikeep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as jthe apple of your eye;
3 kbind them on your fingers;
kwrite them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
6 For at mthe window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice,
7 and I have seen among nthe simple,
I have perceived among the youths,
a young man olacking sense,
8 passing along the street pnear her corner,
taking the road to her house
9 in qthe twilight, in the evening,
at rthe time of night and darkness.
10 And behold, the woman meets him,
vher feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
and with ybold face she says to him,
and today I have apaid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with bcoverings,
colored linens from cEgyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with dmyrrh,
aloes, and ecinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For fmy husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
at full moon he will come home.”
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with gher smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast5
23 till an arrow pierces its liver;
as ha bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 And inow, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are ja mighty throng.
27 Her house is kthe way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.
Ezra Prays About Intermarriage
9 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the eLevites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands fwith their abominations, from the gCanaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 hFor they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the iholy race1 has jmixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” 3 As soon as I heard this, I ktore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and lsat appalled. 4 Then all who mtrembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat nappalled until the evening sacrifice. 5 And at the nevening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment kand my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees oand spread out my hands to the Lord my God, 6 saying:
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities phave risen higher than our heads, and our qguilt has rmounted up to the heavens. 7 sFrom the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great qguilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, tand to utter shame, as it is today. 8 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a uremnant and to give us a vsecure hold2 within his holy place, that our God may wbrighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. 9 xFor we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, ybut has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection3 in Judea and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with ztheir uncleanness. 12 aTherefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land band leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for cour great guilt, seeing that you, our dGod, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a eremnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and fintermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us guntil you consumed us, so that there should be no eremnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a eremnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our hguilt, ifor none can stand before you because of this.”