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One Year Bible

23rd June

Daily devotional by Larry Stockstill

Naaman's young servant girl had no idea how important her little remark to his wife would be in bringing about her master's deliverance from leprosy. God often uses the faith of others to start the cycle of healing and deliverance when a person is unable to start it for himself.

The four men who brought the paralytic to Christ and let him down through the roof were the direct agents of their friend's healing (Mark 2:3). Perhaps you can "hold the rope" for some sick friend who has no knowledge of (or hope for) healing. Though this person may not realize the importance of believing God's healing promises, you must remain convinced that God is the answer.

The little servant girl risked her life to confirm assuredly to Naaman's wife that if her husband went to the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him of leprosy. This bold statement of faith started the cycle of Naaman's deliverance and ended with his flesh becoming as clean as the flesh of a young boy.

In whose life could your faith make a difference today?

2 Kings 4:18-5:27

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers.S Ru 2:319 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”

His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.”20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died.21 She went up and laid him on the bedver 32 of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New MoonS Nu 10:10; 1Ch 23:31; Ps 81:3 or the Sabbath.”

“That’s all right,” she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.”25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.S 1Ki 18:20

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite!26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”

“Everything is all right,” she said.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress,1Sa 1:15 but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt,S 1Ki 18:46 take my staffS Ex 4:2 in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch.ver 2133 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed1Ki 17:20; Mt 6:6 to the Lord.34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched1Ki 17:21; Ac 20:10 himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm.35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven timesS Jos 6:15 and opened his eyes.2Ki 8:5

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.”Heb 11:3537 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

Death in the Pot

38 Elisha returned to GilgalS 2Ki 2:1 and there was a famineS Lev 26:26; 2Ki 8:1 in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these prophets.”

39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine and picked as many of its gourds as his garment could hold. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were.40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.S Ex 15:25; S 2Ki 2:21

Feeding of a Hundred

42 A man came from Baal Shalishah,1Sa 9:4 bringing the man of God twenty loavesMt 14:17; 15:36 of barley breadS 1Sa 9:7 baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.

But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat.Lk 9:13 For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.Mt 14:20; Jn 6:12’”44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram.S Ge 10:22; S 2Sa 10:19 He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin; also in verses 3, 6, 7, 11 and 27.S Ex 4:6; S Nu 12:10; Lk 4:27

Now bands of raiders2Ki 6:23; 13:20; 24:2 from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophetS Ge 20:7 who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.“By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talentsThat is, about 750 pounds or about 340 kilograms of silver, six thousand shekelsThat is, about 150 pounds or about 69 kilograms of gold and ten sets of clothing.ver 22; S Ge 24:53; Jdg 14:12; S 1Sa 9:7The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

As soon as the king of Israel read the letter,2Ki 19:14 he tore his robes and said, “Am I God?S Ge 30:2 Can I kill and bring back to life?S Dt 32:39 Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel1Ki 20:7 with me!”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophetS 1Ki 22:7 in Israel.”So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, washJn 9:7 yourself seven timesS Ge 33:3; S Lev 14:7 in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his handS Ex 7:19 over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the watersIsa 8:6 of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.Pr 14:17, 29; 19:11; 29:11

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father,2Ki 6:21; 13:14 if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times,S Ge 33:3; S Lev 14:7; S Jos 6:15 as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restoredS Ex 4:7 and became clean like that of a young boy.Job 33:25

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of GodS Jos 2:11. He stood before him and said, “Now I knowS Jos 4:24; S 1Sa 17:46 that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a giftS 1Sa 9:7 from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.ver 20, 26; Ge 14:23; Da 5:17

17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earthEx 20:24 as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord.18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning2Ki 7:2 on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

19 “Go in peace,”1Sa 1:17; S Ac 15:33 Elisha said.

After Naaman had traveled some distance,20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LordEx 20:7 lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.

22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talentThat is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms of silver and two sets of clothing.’”S ver 5; S Ge 45:22

23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi.24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.

25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.

26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the timeS ver 16 to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves?Jer 45:527 Naaman’s leprosyS Nu 12:10 will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then GehaziCol 3:5 went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.S Ex 4:6

18 One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters.19 Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!”

His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.”

20 So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died.21 She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there.22 She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.”

23 “Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.”

But she said, “It will be all right.”

