JB JUDITH Chapter 1


Nebuchadnezzar and Arphaxad[*a]

1:1 It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar[*b] who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. Arphaxad was then reigning over the Medes at Ecbatana.

1:2 He surrounded this city with walls of dressed stones three cubits thick and six cubits long, making the rampart seventy cubits high and fifty cubits wide.

1:3 At the gates he placed towers one hundred cubits high and, at the foundations, sixty cubits wide,

1:4 the gates themselves being seventy cubits high and forty wide to allow his forces to march out in a body and his infantry to parade freely.

1:5 Now at this time King Nebuchadnezzar gave battle to King Arphaxad in the great plain lying in the territory of Ragae.

1:6 Supporting him were all the peoples from the highlands, all from the Euphrates and Tigris and Hydaspes, and those from the plains who were subject to Arioch, king of the Elymaeans. Thus many nations had mustered to take part in the battle of the sons of Cheleoud[*c].

1:7 Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians sent a message to all the inhabitants of Persia, to all the inhabitants of the western countries, Cilicia, Damascus, Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, to all those along the coast,

1:8 to the peoples of Carmel, Gilead, Upper Galilee, the great plain of Esdraelon,

1:9 to the men of Samaria and its outlying towns, to those beyond Jordan, as far away as Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, Kadesh, the river of Egypt, Tahpanhes, Rameses and the whole territory of Goshen,

1:10 beyond Tanis, too, and Memphis, and to all the inhabitants of Egypt as far as the frontiers of Ethiopia.

1:11 But the inhabitants of these countries ignored the summons of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians and did not rally to him to make war. They were not afraid of him, since in their view he appeared isolated. Hence they sent his ambassadors back with nothing achieved and in disgrace.

1:12 Nebuchadnezzar was furious with all these countries. He swore by his throne and kingdom to take revenge on all the territories of Cilicia, Damascene and Syria, of the Moabites and of the Ammonites, of Judaea and Egypt as far as the limits of the two seas, and to ravage them with the sword.

The campaign against Arphaxad

1:13 In the seventeenth year he and his forces gave battle to King Arphaxad and in this battle defeated him. He routed Arphaxad’s entire army and all his cavalry and chariots;

1:14 he occupied his towns and advanced on Ecbatana; he seized its towers and plundered its market places, reducing its former magnificence to a mockery.

1:15 He later captured Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragae and, thrusting him through with his spears, destroyed him once and for all.

1:16 He then retired with his troops and all who had joined forces with him: a vast horde of armed men. Then, carefree, he and his army gave themselves up to feasting for a hundred and twenty days.

JB JUDITH Chapter 2

The campaign in the west

2:1 In the eighteenth year[*a], on the twenty-second day of the first month, a rumour ran through the palace that Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians was to have his revenge on the whole world, as he had threatened.

2:2 Summoning his general staff and senior officers he held a secret conference with them, and with his own lips pronounced utter destruction on all these countries.

2:3 It was then decreed that everyone should be put to death who had not answered the king’s appeal.

2:4 When the council was over, Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians sent for Holofernes[*b], general-in-chief of his armies and subordinate only to himself. He said to him,

2:5 ‘Thus speaks the Great King, lord of the whole world:[*c] “Be on your way; take men of proved valour, about a hundred and twenty thousand foot soldiers and a strong contingent of horse with twelve thousand cavalrymen;

2:6 then advance against the western lands, since these people have disregarded my call.

2:7 Bid them have earth and water ready, because in my rage I am about to march on them, the feet of my soldiers will cover the whole face of the earth, and I will plunder it.

2:8 Their wounded will fill the valleys and the torrents and rivers, blocked with their dead, will overflow

2:9 I will lead them captive to the ends of the earth.

2:10 Now go! Begin by conquering this whole region for me. If they surrender to you, hold them for me until the time comes to punish them.

2:11 But if they resist, look on no one with clemency. Hand them over to slaughter and plunder throughout the territory entrusted to you.

2:12 For by my life and by the living power of my kingdom, I have spoken. All this I will do indeed.

2:13 And you, neglect none of your master’s commands, act strictly according to my orders without further delay.”‘

2:14 Leaving the presence of his sovereign, Holofernes immediately summoned all the marshals, generals and officers of the Assyrian army

2:15 and detailed the picked troops as his master had ordered, about a hundred and twenty thousand men and a further twelve thousand mounted bowmen.

2:16 He organised these in the normal battle formation.

2:17 He then secured vast numbers of camels, donkeys and mules to carry the baggage, and innumerable sheep, oxen and goats for food supplies.

2:18 Every man received full rations and a generous sum of gold and silver from the king’s purse.

2:19 He then set out for the campaign with his whole army, in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar, to overwhelm the whole western region with his chariots, his horsemen and his picked body of foot.

2:20 A composite corps brought up the rear, as numerous as locusts or the grains of sand on the ground; there was no counting their multitude.

The stages of Holofenes’ advance

2:21 Thus they set out from Nineveh and marched for three days towards the plain of Bectileth. From Bectileth they went on to pitch camp near the mountains that lie to the north of Upper Cilicia.

2:22 From there Holofernes advanced into the highlands with his whole army, infantry, horsemen, chariots.

2:23 He cut his way through Put and Lud, stripped all the sons of Rassis and sons of Ishmael living on the verge of the desert south of Cheleon,

2:24 marched along the Euphrates, crossed Mesopotamia, razed all the fortified towns controlling the wadi Abron and reached the sea.

2:25 Next he attacked the territories of Cilicia, butchering all who offered him resistance, advanced on the southern frontiers of Japheth, facing Arabia,

2:26 completely encircled the Midianites, burned their tents and plundered their sheep-runs,

2:27 made his way down to the Damascus plain in the time of the wheat harvest, set fire to the fields, destroyed the flocks and herds, sacked the towns, laid the countryside waste and put all the young men to the sword.

2:28 Fear and trembling seized all the coastal peoples. The populations of Sidon and Tyre, of Sur, Ocina, Jamnia, Azotus, Ascalon, were panic-stricken.

JB JUDITH Chapter 3

3:1 They therefore sent envoys to him to sue for peace and say,

3:2 ‘We are servants of the great King Nebuchadnezzar and we lie prone before you. Treat us as you think fit.

3:3 Our cattle farms, all our land, all our wheat fields, our flocks and herds, all the sheep-runs in our encampments are at your disposal. Do with them as you please.

3:4 ‘Our towns and their inhabitants, too, are at your service; go and advance against them if such is your good pleasure.’

3:5 These men came to Holofernes and delivered the message as above.

3:6 He then made his way down to the coast with his army and stationed garrisons in all the fortified towns, levying outstanding men there as auxiliaries.

3:7 The people of these cities and of all the other towns in the neighbourhood welcomed him, wearing garlands and dancing to the sound of tambourines.

3:8 Notwithstanding this, he demolished their shrines and cut down their sacred trees, carrying out his commission to destroy all local gods and to force the nations to worship Nebuchadnezzar alone and to compel men of every language and nationality to hail him as a god[*a].

3:9 Thus he reached the edge of Esdraelon, in the neighbourhood of Dothan, a village facing the great ridge of Judaea.

3:10 He pitched camp between Geba and Scythopolis and stayed there a full month to replenish his supplies.

JB JUDITH Chapter 4

Judaea on the alert

4:1 When the Israelites living in Judaea heard how Holofernes, general-in-chief of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians, had treated the various nations, first plundering their temples and then destroying them,

4:2 they were thoroughly alarmed at his approach and trembled for Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord their God.

4:3 They had returned from captivity only a short time before, and the resettlement of the people in Judaea and the reconsecration of the sacred furnishings, of the altar, and of the Temple, which had been profaned, were of recent date[*a].

4:4 They therefore alerted the whole of Samaria, Kona, Beth-horon, Belmain, Jericho, Choba, Aesora and the Salem valley.

4:5 They occupied the summits of the highest mountains and fortified the villages on them; they laid in supplies for the coming war, as the fields had just been harvested.

4:6 Joakim the high priest, resident in Jerusalem at the time, wrote to the inhabitants of Bethulia and of Betomesthaim, two towns facing Esdraelon, towards the plain of Dothan.

4:7 He ordered them to occupy the mountain passes, the only means of access to Judaea, for there it would be easy for them to halt an attacking force, the narrowness of the approach not allowing men to advance more than two abreast.

4:8 The Israelites carried out the orders of Joakim the high priest and of the people’s Council of Elders in session at Jerusalem.

A nation at prayer

4:9 All the men of Israel cried most fervently to God and humbled themselves before him.

4:10 They, their wives, their children, their cattle, all their resident aliens, hired or slave, wrapped in sackcloth round their loins.

4:11 All the Israelites in Jerusalem, including the women and children, lay prone in front of the Temple, and with ashes on their heads stretched out their hands before the Lord.

4:12 They draped the very altar in sackcloth and fervently joined together in begging the God of Israel not to let their little ones be massacred, their wives carried off the towns of their heritage destroyed, the Temple profaned and desecrated for the heathen to gloat over it.

4:13 The Lord heard them and looked kindly on their distress. The people fasted for many days throughout Judaea as well as in Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.

4:14 Joakim the high priest and all who stood before the Lord, the Lord’s priests and ministers, wore sackcloth round their loins as they offered the perpetual holocaust and the votive and voluntary offerings of the people.

4:15 With ashes on their turbans they earnestly called on the Lord to look kindly on the House of Israel.

JB JUDITH Chapter 5

A council of war in Holofernes’ camp

5:1 Holofernes, general-in-chief of the Assyrian army, received the intelligence that the sons of Israel were preparing for war; that they had closed the mountain passes, fortified the high peaks and laid obstructions in the plains. Holofernes was furious.

5:2 He summoned all the princes of Moab, all the generals of Ammon and all the satraps of the coastal regions.

5:3 ‘Men of Canaan,’ he said ‘tell me: what people is this that occupies the highlands? What towns does it inhabit? How large is its army? What are the sources of its power and strength? Who is the king who rules it and commands its army?

5:4 Why have these not condescended to wait on me, as all the western peoples have done?’

5:5 Achior[*a], leader of all the Ammonites, replied, ‘May my lord please listen to what your servant is going to say. I will give you the facts about these mountain folk whose home lies close to you. You will hear no lie from the mouth of your servant.

5:6 These people are descended from the Chaldaeans.

5:7 They once came to live in Mesopotamia, because they did not want to follow the gods of their ancestor who lived in Chaldaea.

5:8 They abandoned the way of their ancestors to worship the God of heaven, the God they had learnt to acknowledge. Banished from the presence of their own gods, they fled to Mesopotamia where they lived for a long time.

5:9 When God told them to leave their home and set out for Canaan, they settled there and accumulated gold and silver and great herds of cattle.

5:10 Next, famine having overwhelmed the land of Canaan, they went down to Egypt where they stayed as long as food could be found there. There they became a great multitude, a race beyond counting.

5:11 But the king of Egypt turned against them and exploited them by forcing them to make bricks; he degraded them, reducing them to slavery.

5:12 They cried to their God, who struck the entire land of Egypt with incurable plagues, and the Egyptians expelled them.

5:13 God dried up the Red Sea before them

5:14 and led them forward by way of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. Having driven off all the inhabitants of the desert,

5:15 they settled in the land of the Amorites and, such is was their strength, exterminated the inhabitants of Heshbon. Then, having crossed the Jordan, they took possession of all the highlands,

5:16 driving out the Canaanites before them and the Perizzites, Jebusites, Shechemites and all the Girgashites, and lived there for many years.

5:17 All the while they did not sin before their God, prosperity was theirs, for they have a God who hates wickedness.

5:18 But when they turned from the path he had marked out for them, some were exterminated in a succession of battles, others taken captive to a foreign land. The Temple of their God was razed to the ground and their towns were seized by their enemies.

5:19 Then having turned once again to their God, they came back from the places to which they had been dispersed and scattered, regained possession of Jerusalem, where they have their Temple, and reoccupied the highlands which had been left deserted.

5:20 So now, master and lord, if this people has committed any fault, if they have sinned against their God, let us first make sure that they have offended in this way, and then let us advance and attack them.

5:21 But if their nation is guiltless, my lord would do better to abstain, for fear that their Lord and God should protect them; we should then become the laughing-stock of the whole world.’

5:22 When Achior had ended this speech, all the people crowding round the tent began protesting. Holofernes’ own senior officers, as well as all the coastal peoples and the Moabites, threatened to tear him limb from limb.

5:23 ‘Why should we be afraid of the Israelites? They are a weak and powerless people, quite unable to stand a stiff attack.

5:24 Forward! Advance! Your army, Holofernes our master, will swallow them in one mouthful!’

JB JUDITH Chapter 6

Achior handed over to the Israelites

6:1 When the uproar of those crowding round the council had subsided, Holofernes, general-in-chief of the Assyrian army, reprimanded Achior in front of the whole crowd of foreigners and Ammonites.

6:2 ‘Achior, who do you think you are, you and the Ammonite mercenaries, playing the prophet like this with us today, and trying to dissuade us from making war on the people of Israel? You claim their God will protect them. And who is their God if not Nebuchadnezzar? He himself will display his power and wipe them off the face of the earth, and their God will certainly not save them.

6:3 But we, his servants, shall destroy them as easily as a single individual. They can never resist the strength of our cavalry.

6:4 We shall burn them all. Their mountains will be drunk with their blood and their plains filled with their corpses. Far from being able to resist us, every one of them will die; thus says King Nebuchadnezzar, lord of the whole world. For he has spoken, and his words will not prove empty.

6:5 As for you, Achior, you Ammonite mercenary, who in a rash moment said these words, you shall not see my face again until the day when I have taken my revenge on this brood of fugitives from Egypt.

6:6 And then the swords of my soldiers and the spears of my officers will pierce your sides. You will fall among the wounded, the moment I turn on Israel.

6:7 My servants will now take you into the highlands and leave you near one of the towns in the passes;

6:8 you will not die, until you share their ruin.

6:9 No need to look so sad if you cherish the secret hope that they will not be captured! I have spoken; none of my words will prove idle.’

6:10 Holofernes having commanded his tent-orderlies to seize Achior, to take him to Bethulia and to hand him over to the Israelites,

6:11 the orderlies took him, escorted him out of the camp and across the plain, and then, making for the highlands, reached the springs below Bethulia.

6:12 As soon as the men of the town sighted them, they snatched up their weapons, left the town and made for the mountain, tops, while all the slingers pelted them with stones to prevent them from coming up.

6:13 However, they managed to take cover at the foot of the slope, where they bound Achior and left him lying at the bottom of the mountain and returned to their master.

6:14 The Israelites then came down from their town, stopped by him, unbound him and took him to Bethulia, where they brought him before the chief men of the town,

6:15 who at that time were Uzziah son of Micah of the tribe of Simeon, Chabris son of Gothoniel and Charmis son of Melchiel.

6:16 These summoned all the elders of the town. The young men and the women, also hurried to the assembly. Achior was made to stand with all the people surrounding him and Uzziah questioned him about what had happened.

6:17 He answered by telling them what had been said at Holofernes’ council, and what he himself had said in the presence of the Assyrian leaders, and how Holofernes had bragged of what he would do to the House of Israel.

6:18 At this the people fell to the ground and worshipped God.

6:19 ‘Lord God of heaven,’ they cried ‘take notice of their arrogance and have pity on the humiliation of our race. Look kindly today on those who are consecrated to you.’

6:20 They then spoke reassuringly to Achior and praised him warmly.

6:21 After the assembly Uzziah took him home and gave a banquet for the elders; all that night they called on the God of Israel for help.

JB JUDITH Chapter 7


The campaign against Israel

7:1 The following day Holofernes issued orders to his whole army and to the whole host of auxiliaries who had joined him to break camp and march on Bethulia, to occupy the mountain passes and so open the campaign against the Israelites.

7:2 The troops broke camp that same day. The actual fighting force numbered one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry, not to mention the baggage train with the vast number of men on foot concerned with that.

7:3 They penetrated the valley in the neighbourhood of Bethulia, near the spring, and deployed on a wide front from Dothan to Balbaim and, in depth, from Bethulia to Cyamon, which faces on Esdraelon.

7:4 When the Israelites saw this horde, they were all appalled and said to each other, ‘Now they will lick the whole country clean. Not even the loftiest peaks, the gorges or the hills will be able to stand the weight of them.’

7:5 Each man snatched up his arms; they lit beacons on their towers and spent the whole night on watch.

7:6 On the second day Holofernes deployed his entire cavalry in sight of the Israelites in Bethulia.

7:7 He reconnoitred the slopes leading up to the town, located the water-points, seized them and posted pickets over them and returned to the main body.

7:8 The chiefs of the sons of Esau, the leaders of the Moabites[*a] and the generals of the coastal ‘district then came to him and said,

7:9 ‘If our master will please listen to us, his forces will not sustain a single wound.

7:10 The Israelites do not rely so much on their spears as on the height of the mountains where they live.

7:11 And admittedly it is not at all easy to scale these heights of theirs.

7:12 This being the case, master, do not engage them in a pitched battle, and then you will not lose a single man.

7:13 Stay in camp, keep all your troops there too, while your servants seize the spring which rises at the foot of the mountain, since that is what provides the population of Bethulia with their water supply. Thirst will then force them to surrender their town. Meanwhile, we and our men will climb the nearest mountain tops and form advance posts there to prevent anyone from leaving the town.

7:14 Hunger will waste them with their wives and children, and before the sword can reach them they will already be lying in the streets outside their houses;

7:15 And you will make them pay dearly for their defiance and their refusal to meet you peaceably.’

7:16 Their words pleased Holofernes as well as all his officers and he decided to do as they suggested.

7:17 Accordingly a troop of Moabites moved forward with a further five thousand Assyrians. They penetrated the valley and seized the Israelites’ waterpoints and springs.

7:18 Meanwhile the Edomites and Ammonites went and took up positions in the highlands opposite Dothan, sending some of their men to the south-east opposite Egrebel, near Chous on the wadi Mochmur. The rest of the Assyrian army took up positions in the plain, covering every inch of the earth; their tents and equipment made an immense encampment, so vast were their numbers.

7:19 The Israelites called on the Lord their God, dispirited because the enemy had surrounded them and cut all line of retreat.

7:20 For thirty-four days the Assyrian army, infantry, chariots, cavalrymen, had them surrounded. Every water jar the inhabitants of Bethulia had was empty,

7:21 their wells were drying up; on no day could a man quench his thirst, since their water was rationed.

7:22 Their little children pined away, the women and young men grew weak with thirst; they collapsed in the streets and gateways of the town; they had no strength left.

7:23 Young men, women, children, the whole people thronged clamouring round Uzziah and the chief men of the town, shouting in the presence of the assembled elders,

7:24 ‘May God be judge between you and us! For you have done us great harm, by not suing for peace with the Assyrians.

7:25 And now there is no one to help us. God has delivered us into their hands to be prostrated before them in thirst and utter helplessness.

7:26 Call them in at once; hand the whole town over to be sacked by Holofernes’ men and all his army.

7:27 After all, we should be much better off as their booty than we are now; no doubt we shall be enslaved, but at least we shall be alive and not see our little ones dying before our eyes or our wives and children perishing.

7:28 By heaven and earth and by our God, the Lord of our fathers who is punishing us for our sins and the sins of our ancestors, we implore you to take this course now, today.’

7:29 Bitter lamentations rose from the whole assembly, and they all cried loudly to the Lord God.

7:30 Then Uzziah spoke to them, ‘Take heart, brothers! Let us hold out five days more. By then the Lord our God will take pity on us, for he will not desert us altogether.

7:31 At the end of this time, if there is no help forthcoming, I will do as you have said.’

7:32 With that he dismissed the people to their various quarters. The men went to man the walls and towers of the town, sending the women and children home. The town was full of despondency.

JB JUDITH Chapter 8


A portrait of Judith

8:1 Judith[*a] was informed at the time of what had happened. She was the daughter of Merari son of Ox, son of Joseph, son of Oziel, son of Elkiah, son of Ananias, son of Gideon, son of Raphaim, son of Ahitub, son of Elijah, son of Hilkiah, son of Eliab, son of Nathanael, son of Salamiel, son of Sarasadai, son of Israel.

8:2 Her husband Manasseh, of her own tribe and family, had died at the time of barley harvest.

8:3 He was supervising the men as they bound up the sheaves in the field when he caught sunstroke and had to take to his bed. He died in Bethulia, his home town, and was buried with his ancestors in the field that lies between Dothan and Balamon.

8:4 As a widow, Judith stayed inside her home for three years and four months.

8:5 She had had an upper room built for herself on the roof. She wore sackcloth round her waist and dressed in widow’s weeds.

8:6 She fasted every day of her widowhood except for the sabbath eve, the sabbath itself, the eve of New Moon, the feast of New Moon and the festival days of the House of Israel.

8:7 Now, she was very beautiful, charming to see. Her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, menservants and maidservants, cattle and lands; and she lived among all her possessions

8:8 without anyone finding a word to say against her, so devoutly did she fear God.

Judith and the elders

8:9 Hearing how the water shortage had demoralised the people and how they had complained bitterly to the headman of the town, and being also told what Uzziah had said to them and how he had given them his oath to surrender the town to the Assyrians in five days’ time,

8:10 Judith immediately sent her woman of affairs who managed her property to summon Chabris and Charmis, two elders of the town.

8:11 When these came in she said: ‘Listen to me, leaders of the people of Bethulia. You were wrong to speak to the people as you did today and to bind yourself by oath, in defiance of God, to surrender the town to our enemies if the Lord did not come to your help within a set number of days.

8:12 Who are you, to put God to the test today, you, out of all mankind, to set yourselves above him?

8:13 You of all people to put the Lord Almighty to the test! You do not understand anything, and never will.

8:14 If you cannot sound the depths of the heart of man or unravel the arguments of his mind, how can you fathom the God who made all things, or sound his mind or unravel his purposes? No, brothers, do not provoke the anger of the Lord our God.

8:15 Although it may not be his will to help us within the next five days, he has the power to protect us for as many days as he pleases, just as he has the power to destroy us before our enemies.

8:16 But you have no right to demand guarantees where the designs of the Lord our God are concerned. For God is not to be coerced as man is, nor is he, like mere man, to be cajoled.

8:17 Rather, as we wait patiently for him to save, let us plead with him to help us. He will hear our voice if such is his good pleasure.

8:18 ‘And indeed of recent times and still today there never has been one tribe of ours, or family, or village, or town that has worshipped gods made with human hands, as once was done,

8:19 and that was the reason why our ancestors were delivered over to sword and sack, and perished in misery at the hands of our enemies.

8:20 We for our part acknowledge no other God than him; and so we may hope he will not look on us disdainfully or desert our nation.

8:21 ‘If indeed they capture us, as you expect, then all Judaea will be captured too, and our holy places plundered, and we shall answer with our blood for their profanation.

8:22 The slaughter of our brothers, the exile of our country, the unpeopling of our heritage, will recoil on our own heads among the nations whose slaves we will become, and our new masters will look down on us as an outrage and a disgrace;

8:23 for our surrender will not reinstate us in their favour; no, the Lord our God will make it a thing to be ashamed of.

8:24 So now, brothers, let us set an example to our brothers, since their lives depend on us and our most sacred possessions-Temple and altar-rest on us.

8:25 ‘All this being so, let us rather give thanks to the Lord our God who, as he tested our ancestors, is now testing us.

8:26 Remember how he treated Abraham, all the ordeals of Isaac, all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he kept the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother.

8:27 For as these ordeals were intended by him to search their hearts, so now this is not vengeance God exacts against us, but a warning inflicted by the Lord on those who are near his heart.’

8:28 Uzziah replied, ‘Everything you have said has been spoken from sincerity of heart and no one will contradict a word of it.

8:29 Not that today is the first time your wisdom has been displayed; from your earliest years all the people have known how shrewd you are and of how sound a heart.

8:30 But, parched with thirst, the people forced us to act as we had promised them and to bind ourselves by an inviolable oath.

8:31 You are a devout woman; pray to the Lord, then, to send us a downpour to fill our cisterns, so that our faintness may pass.’

8:32 Judith replied, ‘Listen to me. I intend to do something, the memory of which will be handed down to the children of our race from age to age.

8:33 Tonight you must be at the gate of the town. I shall make my way out with my attendant. Before the time fixed by you for surrendering the town to our enemies, the Lord will make use of me to rescue Israel.

8:34 You must not ask what I intend to do; I will not tell you until I have done it.’

8:35 Uzziah and the chief man said, ‘Go in peace. May the Lord show you a way to take revenge on our enemies.’

8:36 And leaving the upper room they went back to their posts.

JB JUDITH Chapter 9

Judith’s prayer

9:1 Judith threw herself face to the ground, scattered ashes on her head, uncovered the sackcloth she was wearing and cried loudly to the Lord. At the same time in Jerusalem the evening incense was being offered in the Temple of God. Judith said:

9:2 ‘Lord, God of my father Simeon, you armed him with a sword to take vengeance on the foreigners who had undone a virgin’s girdle to her shame, laid bare her thigh to her confusion, violated her womb to her dishonour, since though you said, “This must not be”, they did it.

9:3 For this you handed their leaders over to slaughter, their bed, defiled by their deceit, to blood. You struck the slaves down with the chiefs and the chiefs with their servants.

9:4 You left their wives to be carried off, their daughters to be taken captive, and their spoils to be shared out among the sons you loved, who had been so zealous for you, had loathed the stain put on their blood and called on you for help.God, my God, now hear this widow too;

9:5 for you have made the past, and what is happening now, and what will follow. What is, what will be, you have planned; what has been, you designed.

9:6 Your purposes stood forward; “See, we are here!” they said. For all of your ways are prepared and your judgements delivered with foreknowledge.

9:7 See the Assyrians, boasting in their army, glorying in their horses and their riders, exulting in the strength of their infantry. Trust as they may in shield and spear,in bow and sling, in you they have not recognised the Lord, the shatterer of war;

9:8 yours alone the title of Lord. Break their violence with your might, in your anger bring down their strength. For they plan to profane your holy places, to defile the tabernacle, the resting place of your glorious name, and to throw down with iron the horn of your altar.

9:9 Observe their arrogance, send your fury on their heads, give the needful courage to this widow’s hand.

9:10 By guile of my lips strike slave down with master, and master with his servant. Break their pride by a woman’s hand.

9:11 ‘Your strength does not lie in numbers, nor your might in violent men since you are the God of the humble, the help of the oppressed, the support of the weak, the refuge of the forsaken, the saviour of the despairing.

9:12 Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Master of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of your whole creation, hear my prayer.

9:13 Give me a beguiling tongue to wound and kill those who have formed such cruel designs against your covenant, against your holy dwelling place, against Mount Zion, against the house belonging to your sons.

9:14 And demonstrate to every nation, every tribe, that you are Yahweh, God almighty, all-powerful, and that the race of Israel has you for sole protector.’

JB JUDITH Chapter 10


Judith goes to the camp of Holofernes

10:1 Thus Judith called on the God of Israel. When she had finished praying,

10:2 she rose from where she lay, summoned her attendant and went down into the rooms which she used on sabbath days and feasts.

10:3 There she removed the sackcloth she was wearing and, taking off her widow’s dress, she washed all over, anointed herself with costly perfumes, dressed her hair, wrapped a turban round it and put on the dress she used to wear on joyful occasions when her husband Manasseh was alive.

10:4 She put sandals on her feet, put on her necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and all her jewellery, and made herself beautiful enough to catch the eye of every man who saw her.

