The Parable of the Sower
4 Again vhe began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, wso that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And xhe was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! yBehold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And zwhen the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, ait withered away. 7 Other seed fell among bthorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and ca hundredfold.” 9 And he said, d“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
The Purpose of the Parables
10 And ewhen he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, f“To you has been given gthe secret of the kingdom of God, but for hthose outside everything is in parables, 12 iso that
“‘they jmay indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they kshould turn and be forgiven.’”
13 lAnd he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 mThe sower sows nthe word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it owith joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but pendure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately qthey fall away.1 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but rthe cares of sthe world and tthe deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and ubear fruit, vthirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Live as You Are Called
17 Only let each person lead the life1 lthat the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. mThis is my rule in nall the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? oLet him not seek circumcision. 19 pFor neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but qkeeping the commandments of God. 20 rEach one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant2 when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is sa freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is ta bondservant of Christ. 23 uYou were bought with a price; vdo not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers,3 win whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning4 the betrothed,5 xI have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as yone who by the Lord’s mercy is ztrustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present6 distress ait is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman7 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: bthe appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For dthe present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be efree from anxieties. fThe unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, gnot to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,8 if his9 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed hdoes well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 iA wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only jin the Lord. 40 Yet kin my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think lthat I too have the Spirit of God.
Restore Us, O God
80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
2 Before kEphraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
lstir up your might
and mcome to save us!
olet your face shine, that we may be saved!
4 O pLord God of hosts,
qhow long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with rthe bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 nRestore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!
8 You brought ta vine out of Egypt;
you udrove out the nations and planted it.
9 You vcleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to wthe sea
12 Why then have you xbroken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 yThe boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts!
zLook down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
may they perish at bthe rebuke of your face!
17 But clet your hand be on the man of your right hand,
the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
18 Then we shall not turn back from you;
dgive us life, and we will call upon your name!
19 eRestore us, O Lord God of hosts!
Let your face shine, that we may be saved!
The Eastern Tribes Return Home
22 At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2 and said to them, “You have kept wall that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you xand have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. 3 You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. 4 yAnd now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, zwhich Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5 aOnly be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, bto love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 6 So Joshua cblessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.
7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, dbut to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them, 8 he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. eDivide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” 9 So the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go fto the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had possessed themselves by command of the Lord through Moses.
The Eastern Tribes’ Altar of Witness
10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel gheard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, hthe whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.
13 Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, iPhinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, jevery one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day kin rebellion against the Lord? 17 Have we not had enough of lthe sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you too must turn away this day from following the Lord? And if kyou too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow mhe will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the Lord’s land nwhere the Lord’s tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. oOnly do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 pDid not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and mwrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’”
21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, qGod, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! rHe knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself stake vengeance. 24 No, but we did it from fear that tin time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be ua witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we vdo perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be ua witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should wrebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord wby building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”
30 When xPhinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, yit was good in their eyes. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that zthe Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”
32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad ain the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report bwas good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel cblessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, d“it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”
Joshua’s Charge to Israel’s Leaders
23 A long time afterward, when the Lord had given erest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua fwas old and well advanced in years, 2 Joshua gsummoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, “I am now old and well advanced in years. 3 And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, hfor it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. 4 Behold, iI have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. 5 The Lord your God jwill push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, kjust as the Lord your God promised you. 6 Therefore, lbe very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, mturning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, 7 nthat you may not mix with these nations remaining among you oor make mention of the names of their gods por swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8 qbut you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day. 9 rFor the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, sno man has been able to stand before you to this day. 10 tOne man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God uwho fights for you, just as he promised you. 11 vBe very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you wand make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know for certain that xthe Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, ybut they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.
14 “And now zI am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that anot one word has failed of all the good things1 that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15 But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you ball the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”