24 So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.”

25 As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming.26 Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’”

“Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.”

27 But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.”

28 Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”

29 Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travelHebrew Bind up your loins.; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.”

30 But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her.

31 Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.”

32 When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed.33 He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord.34 Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again!35 Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!

36 Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!”37 She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.

Miracles during a Famine

38 Elisha now returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. One day as the group of prophets was seated before him, he said to his servant, “Put a large pot on the fire, and make some stew for the rest of the group.”

39 One of the young men went out into the field to gather herbs and came back with a pocketful of wild gourds. He shredded them and put them into the pot without realizing they were poisonous.40 Some of the stew was served to the men. But after they had eaten a bite or two they cried out, “Man of God, there’s poison in this stew!” So they would not eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Bring me some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now it’s all right; go ahead and eat.” And then it did not harm them.

42 One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”

43 “What?” his servant exclaimed. “Feed a hundred people with only this?”

But Elisha repeated, “Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the Lord says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!”44 And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised.

The Healing of Naaman

The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.Or from a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases.

At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid.One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said.“Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold,Hebrew 10 talents [340 kilograms] of silver, 6,000 [shekels] [68 kilograms] of gold. and ten sets of clothing.The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir,Hebrew My father. if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

15 Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.

17 Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord.18 However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again.

The Greed of Gehazi

20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.”21 So Gehazi set off after Naaman.

When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked.

22 “Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 poundsHebrew 1 talent [34 kilograms]. of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.”

23 “By all means, take twice as muchHebrew take 2 talents [150 pounds or 68 kilograms]. silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi.24 But when they arrived at the citadel,Hebrew the Ophel. Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house.

25 When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

“I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied.

26 But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants?27 Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.

18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.

19 And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.

20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.

21 And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.

22 And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.

23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.

24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.

25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:

26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well:

27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.

28 Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?

29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.

30 And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.

31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.

32 And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.

33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord.

34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.

35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

36 And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.

37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.

40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

42 And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.

43 And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.

44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.

And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.

And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.

And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.

So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.

10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.

16 But he said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.

17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.

18 In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing.

19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?

22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.

23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.

24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.

26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

Acts 15:1-35

The Council at Jerusalem

15 Certain peoplever 24; Gal 2:12 came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers:S Ac 1:16 “Unless you are circumcised,ver 5; Gal 5:2, 3 according to the custom taught by Moses,S Ac 6:14 you cannot be saved.”This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to JerusalemGal 2:2 to see the apostles and eldersS Ac 11:30 about this question.The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through PhoeniciaAc 11:19 and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted.Ac 14:27 This news made all the believers very glad.When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.ver 12; Ac 14:27; 21:19

Then some of the believers who belonged to the partyAc 5:17 of the PhariseesMt 3:7 stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”ver 1

The apostles and elders met to consider this question.After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.Ac 10:1-48God, who knows the heart,S Rev 2:23 showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them,S Ac 10:44, 47 just as he did to us.He did not discriminate between us and them,Ac 10:28, 34; 11:12 for he purified their hearts by faith.Ac 10:4310 Now then, why do you try to test GodAc 5:9 by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yokeS Mt 23:4; Gal 5:1 that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?11 No! We believe it is through the graceS Ro 3:24; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:5-8 of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wondersS Jn 4:48 God had done among the Gentiles through them.ver 4; Ac 14:27; 21:1913 When they finished, JamesAc 12:17; 21:18; 1Co 15:7; Gal 1:19; 2:9, 12 spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.14 SimonGreek Simeon, a variant of Simon; that is, Peter has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.2Pe 1:115 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16 “‘After this I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

Its ruins I will rebuild,

and I will restore it,

17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,

even all the Gentiles who bear my name,

says the Lord, who does these things’Amos 9:11,12 (see Septuagint)Am 9:11, 12

18 things known from long ago.Some manuscripts things’— / 18 the Lord’s work is known to him from long agoIsa 45:21

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols,1Co 8:7-13; 10:14-28; Rev 2:14, 20 from sexual immorality,1Co 10:7, 8; Rev 2:14, 20 from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.ver 29; Ge 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-13; 19:26; Dt 12:16, 2321 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”Ac 13:15; 2Co 3:14, 15