10:5 Then she handed her attendant a skin of wine and a flask of oil, filed a bag with barley girdle cakes, cakes of dried fruit and pure loaves, and wrapping all these provisions up gave them to her as well.

10:6 They then went out, making for the town gate of Bethulia. There they found Uzziah waiting with the two elders of the town, Chabris and Charmis.

10:7 When they saw Judith, her face so changed and her clothes so different, they were lost in admiration of her beauty. They said to her:

10:8 ‘May the God of our ancestors keep you in his favour! May he grant your purposes fulfilment to the glory of the sons of Israel, to the greater glory of Jerusalem!’

10:9 Judith worshipped God, and then she said, ‘Have the town gate opened for me so that I can go out and make all your wishes come true’. They did as she asked and gave orders to the young men to open the gate for her.

10:10 This done, Judith went out accompanied by her maid, while the men of the town watched her all the way down the mountain and across the valley, until they lost sight of her.

10:11 As the women were making straight through the valley, an advance unit of Assyrians intercepted them,

10:12 and seizing Judith began questioning her. ‘Which side are you on? Where do you come from? Where are you going?’ ‘I am a daughter of the Hebrews,’ she replied ‘and I am fleeing from them since they will soon be your prey.

10:13 I am on my way to see Holofernes, the general of your army, to give him trustworthy information. I will show him the road to take if he wants to capture all the highlands without losing one man or one life.’

10:14 As the men listened to what she was saying, they stared in astonishment at the sight of such a beautiful woman.

10:15 ‘It will prove the saving of you,’ they said to her ‘coming down to see our master of your own accord. You had better go to his tent; some of our men will escort you and hand you over to him.

10:16 Once you are in his presence do not be afraid. Tell him what you have just told us and you will be well treated.’

10:17 They then detailed a hundred of their men as escort for herself and her attendant, and these led them to the tent of Holofernes.

10:18 News of her coming had already spread through the tents, and there was a general stir in the camp. She was still outside the tent of Holofernes waiting to be announced, when a crowd began forming round her.

10:19 They were immensely impressed by her beauty and impressed with the Israelites because of her. ‘Who could despise a people having women like this?’ they kept saying. ‘Better not leave one man of them alive; let any go and they would twist the whole world round their fingers!’

10:20 Then the bodyguard and adjutants of Holofernes came out and led Judith into the tent.

10:21 Holofernes was resting on his bed under a canopy of purple and gold studied with emeralds and precious stones.

10:22 The men announced her and he came out to the open part of the tent, with silver torches carried before him.

10:23 When Judith confronted the general and his adjutant, the beauty of her face astonished them all. She fell on her face and did homage to him, but his servants raised her from the ground.

JB JUDITH Chapter 11

The first meeting of Judith with Holofernes

11:1 ‘Courage, woman,’ Holofernes said ‘do not be afraid. I have never hurt anyone who chose to serve Nebuchadnezzar, king of the whole world.

11:2 Even now, if your nation of mountain dwellers had not insulted me, I would not have raised a spear against them. This was their fault, not mine.

11:3 But tell me, why have you fled from them and come to us?… Anyhow, this will prove the saving of you. Courage! You will live through this night, and many after.

11:4 No one shall hurt you. No, you shall be treated as well as all those are who serve my lord King Nebuchadnezzar.’

11:5 Judith said, ‘Please listen favourably to what your slave has to say. Permit your servant to speak in your presence. I will speak no word of a lie in my lord’s presence tonight.

11:6 You have only to follow your servant’s advice and God will bring your work to a successful conclusion; in what my lord undertakes he shall not fail.

11:7 Long life to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the whole world, who has sent you to set every living soul to rights; may his power endure! Since, thanks to you, he is served not only by men, but through your compulsion the wild animals themselves, the cattle, and the birds of the air are to live in the service of Nebuchadnezzar and his whole House.

11:8 ‘We have indeed heard of your genius and adroitness of mind. It is known everywhere in the world that throughout the empire you have no rival for ability, wealth of experience and brilliance in waging war.

11:9 We have also heard what Achior said in his speech to your council. The men of Bethulia having spared him, he has told them everything that he said to you.

11:10 Now, master and lord, do not disregard what he said; keep it in your mind, since it is true; our nation will not be punished, the sword will indeed have no power over them, unless they sin against their God.

11:11 But as it is, my lord need expect no repulse or setback, since death is about to fall on their heads, for sin has gained a hold over them, provoking the anger of their God each time that they commit it.

11:12 As they are short of food and their water is giving out, they have resolved to fall back on their cattle and decided to make use of all the things that God has, by his laws, forbidden them to eat.

11:13 Not only have they made up their minds to eat the first-fruits of corn and the tithes of wine and oil, though these have been consecrated by them and set apart for the priests who serve in Jerusalem in the presence of our God and may not, lawfully, even be touched by the people,

11:14 but they have even sent men to Jerusalem – where the inhabitants are doing much the same – to bring them back authorisation from the Council of Elders.

11:15 Now this will be the outcome: when the permission arrives and they act on it, that very day they shall be delivered over to you for destruction.

11:16 ‘When I, your servant, came to know all this, I fled from them. God has sent me to do things with you at which the world will be astonished when it hears.

11:17 Your servant is a devout woman; she honours the God of heaven day and night. I therefore propose, my lord, to stay with you. I, your servant, will go out every night into the valley and pray to God to let me know when they have committed their sin.

11:18 I will then come and tell you, so that you can march out with your whole army; and none of them will be able to resist you.

11:19 I will be your guide right across Judaea until you reach Jerusalem; there I will enthrone you in the very middle of the city. Then you shall lead them like sheep and never a dog dare open its mouth to bark at you. Foreknowledge tells me this; this has been foretold to me and I have been sent to reveal it to you.’

11:20 Her words pleased Holofernes and all his adjutants. Full of admiration at her wisdom they exclaimed,

11:21 ‘There is no woman like her from one end of the earth to the other, so lovely of face and so wise of speech!’

11:22 Holofernes said, ‘God has done well to send you ahead of your people. Strength will be ours, and ruin theirs who have insulted my lord.

11:23 As for you, you are as beautiful as you are eloquent; if you do as you have promised, your god shall be my god, and you yourself shall make your home in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar and be famous throughout the world.’

JB JUDITH Chapter 12

12:1 With that he had her brought in to where his silver dinner service was already laid and had his own food served to her and his own wine poured out for her.

12:2 But Judith said, ‘I would rather not eat this, in case I incur some fault. What I have brought will be enough for me.’

12:3 ‘Suppose your provisions run out,’ Holofernes asked ‘how could we get more of the same sort? We have no one belonging to your race here.’

12:4 ‘Never fear, my lord,’ Judith answered ‘the Lord will have used me to accomplish his plan, before your servant has finished these provisions’.

12:5 Then the adjutants of Holofernes took her to a tent where she slept till midnight. A little before the morning watch she rose.

12:6 She had already sent this request to Holofernes, ‘Let my lord kindly give orders for your servant to be allowed to go out and pray’,

12:7 and Holofernes had ordered his guards not to prevent her. She stayed in the camp for three days; she went out each night to the valley of Bethulia and washed at the spring where the picket had been posted.

12:8 As she came up again she prayed to the Lord God of Israel to guide her in her plan to relieve the children of her people.

12:9 Having purified herself, she would return and stay in her tent until her meal was brought her in the evening.

Judith at the banquet of Holofernes

12:10 On the fourth day Holofernes gave a banquet, inviting only his own staff and none of the other officers.

12:11 He said to Bagoas, the eunuch in charge of his personal affairs, ‘Go and persuade that Hebrew woman you are looking after to come and join us and eat and drink in our company.

12:12 We shall be disgraced if we let a woman like this go without knowing her better. If we do not seduce her, everyone will laugh at us!’

12:13 Bagoas then left Holofernes and went to see Judith. ‘Would this young and lovely woman condescend to come to my lord?’ he asked. ‘She shall occupy the seat of honour opposite him, drink the joyful wine with us and be treated today like one of the Assyrian ladies-in-waiting in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.’

12:14 ‘Who am I’ Judith replied, ‘to resist my lord? I will not hesitate to do whatever he wishes, and doing this will be my joy to my dying day.’

12:15 At this she rose and put on her dress and all her feminine adornments. Her maid preceded her, and on the floor in front of Holofernes spread the fleece which Bagoas had given Judith for her daily use to lie on as she ate.

12:16 Judith entered and took her place. The heart of Holofernes was ravished at the sight; his very soul was stirred. He was seized with a violent desire to sleep with her; and indeed since the first day he saw her, he had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her.

12:17 ‘Drink, drink!’ Holofernes said ‘Enjoy yourself with us!’

12:18 ‘I am delighted to do so, Lord, for since my birth I have never felt my life more worthwhile than today.’

12:19 She took what her maid had prepared, and ate and drank facing him.

12:20 Holofernes was so enchanted with her that he drank far more wine than he had drunk on any other day in his life.

JB JUDITH Chapter 13

13:1 It grew late and his staff hurried away. Bagoas closed the tent from the outside, having shown out those who still lingered in his lord’s presence. They went to their beds wearied with all their drinking,

13:2 and Judith was left alone in the tent with Holofernes who had collapsed wine-sodden on his bed.

13:3 Judith then told her maid to stay just outside the bedroom and wait for her to come out, as she did every morning. She had let it be understood she would be going out to her prayers and had also spoken of her intention to Bagoas.

13:4 By now everyone had left Holofernes and no one, either important or unimportant, was left in the bedroom. Standing beside the bed, Judith murmured to herself: ‘Lord God, to whom all strength belongs, prosper what my hands are now to do for the greater glory of Jerusalem,

13:5 now is the time to recover your heritage and further my designs to crush the enemies arrayed against us’.

13:6 With that she went up to the bedpost by Holofernes’ head and took down his scimitar;

13:7 coming closer to the bed she caught him by the hair and said, ‘Make me strong today, Lord God of Israel!’

13:8 Twice she struck at the nape of his neck with all her strength and cut off his head.

13:9 She then rolled his body off the bed and tore the canopy down from the bedposts. Soon after, she went out and gave the head of Holofernes to her attendant

13:10 who put it in her food bag. The two then left the camp together, as they always did when they went to pray. Once they were out of the camp, they skirted the ravine, climbed the slope to Bethulia and made for the gates.

Judith brings the head of Holofernes to Bethulia

13:11 From a distance, Judith shouted to the guards on the gates, ‘Open the gate! Open! For the Lord our God is with us still, displaying his strength in Israel and his might against our enemies, as he has today!’

13:12 Hearing her voice, the townsmen hurried down to the town gate and summoned the elders.

13:13 Everyone, great and small, came running down, since her arrival was unexpected. They threw the gate open, welcomed the women, lit a fire to see by and crowded round them.

13:14 Then Judith raised her voice and said, ‘Praise God! Praise him! Praise the God who has not withdrawn his mercy from the House of Israel, but has shattered our enemies by my hand tonight!’

13:15 She pulled the head out of the bag and held it for them to see. ‘This is the head of Holofernes, general-in-chief of the Assyrian army; here is the canopy under which he lay drunk! The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman!

13:16 ‘Glory to the Lord who has protected me in the course I took! My face seduced him, only to his own undoing; he committed no sin with me to shame me or disgrace me.’

13:17 Overcome with emotion, the people all fell on their knees and worshipped God, exclaiming as one man, ‘Blessings on you, O our God, for confounding your people’s enemies today!’

13:18 Uzziah then said to Judith: ‘May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High, beyond all women on earth; and may the Lord God be blessed, the Creator of heaven and earth, by whose guidance you cut off the head of the leader of our enemies.

13:19 The trust you have shown shall not pass from the memories of men, but shall ever remind them of the power of God.

13:20 God grant you to be always held in honour, and rewarded with blessings, since you did not consider your own life when our nation was brought to its knees, but warded off our ruin, walking undeterred before our God.’ All the people answered, ‘Amen!, Amen!’

JB JUDITH Chapter 14


The Jews attack the Assyrian camp

14:1 Judith said, ‘Listen to me, brothers. Take this head and hang it on your battlements.

14:2 ‘When morning comes and the sun is up, let every man take his arms and every able-bodied man leave the town. Appoint a leader for these, as if you meant to march down to the plain against the Assyrian advance post. But you must not do this.

14:3 The Assyrians will gather up their equipment, make for their camp and wake up their commanders; they in turn will rush to the tent of Holofernes and not be able to find him. They will then be seized with panic and flee at your advance.

14:4 All you and the others who live in the territory of Israel will have to do is to give chase and slaughter them as they retreat.

14:5 ‘But before you do this, call me Achior the Ammonite for him to see the man who thought so meanly of the House of Israel and recognise this as the man who sent him to us as a man already doomed to die.’ (13)[*a]

14:6 So they had Achior brought from the house of Uzziah. No sooner had he arrived and seen the head of Holofernes held by a member of the people’s assembly than he fell down on his face in a faint.

14:7 They lifted him up. He then threw himself at the feet of Judith, and prostrate before her exclaimed: ‘May you be blessed in all the tents of Judah and in every nation; at the sound of your name men will be seized with dread.

14:8 ‘Now tell me exactly what you have been doing in these past few days.’ And surrounded by all the people Judith told him everything she had done from the day she left Bethulia to the moment when she was speaking.

14:9 When she came to the end, the people cheered at the tops of their voices until the town echoed. (14)

14:10 Achior, recognising the mighty works of the God of Israel, believed ardently in him and, accepting circumcision, was incorporated in the House of Israel forever.

14:11 At daybreak they hung the head of Holofernes on the ramparts. Every man took his arms and they all went out in groups to the slopes of the mountain.

14:12 Seeing this, the Assyrians sent word to their leaders, who in turn reported to the generals, the captains of thousands and all the other officers;

14:13 and these in their turn reported to the tent of Holofernes. ‘Rouse our master,’ they said to his major-domo ‘these slaves have dared to march down on us to attack and to be wiped out to a man!’

14:14 Bagoas went inside and clapped his hands in front of the curtain dividing the tent, thinking that Holofernes was sleeping with Judith.

14:15 But as no one seemed to hear, he drew the curtain and went into the bedroom, to find him thrown down dead on the threshold and the head gone from his body.

14:16 He gave a great shout, wept, sobbed, shrieked and rent his clothes.

14:17 He then went into the tent which Judith had occupied and could not find her either. Then, rushing out to the men, he shouted,

14:18 ‘Those slaves have duped us! One Hebrew woman has brought shame on the House of Nebuchadnezzar. Holofernes is lying dead on the ground, with his head cut off!’

14:19 When they heard this, the leaders of the Assyrian army tore their tunics in consternation, and the camp rang with their wild cries and their shouting.

JB JUDITH Chapter 15

15:1 When the men who were still in their tents heard the news they were appalled.

15:2 They were so gripped with panic and dread that no two men could keep together: the rout was complete. They fled along every track across the plain or through the mountains.

15:3 The men who had been bivouacking in the mountains round Bethulia were fleeing too. Then all the Israelite warriors charged down on them.

15:4 Uzziah sent messengers to Betomasthaim, Bebai, Choba, Kola and through all the highlands of Israel, to inform them of what had happened and to urge them all to hurl themselves on the enemy and annihilate them.

15:5 As soon as the Israelites heard the news, they fell on them as one man and massacred them all the way to Choba. The men of Jerusalem and the entire mountain country also rallied to them, once they had been informed of the events in the enemy camp. Then the men of Gilead and Galilee attacked them on the flank and struck at them fiercely till they neared Damascus and its territory.

15:6 The rest, who had stayed in Bethulia, fell upon the Assyrian camp and looted it to their great profit.

15:7 The Israelites returning from the slaughter seized what was left. The hamlets and villages of the mountain country and the plain also captured a great deal of booty, since there were vast stores of it.

Israel gives thanks

15:8 Joakim the high priest and the Council of Elders of Israel, who were in Jerusalem, came to gaze on the benefits that the Lord had lavished on Israel and to see Judith and congratulate her.

15:9 On coming to her house they blessed her with one accord, saying: ‘You are the glory of Jerusalem! You are the great pride of Israel! You are the highest honour of our race!

15:10 ‘By doing all this with your own hand you have deserved well of Israel, and God has approved what you have done.May you be blessed by the Lord Almighty in all the days to come!’ All the people answered, ‘Amen!’

15:11 The people looted the camp for thirty days. They gave Judith the tent of Holofernes, all his silver plate, his divans, his drinking bowls and all his furniture. She took this, loaded her mule, harnessed her carts and heaped the things into them.

15:12 All the women of Israel, hurrying to see her, formed choirs of dancers in her honour. Judith distributed branches to the women who accompanied her; she and her companions put on wreaths of olive.

15:13 Then she took her place at the head of the procession and led the women as they danced. All the men of Israel, armed and garlanded, followed them, singing hymns.

15:14 With all Israel round her, Judith broke into this song of thanksgiving and the whole people sang this hymn aloud:

JB JUDITH Chapter 16

16:1 ‘Praise my God with the tambourine, sing to the Lord with the cymbal, let psalm and canticle mingle for him, extol his name, invoke it!

16:2 For the Lord is a God who shatters war; he has pitched his camp in the middle of his people to deliver me from the hands of my enemies.

16:3 ‘Assyria came down from the mountains of the north, came with tens of thousands of his army. Their multitude blocked the wadis, their horses covered the hills.

16:4 He promised to burn up my country, destroy my young men with the sword, dash my sucklings to the ground, make prey of my little ones, carry off my maidens;

16:5 but the Lord Almighty has thwarted them by a woman’s hand.

16:6 For their hero did not fall at the young men’s hands, it was not sons of Titans who struck him down, no proud giants made that attack, but Judith, the daughter of Merari, who disarmed him with the beauty of her face.

16:7 She laid aside her widow’s dress to rally those who were oppressed in Israel; she anointed her face with perfume,

16:8 bound her hair under a turban, put on a linen gown to seduce him.

16:9 Her sandal ravished his eye, her beauty took his soul prisoner…and the scimitar cut through his neck!

16:10 ‘The Persians trembled at her boldness, the Medes were daunted by her daring.

16:11 These were struck with fear when my lowly ones shouted, these were seized with terror when my weak ones shouted louder, and when they shouted loudest, these gave ground.

16:12 The children of mere girls ran them through, pierced them like the offspring of deserters. They perished in the battle of my Lord!

16:13 ‘I will sing a new song to my God. Lord, you are great, you are glorious, wonderfully strong, unconquerable.

16:14 May your whole creation serve you! For you spoke and things came into being, you sent your breath and they were put together, and no one can resist your voice.

16:15 ‘Should mountains topple to mingle with the waves, should rocks melt like wax before your face, to those who fear you,

16:16 ‘A little thing indeed is a sweetly smelling sacrifice, still less the fat burned for you in holocaust; but whoever fears the Lord is great for ever.

16:17 ‘Woe to the nations who rise against my race! The Lord Almighty will punish them on judgement day. He will send fire and worms in their flesh and they shall weep with pain for evermore.’

16:18 When they reached Jerusalem they fell on their faces before God and, once the people were purified, they offered their holocausts and voluntary offerings and gifts.

16:19 All Holofernes’ property given her by the people and the canopy she herself had stripped from his bed, Judith vowed to God as a dedicated offering.

16:20 For three months the people gave themselves up to rejoicings in Jerusalem before the Temple, where Judith stayed with them.

Judith lives to old age. Her death

16:21 When this was over, everyone returned home. Judith went back to Bethulia and lived on her estate; as long as she lived, she enjoyed a great reputation throughout the country.

16:22 She had many suitors, but all her days, from the time her husband Manasseh died and was gathered to his people, she never gave herself to another man.

16:23 Her fame spread more and more the older she grew in her husband’s house; she lived to the age of a hundred and five years[*a]. She emancipated her maid, then died in Bethulia and was buried in the cave where Manasseh her husband lay.

16:24 The House of Israel mourned her for seven days. Before her death she had distributed her property among her own relations and those of her husband Manasseh.

16:25 Never again during the lifetime of Judith, nor indeed for long after her death, did anyone trouble the sons of Israel.

END OF JB JUDITH [16 Chapters].


JB JUDGES Chapter 1



The settlement of Judah, Simeon, Caleb and the Kenites

1:1 After the death of Joshua the Israelites consulted Yahweh, ‘Which of us shall march up first against the Canaanites to attack them?’

1:2 And Yahweh answered, ‘Judah is to attack first; I am delivering the country straight into his hands’.

1:3 Then Judah said to Simeon his brother,[*b] ‘March with me into the territory allotted to me; we will attack the Canaanite, and then I in my turn will march with you into your allotted territory’. And Simeon marched with him.

1:4 So Judah marched up, and Yahweh delivered the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they routed ten thousand men at Bezek.

1:5 They came on Adoni-zedek at Bezek, joined battle with him and routed the Canaanites and Perizzites.

1:6 Adoni-zedek took to flight, but they followed and captured him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

1:7 Then Adoni-zedek said, ‘Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up the crumbs under my table. As I did to others, so God does to me.’ He was taken to Jerusalem[*c], and there he died.

1:8 (The sons of Judah attacked Jerusalem and took it: they put its people to the sword and set fire to the city.)[*d]

1:9 After this the sons of Judah went down to attack those Canaanites living in the highlands and in the Negeb and the lowlands.

1:10 Then Judah marched against the Canaanites in Hebron – in earlier times the name of Hebron was Kiriath-arba – and they overcame Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

1:11 From there they marched against the inhabitants of Debir – in earlier times the name of Debir was Kiriath-sepher.

1:12 Caleb said, ‘To the man who conquers and captures Kiriath-sepher, I will give my daughter Achsah to wife’.

1:13 The man who captured it was Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother; Caleb gave him his daughter of Achsah to wife.

1:14 When she came to her husband, he urged her to ask her father for a field. Then she jumped down from her donkey, and Caleb asked her, ‘What do you want?’

1:15 She answered, ‘Grant me a favour; since you have banished me to the wilderness of Negeb, at least grant me some springs of water’. So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

1:16 The sons of Hobab the Kenite, father-in-law of Moses, went up with the sons of Judah from the city of palms into the wilderness in the Negeb of Judah at the Ascent of Arad; they went and lived with the Amalekites.

1:17 Then Judah set out with his brother Simeon. They overcame the Canaanites who lived in Zephath and delivered it over to the ban; hence the town was given the name of Hormah.

1:18 But Judah did not take Gaza with its territory or Ashkelon with its territory or Ekron with its territory;

1:19b they could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain, because they had iron chariots.

1:19a Yahweh was with Judah, and Judah subdued the highlands.

1:20 As Moses had directed, Hebron was given to Caleb, and he drove the three sons of Anak out of it.

1:21 As regards the Jebusites living in Jerusalem, the sons of Benjamin did not drive them out, and even now the Jebusites are still living in Jerusalem with the sons of Benjamin.

The settlement of the house of Joseph

1:22 In the same way, the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and Yahweh was with them.

1:23 The house of Joseph made a reconnaissance of Bethel. The name of the city used to be Luz.

1:24 The scouts saw a man coming out of the city, and said to him, ‘if you show us how to enter the city, we will spare you’.

1:25 He showed them a way into the city. They put the inhabitants to the sword but let the man go, and all his clan with him.

1:26 The man went off to the country of the Hittites and built a town which he called Luz; that is its name even yet.

The settlement of the northern tribes and the Edomites

1:27 Manasseh did not subdue Beth-shean and its outlying villages, or Taanach and its villages. He did not drive out the inhabitants of Dor and its outlying villages, or of Ibleam and its villages, or of Megiddo and its villages; in those parts the Canaanites held their ground.

1:28 But when the Israelites became stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labour, though they did not drive them out.

1:29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites in Gezer;[*e] thus the Canaanites went on living there among them.

1:30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or of Nahalol. The Canaanites remained among Zebulun, but were subjected to forced labour.

1:31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco or of Sidon or Ahlab, or Achzib . . . or Aphik or Rehob.

1:32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the country, for they did not drive them out.

1:33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh or of Beth-anath; they settled among the Canaanite inhabitants of the country; but the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath were compelled to do forced labour for them.

1:34 The Amorites drove back the Danites into the highlands and would not allow them to enter the plain below.

1:35 The Amorites held their ground at Har-heres and Shaalbim, but when the hand of the House of Jacob grew heavier, they were subjected to forced labour.

1:36 The territory of the Edomites begins at the Ascent of Akrabbim, runs to the Rock and continues on upwards.

JB JUDGES Chapter 2

The angel of Yahweh tells Israel of ills to come

2:1 The angel of Yahweh went up from Gilgal to Bethel and came to the House of Israel; and he said,’… and I brought you out of Egypt and led you into this land which I swore to give your fathers. I said: I shall never break my covenant with you.

2:2 You for your part must make no covenant with the inhabitants of this country; you must destroy their altars. But you have not obeyed my orders. What is it that you have done?

2:3 Very well, I now say this: I am not going to drive out these nations before you. They shall become your oppressors, and their gods shall be a snare for you.’

2:4 When the angel of Yahweh had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people began to groan and weep.

2:5 And they called the name of the place Bochim,[*a] and offered sacrifices to Yahweh there.



The end of Joshua’s life

2:6 Then Joshua told the people to go, and the Israelites went away, each to his own possession, to occupy the land.

2:7 The people served Yahweh throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the lifetime of those elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the great deeds that Yahweh had done for the sake of Israel.

2:8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died when he was a hundred and ten years old.

2:9 They buried him on the estate he had received for inheritance, at Timnath-heres in the highlands of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

2:10 And when that generation too had been gathered to its fathers, another generation followed it which knew neither Yahweh nor the deeds that he had done for the sake of Israel.

The unfaithfulness of succeeding generations; their punishment

2:11 Then the sons of Israel did what displeases Yahweh and served the Baals.

2:12 They deserted Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from the gods of the peoples round them. They bowed down to these; they provoked Yahweh;

2:13 they deserted Yahweh to serve Baal and Astarte.[*b]

2:14 Then Yahweh’s anger flamed out against Israel. He handed them over to pillagers who plundered them; he delivered them to the enemies surrounding them, and they were not able to resist them.

2:15 In every warlike venture, the hand of Yahweh was there to foil them, as Yahweh had warned, as Yahweh had sworn to them. Thus he reduced them to dire distress.

The judges. No lasting conversion

2:16 Then Yahweh appointed judges[*c] for them, and rescued the men of Israel from the hands of their plunderers.

2:17 But they would not listen to their judges. They prostituted themselves to other gods, and bowed down before these. Very quickly they left the path their ancestors had trodden in obedience to the orders of Yahweh; they did not follow their example.

2:18 When Yahweh appointed judges for them, Yahweh was with the judge and rescued them from the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived, for Yahweh felt pity for them as they groaned under the iron grip of their oppressors.

2:19 But once the judge was dead, they relapsed and behaved even worse than their ancestors. They followed other gods; they served them and bowed before them, and would not give up the practices and stubborn ways of their ancestors at all

Why foreign nations were left in the land

2:20 Then Yahweh’s anger flamed out against Israel, and he said, ‘Since this people has broken the covenant I laid down for their ancestors, since they have not listened to my voice,

2:21 in future I will not evict any of the nations that Joshua left in the land when he died’;

2:22 this was to test them by means of these nations, to see whether Israel would or would not tread the paths of Yahweh as once their ancestors had trodden them.

2:23 So Yahweh allowed these nations to remain; he did not hurry to drive them out, and did not deliver them into the hands of Joshua.

JB JUDGES Chapter 3

The peoples who remained

3:1 These are the nations that Yahweh let remain, to use them to test all those in Israel who had never known war in Canaan

3:2 (this was only in the interest of the generations of the sons of Israel, to teach them the art of war, those at least who had never known the former wars):

3:3 the five chiefs of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hittites who lived in the range of Lebanon, from the uplands of Baal-hermon to the Pass of Hamath.

3:4 They were used to put Israel to the test and see if they would keep the orders that Yahweh had given their fathers through Moses.

3:5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites and Hittites and Amorites, the Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites;

3:6 they married the daughters of these peoples, gave their own daughters in marriage to their sons, and served their gods



3:7 The Israelites[*a] did what displeases Yahweh. They forgot Yahweh their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.

3:8 Then Yahweh’s anger flamed out against Israel: he handed them over to Cushan-rishathaim the king of Edom, and the Israelites were enslaved by Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.

3:9 The Israelites cried to Yahweh, and Yahweh raised up for the Israelites a deliverer who rescued them, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

3:10 The spirit of Yahweh came on him; he became judge in Israel and set out to fight. Yahweh delivered the king of Edom, Cushan-rishathaim, into his hands, and he overcame Cushan-rishathaim.

3:11 Then the land enjoyed rest for forty years.


When Othniel son of Kenaz died,

3:12 once again the men of Israel began to do what displeases Yahweh, and Yahweh gave Eglon the king of Moab power over Israel, because they had done what displeases Yahweh.

3:13 Eglon in alliance with the sons of Ammon and Amalek marched against Israel and conquered them and took possession of the city of palms.[*b]

3:14 The Israelites were enslaved by Eglon the king of Moab for eighteen years.

3:15 Then the Israelites cried to Yahweh, and Yahweh raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera the Benjaminite; he was left-handed. The men of Israel appointed him to take their tribute to Eglon the king of Moab.

3:16 Ehud made a dagger – it was double-edged and a cubit long – and strapped it on under his clothes, over his right thigh.

3:17 He presented the tribute to Eglon the king of Moab. This Eglon was a very fat man.

3:18 Having presented the tribute, Ehud went off again with the men who had carried it;

3:19 but he himself, on reaching the Idols of Gilgal,[*c] turned and went back and said, ‘I have a secret message for you, O king’. The king replied, ‘Silence!’ and all who were with him went out.

3:20 Then Ehud went in. The king sat in the cool retreat of his upper room; he was alone. Ehud said to him, ‘I have a message from God for you, O king’. The king immediately stood up from his seat.

3:21 Then Ehud, using his left hand, drew the dagger he was carrying on his right thigh and thrust it into the king’s belly.

3:22 The hilt too went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for Ehud left the dagger in his belly; then he went out through the window.

3:23 Ehud went out by the porch; he had shut and locked the doors of the upper room behind him.

3:24 When he had gone, the servants came back and looked; the doors of the upper room were locked. They thought, ‘He is probably covering his feet[*d] in the inner part of the cool room’.

3:25 They waited until they no longer knew what to think, for he still did not open the doors of the upper room. At length they took the key and unlocked the room; their master lay on the ground, dead.

3:26 While they were waiting, Ehud had fled. He passed the Idols and escaped to safety in Seirah.

3:27 When he reached the territory of Israel he sounded the horn in the highlands of Ephraim, and the Israelites came down with him from the hills, with him at their head.

3:28 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, because Yahweh has delivered your enemy Moab into your hands’. So they followed him, cut Moab off from crossing the fords of the Jordan and let no one across.

3:29 On that occasion they beat the Moabites, some ten thousand men, all tough and seasoned fighters, and not one escaped.

3:30 That day, Moab was humbled under the hand of Israel, and the land enjoyed rest for eighty years.


3:31 After him came Shamgar son of Anath. He routed six hundred of the Philistines with an ox-goad; he too was a deliverer of Israel.

JB JUDGES Chapter 4


Israel oppressed by the Canaanites

4:1 When Ehud died, once again the Israelites began to do what displeases Yahweh,

4:2 and Yahweh handed them over to Jabin the king of Canaan who reigned at Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goum.

4:3 Then the Israelites cried to Yahweh; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots plated with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.


4:4 At this time Deborah was judge in Israel, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth.

4:5 She used to sit under Deborah’s Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the highlands of Ephraim, and the Israelites would come to her to have their disputes decided.

4:6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali. She said to him, ‘This is the order of Yahweh, the God of Israel: “March to Mount Tabor and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and the sons of Zebulun.

4:7 I will entice Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, to encounter you at the wadi Kishon with his chariots and troops; and I will put him into your power.”‘

4:8 Barak answered her, ‘If you come with me, I will go; if you will not come, I will not go, for I do not know how to choose the day when the angel of Yahweh will grant me success’.

4:9 ‘I will go with you then,’ she said ‘but, the way you are going about it, the glory will not be yours; for Yahweh will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.’ Then Deborah stood up and went with Barak to Kedesh,

4:10 and there Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men marched behind him, and Deborah marched with him.

Heber the Kenite

4:11 Heber the Kenite had cut himself off from the tribe of Kain and the clan of the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses; he had pitched his tent near the Oak of Zaanannim, not far from Kedesh.

Sisera routed

4:12 When Sisera heard that Barak son of Abinoam was encamped on Mount Tabor,

4:13 he called for all his chariots – nine hundred chariots plated with iron – and all the troops he had. He summoned them from Harosheth-ha-goum to the wadi Kishon.

4:14 Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For today is the day Yahweh has put Sisera into your power. Yes, Yahweh marches at your head.’ And Barak charged down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men behind him.

4:15 At Barak’s advance, Yahweh struck terror into Sisera, all his chariots and all his troops. Sisera leapt down from his chariot and fled on foot.

4:16 Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-ha-goum. Sisera’s whole army fell by the edge of the sword; not one man escaped.

Sisera slain

4:17 Sisera meanwhile fled on foot towards the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. For there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

4:18 Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, ‘My lord, stay here with me; do not be afraid!’ He stayed there in her tent, and she covered him with a rug.

4:19 He said to her, ‘Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty’. She opened the skin that had milk in it, gave him some to drink and covered him up again.

4:20 Then he said to her, ‘Stand at the tent door, and if anyone comes and questions you – if he asks, “Is there a man here?”, say, “No”.’

4:21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent-peg, and picked up a mallet; she crept up softly to him and drove the peg into his temple right through to the ground. He was lying fast asleep, worn out; and so he died.

4:22 And now Barak came up in pursuit of Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said, ‘Come in, and I will show you the man you are looking for’. He went into her tent; Sisera lay dead, with the tent-peg through his temple.

Israel delivered

4:23 Thus God that day humbled Jabin the king of Canaan before the Israelites.

4:24 And the Israelites bore down more and more heavily on Jabin the king of Canaan, until he was utterly destroyed.

JB JUDGES Chapter 5


5:1 They sang a song that day, Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam, and the words were:

5:2 ‘That warriors in Israel unbound their hair, that the people came forward with a will, for this, bless Yahweh!

5:3 ‘Listen, you kings! Give ear, you princes! From me, from me comes a song for Yahweh.I will glorify Yahweh, God of Israel.

5:4 ‘Yahweh, when you set out from Seir,[*a] as you trod the land of Edom, earth shook, the heavens quaked, the clouds dissolved into water.

5:5 The mountains melted before Yahweh, before Yahweh, the God of Israel.

5:6 ‘In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, every highroad was forsaken; those who went forth on their travels through by-paths took their way.

5:7 ‘Dead, dead were Israel’s villages until you rose up, O Deborah, you rose up, a mother in Israel.

5:8 ‘Those that should stand for God were dumb. From five cities, not one shield! Not one spear from forty thousand in Israel!

5:9 ‘My heart beats fast for Israel’s chieftains, with those of the people who stood forth boldly. For this, bless Yahweh!

5:10 ‘You who ride on white she-asses, you with caparisons beneath you, and you who walk the highways, sing

5:11 to the shouts of a rejoicing people gathered about the watering places. There they extol Yahweh’s blessings, the blessings of his reign in Israel. (Yahweh’s people marched down to the gates.)

5:12 ‘Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, declaim a song! Take heart, arise Barak, capture your captors, son of Abinoam!

5:13 ‘Then Israel marched down to the gates; Yahweh’s people, like heroes, marched down to fight for him.

5:14 ‘Ephraim’s princes are in the valley. Your brother Benjamin joins your ranks. From Machir, captains have come down; from Zebulun, those with the staff of office.

5:15 The princes of Issachar are with Deborah; Naphtali in the vale with Barak has sped forward to follow him. ‘Where the streams of Reuben are, men hold their long debate.

5:16 Why did you linger among the sheepfolds listening to pipes amid the flocks? (Where the streams of Reuben are, men hold their long debate.)

5:17 ‘Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. Why is Dan in the ships of strangers?[*b] Asher kept by the sea coast, dwelling at ease within his harbours.

5:18 ‘The tribe of Zebulun fronted death, Naphtali too, on the rising ground.

5:19 ‘The kings came, they stood in line of battle; then they fought, those kings of Canaan, at Taanach, by Megiddo’s waters, yet bore away no silver spoils.

5:20 ‘From high in heaven fought the stars, fought from their orbits against Sisera

5:21 ‘The torrent of Kishon swept them away, the sacred torrent, the torrent of Kishon. Trample, my soul, with might and main!

5:22 ‘The horses’ hoofs beat the ground; galloping, galloping go his steeds.

5:23 “Curse Meroz,” says Yahweh’s angel “curse, curse the dwellers in it; for they never came to Yahweh’s aid, to Yahweh’s aid among the warriors.”

5:24 ‘Blessed be Jael among women (the wife of Heber the Kenite); among all women that dwell in tents may she be blessed.

5:25 ‘He asked for water; she gave him milk; in a precious bowl she brought him cream.

5:26 She stretched out her hand to seize the peg, her right hand to seize the workman’s mallet. She struck Sisera, crushed his head, pierced his temple and shattered it.

5:27 At her feet he tumbled, he fell, he lay; at her feet he tumbled, he fell. Where he tumbled, there he fell dead.

5:28 ‘Through her window she leans and looks, Sisera’s mother, through the lattice: “Why is his chariot long in coming? Why are the harnessed horses slow?”

5:29 ‘Among her princesses the wisest one answers, and she to herself repeats,

5:30 “They are gathering, doubtless, sharing the spoil: a girl, two girls for each man of war; a garment, two dyed garments for Sisera; a scarf, two embroidered scarves for me!”

5:31 ‘So perish all your enemies, Yahweh! And let those who love you be like the sun when he arises in all his strength!’ And the land enjoyed rest for forty years.

JB JUDGES Chapter 6



Israel oppressed by the Midlanites

6:1 The Israelites did what displeases Yahweh; Yahweh gave them over for seven years into the hands of Midian,

6:2 and Midian bore down heavily on Israel. To escape from Midian the Israelites used the mountain clefts and the caves and shelters.

6:3 Whenever Israel sowed seed, Midian would march up with Amalek and the sons of the East; they would march up against Israel

6:4 and encamp on their territory and destroy the produce of the country as far as Gaza. They left Israel nothing to live on, not a sheep or ox or donkey,

6:5 for they came up as thick as locusts with their own cattle and their tents; they and their camels were past counting, they overran and pillaged the country.

6:6 Thus Midian brought Israel to great distress, and the Israelites cried to Yahweh.

A message from a prophet

6:7 When the Israelites cried to Yahweh because of Midian,

6:8 Yahweh sent a prophet to the Israelites. This was his message, ‘Thus Yahweh speaks, the God of Israel. “It was I who brought you out of Egypt and led you out of a house of slavery.

6:9 I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians and the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land,

6:10 and I said to you: I am Yahweh your God. Do not reverence the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live. But you have not listened to my words.”‘

The angel of Yahweh appears to Gideon

6:11 The angel of Yahweh came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah which belonged to Joash of Abiezer. Gideon his son was threshing wheat inside the winepress to keep it hidden from Midian,

6:12 when the angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said, ‘Yahweh is with you, valiant warrior!’

6:13 Gideon answered him, ‘Forgive me, my lord, but if Yahweh is with us, then why is it that all this is happening to us now? And where are all the wonders our ancestors tell us of when they say, “Did not Yahweh bring us out of Egypt?” But now Yahweh has deserted us; he has abandoned us to Midian.’

6:14 At this Yahweh turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength now upholding you, and you will rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Do I not send you myself?’

6:15 Gideon answered him, ‘Forgive me, my lord, but how can I deliver Israel? My clan, you must know, is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least important in my family.’

6:16 Yahweh answered him, ‘I will be with you and you shall crush Midian as though it were a single man’.

6:17 Gideon said to him, ‘If I have found favour in your sight, give me a sign that it is you who speak to me.

6:18 I beg you, do not go away until I come back, I will bring you my offering and set it down before you.’ And he answered, ‘I will stay until you return’.

6:19 Gideon went away and prepared a young goat and made unleavened cakes with an ephah of flour. He put the meat into a basket and the broth into a pot, then brought it all to him under the terebinth. As he came near,

6:20 The angel of Yahweh said to him, ‘Take the meat and unleavened cakes, put them on this rock and pour the broth over them’. Gideon did so.

6:21 Then the angel of Yahweh reached out the tip of the staff in his hand and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Fire sprang from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of Yahweh vanished before his eyes.

6:22 Then Gideon knew this was the angel of Yahweh, and he said, ‘Alas, my Lord Yahweh! I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face!’

6:23 Yahweh answered him, ‘Peace be with you; have no fear; you will not die’.

6:24 Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh and called it Yahweh-Peace. This altar still stands at Ophrah of Abiezer.

Gideon and Baal[*a]

6:25 Now that night Yahweh said to Gideon, ‘Take your father’s fattened calf, and pull down the altar to Baal belonging to your father and cut down the sacred post at the side of it.

6:26 Then, on the top of this bluff, build a carefully constructed altar to Yahweh your God. Then take the fattened calf and burn it as a holocaust on the wood of the sacred post you have cut down.’

6:27 Then Gideon chose ten of his servants and did as Yahweh had ordered him. But since he stood too much in fear of his family and the townspeople to do this by day, he did it by night.

6:28 Next morning, when the townspeople got up, the altar to Baal had been destroyed, the sacred post that had stood beside it was now cut down, and the fattened calf had been burnt as a holocaust on the newly-built altar.

6:29 Then they said to each other, ‘Who has done this?’ They searched, made enquiries and declared, ‘Gideon son of Joash has done it’.

6:30 Then the townspeople said to Joash, ‘Bring out your son for he must die, since he has destroyed the altar to Baal and cut down the sacred post that stood beside it’.

6:31 Joash answered all those mustered round him, ‘Would you plead for Baal? Would you champion his cause? (Let anyone who pleads for Baal be put to death before dawn.) If he is a god, let him plead for himself, now that Gideon has destroyed his altar.’

6:32 That day Gideon was given the name of Jerubbaal,[*b] because, they said, ‘Baal must plead against him, seeing that he has destroyed his altar’.

The call to arms

6:33 Then all Midian and Amalek and the sons of the East joined forces, crossed the Jordan and encamped in the plain of Jezreel.

6:34 And the spirit of Yahweh came on Gideon; he sounded the horn and Abiezer rallied behind him.

6:35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and Manasseh too rallied behind him; he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they too marched out to meet him.

The trial with the fleece

6:36 Gideon said to God, ‘If you really mean to deliver Israel by my hand, as you have declared,

6:37 see now, I spread out a fleece on the threshing-floor; if there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is left dry, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have declared’.

6:38 And so it happened. Gideon rose the next morning, squeezed the fleece and wrung enough dew out of the fleece to fill a drinking cup.

6:39 Then Gideon spoke to God again, ‘Do not be angry with me if I speak once again. Let me make trial with the fleece just once more. Let the fleece alone be dry, and let there be dew on the ground all round it.’

6:40 And God did so that night. The fleece alone stayed dry, and there was dew on the ground all round it.

JB JUDGES Chapter 7


Yahweh cuts down the numbers of Gideon’s army

7:1 Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) got up very early, as did all the people with him; he pitched camp at En-harod; the camp of Midian was north of his, under the Hill of Moreh in the valley.

7:2 Then Yahweh said to Gideon, ‘There are too many people with you for me to put Midian into their power; Israel might claim the credit for themselves at my expense: they might say, “My own hand has rescued me”.

7:3 Therefore, make this proclamation now to the people: “Let anyone who is frightened or fearful go home!” ‘ Gideon put them to the test. Twenty-two thousand men went home, and ten thousand were left.

7:4 Yahweh said to Gideon, ‘There are still too many people. Take them down to the waterside and I will sift them there. If I say of a man: He is to go with you, that man is to go with you. And if I say of a man: He is not to go with you, that man is not to go.’

7:5 So Gideon took the people down to the waterside, and Yahweh said to him, ‘All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, place these on one side. And all those who kneel down to drink, place these on the other side.’

7:6 The number of those who lapped with their tongues was three hundred; all the rest of the people had knelt to drink.

7:7 Then Yahweh said to Gideon, ‘With the three hundred who lapped the water I will rescue you and put Midian into your power. Let all the others go back, every man to his own home.’

7:8 Gideon made the people give him what pitchers and horns they had, then sent away all the Israelites, each to his own tent, keeping only the three hundred with him. The camp of Midian was below his own in the valley.

An omen of victory

7:9 Now it came about that in the night Yahweh said to him, ‘Get up and go down to the camp. I am putting it into your power.

7:10 However, if you are afraid to make the assault, go down first to the camp with your servant Purah;

7:11 listen to what they are saying; you will be encouraged by it and then you will march against the camp.’ So with his servant Purah he went down to the outposts of the camp.

7:12 Midian and Amalek and all the sons of the East stretched through the valley as thick as locusts; their camels were innumerable like the sand on the seashore.

7:13 Gideon came up just as a man was telling his comrade a dream; he was saying, ‘I had a dream: a cake made of barley bread came rolling through the camp of Midian; it reached the tent, struck against it and turned it upside down’.

7:14 His comrade answered, ‘This can be nothing else than the sword of Gideon son of Joash the Israelite. God has put Midian and all the camp into his power.’

7:15 When Gideon heard the dream thus told and interpreted, he fell to his knees; then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, ‘On your feet, for Yahweh has put the camp of Midian into your power!’

The surprise attack

7:16 Gideon then divided his three hundred men into three companies. To each man he gave a horn and an empty pitcher, with a torch inside each pitcher.

7:17 He said to them, ‘Watch me, and do as I do. When I reach the edge of the camp, whatever I do, you do too.

7:18 When I sound the horn, I and those with me, then you too must sound your horns all round the camp and shout, “For Yahweh and for Gideon!”‘

7:19 Gideon and his hundred companions reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when the new sentries had just been posted; they sounded their horns and smashed the pitchers in their hands.

7:20 The three companies sounded their horns and smashed their pitchers; with their left hands they grasped the torches, with their right hands the horns ready to blow; and they shouted, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!’

7:21 And they stood still, spaced out all round the camp. Then the whole camp woke and the Midianites fled, shouting.

7:22 While the three hundred kept sounding their horns, Yahweh made every man in the camp turn his sword against his comrade. They all fled as far as Beth-shittah towards Zarethan, as far as the bank of Abel-meholah opposite Tabbath.

The pursuit

7:23 The men of Israel mustered from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh, and pursued Midian.

7:24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the highiands of Ephraim to say, ‘Come down and fight Midian, seize the water-points as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan before they reach them’. All the men of Ephraim mustered and seized the water-points as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.

7:25 They captured the two Midianite chieftains, Oreb and Zeeb; they killed Oreb at Oreb’s Rock and Zeeb at Zeeb’s Winepress. They pursued Midian; and they brought Gideon the heads of Oreb and of Zeeb beyond the Jordan.

JB JUDGES Chapter 8

The Ephraimites take offence

8:1 Now, the men of Ephraim said to Gideon, ‘What do you mean by treating us like this, not summoning us when you went to fight with Midian?’ And they reproached him bitterly.

8:2 He answered, ‘What have I done when compared to you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim’s grapes better than the vintage of Abiezer?

8:3 Into your power Yahweh has given the chieftains of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. Can what I managed to do compare with what you have done?’ And at these words their anger left them.


Gideon pursues the enemy beyond the Jordan

8:4 Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed it, but he and his three hundred companions were tired out and famished.

8:5 So he said to the men of Succoth, ‘Please give my followers a few loaves of bread, because they are tired out, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna,[*a] the kings of Midian’.

8:6 The chieftains of Succoth answered, ‘Give bread to your army? Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your grasp?’

8:7 And Gideon answered, ‘Very well! When Yahweh has put Zebah and Zalmunna into my power, I will tear your flesh with desert thorn and briar.’

8:8 From there he went up to Penuel and asked the men of Penuel the same thing; they answered as those of Succoth had done.

8:9 And to those of Penuel he made a similar reply, ‘When I return victorious, I will destroy this tower’.

The defeat of Zebah and Zalmuma

8:10 Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all who remained of the army of the sons of the east. Those who had fallen were a hundred and twenty thousand fighting men.

8:11 Gideon went up the nomads’ way, eastwards of Nobah and Jogbehah, and routed the army when it thought itself in safety.

8:12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled. He pursued them; he took the kings of Midian prisoner, both Zebah and Zalmunna. And he utterly destroyed the army.

Gideon’s acts of vengeance

8:13 After the battle, Gideon returned by the Ascent of Heres.

8:14 He seized a young man, one of the people of Succoth, and questioned him, and the young man wrote down the names of the chieftains and elders of Succoth for him – seventy seven men.

8:15 Then Gideon came to the people of Succoth and said, ‘Here you see Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me and said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your grasp, for us to give bread to your tired troops?”‘

8:16 Then he seized the elders of the city, and took desert thorn and briar and tore the men of Succoth with them.

8:17 He destroyed the tower of Penuel and slaughtered the townsmen.

8:18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, ‘The men you killed at Tabor-what were they like?’ They answered, ‘They looked like you. Every one of them carried himself like the son of a king.’

8:19 Gideon replied, ‘They were my brothers, the sons of my own mother; as Yahweh lives, if you had spared their lives I would not kill you’.

8:20 Then he ordered Jether his eldest son: ‘Stand up and kill them’. But the boy did not draw his sword; he dared not; he was still only a lad.

8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, ‘Stand up yourself, and strike us down; for as a man is, so is his strength’. Then Gideon stood up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the crescents from round their camels’ necks.

Gideon triumphant. His end

8:22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, you and your sons and your grandson,[*b] because you have rescued us from the power of Midian’.

8:23 But Gideon answered them, ‘It is not I who shall rule over you, nor my son; Yahweh must be your lord’.

8:24 But Gideon went on, ‘Let me make one request of you. Let every man of you give me one of the rings out of his spoils’ – for the vanquished army had golden rings, because they were Ishmaelites.

8:25 They answered, ‘Gladly’. So he spread out his cloak, and on it they threw, every man

of them, a ring taken from their spoils.

8:26 The weight of the golden rings be had asked for reached seventeen hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescents and the earrings and purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars round their camels’ necks, too.

8:27 Of all this, Gideon made an ephod[*c] and put it in his own city of Ophrah. After him, all Israel prostituted themselves to it, and it was a snare for Gideon and his family.

8:28 Thus Midian was humbled before the Israelites. They did not lift up their heads again, and the land enjoyed rest for forty years, as long as Gideon lived.

8:29 So Jerubbaal son of Joash withdrew and lived in his own house.

8:30 Gideon had seventy sons begotten by him, for he had many wives.

8:31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, bore him a son too, whom he called Abimelech.

8:32 Gideon son of Joash was blessed in his old age; he died, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of Abiezer.

Israel relapses into idolatry

8:33 After Gideon’s death, the people of Israel again began to prostitute themselves to the Baals, and took Baal-berith for their god.

8:34 The Israelites no longer remembered Yahweh their God, who had rescued them from all the enemies round them.

8:35 And towards the family of Jerubbaal-Gideon-they remained ungrateful for all its good deeds to Israel.

JB JUDGES Chapter 9


Abimelech becomes king

9:1 Abimelech son of Jerubbaal came to his mother’s brothers at Shechem and said to them and the whole clan of his mother’s family,

9:2 ‘Please put this question to the leading men of Shechem: Which is better for you, to be ruled by seventy-I mean all the sons of Jerubbaal-or to be ruled by one? Remind yourselves also that I am your own flesh and blood.’

9:3 His mother’s brothers spoke of him to all the leading men of Shechem in these terms, and their hearts inclined towards Abimelech, for they told themselves, ‘He is our brother’.

9:4 So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-berith, and with this Abimelech paid worthless scoundrels to follow him.

9:5 Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and murdered his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on the selfsame stone. Only the youngest son of Jerubbaal escaped, for he had gone into hiding; this was Jotham.

9:6 Then all the leading men of Shechem and all Beth-millo gathered, and proclaimed Abimelech king by the terebinth of the pillar at Shechem.

Jotham’s fable

9:7 News of this was brought to Jotham. He came and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted aloud for them to hear: ‘Hear me, leaders of Shechem, that God may also hear you!

9:8 ‘One day the trees went out to anoint a king to rule over them. They said to the olive tree, “Be our king!”

9:9 ‘The olive tree answered them, “Must I forego my oil which gives honour to gods and men, to stand swaying above the trees?”

9:10 ‘Then the trees said to the fig tree, “Come now, you be our king!”

9:11 ‘The fig tree answered them, “Must I forego my sweetness, forego my excellent fruit, to stand swaying above the trees?”

9:12 ‘Then the trees said to the vine, “Come now, you be our king!”

9:13 ‘The vine answered them, “Must I forego my wine which cheers the heart of gods and men, to stand swaying above the trees?”

9:14 Then all the trees said to the thorn bush, “Come now, you be our king!”

9:15 ‘And the thorn bush answered the trees, “If in all good faith you anoint me king to reign over you,

then come and shelter in my shade. If not, fire will come from the thorn bush and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”

9:16 ‘In the same way, therefore, if you have acted in sincerity and good faith in making Abimelech king, if you have dealt honourably with Jerubbaal and his family, and have acted towards him as his own deeds deserve. . .[*a]

9:17 My father on his side fought for you, risked his life, rescued you from the power of Midian;

9:18 you on your side have risen today against my father’s family, you have murdered his seventy sons on the selfsame stone; and to rule the leading men of Shechem you have set up Abimelech, the son of his slave-girl, because he is your brother.

9:19 If, I say, you have acted in sincerity and good faith towards Jerubbaal and his family, then may Abimelech be your joy and may you be his.

9:20 If not, may fire come out of Abimelech and devour the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and fire come out of the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo to devour Abimelech.’

9:21 Then Jotham took flight; he escaped and made his way to Beer; and there he remained, to be out of the reach of his brother Abimelech.

The men of Shechem revolt against Abimelech

9:22 Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years.[*b]

9:23 Then God sent a spirit of discord between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem rebelled against Abimelech.

9:24 And this was so that the crime committed against Jerubbaal’s seventy sons should be avenged, and their blood recoil on their brother Abimelech who had murdered them and on those leaders of Shechem who had helped him to murder his brothers.

9:25 To spite him, the leaders of Shechem put men in ambush on the mountain tops, and these robbed anyone travelling their way. Abimelech was told of this.

9:26 Gaal son of Ebed, with his brothers, happened to pass through Shechem and won the confidence of the leaders of Shechem.

9:27 They went out into the countryside to harvest their vineyards; they trod the grapes and held rejoicings and went into the temple of their god. They ate and drank there and cursed Abimelech.

9:28 Then Gaal son of Ebed exclaimed, ‘Who is Abimelech, and what is Shechem, that we should be his slaves? Would it not be more fitting for the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his delegate to serve the men of Hamor, the father of Shechem? Why should we be his slaves?

9:29 Who will put this people under my command? Then I would drive Abimelech out and say to him: Reinforce your army and come and fight:’

9:30 Zebul the governor of the city was told what Gaal son of Ebed had said, and he was furious.

9:31 He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah, bidding them tell him, ‘Listen! Gaal son of Ebed has come to Shechem with his brothers, and they are stirring up the town against you.

9:32 Move, therefore, under cover of dark, you and the men you have with you, and take up concealed positions in the countryside;

9:33 then in the morning at sunrise leave them quickly and advance against the town. When Gaal and his men come out to meet you, do with him as occasion serves.’

9:34 So Abimelech set off under cover of dark with all the men he had and took up concealed positions opposite Shechem, in four companies.

9:35 And as Gaal son of Ebed came out and paused at the entrance to the gate of the town, Abimelech and the men with him rose from their ambush.

9:36 Gaal saw these men and said to Zebul, ‘Look, there are men coming down from the tops of the mountains!’ Zebul answered, ‘You mistake the shadow of the mountains for men’.

9:37 But Gaal said again, ‘Look, there are men coming down from the Navel of the Land, and another band is on its way from Diviners’ Oak’.

9:38 Then Zebul said to him, ‘What has become of your boasting now, you who said, “Who is Abimelech that we should be his slaves?” Are not these the men you made light of? Sally out now, then, and fight them.’

9:39 So Gaal sallied out at the head of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech.

9:40 But Abimelech drove Gaal before him; Abimelech went in pursuit of Gaal who fled before him, and many of his men fell dead before they reached the town gate.

9:41 Then Abimelech went back to Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers and prevented them from living in Shechem.

Shechem destroyed and Migdal-shechem taken

9:42 Next day the people went out into the country, and Abimelech was told of this.

9:43 He took his men, divided them into three companies and lay in wait in the fields. When he saw the people leaving the town, he bore down on them and cut them to pieces.

9:44 While Abimelech and the company with him advanced and took up their post at the entrance to the town gate, the two other companies fell on everyone in the fields and slaughtered them.

9:45 All that day Abimelech attacked the town. He stormed it and slaughtered the people inside, razed the town and sowed it with salt.

9:46 On hearing this, the leading men of Migdal-shechem took refuge in the crypt of the temple of EI-berith.

9:47 As soon as Abimelech heard that all the leaders of Migdal-shechem had gathered there,

9:48 went up to Mount Zalmon with all his men. Then taking an axe in his hands, he cut off the branch of a tree, picked it up and put it on his shoulder, and said to the men with him, ‘Do what you have seen me do, and do it quickly’.

9:49 all his men set to work cutting down branches, one each; then they followed Abimelech and heaped the branches on the crypt, and set it on fire over those inside[*c] All the inhabitants of Migdal-shechem perished too, about a thousand men and women.

The siege of Thehez: the death of Abimelech

9:50 Then Abimelech marched against Thebez, besieged it and stormed it.

9:51 In the middle of the town there was a fortified tower in which all the men and women and all the leading men of the town took refuge. They locked the door behind them and climbed up to the roof of the tower.

9:52 Abimelech reached the tower and attacked it. As he was approaching the door of the tower to set it on fire,

9:53 a woman threw down a millstone on his head and crushed his skull.

9:54 He called his armour-bearer at once and said to him, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, that no one may say of me, “A woman killed him”‘. His armour-bearer ran him through, and he died.

9:55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they withdrew, each to his own home.

9:56 Thus God made the evil recoil on Abimelech that he had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers,

9:57 as God made all the wickedness of the people of Shechem recoil on their own heads too. And so the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal came true for them.

JB JUDGES Chapter 10



10:1 After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah, son of Dodo, rose to deliver Israel. He belonged to Issachar and lived at Shamir in the mountain country of Ephraim.

10:2 He was judge in Israel for twenty-three years; then he died and was buried at Shamir.


10:3 After him rose Jair of Gilead, who judged Israel for twenty-two years.

10:4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys’ colts; and they possessed thirty towns, which are still called the Encampments of Jair, in the land of Gilead.

10:5 Then Jair died and was buried at Kamon.


Oppression by the Ammonites

10:6 Again the Israelites began to do what displeases Yahweh. They served the Baals and the Astartes, and the gods of Aram and Sidon, the gods of Moab and those of the Ammonites and Philistines. They deserted Yahweh and served him no more.

10:7 Then Yahweh’s anger flamed out against Israel and he gave them over into the power of the Philistines and the power of the Ammonites,

10:8 who from that year onward crushed and oppressed the men of Israel for eighteen years – all the Israelites who lived beyond the Jordan, in the Amorite country in Gilead.

10:9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight Judah, Benjamin and the House of Ephraim, and Israel’s distress was very great.

10:10 Then the Israelites cried to Yahweh and said, ‘We have sinned against you, because we have turned from Yahweh our God to serve the Baals’.

10:11 And Yahweh said to the Israelites, ‘When the Egyptians and the Amorites, the Ammonites and the Philistines,

10:12 the Sidonians and Amalek and Midian oppressed you and you cried to me, did I not rescue you from their power?

10:13 But you on your part have turned from me and served other gods; and so I shall rescue you no more.

10:14 Go and cry to the gods you have chosen. Let them rescue you in your time of trouble.’

10:15 The Israelites answered Yahweh, ‘We have sinned. Do with us as you think fit; only do rescue us today.’

10:16 They got rid of the foreign gods that they had, and served Yahweh, and he could bear Israel’s suffering no longer.

10:17 The Ammonites mustered and pitched their camp in Gilead. The Israelites rallied and camped at Mizpah.

10:18 Then the people, the chieftains of Gilead, said to each other, ‘Who will volunteer to fight the sons of Ammon? He shall be made leader of all the inhabitants of Gilead.’

JB JUDGES Chapter 11

Jephthah lays down his terms

11:1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior. He was the son of a harlot. Gilead was Jephthah’s father,

11:2 but Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and the sons of this wife, when they grew up, drove Jephthah out, saying, ‘You are to have no share in our father’s inheritance, because you are the son of an alien woman’.

11:3 Jephthah fled from his brothers and made his home in the land of Tob.Worthless followers gathered round him and used to go raiding with him.

11:4 Some time after this, the Ammonites took up arms against Israel.

11:5 And when the Ammonites had attacked Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah from the land of Tob.

11:6 ‘Come’ they said ‘and be our commander, and we can fight the Ammonites.’

11:7 But Jephthah answered the elders of Gilead, ‘Was it not you who hated me and drove me out of my father’s house? Why come to me when you are in trouble?’

11:8 The elders of Gilead answered Jephthah, ‘That is exactly why we have come back to you. Come with us; fight the Ammonites and be our leader, leader of all the inhabitants of Gilead.’

11:9 Jephthah answered the elders of Gilead, ‘If you take me home to fight the Ammonites and Yahweh puts them at my mercy, I am to be your leader?’

11:10 The elders of Gilead answered Jephthah, ‘Yahweh be witness between us. May we be accursed if we do not do as you have said!’

11:11 So Jephthah set off with the elders of Gilead. The people set him at their head as leader and commander; and Jephthah repeated all his conditions at Mizpah in Yahweh’s presence.

Jephthah negotiates with the Ammonites

11:12 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites to say to him, ‘What is the trouble between us, for you to come and make war on my country?’

11:13 The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, ‘The reason is that when Israel came up from Egypt, they seized my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and the Jordan. Give it back peaceably now.’

11:14 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites

11:15 with this answer, Jephthah says this: “Israel seized neither the land of Moab nor the land of the Ammonites.

11:16 When Israel came out of Egypt, they passed through the wilderness to the Sea of Reeds and reached Kadesh.

11:17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom to say to him: Please let us pass through your country, but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent similarly to the king of Moab, but he refused, and Israel remained at Kadesh;

11:18 later they made their way through the wilderness, going round the countries of Edom and Moab until they were to the east of Moab territory. The people encamped beyond the Arnon but did not cross the border of Moab, for the Arnon itself is the boundary there.

11:19 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Israel’s message was: Please let us pass through your country to our destination.

11:20 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory; he mustered his whole army; they encamped at Jahaz, and he then joined battle with Israel.

11:21 Yahweh the God of Israel delivered Sihon and his whole army into the power of Israel; Israel defeated them and took possession of the whole country of the Amorites who lived in that region.

11:22 Thus they came to occupy the whole country of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.

11:23 And now that Yahweh the God of Israel has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, will one such as you dispossess us?

11:24 Do you not possess all that Chemosh your god took from its owners?[*a] In the same fashion, whatever Yahweh our God took from its owners, that we possess too.

11:25 Are you a better man than Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab? Did he challenge Israel? Did he make war against them?

11:26 When Israel settled in Heshbon and its outlying villages, or in Jazer and its villages, or in any of the towns on the banks of the Jordan (three hundred years), why did you not recover those places then?

11:27 I for my part have committed no sin against you, rather, you for your part are wronging me by making war on me. Let Yahweh the Judge givejudgement today between the sons of Israel and the king of the Ammonites.”‘

11:28 But the king of the Ammonites took no notice of the message Jephthah had sent him.

Jephthah’s vow and his victory

11:29 The spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah, who crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through to Mizpah in Gilead, and from Mizpah in Gilead made his way to the rear of the Ammonites.

11:30 And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh, ‘If you deliver the Ammonites into my hands,

11:31 then the first person to meet me from the door of my house when I return in triumph from fighting the Ammonites shall belong to Yahweh, and I will offer him up as a holocaust’.[*b]

11:32 Jephthah marched against the Ammonites to attack them, and Yahweh delivered them into his power.

11:33 He harassed them from Aroer almost to Minnith (twenty towns) and to Abel-keramim. It was a very severe defeat, and the Ammonites were humbled before the Israelites.

11:34 As Jephthah returned to his house at Mizpah, his daughter came out from it to meet him; she was dancing to the sound of timbrels. This was his only child; apart from her he had neither son nor daughter.

11:35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and exclaimed, ‘Oh my daughter, what sorrow you are bringing me! Must it be you, the cause of my ill-fortune! I have given a promise to Yahweh,and I cannot unsay what I have said.’

11:36 She answered him, ‘My father, you have given a promise to Yahweh; treat me as the vow you took binds you to, since Yahweh has given you vengeance on your enemies the Ammonites.’

11:37 Then she said to her father, ‘Grant me one request. Let me be free for two months. I shall go and wander in the mountains, and with my companions bewail my virginity.’

11:38 He answered, ‘Go’, and let her depart for two months. So she went away with her companions and bewailed her virginity in the mountains.

11:39 When the two months were over, she returned to her father, and he treated her as the vow that he had uttered bound him. She had never known a man. From this comes this custom in Israel

11:40 for the daughters of Israel to leave home every year and to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days every year.

JB JUDGES Chapter 12

War between Ephraim and Gilead. The death of Jephthah

12:1 The men of Ephraim mobilised; they crossed the Jordan, making for Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, ‘Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without asking us to go with you? We shall burn you and your house.’

12:2 Jephthah answered them, ‘My people and I were hard put to it, the Ammonites pressed us hard. I summoned you to help me, but you did not rescue me from their hands.

12:3 When I saw that no one came to my help, I took my life in my hands and marched against the Ammonites, and Yahweh handed them over to me. Why then today come up against me to make war on me?’

12:4 Then Jephthah mustered all the men of Gilead and joined battle with Ephraim, and the men of Gilead routed Ephraim, because these kept saying, ‘You are no more than deserters from Ephraim, you Gileadites in the heart of Ephraim and Manasseh’.

12:5 Then Gilead cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever an Ephraimite fugitive said, ‘Let me cross’, the men of Gilead asked him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he answered ‘No’,

12:6 they said, ‘Then say Shibboleth’. He would say ‘Sibboleth’, since he could not pronounce the word correctly. Thereupon they seized and slaughtered him by the fords of the Jordan. There perished in this way forty-two thousand men of Ephraim.

12:7 Jephthah was judge in Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in his own town, Mizpah in Gilead.


12:8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem[*a] was judge in Israel.

12:9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters in marriage outside his clan, and brought in thirty brides from outside for his sons. He was judge in Israel for seven years.

12:10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.


12:11 After him, Elon of Zebulun was judge in Israel. He was judge in Israel for ten years.

12:12 Then Elon of Zebulun died and was buried at Elon in the land of Zebulun.


12:13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel of Pirathon was judge in Israel.

12:14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys’ colts. He was judge in Israel for eight years.

12:15 Then Abdon son of Hillel of Pirathon died, and he was buried at Pirathon in the mountain country of Ephraim, in the land of Shaalim.

JB JUDGES Chapter 13


Samson’s birth foretold

13:1 Again the Israelites began to do what displeases Yahweh, and Yahweh delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

13:2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children.

13:3 The angel of Yahweh appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child.

13:4 But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.

13:5 For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’

13:6 Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me.

13:7 But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shail be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”‘

The angel appears a second time

13:8 Then Manoah pleaded with Yahweh and said, ‘I beg you, Lord, let the man of God that you sent come to us once again and instruct us in what we must do with the boy when he is born’.

13:9 Yahweh heard Manoah’s prayer for favour, and the angel of Yahweh visited the woman again as she was sitting in the field; her husband Manoah was not with her.

13:10 The woman ran quickly and told her husband: ‘Look,’ she said ‘the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again’.

13:11 Manoah rose and followed his wife, and he came to the man and said to him, ‘Are you the man who spoke to this woman?’ He answered, ‘I am’.

13:12 Manoah went on, ‘When your words are fuffilled, what is to be the boy’s rule of life? How must he behave?’

13:13 And the angel of Yahweh answered Manoah, ‘The things that I forbade this woman, let him refrain from too.

13:14 Let him taste nothing that comes from the vine, let him take no wine or strong drink, let him eat nothing unclean, let him obey all the orders I gave this woman.’

13:15 Manoah is then said to the angel of Yahweh, ‘Do us the honour of staying with us while we prepare a kid for you’.

13:16b For Manoah did not know this was the angel of Yahweh.

13:16a The angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, ‘Even if I did stay with you, I would not eat your food; but if you wish to prepare a holocaust, offer it to Yahweh’.

13:17 Manoah then said to the angel of Yahweh, ‘What is your name, so that we may honour you when your words are fulfilled?’

13:18 The angel of Yahweh replied, ‘Why ask my name? It is a mystery.’

13:19 Then Manoah took the kid and the oblation and offered it as a holocaust on the rock to Yahweh who works mysteries.

13:20 As the flame went up heavenwards from the altar, the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame in the sight of Manoah and his wife,and they fell face downwards on the ground.

13:21 After this, the angel of Yahweh did not appear any more to Manoah and his wife, by which Manoah understood that this had been the angel of Yahweh.

13:22 And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We are certain to die, because we have seen God’.

13:23 His wife answered him, ‘If Yahweh had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a holocaust and oblation from our hands; he would not have told us all these things.’

13:24 The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him;

13:25 and the spirit of Yahweh began to move him in the Camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

JB JUDGES Chapter 14

Samson marries

14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, and there he noticed one of the daughters of the Philistines.

14:2 He came up again and told his father and mother this. ‘At Timnah’ he said ‘I noticed one of the daughters of the Philistines. Get her for me, then, to be my wife.’

14:3 His father and mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among those of your own clan or among your whole nation, for you to seek a wife among these uncircumcised Philistines?’ But Samson answered his father, ‘Get this one for me; get her, because I like her’.

14:4 His father and mother did not know that all this came from Yahweh, who was seeking an occasion for quarrelling with the Philistines; since at this time the Philistines had Israel in their power.

14:5 Samson went down to Timnah, and as he reached the vineyards of Timnah he saw a young lion coming roaring towards him.

14:6 The spirit of Yahweh seized on him, and though he had no weapon in his hand he tore the lion in pieces as a man tears a kid; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

14:7 He went down and talked to the woman, and he liked her.

14:8 Not long after this, Samson came back to marry her. He went out of his way to look at the carcase of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the lion’s body, and honey.

14:9 He took up some honey in his hand and ate it as he went along. On returning to his father and mother, he gave some to them, which they ate too, but he did not tell them he had taken it from the lion’s carcase.

14:10 Then he went down to the woman, and they made a feast for Samson for seven days there, for such is the custom of young men.

14:11 But because they were frightened of him, they chose thirty companions to stay with him.

Samson’s riddle

14:12 Then Samson said to them, ‘Let me ask you a riddle. If you find the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty pieces of fine linen and thirty festal robes.

14:13 But if you cannot find the answer, then you in your turn must give me thirty pieces of fine linen and thirty festal robes.’ ‘Ask your riddle,’ they replied ‘we are listening.’

14:14 So he said to them: ‘Out of the eater came what is eaten, and out of the strong came what is sweet’.

But three days went by and they could not solve the riddle.

14:15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife. ‘Cajole your husband into telling you the answer to the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house together. Did you invite us here to rob us?’

14:16 Then Samson’s wife fell on his neck in tears and said, ‘You only hate me, you do not love me. You have asked my fellow countrymen a riddle and not even told me the answer.’ He said to her, ‘I have not even told my father or mother, why should I tell you?’

14:17 She wept on his neck for the seven days their feast lasted. She was so persistent that on the seventh day he told her the answer, and she in turn told her fellow countrymen what the answer to the riddle was.

14:18 So on the seventh day, before Samson entered the bridal room, the men of the town said to him: ‘What is sweeter than honey, and what stronger than a lion?’ He retorted: ‘If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you would never have guessed my riddle’.

14:19 Then the spirit of Yahweh seized on him. He went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty men there, took what they wore and gave the festal robes to those who had answered the riddle, then burning with rage returned to his father’s house.

14:20 Then Samson’s wife was given to the companion who had been his best man.

JB JUDGES Chapter 15

Samson sets fire to the crops of the Philistines

15:1 Not long after this, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went back to see his wife; he had brought a kid for her; he said, ‘I wish to go to my wife in her room’. But her father would not let him enter.

15:2 ‘I felt sure’ he said ‘that you had taken a real dislike to her, so I gave her to your companion. But would not her younger sister suit you better? Have her instead of the other.’

15:3 Samson answered them, ‘I can only get my own back on the Philistines now by doing them some damage’.

15:4 So Samson went off and caught three hundred foxes, then took torches and turning the foxes tail to tail put a torch between each pair of tails.

15:5 He lit the torches and set the foxes free in the Philistines’ cornfields. In this way he burned both sheaves and standing corn, and the vines and olive trees as well.

15:6 The Philistines asked, ‘Who has done this?’ and received the answer, ‘Samson, who married the Timnite’s daughter; his father-in-law took the wife back again and gave her to his companion instead’. Then the Philistines went up and burned the woman and her family to death.

15:7 Samson said to them, ‘Since this is how you behave, I swear I will not rest till I have had my revenge on you’.

15:8 And he fell on them for all he was worth and caused great havoc. Then he went down to the cave in the Rock of Etam, and stayed there.

The donkey’s jawbone

15:9 The Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a foray against Lehi.

15:10 The men of Judah said to them, ‘Why are you attacking us?’ They answered, ‘We have come to seize Samson and to do to him what he did to us’.

15:11 Then three thousand of the men of Judah went down to the cave in the Rock of Etam and said to him, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines have us in their power? Now what have you done to us?’ He answered, ‘What they did to me I did to them’.

15:12 Then they said to him, ‘We have come down to take you, to hand you over to the Philistines’. He said to them, ‘Swear to me not to kill me yourselves’.

15:13 They answered, ‘No; we only want to bind you and hand you over to them; we certainly do not want to kill you’. Then they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the Rock.

15:14 As he approached Lehi, and the Philistines came running towards him with triumphant shouts, the spirit of Yahweh seized on Samson; the ropes on his arms beeame like burnt strands of flax and the bonds melted off his hands.

15:15 Catching sight of the fresh jawbone of a donkey, he reached out and snatched it up; then with it he struck down a thousand men.

15:16 And Samson said: ‘With the jawbone of a donkey I have thrashed them;[*a] with the jawbone of a donkey I have struck down a thousand men’.

15:17 And with this, he hurled the jawbone from him; and that is why the place was called Ramath-lehi.

15:18 And as he was thirsty, he called on Yahweh and said, ‘You yourself have worked this great victory by the hand of your servant; and now must I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’

15:19 Then God opened a hollow in the ground, the hollow there is at Lehi, and water gushed out of it. Samson drank; his vigour returned and he revived. And therefore this spring was called En-hakkore; it is still at Lehi today.

15:20 Samson was judge in Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.

JB JUDGES Chapter 16

The gates of Gaza

16:1 From here Samson went on to Gaza, and seeing a harlot there he went into her house.

16:2 The news was told to the men of Gaza, ‘Samson has arrived’. They surrounded the place and kept watch for him at the gate of the town. All that night they made no move, thinking, ‘We will wait till daybreak; then we will kill him’.

16:3 Samson however stayed in bed till midnight, and rising at midnight, he seized the doors of the town gate and the two posts as well; he tore them up, bar and all, hoisted them on to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill facing Hebron and there he left them.

Samson is betrayed by Delilah

16:4 After this, Samson fell in love with a woman in the Vale of Sorek; she was called Delilah.

16:5 The chiefs of the Philistines visited her and said to her, ‘Cajole him and find out where his great strength comes from, and how we can master him and bind him and reduce him to helplessness. In return we will each give you eleven hundred silver shekels.’

16:6 Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength comes from, and what would be needed to bind you and tame you’.

16:7 Samson answered, ‘If I were bound with seven new bowstrings that had not yet been dried, I should lose my strength and become like any other man’.

16:8 The chiefs of the Philistines brought Delilah seven new bowstrings that had not yet been dried and she took them and bound him with them.

16:9 She had men concealed in her room, and she shouted, ‘The Philistines are on you, Samson!’ Then he snapped the bowstrings as a strand of tow snaps at a touch of the fire. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

16:10 Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘You have been laughing at me and telling me lies. But now please tell me what would be needed to bind you.’

16:11 He answered, ‘If I were bound tightly with new ropes that have never been used, I should lose my strength and become like any other man’.

16:12 Then Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and she shouted, ‘The Philistines are on you, Samson!’ She had men concealed in her room, but he snapped the ropes round his arms like thread.

16:13 Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘Up to now you have been laughing at me and telling me lies. Tell me what would be needed to bind you.’ He answered, ‘If you wove the seven locks of my hair into the warp of the web and fixed the peg firlnly, I should lose my strength and become like any other man.’

16:14 She lulled him to sleep, then wove the seven locks of his hair into the warp, fixed the peg and shouted, ‘The Philistines are on you, Samson!’ He woke from his sleep and pulled out both stuff and peg. So the secret of his strength remained unknown.

16:15 Delilah said to him, ‘How can you say you love me when you do not trust me? Three times now you have laughed at me and have not told me where your great strength comes from.’

16:16 And day after day she persisted with her questions, and allowed him no rest, till he grew tired to death of it.

16:17 At last he told her his whole secret; he said to her, ‘A razor has never touched my head, because I have been God’s nazirite from my mother’s womb. If my head were shorn, then my power would leave me and I should lose my strength and become like any other man.’

16:18 Then Delilah realised he had told his whole secret to her; she had the chiefs of the Philistines summoned and given this message, ‘Come just once more: he has told his whole secret to me’. And the chiefs of the Philistines came to her with the money in their hands.

16:19 She lulled Samson to sleep in her lap, and summoned a man who sheared the seven locks off his head. Then he began to lose his strength, and his power left him.

16:20 She cried, ‘The Philistines are on you, Samson!’ He awoke from sleep, thinking, ‘I shall break free as I did before and shake myself clear’. But he did not know that Yahweh had turned away from him.

16:21 The Philistines seized him, put out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. They fettered him with a double chain of bronze, and he spent his time turning the mill in the prison.

16:22 But the hair that had been shorn off began to grow again.

Samson’s revenge and death

16:23 The chiefs of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice. They said: ‘Into our hands our god has delivered Samson our enemy.

16:24 And as soon as the people saw their god, they acclaimed him, shouting his praises: ‘Into our hands our god has delivered Samson our enemy, the man who laid our country waste and killed so many of us’.

16:25 And as their hearts were full of joy, they shouted, ‘Send Samson out to amuse us’. So Samson was brought out of prison, and he performed feats for them; then he was put to stand between the pillars.

16:26 But Samson said to the boy who was leading him by the hand, ‘Lead me where I can touch the pillars supporting the building, so that I can lean against them’.

16:27 Now the building was crowded with men and women. All the chiefs of the Philistines were there, while about three thousand men and women were watching Samson’s feats from the roof.

16:28 Samson called on Yahweh and cried out, ‘Lord Yahweh, I beg you, remember me; give me strength again this once, and let me be revenged on the Philistines at one blow for my two eyes’.

16:29 And Samson put his arms round the two middle pillars supporting the building, and threw all his weight against them, his right arm against one and his left arm against the other;

16:30 and he cried out, ‘May I die with the Philistines!’ He thrust now with all his might, and the building fell on the chiefs and on all the people there. Those he killed at his death outnumbered those he had killed in his life.

16:31 His brothers and his father’s whole family came down and carried him away. They took him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had been judge in Israel for twenty years.

JB JUDGES Chapter 17



The household shrine of Micah

17:1 In the highlands of Ephraim there was a man called Micayehu.

17:2a He said to his mother, ‘The eleven hundred silver shekels which were taken from you and concerning which you uttered a curse, going on to say-I heard it with my own ears-

17:3b “I solemnly declare that of my own free will I consecrate this silver to Yahweh, to make a carved image (and an idol of cast metal)”

17:2b I myself have that silver; I was the one who took it,

17:3c and now I give it back to you’.

17:2c His mother answered, ‘May my son be blessed by Yahweh!’

17:3a And Micayehu gave her back the eleven hundred silver shekels.

17:4 Then his mother took two hundred silver shekels and gave them to the metal-worker. From them he made a carved image (and an idol of cast metal), and this was placed in the house of Micah,

17:5 who built a shrine for it, and then made an ephod and teraphim, and installed one of his sons to act as priest for him.

17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did as he pleased.

17:7 There was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the clan of Judah, who was a Levite and resided there as a stranger.

17:8 This man left the town of Bethlehem in Judah to look for a place where he could find a home. In his travels he came to the highlands of Ephraim and to Micah’s house.

17:9 Micah asked him, ‘Where do you come from?’ The other answered him, ‘I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. I am travelling and looking for a place where I can find a home.’

17:10 Micah said to him, ‘Stay here with me; be a father and a priest for me, and I will give you ten silver shekels a year, and food and clothing’; and he urged the Levite.

17:11 The Levite agreed to remain in the man’s house, and the young man became like one of his sons to him.

17:12 Micah installed the Levite; the young man became Micah’s priest and stayed in his house.

17:13 And Micah said, ‘Now I know that Yahweh will prosper me, because I have this Levite as my priest’.

JB JUDGES Chapter 18

The Danites go in search of a territory

18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel. Now in those days the tribe of Dan was in search of a territory to live in, because up till then no territory had fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.

18:2 From their clan the Danites sent five brave men from Zorah and Eshtaol to reconnoitre the country and explore it. They said to them, ‘Go and explore the country’. The five men came to the highlands of Ephraim and to Micah’s house, and spent the night there.

18:3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, and turning that way they said to him, ‘Who brought you here? What are you doing here? What is keeping you here?’

18:4 He answered, ‘Micah has done such and such for me. He pays me a wage and I act as his priest.’

18:5 They replied, ‘Then consult God and find out for us whether the journey we are making will be successful’.

18:6 The priest replied, ‘Go in peace; the journey you are making is under the eye of Yahweh’.

18:7 So the five men set out, and came to Laish. They saw that the people there lived in security like the Sidonians, peaceful and trusting, that nothing lacked there of all that the earth yields, and that they were far from the Sidonians and had no relations with the Aramaeans.

18:8 Then they went back to their kinsfolk at Zorah and Eshtaol, and when these asked them, ‘What can you tell us?’

18:9 they answered, ‘We went and passed through the country as far as Laish. We saw that the people there live in security like the Sidonians. They are far from Sidon and have no relations with Aram. Up, and let us march against them, for we have seen the country and it is very good. But you-why stand there speechless? Set out for Laish without delay and take possession of the country.

18:10 When you reach it, you will find a defenceless people. The country is wide; God has put in your power a place where there is nothing lacking of all that man can want on earth.’

The migration of the Danites

18:11 So men of the tribe of Dan set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, six hundred of them, armed for war.

18:12 They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah; and for this reason the place is still called the Camp of Dan today. It lies west of Kiriath-jearim.

18:13 From there they entered the highlands of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.

18:14 Then the five men who had been to explore the country spoke to their brothers and said, ‘Do you know that there is an ephod in these houses, and teraphim and a carved image (and an idol in cast metal)? So now think what you have to do.’

18:15 They turned aside and went to the young Levite’s dwelling in Micah’s house, and greeted him.

18:16 While the six hundred men of the Danites, armed for war, stood at the threshold of the gate,

18:17 the five who had set out to explore the country went on into the house and took the carved image and ephod and teraphim (and the idol of cast metal), while the priest remained at the threshold of the gate with the six hundred men armed for war.

18:18 These men, having entered Micah’s house, took the carved image, the ephod and the teraphim (and the idol of cast metal). But the priest said, ‘What are you doing?’

18:19 They answered, ‘Hush! Put your hand over your mouth and come with us. You shall be a father and a priest for us. Is it better for you to be priest for one man’s household, or to be priest for a tribe and clan in Israel?’

18:20 The priest was overjoyed; he took the ephod and teraphim and the carved image and set off in the middle of the band of men.

18:21 They left by the way they came, putting the women, children, cattle and valuables in front of them.

18:22 They had gone some way from Micah’s home when the neighbours with houses next to his gave the alarm and set off in pursuit of the Danites.

18:23 And as they shouted after them, the Danites turned round and asked Micah, ‘What is all this shouting about?’

18:24 He answered, ‘You have taken away the god I made for myself; you have taken away the priest as well. You go on your way, and what is left for me? How can you ask me, “What is this about?”‘

18:25 The Danites answered, ‘Let us hear no more from you, or men may lose their tempers and fall on you. You may bring about your own destruction and that of your household.’

18:26 So the Danites went on their way; and since Micah saw they were the stronger, he turned and went home.

Laish taken. Dan and its sanctuary founded

18:27 So taking with them the god that Micah had made and the priest who had served him, the Danites marched against Laish, against a peaceful and trusting people. They slaughtered all the inhabitants and set the town on fire.

18:28 There was no one to help the town because it was a long way from Sidon and had no relations with the Aramaeans. It lay in the valley running towards Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the town and settled in it,

18:29 and called it Dan after Dan their father who had been born to Israel, although the town was originally called Laish. The Danites erected the carved image for their own use.

18:30 Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons after him were priests for the tribe of Dan till the day when the inhabitants of the country were carried away into exile.

18:31 The carved image that Micah had made they enshrined for their own use, and there it stayed as long as the house of God remained at Shiloh.[*a]

JB JUDGES Chapter 19


The Levite of Ephraim and his concubine

19:1 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, there was a man, a Levite, whose home was deep in the highlands of Ephraim. He took as concubine a woman from Bethlehem in Judah.

19:2 In a fit of anger his concubine left him and returned to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and she stayed there for some four months.

19:3 Her husband set out to visit her, to reason with her and fetch her back; he had his servant and two donkeys with him. As he approached the house of the girl’s father, the father saw him and came very joyfully to meet him.

19:4 His father-in-law, the father of the girl, made him his guest; and he stayed with him for three days; they ate and drank and spent the night there.

19:5 On the fourth day they got up early, and the Levite was preparing to leave when the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, ‘Have a bite of food to fortify yourself; you can leave later’.

19:6 So they sat down and began eating and drinking, the two of them together; then the girl’s father said to the young man, ‘Come, say you will spend tonight here too, and enjoy yourself’.

19:7 And when the man got up to leave, the father-in-law pressed him again, and he spent another night there.

19:8 On the fifth morning, the Levite got up early to leave, but the girl’s father said to him, ‘Eat something first, I beg you’. So they whiled away the time till the day began to decline, and the two of them ate together.

19:9 The husband was preparing to leave with his concubine and his servant when his father-in-law, the father of the girl, said to him, ‘Look, the day is drawing towards evening. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow you can go and return to your tent.’

19:10 But the man would not stay the night there; he got up and set off and came within sight of Jebus-that is, Jerusalem. He had with him two donkeys saddled, and his concubine and his servant.

The crime of the men of Gibeah

19:11 By the time they were near Jerusalem, the day was fast going. The servant said to his master, ‘Please let us leave the road now and enter this Jebusite town and spend the night there’.

19:12 His master answered, ‘We will not enter a town of foreigners, of people who are not Israelites; we will go on to Gibeah instead’.

19:13 He went on to say to the servant, ‘Come on, we will try to reach one or other of those places, either Gibeah or Ramah, and spend the night there’.

19:14 So they kept on, continuing their journey. As they approached Gibeah in Benjamin the sun was already setting.

19:15 So they turned that way to spend the night in Gibeah. Inside the town, the Levite sat down in the middle of the public square, but no one offered to take them into his house for the night.

19:16 But an old man came their way, who was returning at nightfall from his work in the fields. He was a man from the highlands of Ephraim, and a foreigner resident in Gibeah, the men of the place being Benjaminites.

19:17 Raising his eyes, he saw the traveller sitting in the public square of the town; the old man asked him, ‘Where have you come from? Where are you going?’

19:18 The other answered, ‘We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a place deep in the highlands of Ephraim. That is where I come from. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going home, but no one has offered to take me into his house,

19:19 although we have straw and provender for our donkeys, and I have bread and wine as well for myself and this maidservant and the young man who is travelling with your servant; we are short of nothing.’

19:20 The old man answered, ‘Welcome to you! Let me see to all your needs; you cannot spend the night in the public square.’

19:21 So he took him jnto his house and gave the donkeys provender. The travellers washed their feet, then ate and drank.

19:22 As they were at their cheerful meal, some men from the town, scoundrels, came crowding together round the house; they battered on the door and said to the old man, the master of the house, ‘Send out the man who has come into your house, so that we can abuse him’.

19:23 Then the master of the house went out to them and said, ‘No, my brothers; I implore you, do not commit this crime. This man has become my guest; do not commit such an infamy.[*b]

19:24 Here is my daughter, she is a virgin; I will give her to you. Possess her, do what you please with her, but do not commit such an infamy against this man.’

19:25 The men would not listen to him. So the Levite took his concubine and brought her out to them. They had intercourse with her and outraged her all night till morning; when dawn was breaking they let her go.

19:26 At daybreak the girl came and fell on the threshold of her husband’s host, and she stayed there till it was full day.

19:27 In the morning her husband got up and opened the door of the house; he was coming out to continue his journey when he saw the woman who had been his concubine lying at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.

19:28 He said to her, ‘Stand up; we must go’. There was no answer. Then he laid her across his donkey and began the journey home.

19:29 Having reached his house, he picked up his knife, took hold of his concubine, and limb by limb cut her into twelve pieces; then he sent her all through the land of Israel.

19:30 He instructed his messengers as follows, ‘This is what you are to say to the Israelites, “Has any man seen such a thing from the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, until this very day? Ponder on this, discuss it; then give your verdict.”‘ And all who saw it declared, ‘Never has such a thing been done or been seen since the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt’.

JB JUDGES Chapter 20

The Israelites pledge themselves to avenge the crime at Gibeah

20:1 So all the sons of Israel came out, and the whole community, from Dan to Beersheba and the land of Gilead, gathered together as one man in the presence of Yahweh at Mizpah.

20:2 The leaders of all the people and all the tribes of Israel were present at this assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot soldiers who could handle the sword.

20:3 The Benjaminites heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah…Then the sons of Israel said, ‘Tell us how this crime was committed’.

20:4 The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, spoke in reply and said, ‘I had come with my concubine to Gibeah in Benjamin, to spend the night there.

20:5 The men of Gibeah rose against me and in the night surrounded the house where I was lodging; as for me, they wanted to kill me, and as for my concubine, they raped her to death.

20:6 Then I took my concubine, cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the territory that Israel inherited because these men have committed an infamy in Israel.

20:7 You have all met together here, men of Israel. Discuss the matter and make your decision here and now.’

20:8 AlI the people stood up as one man and said, ‘Not one of us will return to his tent, not one of us will go back to his house.

20:9 Now, this is what we shall do to Gibeah. We will cast lots,

20:10 and select ten men from every hundred from each of the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from every thousand, and a thousand from every ten thousand; they will collect food for the army, for those who will go and punish Gibeah in Benjamin for the infamy they have committed in Israel.’

20:11 So all the men of Israel mustered against that town, united as one man.

The Benjaminites remain stubborn

20:12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers out through the whole tribe of Benjamin, saying, ‘What is this crime that has been committed among you?

20:13 Come now, give up these men, these scoundrels from Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and banish wickedness from the midst of Israel.’ But the Benjaminites would not listen to their brother Israelites.

The first encounters

20:14 The Benjaminites left their towns and mustered at Gibeah to fight the Israelites.

20:15 The Benjaminites from these various towns had counted their numbers that day, and in all there were twenty-five thousand men who could handle the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah.

20:16 In this great army were seven hundred picked men who could fight with both hands; every one of these could sling a stone at a hair and not miss it.

20:17 The men of Israel also took a count. Without Benjamin, there were four hundred thousand of them who could handle the sword; all experienced fighters.

20:18 They set off and went up to Bethel to consult God. The Israelites put the question, ‘Which of us should go out first to attack the Benjaminites?’ And Yahweh answered, ‘Judah shall go first’.

20:19 In the morning the Israelites marched out and pitched their camp facing Gibeah.

20:20 Then advancing to engage Benjamin they drew up their line in front of the town.

20:21 But the Benjaminites sallied out from Gileeah and that day killed twenty-two thousand Israelites, who were left on the field.

20:23 The Israelites went and wept before Yahweh until evening; then they consulted Yahweh; they asked, ‘Shall we join battle again with the sons of our brother Benjamin?’ Yahweh answered, ‘March against him’.

20:22 Then the army of the people of Israel took heart afresh; and again they drew up their line for battle in the same place as the day before.

20:24 This second day the Israelites advanced on the Benjaminites;

20:25 but again this second day Benjamin sallied out from Gibeah against them and killed eighteen thousand Israelites, who were left on the field; they were all experienced fighters who could handle the sword.

20:26 Then all the Israelites and the whole people went up to Bethel; they wept and sat in Yahweh’s presence; they fasted all day till the evening and offered holocausts and communion sacrifices before Yahweh;

20:27 then the Israelites consulted Yahweh. The ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,

20:28 and Phinehas son of Eleazer son of Aaron was the priest who ministered at it at that time. They said, ‘Ought we to go again and fight the sons of our brother Benjamin, or should we stop?’ Yahweh answered, ‘March; for tomorrow I shall deliver him into your power.’

Benjamin is conquered and wiped out

20:29 Then Israel stationed men in ambush round Gibeah.

20:30 On the third day the Israelites marched against the Benjaminites and, just as before, they drew up their line in front of the town.

20:31 The Benjaminites made a sally against them and let themselves be drawn away from the town. As before, they began by killing those of the people who were on the road that runs up to Bethel and on the road that runs up to Gibeon; and there in the open country they killed about thirty men of Israel.

20:32 The Benjaminites thought, ‘They have had to fall back in front of us as before’; but the Israelites decided, ‘Let us take to flight and draw them away from the town along the highroads.

20:33 Then the main body of the army of Israel, leaving its position, will form up for battle at Baal-tamar, but meanwhile the Israelites in ambush will rush forward from their position west of Geba.’

20:34 Then ten thousand picked men, chosen from the whole of Israel, appeared before Gibeah. The battle was fierce. The Benjaminites did not suspect the disaster hanging over them.

20:35 Yahweh defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites killed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin, all men who could handle the sword.

20:36 The Benjaminites, seeing themselves defeated… [*a] The men of Israel had given ground to Benjamin because they relied on the ambush they had set against Gibeah.

20:37 The men in ambush quickly poured out and reached Gibeah and put the whole town to the sword.

20:38 For it had been agreed between the Israelite army and the troops in ambush that these should raise a smoke signal from the town,

20:39 whereupon the Israelites in the thick of the battle would turn about. Now Benjamin had begun by killing men of the Israelite army, about thirty of them; so they were thinking, ‘Plainly we have routed them now as we did before’.

20:40 But the signal, a column of smoke, began to rise from the town, and the Benjaminites looking back saw the whole town going up in flames to the sky.

20:41 Then the Israelites turned about, and the Benjaminites were seized with terror, for they saw that disaster was imminent.

20:42 They retreated before Israel, making for the wilderness, but the main body of Israel pressed them hard, while the others coming out of the town surprised and slaughtered them from the rear.

20:43 They hemmed the Benjaminites in, pursued them relentlessly and crushed them opposite Geba on the east

20:44 Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them brave men.

20:45 The survivors turned and ran, and fled into the wilderness and towards the Rock of Rimmon. On the highroads the Israelites caught five thousand men. Then they pursued the Benjaminites to Geba and killed two thousand of them.

20:46 The total number of Benjaminites who fell that day was twenty-five thousand men who could handle the sword, all of them brave men.

20:47 Six hundred men had escaped into the wilderness, to the Rock of Rimmon, and there they stayed for four months.

20:48 The men of Israel went back to the Benjaminites, and put all the males in the towns to the sword, the cattle too, and all that came their way. And they set on fire all the towns that they came to in Benjamin.

JB JUDGES Chapter 21

The Israelites relent [*a]

21:1 The men of Israel had sworn this oath at Mizpah, ‘Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin’.

21:2 The people went to Bethel and stayed there until evening, sitting before God with groans and bitter weeping.

21:3 They said, ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, why must this be Israel’s lot, to lose one of its tribes today?’

21:4 The next day the people got up early and built an altar there; they offered holocausts and communion sacrifices.

21:5 Then the Israelites said, ‘Which of all the tribes of Israel has not come to the assembly in Yahweh’s presence?’ For they had sworn a solemn oath threatening death to anyone who would not come into Yahweh’s presence at Mizpah.

21:6 Now the Israelites were sorry for Benjamin their brother; ‘Today,’ they said ‘one tribe has been cut off from Israel.

21:7 What shall we do to find wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by Yahweh not to give them any of our own daughters in marriage?’

The maidens of Jabesh given to the Benjaminites

21:8 Then they asked the question, ‘Which of the tribes of Israel has not come intoYahweh’s presence at Mizpah?’ It was discovered that no one from Jabesh-gilead had come to the camp for the assembly;

21:9 for the people had been counted over, and not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there.

21:10 Then the community sent twelve thousand of their bravest men there, with these orders: ‘Go and slaughter all the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead, the women and children too.

21:11 This is what you must do. You are to put all the males and all women who have slept with a male under the ban, but you are to spare the maidens.’ They obeyed the orders.

21:12 Among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and brought them to the camp (at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan).

21:13 Then the whole community sent messengers to offer peace to the Benjaminites who were at the Rock of Rimmon.

21:14 Benjamin returned, and they were given those women from Jabesh-gilead who had been left alive; but there were not cnough for all.

The daughters of Shiloh are carried off

21:15 The people were sorry for Benjamin because Yahweh had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

21:16 And the elders of the community said, ‘What shall we do to find wives for the survivors, since the women of Benjamin have been wiped out?’

21:17 They went on, ‘How can we preserve a remnant for Benjamin so that a tribe may not be blotted out from Israel?

21:18 We ourselves cannot give them our own daughters in marriage.’ For the Israelites had sworn this oath, ‘Cursed be any man who gives a wife to Benjamin!’

21:19 ‘But yet’ they said ‘there is Yahweh’s feast which is held every year at Shiloh.’ (this town lies north of Bethel, east of the highway that runs from Bethel up to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.)

21:20 So they gave this advice to the Benjaminites, ‘Place yourselves in ambush in the vineyards.

21:21 Keep watch there, and when the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in groups together, you too come out of the vineyards: seize a wife, each one of you, from the daughters of Shiloh and make for the land of Benjamin.

21:22 If their fathers or brothers come to complain to you, we shall say to them, “Forgive them because each one of them has taken a wife for himself, as men do in war. For if you had given them brides, you would have broken your oath, and so would have sinned.”‘

21:23 The Benjaminites did this, and from the dancers they had captured, they chose as many wives as there were men; then they set off, returned to their inheritance, rebuilt their towns and settled in them.

21:24 Then the Israelites went away, each to rejoin his own tribe and clan, and returned from Shiloh each to his own inheritance.

21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did as he pleased.

END OF JB JUDGES [21 Chapters].


JB JUDE Chapter 1


1:1 From Jude, servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James; to those who are called, to those who are dear to God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ,

1:2 wishing you all mercy and peace and love.

The reason for this letter

1:3 My dear friends, at a time when I was eagerly looking forward to writing to you about the salvation that we all share, I have been forced to write to you now and appeal to you to fight hard for the faith which has been once and for all entrusted to the saints.

1:4 Certain people have infiltrated among you, and they are the ones you had a warning about, in writing, long ago, when they were condemned for denying all religion, turning the grace of our God into immorality, and rejecting our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The false teachers: the certainty of their punishment

1:5 I should like to remind you-though you have already learnt it once and for all-how the Lord rescued the nation from Egypt, but afterwards he still destroyed the men who did not trust him.

1:6 Next let me remind you of the angels who had supreme authority but did not keep it and left their appointed sphere;[*a] he has kept them down in the dark, in spiritual chains, to be judged on the great day.

1:7 The fornication of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other nearby towns was equally unnatural, and it is a warning to us that they are paying for their crimes in eternal fire.

Their violent language

1:8 Nevertheless, these people are doing the same: in their delusions they not only defile their bodies and disregard authority, but abuse the glorious angels as well.

1:9 Not even the archangel Michael, when he was engaged in argument with the devil about the corpse of Moses, dared to denounce him in the language of abuse; all he said was, ‘Let the Lord correct you’.

1:10 But these people abuse anything they do not understand; and the only things they do understand – just by nature like unreasoning animals-will turn out to be fatal to them.

Their vicious behaviour

1:11 May they get what they deserve, because they have followed Cain; they have rushed to make the same mistake as Balaam and for the same reward; they have rebelled just as Korah did-and share the same fate.

1:12 They are a dangerous obstacle to your community meals, coming for the food and quite shamelessly only looking after themselves. They are like clouds blown about by the winds and bringing no rain, or like barren trees which are then uprooted in the winter and so are twice dead;

1:13 like wild sea waves capped with shame as if with foam; or like shooting stars bound for an eternity of black darkness.

1:14 It was with them in mind that Enoch, the seventh patriarch from Adam, made his prophecy when he said, ‘I tell you, the Lord will come with his saints in their tens of thousands,

1:15 to pronounce judgement on all mankind and to sentence the wicked for all the wicked things they have done, and for all the defiant things said against him by irreligious sinners’.

1:16 They are mischief-makers, grumblers governed only by their own desires, with mouths full of boastful talk, ready with flattery for other people when they see some advantage in it.

A warning

1:17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect.

1:18 ‘At the end of time,’ they told you ‘there are going to be people who sneer at religion and follow nothing but their own desires for wickedness.’

1:19 These unspiritual and selfish people are nothing but mischief-makers.

The duties of love

1:20 But you, my dear friends, must use your most holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit;

1:21 keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.

1:22 When there are some who have doubts reassure them;

1:23 when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.


1:24 Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy.

1:25 To God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, authority and power, which he had before time began, now and for ever. Amen.

END OF JB JUDE [1 Chapter].


JB JOSHUA Chapter 1



The summons to enter the Promised Land

1:1 When Moses the servant of Yahweh was dead,[*a] Yahweh spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ adjutant. He said,

1:2 ‘Moses my servant is dead; rise – it is time – and cross the Jordan here, you and all this people with you, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.

1:3 Every place you tread with the soles of your feet I shall give you as I declared to Moses that I would.

1:4 From the wilderness and Lebanon to the great river Euphrates and to the Great Sea

westwards, this shall be your territory.[*b]

1:5 As long as you live, no one shall be able to stand in your way; I will be with you as I was with Moses; I will not leave you or desert you.

Faithfulness to the Law is a condition of God’s aid

1:6 ‘Be strong and stand firm, for you are the man to give this people possession of the land that I swore to their fathers I should give to them.

1:7 Only be strong and stand firm and be careful to keep all the Law which my servant Moses laid on you. Never swerve from this to right or left, and then you will be happy in all you do.

1:8 Have the book of this law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may carefully keep everything that is written in it. Then you will prosper in your dealings, then you will have success.

1:9 Have I not told you: Be strong and stand firm? Be fearless then, be confident, for go where you will, Yahweh your God is with you.

Aid from the tribes beyond the Jordan

1:10 Then Joshua gave the officers of the people this order:

1:11 ‘Go through the camp and say to the people, “Get provisions ready, for in three days you will cross the Jordan here and go on to take possession of the land which Yahweh your God is giving you as your very own”‘.

1:12 Then to the Reubenites and Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,

1:13 ‘Remember what Yahweh’s servant Moses told you, “Yahweh your God, granting you a place to find rest, has given you this land”.

1:14 Your wives, your little ones and your cattle may remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan. But all you who are fighting men must go over with your weapons in front of your brothers and fight with them

1:15 till Yahweh grants rest, to your brothers and you alike, when they too have taken possession of the land that Yahweh your God is giving them. Then you may go back again to the land that is yours to hold, which Yahweh’s servant Moses gave you eastwards beyond the Jordan.’

1:16 Then they answered Joshua, ‘We will do all that you have told us, and wherever you send us we will go.

1:17 We obeyed Moses in all things, and now we will obey you. Only may Yahweh your God be with you as he was with Moses!

1:18 If anyone rebels against your direction and does not obey whatever orders you lay on him, let him be put to death. Only be strong and stand firm.’

JB JOSHUA Chapter 2

Joshua’s spies at Jericho

2:1 Joshua son of Nun sent out two spies secretly from Shittim.[*a] He said, ‘Go out and explore the country at Jericho’. They went, and they entered the house of a harlot called Rahab; there they lodged.

2:2 Word of this was brought to the king of Jericho, ‘Take notice, some men from the Israelites have come here tonight to reconnoitre the country’.

2:3 Then the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab, ‘Send out the men who came to you and are lodging in your house, for they have come to reconnoitre the whole country’.

2:4 But the woman took the two men and hid them; and she answered, ‘True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from.

2:5 When the city gate was about to be closed at nightfall, the men went out and I cannot say where they went. Follow them quickly, you may still overtake them.’

2:6 She had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under stalks of flax she had heaped up there.

2:7 The king’s men pursued them towards the Jordan, as far as the fords, and the gate was shut once the pursuers had gone through.

The pact between Rahab and the spies

2:8 The others had not yet lain down when Rahab came up to them on the roof.

2:9 She said to them, ‘I know that Yahweh has given you this land, that we ourselves are afraid of you and that all who live in this territory have been seized with terror at your approach;

2:10 for we have heard how Yahweh dried up the Sea of Reeds before you when you came out of Egypt and what you did with the two Amorite kings across the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under the ban.

2:11 When we heard this, our hearts failed us, and no courage is left in any of us to stand up to you, because Yahweh your God is God both in heaven above and on earth beneath.

2:12 Swear to me now by Yahweh, then, since I myself have shown you kindness, that you too will show kindness to the people of my father’s house, and will give me a sure sign of this;

2:13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters and all who belong to them, and will preserve us from death.’

2:14 Then the men answered her, ‘If we do not, it is we, not you, who will deserve to die, unless you tell of our agreement. When Yahweh has given us the land, we will deal with you kindly and faithfully.’

2:15 Rahab let them down from the window by a rope, for her house was against the city wall and she lived inside the wall itself.

2:16 She said, ‘You must make for the hills, to escape your pursuers. Hide there for three days till the pursuers have returned, and then go on your way.’

2:17 The men answered, ‘We for our part will be free of the oath you made us swear, except on these conditions.

2:18 When we enter your land you must use this sign: you must tie this scarlet cord to the window from which you let us down, and you must gather with you in your house your father and mother and brothers and all your family.

2:19 If anybody passes through the doors of your house to go out, his blood shall be on his own head and we are not to blame; but the blood of all who stay with you in the house shall be on our heads if a hand is laid on any of them.

2:20 If you make this talk of ours known, we shall be free of the oath that you made us swear.’

2:21 She replied, ‘Let it be as you say’. She let them go, and they left. Then she tied the scarlet cord to the window. [*b]

The spies return

2:22 They left her and made for the hills. They stayed there for three days, till the pursuers had returned, having scoured the countryside without finding them.

2:23 Then the two men came down again from the hills, crossed the river and came to Joshua son of Nun; and they told him all that had happened to them.

2:24 They said to Joshua, ‘Yahweh has delivered the whole country into our hands, and its inhabitants all tremble already at the thought of us’.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 3


Before the crossing

3:1 Early in the morning, Joshua struck camp and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites. They reached the Jordan and camped there before they crossed.

3:2 Three days later, the officers went through the camp

3:3 and gave the people these instructions, ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God and the levitical priests carrying it, you must leave the place where you are standing and follow the ark,

3:4b so that you know which way to take; you have never gone this way before.

3:4a Between you and the ark, however, keep a distance of some thousand cubits;[*a] do not go near it.’

3:5 Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because tomorrow Yahweh Will work wonders among you’

3:6 Then he said to the priests ‘Take up the ark of the covenant, and cross at the head of the people’. They took up the ark of the covenant and moved to the front of the people.

The final instructions

3:7 Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘This very day I will begin to make you a great man in the eyes of all Israel, to let them be sure that I am going to be with you even as I was with Moses.

3:8 As for you, give this order to the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: “When you have reached the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you are to stand still in the Jordan itself”.

3:9 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come closer and hear the words of Yahweh your God’.

3:10 Joshua said, ‘By this you shall know that a living God is with you and without a doubt will expel the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite and the Jebusite.

3:11 Look, the ark of Yahweh, the Lord of the whole earth, is about to cross the Jordan at your head.

3:12 ‘Choose twelve men at once from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe.

3:13 ‘As soon as the priests with the ark of Yahweh, the Lord of the whole earth, have set their feet in the waters of the Jordan, the upper waters of the Jordan flowing down will be stopped in their course and stand still in one mass.’

The river crossed

3:14 Accordingly, when the people struck camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant in front of the people.

3:15 As soon as the bearers of the ark reached the Jordan and the feet of the priests who carried it touched the waters (the Jordan overflows the whole length of its banks throughout the harvest season)

3:16 the upper waters stood still and made one heap over a wide space – from Adam to the fortress of Zarethan – while those flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah, that is, the Salt Sea, stopped running altogether. The people crossed opposite Jericho.

3:17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of Yahweh stood still on dry ground in mid-Jordan, and all Israel continued to cross dry-shod till the whole nation had finished its crossing of the river.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 4

The twelve memorial stones

4:1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, Yahweh spoke to Joshua,

4:2 ‘Choose out twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe,

4:3 and give them this command: “Take from here, from mid-Jordan, twelve stones; carry them with you and set them down in the camp where you pass the night”‘.

4:4 Joshua called the twelve men he had marked out among the Israelites, one man for each tribe,

4:5 and told them, ‘Pass on before the ark of Yahweh your God into mid-Jordan, and each of you take one stone on his shoulder, matching the number of the tribes of Israel,

4:6 to make a memorial of this in your midst; for when in days to come your children ask you, “What do these stones mean for you?”,

4:7 you will tell them, “The waters of the Jordan separated in front of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the river vanished. These stones are an everlasting reminder of this to the Israelites.”‘

4:8 The Israelites did as Joshua told them; they took twelve stones from mid-Jordan to match the number of the tribes of Israel, as Yahweh had told Joshua; they carried them over to the camp and set them down there.

4:9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in mid-Jordan in the spot where the feet of the priests who carried the ark had rested; they are there even now[*a].

The crossing ends

4:10 The priests carrying the ark stood still in mid-Jordan until everything was done that Yahweh had directed Joshua to tell the people, all as Moses had instructed Joshua; and the people hurried across.

4:11 When they were all over, the ark of Yahweh then crossed, with the priests at the head of the people.

4:12 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed in front of the Israelites, as Moses had ordered them.

4:13 They were some forty thousand warriors in arms, and they crossed before Yahweh, ready for battle, towards the plain of Jericho.

4:14 That day Yahweh made Joshua great in the sight of all Israel, and they honoured him as they had honoured Moses as long as he lived.

4:15 Yahweh said to Joshua

4:16 ‘Tell the priests carrying the ark of the testimony to come up from the Jordan”,

4:17 And Joshua commanded the priests: ‘Come up from the Jordan!’

4:18 Now when the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh came up from the Jordan, their feet had no sooner touched the bank than the waters of the Jordan returned to their bed and ran on overflowing as before.

Gilgal is reached

4:19 It was the tenth day of the first month when the people came up from the Jordan and made their camp at Gilgal, east of Jericho.

4:20 As for the twelve stones that had been taken from the Jordan, Joshua set them up at Gilgal.

4:21 Then he said to the Israelites, ‘When your children in days to come ask their fathers, “What is the meaning of these stones?”

4:22 tell them this, “You see the Jordan. Israel crossed over it dry-shod,

4:23 because Yahweh your God dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you had crossed, just as Yahweh your God had done with the Sea of Reeds, which he dried up before us till we had crossed it;

4:24 so that all the peoples of the earth may recognise how mighty the hand of Yahweh is, and that you yourselves may always stand in awe of Yahweh your God.”‘

JB JOSHUA Chapter 5

The peoples west of the Jordan are terrified

5:1 When all the kings of the Amorites in the country west of Jordan and all the kings of the Canaanites in the coastal region heard that Yahweh had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed it, their hearts grew faint and their spirit failed them as the Israelites drew near.

The Hebrews are circumcised at Gilgal

5:2 At this time Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Make knives of flint and circumcise the Israelites again’.

5:3 Joshua made knives of flint and circumcised the Israelites on the Hill of Foreskins.

5:4 The reason why Joshua circumcised them was this. All the males of the people who had come out of Egypt of age to bear arms had died in the wilderness on their journey after leaving Egypt.

5:5 Now all the people who came out had been circumcised; but those who had been born in the wilderness – in the journey through it when Egypt was left behind – none of these had been circumcised,

5:6 because for forty years the Israelites travelled through the wilderness, until all the nation had died out, that is, the men who had come out of Egypt of age to bear arms; they had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, and Yahweh had sworn to them never to let them see the land that he had sworn to our fathers to give us, a land where milk and honey flow.

5:7 But in place of these he set their sons, and these it was that Joshua circumcised, for they were uncircumcised, since they could not be circumcised on the journey.

5:8 When the circumcising of the whole nation was over, they stayed to rest in the camp till they were well again;

5:9 and Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Today I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you’. Hence that place has been called Gilgal until now.[*a]

The Passover kept

5:10 The Israelites pitched their camp at Gilgal and kept the Passover there on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening in the plain of Jericho.

5:11 On the morrow of the Passover they tasted the produce of that country, unleavened bread and roasted ears of corn, that same day.

5:12 From that time, from their first eating of the produce of that country, the manna stopped falling. And having manna no longer, the Israelites fed from that year onwards on what the land of Canaan yielded.


Prelude: a theophany

5:13 When Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw a man standing there before him, grasping a naked sword. Joshua walked towards him and said to him, ‘Are you with us or with our enemies?’

5:14 He answered, ‘No, I am captain of the army of Yahweh, and now I come…’ Joshua fell on his face to the ground and worshipped him and said, ‘What are my Lord’s commands to his servant?’

5:15 The captain of the army of Yahweh answered Joshua, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, for the place you are standing on is holy’. And Joshua obeyed.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 6

The taking of Jericho[*a]

6:1 Now Jericho had been carefully barricaded against the Israelites; no one came out, no one went in.

6:2 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Now I am delivering Jericho and its king into your hands. All you fighters,

6:3 valiant warriors, will march round the town and make the circuit once, and for six days you will do the same thing.

6:4 (But seven priests will carry seven trumpets in front of the ark.) On the seventh day you will go seven times round the town (and the priests will blow their trumpets).

6:5 when the ram’s horn rings out (when you hear the sound of the trumpet), the whole people must utter a mighty war cry and the town wall will collapse then and there; then the people can storm the town, each man going straight ahead.’

6:6 Joshua son of Nun (called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests are to carry seven trumpets of ram’s horn in front of the ark of Yahweh’.

6:7 He) said to the people, ‘Forward! March round the town (and let the vanguard march before the ark of Yahweh).’

6:8 All was done as Joshua ordered the people. (Seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of ram’s horn in front of Yahweh moved onwards and blew their trumpets; the ark of the covenant of Yahweh came behind them,

6:9 the vanguard marched in front of the priests with their trumpets, the rearguard followed behind the ark; the men marched, the trumpets sounded.)

6:10 Joshua had given the people the following order: ‘Do not shout, do not utter even a word; let nothing be heard from you till the day when I say: Raise the war cry. Then you are to shout.’

6:11 (At Joshua’s command, the ark of Yahweh went round the town and made the circuit once; then they returned to the camp and spent the night there.)

6:12 Joshua rose early (and the priests took up the ark of Yahweh.

6:13 Bearing the seven ram’s horn trumpets, the seven priests walked before the ark of Yahweh sounding their trumpets as they went, while the vanguard marched before them and the rearguard behind the ark of Yahweh, and the march went on to the sound of the trumpet.)

6:14 They marched once round the town (on the second day) and returned to the camp, and so on for six days.

6:15 On the seventh day they rose at dawn and marched seven times round the town in the same manner. Only on that day did they march round seven times.

6:16 At the seventh time (the priests blew their trumpets and) Joshua said to the people, ‘Raise the war cry, because Yahweh has given the town into your hands.

Jericho placed under the ban

6:17 ‘The town and everything inside it must be set apart for Yahweh under a ban; only the life of Rahab the harlot is to be spared, with all who are in her house, since she hid the messengers we sent.

6:18 But beware of the ban yourselves; do not be covetous and take anything that is under the ban; that would lay the whole camp of Israel open to the same ban and bring disaster on it.

6:19 All the silver and all the gold, all the things of bronze and things of iron are consecrated to Yahweh and must be put into his treasury.’

6:20 The people shouted, the trumpets sounded. When they heard the sound of the trumpet, the people raised a mighty war cry and the wall collapsed then and there. At once the people stormed the town, every man going straight ahead; and they captured the town.

6:21 They enforced the ban on everything in the town: men and women, young and old, even the oxen and sheep and donkeys, massacring them all.

Rahab’s house preserved

6:22 Joshua said to the two men who had reconnoitred the country, ‘Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out the woman with all who belong to her, so as to keep your oath to her’.

6:23 The young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out all her clansmen too and set them in safety outside the camp of Israel.

6:24 They burned the town and all within it except the silver and gold and things of bronze and iron; these they put into the treasury of Yahweh’s house.

6:25 But Rahab the harlot, her father’s household and all who belonged to her, these Joshua spared. She has dwelt among Israel until now, because she concealed the messengers Joshua sent to reconnoitre Jericho.

A curse upon Jericho’s restorer

6:26 At that time Joshua made them take this oath before Yahweh: ‘Cursed be any man who comes forth and builds this town up again! On his eldest son he shall lay its foundations, on his youngest set up its gates.’

6:27 Yahweh was with Joshua, and Joshua’s fame spread all through the country.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 7

The ban defied

7:1 But the sons of Israel incurred guilt by violating the ban. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, laid his hands on something that fell under the ban, and the anger of Yahweh flared out against the Israelites.

The sacrilege punished by a repulse at Ai

7:2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai,[*a] east of Bethel; his command was: ‘Go up and reconnoitre the country’. The men went up and reconnoitred Ai.

7:3 They came back to Joshua and said, ‘There is no need for all the people to go up; let some two or three thousand men go and attack Ai. Spare the whole people such a toil; the enemy are not many.’

7:4 Some three thousand men of the people marched up to Ai, but broke before the townsmen.

7:5 These killed some thirty-six of them and drove the men back from the town gate to Shebarim; there on the slope they made havoc of them. Then the people lost heart and their courage melted away.

Joshua’s prayer

7:6 Joshua tore his garments and prostrated himself before the ark of Yahweh till nightfall; the elders of Israel did as he did, and all poured dust on their heads.

7:7 And Joshua said, ‘Alas, Lord Yahweh, why did you bring this nation across the Jordan only to deliver us into the power of the Amorite and destroy us?

7:8 I wish we had won a place to live in on the other side of the Jordan! Forgive me, Lord, but what can I say, now that Israel has turned its back on the enemy?

7:9 The Canaanites will hear of it, and all the inhabitants of the country; they will unite against us to wipe our name off the face of the earth. What are you going to do for your great name?’

Yahweh’s answer

7:10 Yahweh answered Joshua, ‘Stand up! Why are you lying prostrate like this?

7:11 Israel has sinned; they have violated the covenant I ordained for them. Yes, they have taken what was under the ban, stolen and hidden it and put it into their baggage.

7:12 That is why the sons of Israel cannot stand up to their foes; why they have turned their backs on their enemies, because they have come under the ban themselves. I will be with you no longer unless you remove what is under the ban from among you.

7:13 ‘Rise and call the people together and say to them, “Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because Yahweh the God of Israel declares: The ban is now among you, Israel; you can never stand up to your enemies until you take what is under the ban from among you.”

7:14 In the morning therefore you will come forward tribe by tribe, and then the tribe that Yahweh marks out by lot will come forward clan by clan, and the clan that Yahweh marks out by lot will come forward family by family, and the family that Yahweh marks out by lot will come forward man by man.

7:15 And then the man taken with the thing that is banned is to be delivered over to the fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has violated the covenant with Yahweh and committed an infamy in Israel.’

The culprit brought to light and punished

7:16 Joshua rose early; he made Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the lot marked out the tribe of Judah.

7:17 He called up to him the clans of Judah, and the lot marked out the clan of Zerah. He called up the clan of Zerah, family by family, and Zabdi was marked out.

7:18 Then Joshua called up the family of Zabdi, man by man, and it was Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, who was chosen by the lot.

7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give glory to Yahweh the God of Israel, and pay him homage; tell me what you have done and hide nothing from me’.

7:20 Achan answered Joshua, ‘Yes, I am the man who has sinned against Yahweh the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.

7:21 When I saw among the spoil a fine robe from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and an ingot of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden there in the ground inside my tent, and the silver is underneath.’

7:22 Joshua sent out messengers; they ran to the tent, and the robe was indeed hidden inside the tent, and the silver was underneath.

7:23 They took everything from inside the tent and brought it to Joshua and the elders of Israel and laid it out before Yahweh.

7:24 Then Joshua took Achan son of Zerah, with the silver and the robe and the ingot of gold and led him up to the Vale of Achor – and with him his sons and daughters, his oxen and donkeys and sheep, his tent and everything that belonged to him. All Israel went with him.

7:25 Joshua said, ‘Why did you bring evil on us? May Yahweh bring evil on you today!’ And all Israel stoned him.

7:26 A great cairn was reared over him,[*b] which is still there today. Then Yahweh ceased from his burning anger. It was then that the place was given the name, the Vale of Achor,[*c] which it is still called now.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 8


The command given to Joshua

8:1 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Be fearless now, and be confident. Take all your fighting men with you, and march out against Ai. I will put into your power the king of Ai, his people, his town and his territory.

8:2 You are to do with Ai and its king as you did with Jericho and its king. As regards booty, you may take the goods and the cattle no more. Take up a concealed position against the city, to the rear of it.

Joshua’s stratagem

8:3 Joshua prepared to march against Ai with all the fighting men. He chose thirty thousand men from among the bravest and sent them out by night

8:4 after giving them these instructions, ‘Listen! You are to take up a concealed position against the town, but at the rear not far from the town, and mind you all keep alert!

8:5 I and all the people with me will go forward till we are near the town, and when the people of Ai come out against us as they did the first time, we will run before them.

8:6 Then they will follow close behind us, and we shall draw them away from the town, because they will think, “They are running from us as they did last time”.

8:7 Then you will rise from your concealed position and seize the town; Yahweh your God will deliver it into your hands.

8:8 When you have captured the town, set fire to it. These orders must be carried out. See to it! The orders come from me.’

8:9 Joshua sent them off, and they made their way to the concealed position, at a point between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. Joshua spent the night among the people,

8:10 then, rising early next day, mustered the people and marched on Ai; he and the elders of Israel marched at the head of the people.

8:11 All the warriors with him marched up towards the front of the town; they pitched camp north of Ai, with the ravine between Joshua and the town.

8:12 He took some five thousand men and concealed these between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the town.

8:13 The people pitched their camp north of the town, while the concealed position lay to the west. Joshua spent that night in the valley itself.

The battle of Ai

8:14 When the king of Ai saw how things lay, he and all his people hurried out to engage Israel on the slope facing the Arabah; he did not know that an ambush had been laid against him to the rear of the town.

8:15 Joshua and all Israel with him let themselves be driven back, taking flight towards the wilderness.

8:16 All the people who were in the town followed them in loud pursuit, and in pursuing Joshua they left the town itself unguarded.

8:17 Not a man was left behind in Ai, all had gone out in pursuit of Israel; and in pursuing Israel they left the town undefended.

8:18 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Point the javelin in your hand at Ai; for I am about to put the town in your power’. Then Joshua pointed the javelin in his hand towards the town.

8:19 No sooner had he stretched out his hand than the men in ambush rose quickly from their position, ran forward and entered the town; they captured it and quickly set it on fire.

Disaster for the people of Ai

8:20 When the men of Ai looked back, they saw smoke rising from the town into the sky. None of them had the chance to run one way rather than another, for the people fleeing towards the wilderness turned back on their pursuers.

8:21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the town had been seized by the men in ambush, and saw the smoke rising from the town into the sky, they turned round and attacked the men of Ai.

8:22 The others came out from the town to engage them, so that the men of Ai found themselves surrounded by Israelites, some on this side and some on that. These set about them till not one was alive and none left to flee;

8:23 but the king of Ai was captured alive, and brought to Joshua.

8:24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open ground and where they followed them into the wilderness, and when all to a man had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and slaughtered all its people.

8:25 The number of those who fell that day, men and women together, was twelve thousand, all people of Ai.

The ban; the destruction of the town

8:26 Joshua did not draw back the hand with which he had pointed the javelin until he had dealt with all the dwellers in Ai as with men under a ban.

8:27 For booty, Israel took only the cattle and the spoils of the town, according to the order Yahweh had given to Joshua.

8:28 Then Joshua burned Ai, making it a ruin for evermore, a desolate place even today.

8:29 He hanged the king of Ai from a tree till evening; but at sunset Joshua ordered his body to be taken down from the tree. It was then thrown down at the entrance to the town gate and a great cairn was reared over it; and that is still there today.


The altar of undressed stones

8:30 Then Joshua built an altar to Yahweh the God of Israel on Mount Ebal,

8:31 as Moses, Yahweh’s servant, had ordered the sons of Israel, as is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, ‘an altar of undressed stones that no iron tool has ever worked’. On this they offered holocausts to Yahweh and offered communion sacrifices as well.

The reading of the Law

8:32 There Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the Law which Moses had written for the Israelites.

8:33 Then, on both sides of the ark, and facing the levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, all Israel with their elders and scribes and judges – strangers as well as Israelites born – all took their places, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had ordered originally for the blessing of the people of Israel.

8:34 After this, Joshua read all the words of the Law – the blessing and the cursing – exactly as it stands written in the Book of the Law.

8:35 Of every word laid down by Moses there was not one left unread by Joshua in the presence of the full assembly of Israel, with the women and children there, and the strangers living among the people.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 9


A coalition against Israel

9:1 Hearing these things, all the kings on this side of the Jordan, in the highlands and in the lowlands, all along the coast of the Great Sea towards Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites,

9:2 formed an alliance to fight together against Joshua and Israel.

The ruse of the Gibeonites[*a]

9:3 When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

9:4 they decided to resort to trickery. They set out provided with supplies, having loaded their donkeys with old sacks and with old wineskins that had burst and been sewn up again.

9:5 The sandals on their feet were worn out and patched, the garments they wore were threadbare. The bread they took with them to eat was all dry and crumbling.

9:6 They came to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and speaking to him and the men of Israel, they said, ‘We come from a distant country, so make a treaty with us’.

9:7 The men of Israel answered these Hivites, ‘It may be that you live in our neighbourhood; how then can we make a treaty with you?’

9:8 They answered Joshua, ‘We are your servants’. But Joshua asked them, ‘Who are you and where do you come from?’

9:9 They answered, ‘Your servants have come from a country very far away, because of the fame of Yahweh your God; for we have heard of him and all that he has done in Egypt

9:10 and all that he has done to the two Amorite kings whose realm was beyond the Jordan, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan who lived at Ashtaroth.

9:11 Then our elders and all the people of our country said to us, “Take provisions with you for the journey; go to meet them and say to them: We are your servants; so make a treaty with us”.

9:12 Here is our bread; it was warm when we took it from home for our journey the day we set out to come to you, and now you see it is dry and crumbling.

9:13 These wineskins were new when we filled them; you see they have burst; and our clothes and sandals are all worn out from travelling such a long way.’

9:14 The leaders partook of the provisions they offered and did not consult the oracle of Yahweh.

9:15 Joshua granted them peace and made a treaty with them guaranteeing their lives, and the leaders of the community ratified it by oath.

9:16 Now it so happened that three days after the treaty had been made, it became known that they were a neighbouring people whose home was in the midst of Israel.

9:17 The Israelites set out from the camp and came to their towns, which were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim.

9:18 The Israelites did not attack them because the leaders of the community had sworn to them by Yahweh the God of Israel, but the community grumbled at the leaders.

The Gibeonites’ place in the community

9:19 All the leaders declared in full assembly, ‘Since we have sworn an oath to them by Yahweh the God of Israel, we cannot touch them.

9:20 This is what we will do with them: we will let them live, lest otherwise we bring the wrath on ourselves because of the oath we swore to them.’

9:21 The leaders went on, ‘Let them live, but let them be wood-cutters and water-carriers in the service of the whole community’. The community did as the leaders had said.

9:22 Joshua sent for the Gibeonites and asked them, ‘Why did you trick us with those words, “We live very far away”, when in fact you live right among us?

9:23 From now you are accursed, and you shall never cease being serfs, wood-cutters and water-carriers in the house of my God.’

9:24 They answered Joshua, ‘We did it because your servants had become convinced that Yahweh your God had ordered Moses his servant to give you this whole country and destroy all its inhabitants before you; also because, as you advanced on us, we were extremely afraid that you would kill us. That was why we did this.

9:25 Now, see, we are in your power; do with us whatever you think right and good.

9:26 What he did with them was this. He saved them from the hands of the Israelites, and they did not kill them.

9:27 But from that day forward, Joshua made them wood-cutters and water-carriers for the community, and bound them, down to the present day, to wait on Yahweh’s altar wherever Yahweh might choose.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 10



Five kings make war on Gibeon

10:1 Now it happened that Adoni-zedek the king of Jerusalem was told that Joshua had conquered Ai and put the town under a ban, dealing with Ai and its king as he had dealt earlier with Jericho and its king; and also that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made their peace with Israel and entered their community.

10:2 There was consternation at this, since Gibeon was as important a town as one of the royal towns themselves, and larger than Ai, while all its citizens were fighting men.

10:3 Then Adoni-zedek the king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham the king of Hebron, Piram the king of Jarmuth, Japhia the king of Lachish and Debir the king of Eglon,

10:4 ‘Join me and help me to conquer Gibeon, because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites’

10:5 The five Amorite kings joined forces and set off together, that is, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish and the king of Eglon, they and all their armies with them; they besieged Gibeon and attacked it.

Joshua comes to the rescue of Gibeon

10:6 The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, ‘Do not desert your servants; come up here quickly to save us and help us, because all the Amorite kings living in the mountains have allied themselves against us’.

10:7 Joshua came up from Gilgal in person, bringing all the fighting men and all the bravest of his army with him.

10:8 Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of these men; I have delivered them into your power; not one of them will be able to stand against you.’

10:9 Having marched from Gilgal throughout the night, Joshua caught them unawares.

Aid from on high

10:10 Yahweh drove them headlong before Israel, defeating them completely at Gibeon; furthermore, he pursued them towards the descent of Beth-horon and harassed them as far as Azekah, and as far as Makkedah

10:11 And as they fled from Israel down the descent of Beth-horon, Yahweh hurled huge hailstones from heaven on them all the way to Azekah, which killed them. More of them died under the hailstones than at the edge of Israel’s sword.

10:12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh, the same day that Yahweh delivered the Amorites to the Israelites. Joshua declaimed:[*b] ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and, moon, you also, over the Vale of Aijalon’.

10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon halted, till the people had vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of the Just?[*c] The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting for almost a whole day.

10:14 There was never a day like that before or since, when Yahweh obeyed the voice of a man, for Yahweh was fighting for Israel.

10:15 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, returned to the camp at Gilgal.[*d]

The five kings in the cave at Makkedah

10:16 As for those five kings, they had fled and hidden in the cave of Makkedah,

10:17 and news of this was brought to Joshua. ‘The five kings’ the message ran ‘have been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah.’

10:18 Joshua answered, ‘Roll great stones to the mouth of the cave and post men there to keep guard.

10:19 And you, do not stay there idle; pursue the enemy, cut off their line of retreat and do not let them enter their towns, for Yahweh your God has put them in your power.’

10:20 When Joshua and the sons of Israel had routed them completely and were near to slaughtering the last of them, the survivors who had escaped alive took refuge in their fortresses.

10:21 The people came back to Joshua’s camp at Makkedah; they were all safe and sound, and no one dared to attempt anything against the Israelites.

10:22 Then Joshua said, ‘Clear the mouth of the cave, and bring the five kings out to me’.

10:23 They did so, bringing him the five kings from the cave; the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish and the king of Eglon.

10:24 When these kings had been brought to him, Joshua assembled all the men of Israel and said to the officers of the men of war who had fought with him, ‘Come forward and put your feet on the necks of these kings!’ They came forward and put their feet on their necks.

10:25 ‘Do not be afraid; have confidence,’ Joshua went on ‘be resolute, for this is how Yahweh shall deal with all the enemies you fight.’

10:26 With this Joshua struck and killed them and had them hanged on five trees; they hung there till evening.

10:27 At the hour of sunset Joshua gave his order; they were taken down from the trees and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Great stones were laid at the mouth of the cave, and these are still there today.

The conquest of the southern towns of Canaan

10:28 The same day, Joshua took Makkedah, striking the town and its king with the edge of the sword; he delivered them over to the ban, with every living creature there, and let no one escape; and he treated the king of Makkedah as he had treated the king of Jericho.

10:29 Joshua, and all Israel with him, went on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it.

10:30 This, too, with its king, Yahweh gave into the power of Israel; and Israel struck every living creature there with the edge of the sword, and left none alive, and treated its king like the king of Jericho.

10:31 Joshua, and all Israel with him, went on from Libnah to Lachish, and besieged it and attacked it.

10:32 Yahweh gave Lachish into the power of Israel and Israel took it on the second day and struck it and every living creature there with the edge of the sword, as they had treated Libnah.

10:33 Then Horam the king of Gezer marched up to help Lachish, but Joshua struck him and his people down until not one was left alive.

10:34 Joshua, and all Israel with him, went on from Lachish to Eglon. They besieged it and attacked it.

10:35 They took it the same day and struck it with the edge of the sword. Every living creature there he delivered over to the ban that day, as he had treated Lachish.

10:36 Joshua, and all Israel with him, went on up from Eglon to Hebron. They attacked it,

10:37 took it and struck it with the edge of the sword, with its king, all the places belonging to it and every living creature in it. As he had treated Eglon, so here, he left not a man alive. He delivered it over to the ban, with every living creature in it.

10:38 Joshua, and all Israel with him, turned aside to Debir and attacked it.

10:39 He took it and its king and all the places belonging to it; they struck them with the edge of the sword, and every living creature there they delivered over to the ban. He left none alive. As he had treated Hebron, as he had treated Libnah and its king, so he treated Debir and its king.

The southern conquests recapitulated

10:40 Thus Joshua subdued the whole land: the highlands, the Negeb, the lowlands, the hillsides, and all the kings in them. He left not a man alive and delivered every single soul over to the ban, as Yahweh the God of Israel had commanded.

10:41 Joshua conquered them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and the whole region of Goshen as far as Gibeon.

10:42 All these kings and their kingdoms Joshua mastered in one campaign, because Yahweh the God of Israel fought for Israel.

10:43 And then Joshua, and all Israel with him, returned to the camp at Gilgal.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 11


A coalition of northern kings

11:1 When Jabin the king of Hazor heard these things, he sent word of them to Jobab the king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, the king of Achshaph

11:2 and the kings in the northern highlands and in the valley south of Chinneroth and those of the lowlands and the hillsides of Dor westwards.

11:3 Eastwards and westwards lived the Canaanite; in the highlands the Amorite and Hivite and Perizzite and Jebusite; under Hermon the Hittite, in the land of Mizpah.

11:4 They set out with all their troops, a horde as countless as the sands of the sea, with innumerable horses and chariots.

The victory at Merom

11:5 These kings, having all agreed on a meeting place, came and encamped near one another at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

11:6 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Have no fear of these men, for by this time tomorrow Israel shall see them all cut to pieces; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots’.

11:7 Joshua and all his warriors caught them unawares by the waters of Merom and fell on them.

11:8 Yahweh delivered them into the power of Israel, who defeated them and pursued them to Sidon the Great and to Misrephoth-maim westwards and to the Vale of Mizpah eastwards; Israel harried them till not one was left to escape.

11:9 Joshua treated them as Yahweh had ordered; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

The capture of Hazor and of the other northern towns

11:10 Joshua then came back and captured Hazor, putting its king to the sword. Hazor in earlier days was the capital of all these kingdoms.

11:11 And they put to the sword every living creature there, because of the ban. Not a soul was left there, and lastly Hazor was burned.

11:12 Joshua conquered all these royal cities and their kings and struck them with the edge of the sword because of the ban, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had ordered.

11:13 Yet of all these towns standing on their mounds Israel burned none, apart from Hazor which Joshua gave to the flames.

11:14 As for the spoils of these towns and the cattle, the Israelites took them for themselves. But they struck all the human beings with the edge of the sword, and wiped them all out; they did not leave one living soul.

The orders of Moses carried out by Joshua

11:15 What Yahweh had ordered his servant Moses, Moses in turn had ordered Joshua, and Joshua carried it out, leaving nothing unaccomplished that Yahweh had ordered Moses.

11:16 Thus Joshua mastered the whole country: the highlands, the whole Negeb and the whole land of Goshen, the lowlands, the Arabah, the highlands and the lowlands of Israel.

11:17 From Mount Halak, which rises towards Seir, to Baal-gad in the Yale of Lebanon below Mount Hermon, he captured all their kings, struck them down and slaughtered them.

11:18 For many a day Joshua had made war on all these kings;

11:19 no city had made peace with the Israelites except the Hivites who lived at Gibeon; all the rest they conquered in battle.

11:20 For Yahweh had ordained that the hearts of these men should be stubborn enough to fight against Israel, so that they might be mercilessly delivered over to the ban and be wiped out, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.[*a]

The Anakim wiped out

11:21 Then Joshua came and wiped out the Anakim from the highlands, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, from all the highlands of Judah and all the highlands of Israel; he delivered them and their towns over to the ban.

11:22 No more Anakim were left in Israelite territory except at Gaza, Gath and Ashdod.

11:23 Joshua mastered the whole country, just as Yahweh had told Moses, and he gave it to Israel as an inheritance according to their division by tribes. And the country had rest from war.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 12


The kings conquered east of the Jordan

12:1 These are the kings of the country whom the Israelites conquered and despoiled of their kingdoms, beyond Jordan eastwards, from the wadi Arnon to the mountain country of Hermon, with all the Arabah eastwards:

12:2 Sihon the king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon ruled from Aroer on the edge of the gorge of the Arnon (and with this went the bed of the gorge) over half of Gilead to the wadi Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites,

12:3 and eastwards over the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth on the one side, and to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, towards Beth-jeshimoth where you come to the foothills of Pisgah on the south.

12:4 Og, the king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei,

12:5 ruled over Mount Hermon and over Salecah, and over the whole of Bashan as far as the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon the king of Heshbon.

12:6 Moses, the servant of Yahweh, and with him the Israelites, had conquered these kings, and Moses, the servant of Yahweh, had given their possessions to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

The kings conquered west of the Jordan

12:7 And these are the kings of the country whom Joshua and the Israelites conquered westwards of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the Vale of Lebanon to Mount Halak rising towards Seir, and Joshua allotted their inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their divisions:

12:8 in the highlands and lowlands, in the Arabah and on the hillsides, in the wilderness and the Negeb: in the territories of Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite and Jebusite:

12:9 the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai near Bethel, one;

12:10 the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;

12:11 the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;

12:12 the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;

12:13 the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;

12:14 the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;

12:15 the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;

12:16 the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;

12:17 the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;

12:18 the king of Aphek, one; the king of Sharon, one;

12:19 the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;

12:20 the king of Symoon, one; the king of Achshaph, one;

12:21 the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;

12:22 the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one;

12:23 the king of Dor on the hillsides of Dor, one; the king of Goum in Galilee, one;

12:24 the king of Tirzah, one; Total number of all these kings: thirty-one.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 13


Lands remaining unconquered

13:1 Now Joshua had grown old and advanced in years. Yahweh said to him, ‘You are old now and advanced in years, yet much of the country still remains to be subdued.

13:2 This is the country remaining: ‘All the regions of the Philistines[*a] and the whole country of the Geshurites;

13:3 from the Shihor, east of Egypt, to the boundary of Ekron northwards, the land is counted as Canaanite. (The five chiefs of the Philistines are those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the Avvites are in

13:4 the south.) The whole country of the Canaanites from Arah, which the Sidonians hold, to Aphekah and the boundary of the Amorites,

13:5 and then the country of the Gebalites with all Lebanon eastwards from Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon to the Pass of Hamath.

13:6 All who live in the highlands from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim westwards – all the Sidonians – I myself will drive out before the Israelites. In the meantime, share out the land by lot among the Israelites as I have ordered you.

13:7 The time has come to divide this land among the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh: from the Jordan to the Great Sea westwards you shall give it to them; the Great Sea will mark their boundary.’


A general survey

13:8 As for the other half-tribe of Manasseh, this and the Reubenites and Gadites had already received the allotted inheritance given them by Moses beyond the Jordan eastwards; Moses the servant of Yahweh had then assigned them

13:9 the country onward from Aroer, which lies on the edge of the wadi Arnon, and from the town within the gorge itself; all the tableland from Medeba to Dibon;

13:10 all the towns of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had reigned in Heshbon, to the boundary of the Ammonites.

13:11 Then Gilead and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites with all the highlands of Hermon and with the whole of Bashan, including Salecah;

13:12 and in Bashan the whole kingdom of Og, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei and was the last survivor of the Rephaim. Moses had conquered and dispossessed these two kings.

13:13 But the Israelites did not dispossess the Geshurites or the Maacathites, and therefore Geshur and Maacah even now still form part of Israel.

13:14 To the tribe of Levi alone no inheritance was given; Yahweh the God of Israel was their inheritance, as he had told them.

The tribe of Reuben

13:15 Moses had given the tribe of the sons of Reuben a portion according to their clans.

13:16 Thus the land they received stretched from Aroer, on the edge of the wadi Arnon, and the town within the gorge itself, and all the tableland up to Medeba,

13:17 and Heshbon and all the towns on the tableland: Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon,

13:18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath,

13:19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah and Zereth-shahar in the highlands of Gor;

13:20 Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, Beth-jeshimoth,

13:21 all the towns on the tableland and the whole kingdom of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon; he had been defeated by Moses, and with him the princes of Midian, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, vassals of Sihon who used to live in this country.

13:22 As for Balaam son of Beor, the soothsayer, the Israelites had put him to the sword with others they had slaughtered.

13:23 Thus the land of the Reubenites stretched to the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the sons of Reuben according to their clans, with the towns and their outlying villages.

The tribe of Gad

13:24 Moses had given the tribe of Gad, the sons of Gad, a portion according to their clans.

13:25 The land they received was Jazer, all the towns of Gilead, half the country of the Ammonites as far as Aroer facing Rabbah,

13:26 and from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim as far as the territory of Lo-debar,

13:27 and lastly, in the valley: Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon the king of Heshbon. The Jordan was their boundary to the lower end of the Sea of Chinnereth, on the eastern side of the Jordan.

13:28 This was the inheritance of the sons of Gad according to their clans, with the towns and their outlying villages.

The half-tribe of Manasseh

13:29 Moses had given the half-tribe of the sons of Manasseh a portion according to their clans.

13:30 The land they received stretched from Mahanaim right through Bashan, with the whole kingdom of Og the king of Bashan and all the Encampments of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns.

13:31 Half of Gilead, with Ashtaroth and Edrei, the royal cities of Og in Bashan, were allotted to the sons of Machir son of Manasseh, to half of the sons of Machir according to their clans.

13:32 This was the apportioning made by Moses in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan and facing Jericho eastwards.

13:33 But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; Yahweh the God of Israel is their inheritance, as he has told them.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 14



14:1 These are the portions that the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, assigned to them by Eleazar the priest and by Joshua son of Nun and by the heads of the families of the tribes of Israel.

14:2 They made the apportionment by lot, as Yahweh had ordered through Moses for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.

14:3 Moses had given the two-and-a-half tribes beyond the Jordan their own inheritance but had given the Levites no inheritance among them

14:4 The sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. No portion in the land was given the Levites except certain towns to live in, with the pasture lands adjoining for their cattle and property.

14:5 In apportioning the land, the Israelites did as Yahweh had ordered Moses to do.

The portion of Caleb

14:6 Certain sons of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know what Yahweh said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me.

14:7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh-barnea to reconnoitre this country, and of this I most faithfully made report to him.

14:8 But the brothers who had gone up with me discouraged the people, whereas I myself did the whole will of Yahweh my God.

14:9 That day Moses swore this oath, “Be sure of this, that the land your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children for ever, because you have done the whole will of Yahweh my God”.

14:10 From then till now, Yahweh has kept me alive in accordance with his promise. It is forty-five years since Yahweh made this promise to Moses (it was while Israel was journeying through the wilderness), and now I am eighty-five years old.

14:11 Today I am still as strong as the day when Moses sent me out on that errand; for fighting, for going and coming, I am as strong now as then.

14:12 It is time you gave me the highlands that Yahweh promised me then. You heard then how it was peopled by the Anakim and how its towns were great and strong. If Yahweh is with me, I shall drive them out as Yahweh said.’

14:13 Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as an inheritance.

14:14 And hence Hebron down to the present day has remained the possession of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, because he did the whole will of Yahweh the God of Israel.

14:15 The name of Hebron in earlier times was Kiriath-arba. Arba had been the greatest man of the Anakim. And the country had rest from war.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 15

The tribe of Judah

15:1 The portion falling to the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their clans was near the boundary of Edom, from the wilderness of Zin to Kadesh south-westwards.

15:2 Their southern boundary began at the end of the Salt Sea, at the bay that faces south;

15:3 it proceeded south of the Ascent of Akrabbim, crossed through Zin and up to the south of Kadesh-barnea, passed Hezron, went up to Addar and from there turned to Karka,

15:4 skirted Azmon, came out at the wadi of Egypt and ended at the sea. This will be your southern boundary.

15:5 Eastwards, the boundary was the Salt Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan. The boundary to the north began at the bay at the mouth of the Jordan.

15:6 This boundary went up to Beth-hoglah, passed along north of Beth-arabah and reached the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben.

15:7 The boundary went up to Debir from the Vale of Achor and turned towards the circle of stones opposite the Ascent of Adummim, south of the wadi; the boundary went on to the waters of En-shemesh and ended at En-rogel.

15:8 Then it went on up the wadi Ben-hinnom, coming from the south to the flank of the Jebusite, that is to say Jerusalem, and climbed to the crest of the mountain barring the wadi Hinnom, westward and at the northern end of the plain of Rephaim.

15:9 From the mountain top the boundary bent towards the source of the Waters of Nephtoah, passed from there towards Mount Ephron and then turned towards Baalah, that is to say, Kiriath-jearim.

15:10 From Baalah the boundary bent westwards to the mountain country of Seir, skirted the northern slope of Mount Jearim, that is to say Chesalon, went down to Beth-shemesh and through Timnah,

15:11 reached the north side of Ekron, turned towards Shikkeron, passed by the Hill of Baalah, then on to Jabneel, and ended at the sea.

15:12 The western boundary was the Great Sea itself. This was the boundary that enclosed the lands assigned to the clans of the sons of Judah.

The Calebites occupy the territory of Hebron

15:13 Caleb son of Jephunneh was given a portion among the sons of Judah in accordance with the order given by Yahweh to Joshua. Joshua gave him Kiriath-arba,[*a] the chief city of the Anakim, which is now Hebron.

15:14 Caleb drove the three sons of Anak out of it: Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, descended from Anak.

15:15 From there he marched up against the inhabitants of Debir, the name of which was once Kiriath-sepher.

15:16 Then Caleb said, ‘To the man who conquers and captures Kiriath-sepher, I will give my daughter Achsah to wife’.

15:17 The man who captured it was Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother; Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah to wife.

15:18 When she came to her husband, he urged her to ask her father for a field. Then she jumped down from her donkey, and Caleb asked her, ‘What do you want?’

15:19 She answered, ‘Grant me a favour; since you have banished me to the wilderness of the Negeb, at least grant me some springs of water’. So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

15:20 This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their clans.

Names of places possessed by the tribe of Judah

15:21 These are the furthermost towns of the tribe of the sons of Judah, towards the boundary of Edom in the Negeb: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur,

15:22 Kinah, Dimon, Adadah,

15:23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan,

15:24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth,

15:25 Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is to say, Hazor),

15:26 Amam, Shema, Moladah,

15:27 Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet,

15:28 Hazar-shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah,

15:29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem,

15:30 Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah,

15:31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah,

15:32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, En-rimmon. In all, twenty-nine towns, with their outlying villages.

15:33 In the lowlands: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah,

15:34 Zanoah, En-gannim, Tappuah, Enam,

15:35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah,

15:36 Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, Gederothaim; fourteen towns with their villages.

15:37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-gad,

15:38 Dilean, Mizpeh, Joktheel,

15:39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon,

15:40 Cabbon, Lahmas, Chitlish,

15:41 Gederoth, Beth-dagon, Naamah, Makkedah: sixteen towns with their villages.

15:42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan,

15:43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib,

15:44 Keilah, Achzib, Mareshah: nine towns with their villages.

15:45 Ekron, with its towns and outlying villages.

15:46 From Ekron to the sea, everything to the side of Ashdod, with its villages.

15:47 Ashdod with its towns and outlying villages; Gaza with its towns and outlying villages as far as the wadi of Egypt; the Great Sea marks the boundary.

15:48 In the highlands: Shamir, Jattir, Socoh,

15:49 Dannah, Kiriath-sannah, which is now Debir,

15:50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim,

15:51 Goshen, Holon, Giloh: eleven towns with their villages.

15:52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan,

15:53 Janum, Beth-tappuah, Aphekah,

15:54 Humtah, Kiriath-arba, which is now Hebron, Zior: nine towns with their villages.

15:55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah,

15:56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah,

15:57 Kain, Gibeah, Timnah: ten towns with their villages.

15:58 Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor,

15:59 Maarath, Beth-anoth, Eltekon: six towns with their villages. Tekoa, Ephrathah, which is now Bethlehem, Peor, Etam, Kulon, Tatam, Sores, Carem, Gallim, Bether, Manach: eleven towns with their villages.

15:60 Kiriath-baal, which is now Kiriath-jearim, and Rabbah: two towns with their villages.

15:61 In the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah,

15:62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and Engedi: six towns with their villages.

15:63 But the sons of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; the Jebusites lived in Jerusalem side by side with the sons of Judah, as they still do today.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 16

The tribe of Ephraim

16:1 The portion awarded by lot to the sons of Joseph stretched from the Jordan opposite Jericho eastwards. From Jericho onwards the boundary climbed the highlands to the wilderness of Bethel;

16:2 it left Bethel-luz and went on towards the boundary of the Archites at Ataroth;

16:3 then passed downwards and westwards to the boundary of the Japhletites as far as the border of Lower Beth-horon, as far as Gezer, and from there it reached the sea.

16:4 This was the inheritance of the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim.

16:5 As regards the territory of the sons of Ephraim according to their clans, the boundary of their inheritance to the east was Ataroth-addar as far as Upper Beth-horon,

16:6 and it ended at the sea . . . Michmethath to the north; and the boundary turned east to Tanaath-shiloh and ran beyond it on the east to Janoah;

16:7 it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, then touched Jericho and ended at the Jordan.

16:8 From Tappuah the boundary went westwards to the wadi Kanah and ended at the sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of Ephraim according to their clans,

16:9 as well as the towns set apart for the Ephraimites inside the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh, all those towns and their villages.

16:10 The Canaanites living in Gezer were not driven out; they have remained in Ephraim to the present day, but are obliged to do forced labour.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 17

The tribe of Manasseh

17:1 A portion was awarded by lot to Manasseh, because he was Joseph’s first-born son. To Machir, Manasseh’s eldest son and father of Gilead, there fell, as was right for a fighting man, the country of Gilead and Bashan.

17:2 And portions were also given to Manasseh’s other sons, according to their clans: to the sons of Abiezer, the sons of Helek, the sons of Asriel, the sons of Shechem, the sons of Hepher, the sons of Shemida: these were the clans of the male children of Manasseh son of Joseph.

17:3 Zelophehad son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters, whose names are these: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.

17:4 These came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua the son of Nun and to the leaders, and said, ‘Yahweh ordered Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers’. According to Yahweh’s order, therefore, they were given an inheritance among the brothers of their father.

17:5 In this way there fell to Manasseh ten portions besides the country of Gilead and Bashan which lies across the Jordan,

17:6 since Manasseh’s daughters received an inheritance as well as his sons. The country of Gilead itself belonged to Manasseh’s other sons.

17:7 The boundary of Manasseh was, on the side of Asher, Michmethath, which is opposite Shechem, and thence continued

17:8 to the right to Jashib at the spring of Tappuah. The territory of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on Manasseh’s border belonged to the sons of Ephraim.

17:9 The boundary passed down to the wadi Kanah (south of the wadi were the Ephraimite towns, besides those which Ephraim had among the towns of Manasseh, the territory of Manasseh being north of the wadi), and it ended at the sea.

17:10 Southwards Ephraim, northwards Manasseh, both bounded by the sea; they touched Asher to the north and Issachar to the east.

17:11 In Issachar and in Asher; Manasseh had Beth-shean and its dependent towns, Ibleam and its dependent towns, the inhabitants of Dor and En-dor and their dependent towns, the inhabitants of Taanach and Megiddo and their dependent towns, and a third of the Nepheth.

17:12 But because the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these towns, the Canaanites managed to hold their own in the country.

17:13 However, when the Israelites became stronger, they put the Canaanites to forced labour, though they never drove them out.

The sons of Joseph occupy forest country

17:14 The House of Joseph spoke thus to Joshua, ‘Why have you given me for inheritance only one share, only one portion, when my people are many because Yahweh has so blessed me?’

17:15 Joshua answered, ‘If your people are so many, go up to the woodland region and clear yourselves the forest of the country of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the highlands of Ephraim are too small for you’.

17:16 The sons of Joseph answered, ‘The highlands are not enough for us, and what is more, all the Canaanites living in the plain have iron chariots, and so have those in Beth-shean and its dependent towns, and those in the plain of Jezreel’.

17:17 Joshua said to the House of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a large population and one of great strength; you shall not have one share only

17:18 but a mountain shall be yours; it is covered with woods, but you must clear it, and its boundaries shall be yours, since you cannot drive out the Canaanite because of his iron chariots and his superior strength’.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 18


The land survey for the seven other tribes

18:1 The whole community of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh, and the Tent of Meeting was set up there; the whole country was now subdued and at their disposal.

18:2 But among the Israelites there were still seven tribes left which had not received their inheritance.

18:3 Then Joshua said to them, ‘How much more time will you waste before taking possession of the land which Yahweh the God of your fathers has given to you?

18:4 Choose three men from each tribe, for me to send up and down the country so that they can make a survey with a view to its apportioning, and then come back to me.

18:5 They must divide the land into seven portions. Judah will remain in his territory to the south, and those of the House of Joseph will remain in their territory to the north.

18:6 You are to survey the land in seven sections and bring your findings to me here, so that I can cast lots for you before Yahweh our God.

18:7 For the Levites have no portion with the rest of you; the priesthood of Yahweh is to be their inheritance; and Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastwards, as Moses, Yahweh’s servant, gave it to them.’

18:8 The men set off. To those who were to survey the country Joshua gave this order: ‘Off you go, survey and map the whole country, and then come back here to me; I shall cast lots for you before Yahweh at Shiloh’.

18:9 So the men left, and went up and down the country, making a sevenfold list in writing of all the towns and bringing it back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh.

18:10 Joshua cast lots for them before Yahweh at Shiloh, and there Joshua apportioned the land among the Israelites according to their groupings.

The tribe of Benjamin

18:11 One portion fell to the tribe of the sons of Benjamin according to their clans: their territory lay, as it proved, between that of the sons of Judah and the sons of Joseph.

18:12 Their northern boundary began at the Jordan, climbed to the northern flank of Jericho, rose through the highlands westwards and ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven.

18:13 Thence it continued towards Luz, southwards to the flank of Luz, which is now Bethel; then downwards to Ataroth-addar, on the mountain south of Lower Beth-horon.

18:14 The boundary curved, and on the western side turned southward, from the mountain that faces Beth-horon from the south and ended at Kiriath-baal, which is now Kiriath-jearim, a city of the sons of Judah. This was the western side.

18:15 On the south side the boundary ran from the edge of Kiriath-jearim towards Gasin, emerged by the waters of the spring of Nephtoah,

18:16 continued to the skirts of the mountain facing the Vale of Ben-hinnom, north of the plain of the Rephaim, then down into the Vale of Hinnom, south of the flank of the Jebusite and reaching En-rogel.

18:17a It then curved northwards, going on to En-shemesh; it came out at the circles of stones facing the Ascent of Adummim,

18:18 then went on to Cheteph in sight of the Arabah and down to the Arabah and

18:17b the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben,

18:19 then reached the flank of Beth-hoglah to the north. The boundary stopped at the northern bay of the Salt Sea, at the southern end of the Jordan. This was the southern border.

18:20 The Jordan itself was the eastern border. Such was the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, with the boundaries defining it.

The towns of Benjamin

18:21 The towns of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, according to their clans, were Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz;

18:22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel;

18:23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah;

18:24 Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, Geba: twelve towns and their villages.

18:25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth;

18:26 Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah;

18:27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah;

18:28 Zela Haeleph, Jerusalem, Gibeah and Kiriath: fourteen towns with their villages. This was the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, according to their clans.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 19

The tribe of Simeon

19:1 The second portion awarded by lot came to Simeon, the tribe of the sons of Simeon, according to their clans their inheritance was encircled by the inheritance of the sons of Judah.

19:2 For their portion they had Beersheba, Shema, Moladah;

19:3 Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem;

19:4 Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah;

19:5 Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah;

19:6 Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen: thirteen towns and their villages;

19:7 Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan: four towns and their villages.

19:8 With these go all the villages lying outside these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their clans.

19:9 The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken out of the portion of the sons of Judah, because the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them; this is why it was within the inheritance of the sons of Judah that the sons of Simeon were given theirs.

The tribe of Zebulun

19:10 The third portion fell to the sons of Zebulun according to their clans; the territory of their inheritance reached as far as Sarid;

19:11 their boundary climbed westwards to Maraalah, touching Dabbesheth first and then the wadi facing Jokneam.

19:12 But eastwards and towards the sunrise the boundary went from Sarid to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor, then towards Dobrath and upwards to Japhia.

19:13 Thence it went on, eastwards and towards the sunrise, to Gath-hepher and Ittah-kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned towards Neah.

19:14 Then northwards the boundary bent towards Hannathon and ended at the plain of Iphtahel.

19:15 Besides this, there were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Iralah and Bethlehem: twelve towns with their villages.

19:16 This was the inheritance of the sons of Zebulun according to their clans: these towns and their villages.

The tribe of Issachar

19:17 The fourth portion came to Issachar, to the sons of Issachar, according to their clans.

19:18 Their territory reached to Jezreel and included Chesulloth and Shunem;

19:19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath;

19:20 Dobrath, Kishion, Ebez;

19:21 Remeth and En-gannim, En-haddah and Beth-pazzez.

19:22 Their boundary touched Tabor and Shahazimah and Beth-shemesh, and ended at the Jordan: sixteen towns with their villages.

19:23 This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Issachar, according to their clans: the towns with their villages.

The tribe of Asher

19:24 The fifth portion came to the tribe of the sons of Asher, according to their clans.

19:25 Within their territory were Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph,

19:26 Allam-melech, Amad and Mishal; on the west it touched Carmel and the streams of the Libnath;

19:27 on the other side it went eastwards to Beth-dagon, touching Zebulun and the Vale of Iphtahel northwards, then Beth-emek and Neiel beyond; it ended at Cabul. To the north it took in

19:28 Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah as far as Sidon the Great.

19:29 The boundary then turned back towards Ramah and onto the stronghold of Tyre and Hosah, and ended at the sea. Mahalab, Achzib,

19:30 Acco, Aphek, Rehob: twenty-two towns with their villages.

19:31 This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Asher, according to their clans; these towns with their villages.

The tribe of Naphtali

19:32 To the sons of Naphtali came the sixth portion, to the sons of Naphtali according to their clans.

19:33 Their territory went from Heleph and the Oak of Zanaannim to Adami-negeb, to Jabneel as far as Lakkum, and ended at the Jordan.

19:34 The westward boundary ran to Aznoth-tabor and thence passed on to Hukkok, touching Zebulun southwards, Asher westwards and the Jordan east-wards.

19:35 The fortified towns were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth;

19:36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor;

19:37 Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor;

19:38 Yiron, Migdalel, Horem, Beth-anath, Beth-shemesh: nineteen towns with their villages.

19:39 This was the inheritance of the sons of Naphtali according to their clans; the towns with their villages.

The tribe of Dan[*a]

19:40 To the tribe of the sons of Dan came the seventh portion according to their clans.

19:41 Within the territory of their inheritance were Zorah, Eshtaol, Irshemesh;

19:42 Sha-alabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah;

19:43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron,

19:44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath;

19:45 Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon;

19:46 Me-jarkon and Rakkon with the territory facing Joppa.

19:47 But the territory of the sons of Dan resisted them; and therefore the sons of Dan went up and attacked Leshem and captured it and put it to the sword. Having seized the town they settled in it, and changed the name of Leshem to Dan after Dan their ancestor.

19:48 This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Dan, according to their clans: these towns with their villages.

19:49 So ended the drawing of lots for the country and the apportioning of it.

19:50 And the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them;

19:50 at the command of Yahweh, they gave him the city he had asked for, Timnath-serah in the highlands of Ephraim; he rebuilt the city and settled there.

19:51 These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of each family apportioned by lot among the tribes of Israel at Shiloh, in Yahweh’s presence, at the door of the Tent of Meeting; and thus the apportioning of the land was finished.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 20


The cities of refuge

20:1 Yahweh said to Joshua,

20:2 ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them, “Choose the cities of refuge of which I spoke to you through Moses,

20:3 towns where a man who has killed accidentally, unwittingly, may find sanctuary; they are to be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

20:4 The man who has killed may seek sanctuary in one of these towns; he must stop at the entrance of the town gate and explain his case to the elders of the place. They shall let him enter the town and assign him a place to live with them.

20:5 If he is pursued by the avenger of blood, they are not to give him up to him, since he has killed his neighbour unwittingly, with no long-cherished hatred against him.

20:6 The man who has killed must remain in that town until he has appeared for judgement before the community, until the death of the high priest then in office. Only then may the man who has killed go back to his own town and his own house, to the town from which he has fled.”‘

20:7 For this purpose they designated Kedesh in Galilee, in the highlands of Naphtali, Shechem in the highlands of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba, which is now Hebron, in the highlands of Judah.

20:8 Across the Jordan and on the east facing Jericho, in the wilderness on the tableland, they chose Bezer of the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth-gilead of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan of the tribe of Manasseh.

20:9 These were the towns marked out for all the Israelites and for the stranger living among them, so that any man might find sanctuary there if he had killed accidentally, and might escape the hand of the avenger of blood until he had appeared for judgement before the community.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 21

The levitical cities

21:1 Then the heads of families among the Levites came to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua son of Nun and the heads of families of the tribes of Israel –

21:2 they were then at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. They said to them, ‘Yahweh ordered through Moses that we should be given towns to live in, with the adjoining pasture lands for our cattle’.

