“I am sending an angel before you, to protect you on the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Exodus 23:20

Exodus 22-23

Exodus 22

Property Laws

1 “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.

2 If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, no blood shall be required for him. 3 If it is after sunrise, blood shall be required for him. A thief should make full restitution. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

4 If the stolen property is found alive in his possession, whether it is ox, donkey, or sheep, he shall pay double.

5 If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten by letting his animal loose, and it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and from the best of his own vineyard.

6 If fire breaks out and catches in thorn bushes so that the stacked grain, or the standing grain, or the field is consumed, the one who started the fire shall surely make restitution.

7 If a man delivers to his neighbor money or something to keep, and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought before the judges, to find out whether or not he has put his hand on his neighbor’s goods.

9 For every matter of trespass, whether it is an ox, a donkey, a sheep, clothing, or any kind of lost thing, about which one says, ‘This is mine,’ the cause of both parties shall come before the judges. The one whom the judges find guilty shall pay double to his neighbor.

10 If a man delivers a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to his neighbor, to keep, and it dies or is injured, or is driven away, without anyone seeing it, 11 the oath of the Lord shall be between them both, that he has not put his hand on his neighbor’s goods, and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it is stolen from him, the one who stole shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is torn in pieces, let him bring it for evidence. He shall not make good that which was torn.

14 If a man borrows anything of his neighbor’s, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall surely make restitution. 15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution. If it is a leased thing, the loss is covered by the rental price.

Laws of Social Responsibility

16 If a man entices a virgin who is not pledged to be married and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

18 You shall not allow a sorceress to live.

19 Whoever has sex with an animal shall surely be put to death.

20 He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, shall be utterly destroyed.

21 You shall not wrong an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

22 You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you take advantage of them at all, and they cry to me at all, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

25 If you lend money to any of my people among you who is poor, you shall not be a creditor to him, and you shall not charge him interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s garment as collateral, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, it is his cloak for his body. What would he sleep in? It will happen, when he cries to me, that I will hear, for I am gracious.

28 You shall not blaspheme the Lord, nor curse a ruler of your people.

29 You shall not delay in offering the first of your ripe fruits and the outflow of your vintage.

You shall give the firstborn of your sons to me. 30 You shall do likewise with your cattle and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days, then on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

31 You shall be holy men to me, therefore you shall not eat any meat that is torn by animals in the field. You shall cast it to the dogs.

Exodus 23

Justice and Mercy

1 “You shall not spread a false report. Do not join hands with the wicked to be a malicious witness.

2 You shall not follow the crowd in doing evil; you shall not testify in court to side with the crowd and pervert justice.

3 You shall not favor a poor man in his lawsuit.

4 If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under his burden, do not leave him. You shall surely help him with it.

6 You shall not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not justify the wicked.

8 You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight and perverts the words of the righteous.

9 You shall not mistreat or oppress an alien, for you know how it feels to be an alien since you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Sabbath Laws

10 For six years you shall sow your land and shall gather in its increase, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor among your people may eat, and what they leave, the wild animals shall eat. In the same way, you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.

12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant and the alien may be refreshed.

13 Be careful to do everything that I have said to you, and do not invoke the name of other gods or even let them be heard out of your mouth.

Three Yearly Feasts

14 You shall observe a feast to me three times a year. 15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib (for in it you came out of Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty handed.

16 Also celebrate the Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in from the field, the fruit of your labor. 17 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.

18 You shall not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me alongside anything containing yeast. Do not let the fat of my sacrifice remain all night until the morning.

19 You shall bring the first of the first fruits of your ground into the house of the Lord your God.

You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

God’s Angel to Lead

20 I am sending an angel before you, to protect you on the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him. 22 But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.

23 For my angel shall go before you and bring you in to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off. 24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and demolish their sacred pillars.

25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you the full number of your days.

27 I will send my terror ahead of you and will confuse all the people to whom you come up against, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you and run. 28 I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.

29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the animals of the field multiply against you. 30 Little by little, I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and taken possession of the land.

31 I will set your border from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines and from the wilderness to the River, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

Matthew 24:1-28

Temple Destruction and Signs

1 Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you see all of these things? Truly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.”

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?”

4 Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.

Witnessing to All Nations

9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake. 10 Then many will stumble and will deliver up one another and will hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will lead many astray. 12 Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The Abomination of Desolation

15 When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days! 20 Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath day, 21 for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be. 22 Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened.

23 Then if any man tells you, ‘Here is the Messiah,’ or, ‘There,’ do not believe it. 24 For there will arise false messiahs and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 “I have told you beforehand.”

The Return of the Son of Man

26 If therefore they tell you, ‘He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning flashes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will be, gathered together.

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord

A Psalm by David.

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters.
The God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful.
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars.
Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes them also to skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young, wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness.
The Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer calve,
and strips the forests bare.
In his temple everything says, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood.
Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to his people.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Proverbs 7:6-23

6 For at the window of my house,
I looked out through my lattice.
7 I saw among the simple ones.
I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding,
8 passing through the street near her corner,
he went the way to her house,
9 in the twilight, in the evening of the day,
in the middle of the night and in the darkness.

10 There a woman met him with the attire of a prostitute,
and with crafty intent.
11 She is loud and defiant.
Her feet do not stay in her house.
12 Now she is in the streets, now in the squares,
and lurking at every corner.
13 So she caught him, and kissed him.
With an impudent face she said to him:
14 “Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me.
Today I have paid my vows.
15 Therefore I came out to meet you,
to diligently seek your face,
and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry,
with striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of loving until the morning.
Let us comfort ourselves with loving.
19 For my husband is not at home.
He has gone on a long journey.
20 He has taken a bag of money with him.
He will come home at the full moon.”
21 With persuasive words, she led him astray.
With the flattering of her lips, she seduced him.
22 He followed her immediately,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
as a fool stepping into a noose.
23 Until an arrow strikes through his liver,
as a bird hurries to the snare,
and does not know that it will cost his life.

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