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders,S Ac 11:30 with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to AntiochS Ac 11:19 with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas,ver 27, 32, 40; Ac 16:19, 25, 29; 2Co 1:19; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1; 1Pe 5:12 men who were leaders among the believers.23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch,ver 1; S Ac 11:19 SyriaS Lk 2:2 and Cilicia:ver 41; S Ac 6:9

Greetings.Ac 23:25, 26; Jas 1:1

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.ver 1; Gal 1:7; 5:1025 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—26 men who have risked their livesAc 9:23-25; 14:19; 1Co 15:30 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.27 Therefore we are sending Judas and SilasS ver 22 to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.28 It seemed good to the Holy SpiritAc 5:32 and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.ver 20; Ac 21:25 You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.32 Judas and Silas,S ver 22 who themselves were prophets,S Ac 11:27 said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace1Sa 1:17; Mk 5:34; Lk 7:50; Ac 16:36; 1Co 16:11 to return to those who had sent them.[34] Some manuscripts include here But Silas decided to remain there.35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preachedAc 8:4 the word of the Lord.S Ac 13:48

The Council at Jerusalem

15 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believersGreek brothers; also in 15:3, 23, 32, 33, 36, 40.: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question.The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them.But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”

So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue.At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe.God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believersGreek disciples. with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

12 Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me.14 PeterGreek Simeon. has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself.15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:

16 ‘Afterward I will return

and restore the fallen houseOr kingdom; Greek reads tent. of David.

I will rebuild its ruins

and restore it,

17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord,

including the Gentiles—

all those I have called to be mine.

The Lord has spoken—

18 he who made these things known so long ago.’Amos 9:11-12 (Greek version); Isa 45:21.

19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.21 For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The Letter for Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leadersGreek were leaders among the brothers.—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas.23 This is the letter they took with them:

“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

24 “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them!25 So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.27 We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements:29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter.31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.

32 Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith.33 They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace.Some manuscripts add verse 34, But Silas decided to stay there.35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

15 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.

34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.

35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Psalm 141:1-10

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

I call to you, Lord, come quicklyS Ps 22:19 to me;

hear meS Ps 4:1; 5:1-2; 27:7; 143:1 when I call to you.

May my prayer be set before you like incense;S Lk 1:9; Rev 5:8; 8:3

may the lifting up of my handsS Ps 28:2; 63:4; 1Ti 2:8 be like the evening sacrifice.S Ex 29:39, 41; 30:8

Set a guard over my mouth,S Ps 34:13; Jas 1:26; 3:8 Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.S Ps 12:2

Do not let my heartS Jos 24:23 be drawn to what is evil

so that I take part in wicked deedsS Ps 106:29

along with those who are evildoers;

do not let me eat their delicacies.Pr 23:1-3

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;

let him rebuke mePr 9:8; 19:25; 25:12; Ecc 7:5—that is oil on my head.S Ex 29:7; Ps 23:5

My head will not refuse it,

for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,S 2Ch 25:12

and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.

They will say, “As one plowsPs 129:3 and breaks up the earth,Nu 16:32-33

so our bones have been scattered at the mouthS Nu 16:30 of the grave.”

But my eyes are fixedPs 123:2 on you, Sovereign Lord;

in you I take refugePs 2:12; 11:1—do not give me over to death.

Keep me safePs 140:4 from the traps set by evildoers,S Ps 64:5

from the snaresS Ps 38:12 they have laid for me.

10 Let the wicked fallPs 7:15; 35:8; 57:6 into their own nets,

while I pass by in safety.Ps 124:7

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!

Listen when I cry to you for help!

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,

and my upraised hands as an evening offering.

Take control of what I say, O Lord,

and guard my lips.

Don’t let me drift toward evil

or take part in acts of wickedness.

Don’t let me share in the delicacies

of those who do wrong.

Let the godly strike me!

It will be a kindness!

If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.

Don’t let me refuse it.

But I pray constantly

against the wicked and their deeds.

When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,

the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.

Like rocks brought up by a plow,

the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.Hebrew our bones will be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord.

You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.

Keep me from the traps they have set for me,

from the snares of those who do wrong.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,

but let me escape.

141 Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.

But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

Proverbs 17:23

23 The wicked accept bribesS Ex 18:21; S 23:8; S 1Sa 8:3 in secret

to pervert the course of justice.S Job 34:33

23 The wicked take secret bribes

to pervert the course of justice.

23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

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