The Great Commandment
28 uAnd one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, v‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, wthe Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 xThe second is this: y‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment zgreater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that whe is one, and athere is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all bthe understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, cis much more than all dwhole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” eAnd after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem
9 Now lit is superfluous for me to write to you about mthe ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, nof which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready osince last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But pI am sending1 the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, qas I said you would be. 4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians rcome with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the sgift2 you have promised, so that it may be ready tas a willing gift, unot as an exaction.3
The Cheerful Giver
6 The point is this: vwhoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4 will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, wnot reluctantly or under compulsion, for xGod loves a cheerful giver. 8 And yGod is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
z“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies aseed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and bincrease the harvest of your righteousness. 11 cYou will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which dthrough us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying ethe needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, fthey6 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your gconfession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 hThanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
O Lord My God, You Are Very Great
104 lBless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are mvery great!
nYou are clothed with splendor and majesty,
2 covering yourself with light as with a garment,
ostretching out the heavens plike a tent.
3 He qlays the beams of his rchambers on the waters;
he makes sthe clouds his chariot;
he rides on tthe wings of the wind;
4 he umakes his messengers winds,
5 He xset the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
6 You ycovered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At zyour rebuke they fled;
at athe sound of your thunder they btook to flight.
8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you cappointed for them.
9 You set da boundary that they may not pass,
so that they emight not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
11 they fgive drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
13 gFrom your lofty abode you hwater the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause ithe grass to grow for the livestock
and jplants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth kfood from the earth
15 and lwine to gladden the heart of man,
moil to make his face shine
and bread to nstrengthen man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
othe cedars of Lebanon pthat he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for qthe wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for rthe rock badgers.
19 He made the moon to mark the sseasons;1
the sun knows its time for setting.
20 tYou make darkness, and it is night,
when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 uThe young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they steal away
and lie down in their vdens.
23 wMan goes out to his work
and to his labor until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In xwisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
ywhich teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
27 These ball look to you,
to cgive them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you dopen your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you ehide your face, they are fdismayed;
when you gtake away their breath, they die
and hreturn to their dust.
30 When you isend forth your Spirit,3 they are created,
and you jrenew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord kendure forever;
may the Lord lrejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it mtrembles,
who ntouches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord oas long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my pmeditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let qsinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
rBless the Lord, O my soul!
sPraise the Lord!
David and the Holy Bread
21 1 Then David came to vNob, to wAhimelech the priest. And Ahimelech xcame to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is yholy bread—zif the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him ythe holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, awhich is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was bDoeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.
8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, c“The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in dthe Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”
David Flees to Gath
10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to eAchish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? fDid they not sing to one another of him in dances,
‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
12 And David gtook these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”
David at the Cave of Adullam
22 David departed from there and escaped to hthe cave of iAdullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 jAnd everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul,2 gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him kabout four hundred men.
3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay3 with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet lGad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests at Nob
6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under mthe tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse ngive every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me owhen my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you pis sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, qto lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered rDoeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse scoming to Nob, to tAhimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 uand he inquired of the Lord for him and vgave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and uhave inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, wto lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over4 your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time uthat I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, xmuch or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to ythe guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, zand he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; aboth man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named bAbiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, cwhen Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 dStay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
David Saves the City of Keilah
23 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against eKeilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David finquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David finquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, gfor I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 hWhen Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, i“Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, j“They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, kwho were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went lwherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country mof the wilderness of nZiph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
Saul Pursues David
15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. oSaul my father also knows this.” 18 pAnd the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19 qThen the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of rJeshimon? 20 Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, sand our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 21 And Saul said, t“May you be blessed by the Lord, ufor you have had compassion on me. 22 Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23 See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24 And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
Now David and his men were vin the wilderness of Maon, win the Arabah to the south of rJeshimon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.5 29 6 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of xEngedi.