Week 21, Day 1 in the LEB

May 22, 2023

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The reading for today is 2 Samuel 13-14; Acts 28.

Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.

2 Samuel 13

It happened afterwards that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David fell in love with her. And Amnon was so frustrated that he felt ill because of Tamar his sister, because she was a virgin, and it was too difficult in Amnon’s eyes to do anything with her. Now Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, the brother of David. (Now Jonadab was a very crafty man.) And he said to him, "Why are you so sullen every morning, O son of the king? Will you not tell me?" And Amnon said to him, "I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom." Then Jonadab said to him, "Lie down on your bed and appear ill. If your father comes to see you, you shall say to him, ‘Please let Tamar my sister come and give me food to eat, and let her prepare the food before my eyes, in order that I may see it and eat from her hand.’" So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill, and the king came to see him. Amnon said to the king, "Please let Tamar my sister come, and let her bake two cakes before my eyes that I may eat from her hand." So David sent to the house for Tamar, saying, "Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare food for him." Tamar went to the house of Amnon her brother. Now he was lying down, and she took the dough and kneaded it and made cakes before his eyes, and she baked the cakes. Then she took the pan and poured it out before him, but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, "Let all the men go out from me." So all the men went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food to the private room that I may eat from your hand." So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them to Amnon her brother in the private room. When she brought them near to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister!" Then Tamar said to him, "No, my brother! Do not force me, for such a thing has not been done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, where should I take my disgrace? You will be as one of the fools in Israel. So please, speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you." But he was not willing to listen to her voice. He was stronger than she, and he forced her and lay with her.

Then Amnon hated her very deeply, for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. So Amnon said to her, "Get up and go." She said to him, "No, because this evil in sending me away is greater than the other you have done to me." But he was not willing to listen to her. Then he called his young man who was serving him and said, "Please send this woman from me to the outside, and bolt the door behind her!" Now there was a long-sleeved robe on her, for so they clothed the daughters of the king who were virgins, in robes. His servant put her outside, and he bolted the door behind her. Tamar put ashes on her head, and she tore the long-sleeved robe which was on her. She put her hand on her head, and she went away, crying out as she went. Absalom her brother said to her, "Was Amnon your brother with you? But now, my sister, be quiet; he is your brother. Do not take this matter to heart." So Tamar remained a desolate woman in the house of Absalom her brother.

Now King David heard all these things, and he became very angry. Absalom did not speak with Amnon either bad or good, for Absalom hated Amnon over the matter when he raped Tamar his sister. About two full years later, Absalom’s shearers were in Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom summoned all the sons of the king. Then Absalom went to the king and said, "Look, here are your servant’s shearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant. The king said to Absalom, "No my son, not all of us shall go, so that we not be a burden to you." And he urged him, but he was not willing to go, but he blessed him. So Absalom said, "But will you not let Amnon my brother go with us?" And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" But Absalom pressed him, so he sent Amnon with him and all of the sons of the king. Absalom commanded his servants, saying, "Please watch. At the moment the heart of Amnon is tipsy with wine, then I shall say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ and you shall kill him! Don’t be afraid. Is it not I myself who has commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant! So Absalom’s servants did to Amnon just as Absalom commanded, and all the sons of the king got up, and each mounted his mule and fled.

While they were on the way, the message came to David, "Absalom has killed all the sons of the king, and not one of them was left." Then the king rose and tore his garments, and he lay on the ground, and all his servants standing by were tearing their garments. Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, the brother of David, responded and said, "My lord should not think that all the young men, the sons of the king, are dead, because only Amnon is dead. Absalom was talking about it, as it was being determined from the day he raped Tamar his sister. So then, let not my lord the king set his heart on this matter, thinking, ‘All the sons of the king are dead,’ for only Amnon alone is dead."

So Absalom fled, and the young man who was keeping watch lifted up his eyes and saw, and there were many people coming from the road behind him from the side of the mountain. Jonadab said to the king, "Look, the sons of the king have come. According to the word of your servant, so it has come about." When he finished speaking, look, the sons of the king came and they lifted up their voice and wept. Also, the king and all his servants wept a very great weeping. Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihur, the king of Geshur. David mourned over his son day after day. But Absalom had fled and went to Geshur, and he was there three years. King David longed to go out to Absalom, for he was consoled that Amnon had died.

2 Samuel 14

Joab the son of Zeruiah realized that the mind of the king was on Absalom. So Joab sent to Tekoa and took from there a wise woman, and he said to her, "Please pretend to mourn and put on garments of mourning. You should not anoint yourself with oil, and you must act like this woman who has been mourning over the dead for a long time. Then you must go to the king and speak to him according to this word." Thus Joab put the words in her mouth.

So the Tekoite woman spoke to the king, and she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance. She said, "Help me, O king!" Then the king asked her, "What do you want?" And she said, "Truly I am a widow, and my husband is dead. Your servant had two sons, and they both fought in the open field, and there was no one to part them. One struck the other and killed him. And look, all of the family has risen up against your servant, and they said, ‘Give up the one who struck his brother, that we may kill him in exchange for the life of his brother whom he murdered. We will also wipe out the heir,’ and so they would put out my embers which remain, by not preserving for my husband a name and a remnant on the face of the earth."

Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I myself will give the command concerning you." The Tekoite woman said to the king, "On me, my lord the king, is the guilt, and on the house of my father, but the king on his throne is innocent." The king said, "Whoever has spoken to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you again." Then she said, "Please may the king remember Yahweh your God, to prevent the increase of blood avengers who kill, so that they not wipe out my son." He said, "As Yahweh lives, surely not one hair shall fall from your son to the ground." The woman said, "Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king." And he said, "Speak." The woman said, "But why have you plotted like this against the people of God? By speaking this word, he is guilty not to bring back his banished one. For we must certainly die, and we are as the waters spilled to the ground which cannot be gathered. God will not take a life but devises plans for a banished person not to be cast out from him. Now I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, because the people made me afraid, and your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king, perhaps the king will grant the request of his servant. For the king will listen, to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who seeks to destroy me and my son together from the inheritance of God.’ Your servant also thought, ‘May the word of my lord the king bring rest, for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king, to sense what is good and what is bad.’ May Yahweh your God be with you." The king answered and said to the woman, "Please do not withhold from me a thing which I am about to ask you." The woman said, "Please let my lord the king speak." The king asked, "Was the hand of Joab with you in all of this?" The woman answered and said, "As your soul lives, my lord the king, surely one cannot go to the right or to the left from all that my lord the king has spoken. Yes, your servant Joab himself commanded me, and he put all of these words in the mouth of your servant. In order to change the situation, your servant Joab did this thing. But my lord has wisdom, as the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all that is on the earth." Then the king said to Joab, "Look, please, I will grant this thing. Go and bring back the young man Absalom." Joab fell with his face to the ground and did obeisance. And he blessed the king, and he said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant."

Then Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. The king said, "Let him go over to his house, and he may not see my face." So Absalom went over to his house, and did not see the face of the king. As far as Absalom, there was not a more handsome man in all of Israel to admire so much; from the sole of his foot up to his crown, there was no physical defect on him. When he shaved his head, it would happen every year, which he did because it was heavy on him, he would shave it off and weigh the hair of his head: two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. Three sons were born to Absalom and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a woman beautiful of appearance. Absalom lived in Jerusalem two full years, but he did not see the face of the king. So Absalom sent for Joab, in order that he send him to the king, but he was not willing to go to him. He sent again a second time, but he was not willing to go. So he said to his servants, "Look at the tract of land of Joab next to mine, for he has barley plants there. Go, set it ablaze with fire." So the servants of Absalom set the tract of land ablaze with fire. Then Joab got up and went to Absalom, to the house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my tract of land ablaze with fire?" Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I have sent to you, saying, ‘Come here that I may send you to the king to say, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there."’ So then, let me see the face of the king; if there is guilt in me, then let him kill me." So Joab went to the king and he told him. Then he summoned Absalom, and he came to the king, and he bowed down to him with his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.

Acts 28

And after we were brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. And the local inhabitants showed extraordinary kindness to us, for they lit a fire and welcomed us all, because of the rain that had begun and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a large number of sticks and was placing them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. And when the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Doubtless this man is a murderer whom, although he was rescued from the sea, Justice has not permitted to live!" He, in turn, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead. So after they had waited for a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god.

Now in the regions around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius was lying down, afflicted with fever and dysentery. Paul went to him and after praying, he placed his hands on him and healed him. And after this had taken place, the rest of those on the island who had diseases were coming and being healed also. They also honored us with many honors, and when we were putting out to sea, they gave us the things we needed.

Now after three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian one with the twin gods Castor and Pollux as its insignia. And putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. From there we got underway and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind came up and on the second day we came to Puteoli, where we found brothers, and were implored to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome. And from there the brothers, when they heard the news about us, came to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. When he saw them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage. And when we entered into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who was guarding him.

Now it happened that after three days, he called together those who were the most prominent of the Jews. And when they had assembled, he said to them, "Men and brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, from Jerusalem I was delivered as a prisoner into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, were wanting to release me, because there was no basis for an accusation worthy of death with me. But because the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar (not as if I had any charge to bring against my own people). Therefore for this reason I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for because of the hope of Israel I am wearing this chain!" And they said to him, "We have received no letters about you from Judea, nor has any of the brothers come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for concerning this sect it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."

And when they had set a day with him, many more came to him at his lodging place, to whom he was explaining from early in the morning until evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and attempting to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. And some were convinced by what was said, but others refused to believe. So being in disagreement with one another, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through the prophet Isaiah to your fathers, saying,

‘Go to this people and say,
    "You will keep on hearing and will never understand,
and you will keep on seeing and will never perceive.
    For the heart of this people has become dull,
and with their ears they hear with difficulty,
    and they have shut their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
    and understand with their heart,
and turn, and I would heal them."’

Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles. They also will listen!"

So he stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance.