Numbers 20; Psalms 58–59; Isaiah 9:8–10:4; James 3

The Death of Miriam

20 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came kinto the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And lMiriam died there and was buried there.

The Waters of Meribah

mNow there was no water for the congregation. nAnd they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people oquarreled with Moses and said, Would that we had perished pwhen our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And qwhy have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink. Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and rfell on their faces. sAnd the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, tTake the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So uyou shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle. And Moses took the staff vfrom before the Lord, as he commanded him.

Moses Strikes the Rock

10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, wHear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, uand water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Because xyou did not believe in me, yto uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them. 13 zThese are the waters of Meribah,1 where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

Edom Refuses Passage

14 aMoses sent messengers from Kadesh to bthe king of Edom: Thus says cyour brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: 15 dhow our fathers went down to Egypt, eand we lived in Egypt a long time. fAnd the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. 16 And gwhen we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and hsent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 iPlease let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, jor drink water from a well. We will go along the King's Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory. 18 But Edom said to him, You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you. 19 And the people of Israel said to him, We will go up by the highway, kand if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, lthen I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more. 20 But he said, mYou shall not pass through. And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force. 21 Thus Edom nrefused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel oturned away from him.

The Death of Aaron

22 And they journeyed from pKadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to qMount Hor. 23 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 rLet Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because syou rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron rshall be gathered to his people and shall die there. 27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 tAnd Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there uon the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, vall the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.


God Who Judges the Earth

To the choirmaster: according to hDo Not Destroy. A iMiktam1 of David.

58  Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?2

Do you judge the children of man uprightly?

No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;

your hands jdeal out violence on earth.

The wicked are kestranged from the womb;

they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

lThey have venom like the venom of a serpent,

like the deaf adder that stops its ear,

so that it mdoes not hear the voice of charmers

or of the cunning enchanter.

O God, nbreak the teeth in their mouths;

tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!

Let them ovanish like water that runs away;

when he paims his arrows, let them be blunted.

Let them be like the snail othat dissolves into slime,

like qthe stillborn child who never sees the sun.

Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of rthorns,

whether green or ablaze, may he ssweep them away!3

10  tThe righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;

he will ubathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11  Mankind will say, Surely there is va reward for the righteous;

surely there is a God who wjudges on earth.

Deliver Me from My Enemies

To the choirmaster: according to xDo Not Destroy. A yMiktam4 of David, zwhen Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

59  aDeliver me from my enemies, O my God;

bprotect me from those who crise up against me;

deliver me from dthose who work evil,

and save me from ebloodthirsty men.

For behold, they flie in wait for my life;

fierce men gstir up strife against me.

hFor no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,

for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.

iAwake, come to meet me, and see!

You, jLord God of hosts, are God of Israel.

Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;

spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Each evening they kcome back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

There they are, lbellowing with their mouths

with mswords in their lips

for nWho, they think,5 will hear us?

But you, O Lord, olaugh at them;

you hold all the nations in derision.

O my Strength, I will watch for you,

for you, O God, are pmy fortress.

10  qMy God in his steadfast love6 rwill meet me;

God will let me slook in triumph on my enemies.

11  Kill them not, lest my people forget;

make them totter7 by your power and tbring them down,

O Lord, our ushield!

12  For vthe sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,

let them be trapped in their pride.

For the cursing and lies that they utter,

13  wconsume them in wrath;

consume them till they are no more,

that they may xknow that God rules over Jacob

to ythe ends of the earth. Selah

14  zEach evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

15  They awander about for food

and growl if they do not get their fill.

16  But I will sing of your strength;

I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been to me ba fortress

and ca refuge in dthe day of my distress.

17  O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,

for you, O God, bare my fortress,

ethe God who shows me steadfast love.


Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression

The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,

and it will fall on Israel;

and all the people will know,

gEphraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,

who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:

10  The bricks have fallen,

but we will build with dressed stones;

the sycamores have been cut down,

but we will put cedars in their place.

11  But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,

and stirs up his enemies.

12  hThe Syrians on the east and ithe Philistines on the west

devour Israel with open mouth.

jFor all this his anger has not turned away,

and his hand is stretched out still.

13  The people kdid not turn to him who struck them,

nor inquire of the Lord of hosts.

14  So the Lord cut off from Israel lhead and tail,

palm branch and reed in one day

15  mthe elder and honored man is the head,

and nthe prophet who teaches lies is the tail;

16  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,

and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.

17  Therefore the Lord does not orejoice over their young men,

and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;

for everyone is pgodless and an evildoer,

and every mouth speaks qfolly.1

jFor all this his anger has not turned away,

and his hand is stretched out still.

18  For wickedness burns like ra fire;

it consumes briers and thorns;

it kindles the thickets of the forest,

and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

19  Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts

the land is scorched,

and sthe people are like fuel for the fire;

tno one spares another.

20  uThey slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,

and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;

veach devours the flesh of his own arm,

21  Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;

together they are wagainst Judah.

xFor all this his anger has not turned away,

and his hand is stretched out still.

10  Woe to those who ydecree iniquitous decrees,

and the writers who zkeep writing oppression,

to turn aside the needy from justice

and ato rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be their spoil,

and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

What will you do on bthe day of punishment,

in the ruin that will come cfrom afar?

To whom will you flee for help,

and where will you leave your wealth?

Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners

or fall among the slain.

dFor all this his anger has not turned away,

and his hand is stretched out still.


Taming the Tongue

cNot many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For dwe all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, ehe is a perfect man, fable also to bridle his whole body. If we put gbits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet hit boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And ithe tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, jstaining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,1 and set on fire by hell.2 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, kfull of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people lwho are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,3 these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? mBy his good conduct let him show his works nin the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter ojealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not pthe wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, qdemonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But rthe wisdom from above is first pure, then speaceable, gentle, open to reason, tfull of mercy and good fruits, uimpartial and vsincere. 18 And wa harvest of righteousness xis sown in peace by those who make peace.