The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought ralways to pray and not slose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who tneither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, u‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And vwill not God give justice to whis elect, xwho cry to him day and night? yzWill he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them aspeedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, bwill he find faith on earth?”
Godlessness in the Last Days
3 But understand this, that yin the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be zlovers of self, alovers of money, bproud, barrogant, abusive, bdisobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 cheartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, dnot loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, eswollen with conceit, flovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but gdenying its power. hAvoid such people. 6 For among them are ithose who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to jarrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as kJannes and Jambres lopposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, mmen corrupted in mind and ndisqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, oas was that of those two men.
15 yThe way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.
16 zThe vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
but ba false witness utters deceit.
18 cThere is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings dhealing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but ea lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of fthose who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.
21 gNo ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
jbut those who act faithfully are his delight.
23 kA prudent man conceals knowledge,
kbut the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24 lThe hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be mput to forced labor.
25 nAnxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,2
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 oWhoever is slothful will not roast his game,
but the diligent man will get precious wealth.3
28 pIn the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.
The People of Israel Confess Their Sin
9 Now on the twenty-fourth day of vthis month the people of Israel were assembled wwith fasting xand in sackcloth, yand with earth on their heads. 2 zAnd the Israelites1 separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 aAnd they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 On the stairs of the Levites stood bJeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God. 5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. cBlessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.2
6 d“You are the Lord, you alone. eYou have made heaven, fthe heaven of heavens, gwith all their host, ethe earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; hand you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the Lord, the God iwho chose Abram and brought him out of jUr of the Chaldeans kand gave him the name Abraham. 8 lYou found his heart faithful before you, mand made with him the covenant to give to his offspring nthe land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. oAnd you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
9 p“And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard qtheir cry at the Red Sea, 10 rand performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that sthey acted arrogantly against our fathers. And tyou made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. 11 uAnd you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, vas a stone into mighty waters. 12 By wa pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. 13 xYou came down on Mount Sinai yand spoke with them from heaven and gave them zright rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 aand you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. 15 bYou gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and cbrought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you dtold them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
16 “But they and our fathers eacted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey fand were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.3 But you are a God ready to forgive, ggracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 18 Even hwhen they had made for themselves a golden4 calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ iand had committed great blasphemies, 19 you jin your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. kThe pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, knor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. 20 lYou gave your good Spirit to instruct them mand did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. 21 nForty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
22 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. oSo they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon pand the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You multiplied their children qas the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 rSo the descendants went in and possessed the land, sand you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 And they captured tfortified cities and ua rich land, and took possession of vhouses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled wand became fat and delighted themselves in xyour great goodness.
26 y“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you zand cast your law behind their back aand killed your prophets, who bhad warned them in order to turn them back to you, cand they committed great blasphemies. 27 dTherefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. eAnd in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them fsaviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. 28 gBut after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, hand many times you delivered them according to your mercies. 29 bAnd you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet ithey acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, jwhich if a person does them, he shall live by them, kand they turned a stubborn shoulder land stiffened their neck and would not obey. 30 Many years myou bore with them nand warned them oby your Spirit through your prophets. pYet they would not give ear. qTherefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless, rin your great mercies syou did not make an end of them or forsake them, tfor you are a gracious and merciful God.
32 “Now, therefore, our God, uthe great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, vsince the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 wYet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully xand we have acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. 35 Even in their own kingdom, yand amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and yrich land that you set before them, zthey did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, awe are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. 37 bAnd its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.5