21:3 So because of Yahweh’s order the Israelites gave the Levites these towns from their inheritance, and with them the adjoining pasture lands.

21:4 Lots were cast for the clans of the Kohathites. To the Levites, the sons of Aaron the priest, fell thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin;

21:5 the other sons of Kohath received, clan by

21:6 clan, ten towns from the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. To the sons of Gershon, clan by clan, fell thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

21:7 To the sons of Merari, clan by clan, fell twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun.

21:8 These towns and the adjoining pasture land, the Israelites gave by lot to the Levites, as Yahweh had ordered through Moses.

The portion of the Kohathites

21:9 From the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Simeon they gave the towns named below;

21:10 this was the portion of the sons of Aaron from the clans of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi; for theirs was the first portion.

21:11 They gave them Kiriath-arba, the chief city of the Anakim, which is now Hebron, in the highlands of Judah, with the pasture lands round it.

21:12 But the fields and villages of this town they gave into the possession of Caleb son of Jephunneh as his property.

21:13 To the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for men who had killed, and the adjoining pasture lands; also Libnah with its pasture lands,

21:14 and Jattir, Eshtemoa,

21:15 Holon, Debir,

21:16 Ashan, Juttah and Beth-shemesh, each with its pasture lands: nine towns taken from these two tribes.

21:17 From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon and Geba with their pasture lands,

21:18 and Anathoth and Almon with theirs: four towns.

21:19 The towns of the priests, the sons of Aaron, were thirteen towns in all, with their pasture lands.

21:20 To the clans of the sons of Kohath, to the remaining Levites of the sons of Kohath, the lot assigned towns belonging to the tribe of Ephraim.

21:21 They were given the city of refuge, Shechem, with its pasture lands, in the highlands of Ephraim, together with Gezer,

21:22 Kibzaim and Beth-horon, each with its pasture lands: four towns.

21:23 From the tribe of Dan, Elteke, Gibbethon,

21:24 Aijalon and Gath-rimmon with their pasture lands: four towns.

21:25 From the half-tribe of Manasseh, Taanach and Jibleam with their pasture lands: two towns. In all: ten towns with their pasture lands for the remaining clans of the sons of Kohath.

The portion of the sons of Gershon

21:27 To the sons of Gershon who were of levitical clans were given the city of refuge Golan in Bashan and also Ashtaroth, each with its pasture lands: two towns, both from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

21:28 From the tribe of Issachar, Kishion, Dobrath,

21:29 Jarmuth and En-gannim, each with its pasture lands: four towns.

21:30 From the tribe of Asher, Mishal, Abdon,

21:31 Helkath and Rehob, each with its pasture lands: four towns.

21:32 From the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh the city of refuge in Galilee, Hammoth-dor and Rakkath, each with its pasture lands: three towns.

21:33 The towns for the Gershonites according to their clans were thirteen towns in all with their pasture lands.

The portion of the sons of Merari

21:34 To the clans of the sons of Merari, the remainder of the Levites, fell four towns with their pasture lands from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam, Kartah,

21:35 Rimmon and Nahalal;

21:36 from beyond the Jordan and from the tribe of Reuben, the city of refuge Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, Jahaz,

21:37 Kedemoth and Mephaath, each with its pasture lands: four towns;

21:38 from the tribe of Gad the city of refuge Ramoth-gilead, Mahanaim,

21:39 Heshbon and Jazer, each with its pasture lands: four towns.

21:40 The towns allotted clan by clan to the sons of Merari, to the remainder of the levitical clans, were twelve towns in all.

21:41 The towns thus granted to the Levites in Israelite territory were in all forty-eight, with their pasture lands.

21:42 For all these towns, the town itself and the pasture land round it went together. This was true of every town named.

The end of the apportioning

21:43 So it was that Yahweh gave the Israelites all the land he had sworn to give their fathers. They took possession of it and settled there.

21:44 Yahweh granted them peace on all their frontiers just as he had sworn to their fathers, and of all their enemies not one had managed to stand against them. Yahweh had given all their enemies into their hands.

21:45 Of all the promises that Yahweh had made to the House of Israel, not one failed; all were fulfilled.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 22



The tribes from across the Jordan are sent home

22:1 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh

22:2 and said to them, ‘You have faithfully observed all that Moses the servant of Yahweh ordered you, and whenever I have given you an order you have obeyed me.

22:3 Despite the fact that the campaign has lasted such a very long time, you have never deserted your brothers; at every point you have obeyed the orders of Yahweh your God.

22:4 Now that Yahweh your God has granted your brothers the rest he promised them, go back to your tents, to the land given into your possession by Moses the servant of Yahweh, beyond the Jordan.

22:5 But take great care to practise the commandments and the Law which Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you: love Yahweh your God, follow his paths always, keep his commandments, be loyal to him and serve him with all your heart and soul.’

22:6 Joshua blessed them and sent them away; they went home to their tents.

22:7 Moses had given a territory in Bashan to one half of the tribe of Manasseh; to the other half Joshua gave another among their brothers on the west bank of the Jordan. As Joshua sent them home to their tents he blessed them

22:8 and said to them, ‘You are going back to your tents with great wealth, with cattle in plenty, with silver and gold, bronze and iron and great quantities of clothing; share these spoils of your enemies with your brothers’.

An altar is built beside the Jordan

22:9 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh went home again; they left the Israelites at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, and made their way back to the land of Gilead, the territory which belonged to them and where they had settled in accordance with the order of Yahweh given through Moses.

22:10 When they came to the circles of stones at the Jordan which are in Canaanite territory, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there beside the Jordan, an imposing altar of great size.

22:11 This came to the ears of the Israelites. ‘See,’ the word went round ‘the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built this altar facing the land of Canaan near the circles of stones at the Jordan, beyond the territory of the Israelites.’

22:12 At this news, the whole community of the children of Israel mustered at Shiloh, ready to march against them and make war on them.

The eastern tribes rebuked

22:13 The Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead,

22:14 and with him ten leading men, one leader and head of his family from each tribe in Israel; every one of them was head of his family among the clans of Israel.

22:15 When they came to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead, this is what they said to them:

22:16 ‘This is our message to you from the whole community of Yahweh: What do you mean by this treachery committed against the God of Israel? Why turn aside from Yahweh today, building yourselves an altar, an act of rebellion today against Yahweh himself?

22:17 ‘Was the sin at Peor not enough, the sin from which we are not cleansed even now, in spite of the plague that ravaged the whole community of Yahweh?

22:18 Since then, you have stopped following Yahweh today, since you set yourselves in revolt against him today, tomorrow his anger will be roused against the whole community of Israel.

22:19 Do you think your territory is unclean? Then cross over into the territory of Yahweh, where his tabernacle is, and choose a home among us. But do not rebel against Yahweh or make us accomplices in rebellion by building an altar to vie with the altar of Yahweh our God.

22:20 When Achan son of Zerah betrayed his trust in the matter of the ban, did not the wrath come down on the whole community of Israel, although he was only one man? Did he not have to die for his sin?’

The tribes from across the Jordan clear their name

22:21 The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh spoke in their turn and answered the heads of the clans of Israel:

22:22 ‘The God of gods, Yahweh, the God of gods, Yahweh well knows, and let Israel know it too: if there has been defiance or treachery on our part against Yahweh, let him not save us today;

22:23 or if we have built an altar to turn away from Yahweh and offer holocaust and oblation and communion sacrifice on it, let Yahweh punish us for it!

22:24 The truth is, we acted from fear and for this reason: one day your children might say to ours, “What link have you with Yahweh the God of Israel?

22:25 Has not Yahweh set the boundary of the Jordan between us and you, you sons of Reuben and sons of Gad? You have no share in Yahweh.” Thus your children might be the cause of stopping ours from paying reverence to Yahweh.

22:26 ‘So we said to each other, “Let us build this altar, not for holocausts or other sacrifices

22:27 but as a witness between us and you and among our descendants after us, proving that we do indeed worship Yahweh with our holocausts, our victims and our communion sacrifices in his presence. So that one day your children will not be able to say to ours: You have no share in Yahweh.

22:28 But if ever it were to happen that they said such a thing to us or to our descendants in the future, we should say to them: Look at this structure, Yahweh’s altar, made by our ancestors not for holocausts or other sacrifices but as a witness between us and you.”

22:29 We have no intention of defying Yahweh or turning away from serving him today by building an altar for holocausts or oblations or sacrifices to vie with the altar of Yahweh our God that stands before his tabernacle!’

Peace restored

22:30 When Phinehas the priest, the leaders of the community and the heads of the clans of Israel who were with him heard the words spoken by the sons of Gad and of Reuben and of Manasseh, they approved of them.

22:31 Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar said to the sons of Reuben and sons of Gad and sons of Manasseh, ‘Now we clearly see that Yahweh is among us, because you have not committed any treachery against him; this means you have saved the children of Israel from the punishment of Yahweh’.

22:32 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the leaders left the Reubenites and the Gadites and returned from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan and the Israelites, to whom they brought back this answer.

22:33 The Israelites were pleased to hear this; they gave thanks to God and spoke no more of marching against them and making war and ravaging the country where the sons of Reuben and of Gad had settled.

22:34 The Reubenites and the Gadites named the altar. . ., ‘Because’ they said ‘it will be a witness between us that Yahweh is God’.

JB JOSHUA Chapter 23


Joshua sums up his work

23:1 Long after Yahweh had given Israel rest from all the enemies round them – Joshua was old now, far advanced in years –

23:2 Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders, chief men, judges and scribes, and said to them, ‘I myself am old, far advanced in years;

23:3 you for your part have witnessed all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations before your eyes; Yahweh your God himself has fought for you.

23:4 Now as an inheritance for your tribes, I have apportioned you by lot the peoples who still remain to be conquered, no less than those that I have wiped out between the Jordan and the Great Sea in the west.

23:5 Yahweh your God will himself drive them out before you; he will cast them out before you and you will take possession of their country as Yahweh your God promised you.

A rule of life among foreign peoples

23:6 ‘Therefore stand firm to keep and fulfil all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, never turning aside from it to right or left,

23:7 never mingling with the peoples who are still left beside you. Do not utter the names of their gods, do not swear by them, do not serve them and do not bow down before them.

23:8 No; you must be loyal to Yahweh your God as you have been till now.

23:9 Because of this, Yahweh has driven out great and powerful nations before you, and no one so far has been able to resist you.

23:10 One man of you could rout a thousand of them, because Yahweh your God himself fought for you as he had promised you.

23:11 Be very careful, as you value your life, to love Yahweh your God.

23:12 ‘But if you prove faithless, if you make friends with the remnant of those peoples who are still left beside you, if you form kinships with them and intermarry,

23:13 then know for certain that Yahweh your God will no longer drive these peoples before you; instead, they will be a snare and a pitfall for you, a scourge to your sides and thorns in your eyes, till you vanish from this good land which Yahweh your God has given you.

23:14 ‘And now today I must go the way of all the earth. Acknowledge with all your heart and soul that of all the promises of good that Yahweh your God has made you, not one has failed: all have been fulfilled, and not one has failed.

23:15 ‘But just as every promise of good made to you by Yahweh your God has been fulfilled for you, so also will Yahweh fulfil against you all his threats of evil, even to driving you out of the good land that Yahweh your God has given you.

23:16 ‘For if you violate the covenant which Yahweh your God has demanded of you, if you go and serve other gods and bow down before them, then Yahweh’s anger will be roused against you and you will quickly vanish from the good land that he has given you.’

JB JOSHUA Chapter 24


Israel’s vocation set forth once more

24:1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

24:2 Then Joshua said to all the people: ‘Yahweh the God of Israel says this, “In ancient days your ancestors lived beyond the River – such was Terah the father of Abraham and of Nahor – and they served other gods.

24:3 Then I brought your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan. I increased his descendants and gave him Isaac.

24:4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountain country of Seir as his possession. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt.

24:5 Then I sent Moses and Aaron and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there. So I brought you out of it.

24:6 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen as far as the Sea of Reeds.

24:7 There they called to Yahweh, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes the things I did in Egypt. Then for a long time you lived in the wilderness,

24:8 until I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan; they made war on you and I gave them into your hands; you took possession of their country because I destroyed them before you.

24:9 Next, Balak son of Zippor the king of Moab arose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you.

24:10 But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his hand.

24:11 “When you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, those who held Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites and Perizzites, the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I put them all into your power.

24:12 I sent out hornets in front of you, which drove the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or your bow.

24:13 I gave you a land where you never toiled, you live in towns you never built; you eat now from vineyards and olivegroves you never planted.”

Israel chooses Yahweh

24:14 ‘So now, fear Yahweh and serve him perfectly and sincerely; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh.

24:15 But if you will not serve Yahweh, choose today whom you wish to serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. As for me and my House, we will serve Yahweh.’

24:16 The people answered, ‘We have no intention of deserting Yahweh and serving other gods!

24:17 Was it not Yahweh our God who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and preserved us all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed?

24:18 What is more, Yahweh drove all those peoples out before us, as well as the Amorites who used to live in this country. We too will serve Yahweh, for he is our God.’

24:19 Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve Yahweh, because he is a holy God, he is a jealous God who will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

24:20 If you desert Yahweh to follow alien gods he in turn will afflict and destroy you after the goodness he has shown you.’

24:21 The people answered Joshua, ‘No; it is Yahweh we wish to serve’.

24:22 Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen Yahweh, to serve him’. They answered, ‘We are witnesses’.

24:23 ‘Then cast away the alien gods among you and give your hearts to Yahweh the God of Israel!’

24:24 The people answered Joshua, ‘It is Yahweh our God we choose to serve; it is his voice that we will obey’.

The covenant at Shechem

24:25 That day, Joshua made a covenant for the people; he laid down a statute and ordinance for them at Shechem.

24:26 Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a great stone and set it up there, under the oak in the sanctuary of Yahweh,

24:27 and Joshua said to all the people, ‘See! This stone shall be a witness against us because it has heard all the words that Yahweh has spoken to us: it shall be a witness against you in case you deny your God.’

24:28 Then Joshua sent the people away, and each returned to his own inheritance.


The death of Joshua

24:29 After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died; he was a hundred and ten years old.

24:30 They buried him on the estate he had received for inheritance, at Timnath-serah which lies in the highlands of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

24:31 Israel served Yahweh throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the lifetime of those elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the deeds that Yahweh had done for the sake of Israel.

The bones of Joseph. The death of Eleazar

24:32 The bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel had brought from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the portion of ground that Jacob had bought for a hundred pieces of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, which had become the inheritance of the sons of Joseph.

24:33 Then Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, the town of his son Phinehas, which had been given him in the highlands of Ephraim.

END OF JB JOSHUA [24 Chapters].


JB JONAH Chapter 1

Jonah rebels against his mission

1:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah son of Amittai:

1:2 ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and inform them that their wickedness has become known to me.’

1:3 Jonah decided to run away from Yahweh, and to go to Tarshish.[*a] He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish; he paid his fare and went aboard, to go with them to Tarshish, to get away from Yahweh.

1:4 But Yahweh unleashed a violent wind on the sea, and there was such a great storm at sea that the ship threatened to break up.

1:5 The sailors took fright, and each of them called on his own god, and to lighten the ship they threw the cargo overboard. Jonah, however, had gone below and lain down in the hold and fallen fast asleep.

1:6 The boatswain came upon him and said, ‘What do you mean by sleeping? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps he will spare us a thought, and not leave us to die.’

1:7 Then they said to each other, ‘Come on, let us draw lots to find out who is responsible for bringing this evil on us’. So they cast lots, and the lot fell to Jonah.

1:8 Then they said to him, ‘Tell us, what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country? What is your nationality?’

1:9 He replied, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I worship Yahweh, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land’.

1:10 The sailors were seized with terror at this and said, ‘What have you done?’ They knew that he was trying to escape from Yahweh, because he had told them so.

1:11 They then said, ‘What are we to do with you, to make the sea grow calm for us?’ For the sea was growing rougher and rougher.

1:12 He replied, ‘Take me and throw me into the sea, and then it will grow calm for you. For I can see it is my fault this violent storm has happened to you.’

1:13 The sailors rowed hard in an effort to reach the shore, but in vain, since the sea grew still rougher for them.

1:14 They then called on Yahweh and said, ‘O Yahweh, do not let us perish for taking this man’s life; do not hold us guilty of innocent blood; for you, Yahweh, have acted as you have thought right’.

1:15 And taking hold of Jonah they threw him into the sea; and the sea grew calm again.

1:16 At this the men were seized with dread of Yahweh; they offered a sacrifice to Yahweh and made vows.

JB JONAH Chapter 2

Jonah is saved

2:1 Yahweh had arranged that a great fish should be there to swallow Jonah, and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

2:2 From the belly of the fish he prayed to Yahweh, his God; he said:

2:3 ‘Out of my distress I cried to Yahweh and he answered me; from the belly of Sheol I cried, and you have heard my voice.

2:4 You cast me into the abyss, into the heart of the sea, and the flood surrounded me. All your waves, your billows, washed over me.

2:5 And I said: I am cast out from your sight. How shall I ever look again on your holy Temple?

2:6 The waters surrounded me right to my throat, the abyss was all around me. The seaweed was wrapped round my head

2:7 at the roots of the mountains. I went down into the countries underneath the earth, to the peoples of the past. But you lifted my life from the pit, Yahweh, my God.

2:8 While my soul was fainting within me, I remembered Yahweh, and my prayer came before you into your holy Temple.

2:9 Those who serve worthless idols forfeit the grace that was theirs.

2:10 ‘But I, with a song of Praise, will sacrifice to you. The vow I have made; I will fulfil. Salvation comes from Yahweh.’

2:11 Yahweh spoke to the fish, which then vomited Jonah on to the shore.

JB JONAH Chapter 3

The conversion of Nineveh and God’s pardon

3:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed a second time to Jonah:

3:2 ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’

3:3 Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it.

3:4 Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed’.

3:5 And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.

3:6 The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes.

3:7 A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water.

3:8 All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done.

3:9 Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’.

3:10 God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

JB JONAH Chapter 4

The grievance of the prophet and God’s answer

4:1 Jonah was very indignant at this; he fell into a rage.

4:2 He prayed to Yahweh and said, ‘Ah! Yahweh, is not this just as I said would happen when I was still at home? That was why I went and lied to Tarshish: I knew that you were a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, relenting from evil.

4:3 So now Yahweh, please take away my life, for I might as well be dead as go on living.’

4:4 Yahweh replied, ‘Are you right to be angry?’

4:5 Jonah then went out of the city and sat down to the east of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city.

4:6 Then Yahweh God arranged that a castor-oil plant should grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head and soothe his ill-humour; Jonah was delighted with the castor-oil plant.

4:7 But at dawn the next day, God arranged that a worm should attack the castor-oil plant – and it withered.

4:8 Next, when the sun rose, God arranged that there should be a scorching east wind; the sun beat down so hard on Jonah’s head that he was overcome and begged for death, saying, ‘I might as well be dead as go on living’.

4:9 God said to Jonah, ‘Are you right to be angry about the castor-oil plant?’ He replied, ‘I have every right to be angry, to the point of death’.

4:10 Yahweh replied, ‘You are only upset about a castor-oil plant which cost you no labour, which you did not make grow, which sprouted in a night and has perished in a night.

4:11 And am I not to feel sorry for Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, to say nothing of all the animals?’

END OF JB JONAH [4 Chapters].


JB MATTHEW Chapter 1


The ancestry of Jesus

1:1 A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:[*a]

1:2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

1:3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother, Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,

1:4 Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,

1:5 Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother, Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother, Obed was the father of Jesse;

1:6 and Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

1:7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,

1:8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Azariah,

1:9 Azariah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

1:10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah;

1:11 and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

1:12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

1:13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,

1:14 Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,

1:15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob;

1:16 and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

1:17 The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

The virginal conception of Christ

1:18 This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph;[*b] but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

1:19 Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally.

1:20 He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.

1:21 She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save[*c] his people from their sins.’

1:22 Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

1:23 ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel,[*d] a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.

1:24 When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home

1:25 and, though he had not had intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 2
The visit of the Magi

2:1 After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod,[*a] some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east.

2:2 ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose[*b] and have come to do him homage.’

2:3 When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem.

2:4 He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

2:5 ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

2:6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for out of you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel’.[*c]

2:7 Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared,

2:8 and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’

2:9 Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was.

2:10 The sight of the star filled them with delight,

2:11 and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.[*d]

2:12 But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

The flight into Egypt. The massacre of the Innocents

2:13 After they had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him’.

2:14 So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt,

2:15 where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called my son out of Egypt.[*e]

2:16 Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men.

2:17 It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:

2:18 A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.[*f]

From Egypt to Nazareth

2:19 After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

2:20 and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead’.

2:21 So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel.

2:22 But when he learnt that Archelaus[*g] had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee.[*h]

2:23 There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 3


The preaching of John the Baptist

3:1 In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message:

3:2 ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven[*a] is close at hand’.

3:3 This was the man the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said: A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.[*b]

3:4 This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

3:5 Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him,

3:6 and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.

3:7 But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees[*c] coming for baptism he said to them,

3:8 ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming? But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit,

3:9 and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father”, because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.

3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.

3:11 I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

3:12 His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’

Jesus is baptised

3:13 Then Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John.

3:14 John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’

3:15 But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands’. At this, John gave in to him.

3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.

3:17 And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him’.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 4
Temptation in the wilderness

4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

4:2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, after which he was very hungry,

4:3 and the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves’.

4:4 But he replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.[*a]

4:5 The devil then took him to the holy city and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple.

4:6 ‘If you are the Son of God’ he said ‘throw yourself down; for scripture says: He will put you in his angels’ charge, and they will support you on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone’.[*b]

4:7 Jesus said to him, ‘Scripture also says: You must not put the Lord your God to the test’.[*c]

4:8 Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.

4:9 ‘I will give you all these’ he said, ‘if you fall at my feet and worship me.’

4:10 Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan! For scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.'[*d]

4:11 Then the devil left him, and angels appeared and looked after him.

Return to Galilee

4:12 Hearing that John had been arrested he went back to Galilee,

4:13 and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali.

4:14 In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

4:15 ‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan, Galilee of the nations!

4:16 The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned.'[*e]

4:17 From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand’.

The first four disciples are called

4:18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen.

4:19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’.

4:20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

4:21 Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.

4:22 At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

Jesus preaches and heals the sick

4:23 He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.

4:24 His fame spread throughout Syria,[*f] and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them.

4:25 Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis,[*g] Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 5


The Beatitudes

5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples.

5:2 Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

5:3 ‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:4 Happy the gentle:[*b] they shall have the earth for their heritage.

5:5 Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.

5:6 Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.

5:7 Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.

5:8 Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.

5:9 Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.

5:10 Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:11 ‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account.

5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.
Salt of the earth and light of the world

5:13 ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

5:14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.

5:15 No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.

5:16 In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.

The fulfilment of the Law

5:17 ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.

5:18 I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved.

5:19 Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.

The new standard higher than the old

5:20 ‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

5:21 ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill;[*c] and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.

5:22 But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool”[*d] he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin;[*e] and if a man calls him “Renegade”[*f] he will answer for it in hell fire.

5:23 So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,

5:24 leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.

5:25 Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

5:26 I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

5:27 ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery[*g].

5:28 But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

5:29 If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

5:30 And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

5:31 ‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal.[*h]

5:32 But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

5:33 ‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord.[*i]

5:34 But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne;

5:35 or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king.

5:36 Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black.

5:37 All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

5:38 ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.[*j]

5:39 But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well;

5:40 if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

5:41 And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.

5:42 Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

5:43 ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy.[*k]

5:44 But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;

5:45 in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike.

5:46 For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors[*l] do as much, do they not?

5:47 And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not?

5:48 You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 6
Almsgiving in secret

6:1 ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven.

6:2 So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward.

6:3 But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing;

6:4 your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

Prayer in secret

6:5 ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward.

6:6 But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray[*a] to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

How to pray. The Lord’s Prayer

6:7 In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard.

6:8 Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

6:9 So you should pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be held holy,

6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

6:13 And do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one.

6:14 Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours;

6:15 but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.

Fasting in secret

6:16 ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward.

6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

6:18 so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

True treasures

6:19 ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.

6:20 But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal.

6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The eye, the lamp of the body

6:22 ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light.

6:23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!

God and money

6:24 ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

Trust in Providence

6:25 ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing!

6:26 Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are?

6:27 Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life?

6:28 And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin;

6:29 yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these.

6:30 Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith?

6:31 So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?”

6:32 It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.

6:33 Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well.

6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 7

Do not judge

7:1 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged;

7:2 because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given.

7:3 Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?

7:4 How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye”, when all the time there is a plank in your own?

7:5 Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

Do not profane sacred things

7:6 ‘Do not give dogs what is holy;[*a] and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

Effective prayer

7:7 ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.

7:8 For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.

7:9 Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread?

7:10 Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish?

7:11 If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The golden rule

7:12 ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

The two ways

7:13 ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it;

7:14 but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

False prophets

7:15 ‘Beware of false prophets[*b] who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves.

7:16 You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

7:17 In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit.

7:18 A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit.

7:19 Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire.

7:20 I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.

The true disciple

7:21 ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.

7:22 When the day[*c] comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?”

7:23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!’

7:24 ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock.

7:25 Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.

7:26 But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand.

7:27 Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

The amazement of the crowds

7:28 Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people

7:29 because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.[*d]

JB MATTHEW Chapter 8



Cure of a leper

8:1 After he had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him.

8:2 A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’

8:3 Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And his leprosy was cured at once.

8:4 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them’.

Cure of the centurion’s servant

8:5 When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him.

8:6 ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’

8:7 ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus.

8:8 The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.

8:9 For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’

8:10 When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this.

8:11 And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven;

8:12 but the subjects of the kingdom[*a] will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’

8:13 And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you’. And the servant was cured at that moment.

Cure of Peter’s mother-in-law

8:14 And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever.

8:15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

A number of cures

8:16 That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick.

8:17 This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah: He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.[*b]

Hardships of the apostolic calling

8:18 When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side.[*c]

8:19 One of the scribes then came up and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow you wherever you go’.

8:20 Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’.

8:21 Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, ‘Sir, let me go and bury my father first’.

8:22 But Jesus replied, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead’.

The calming of the storm

8:23 Then he got into the boat followed by his disciples.

8:24 Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep.

8:25 So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’

8:26 And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again.

8:27 The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’

The demoniacs of Gadara

8:28 When he reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs – creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way.

8:29 They stood there shouting, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?'[*d]

8:30 Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding,

8:31 and the devils pleaded with Jesus, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs’.

8:32 And he said to them, ‘Go then’, and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water.

8:33 The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs.

8:34 At this the whole town set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave the neighbourhood.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 9

Cure of a paralytic

9:1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town.[*a]

9:2 Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven’.

9:3 And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming’.

9:4 Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts?

9:5 Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Get up and walk”?

9:6 But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home’.

9:7 And the man got up and went home.

9:8 A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.

The call of Matthew

9:9 As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew[*b] sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me’. And he got up and followed him.

Eating with sinners

9:10 While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners[*c] came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples.

9:11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’

9:12 When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.

9:13 Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.[*d] And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

A discussion on fasting

9:14 Then John’s[*e] disciples came to him and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’

9:15 Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

9:16 No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.

9:17 Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.'[*f]

Cure of the woman with a haemorrhage. The official’s daughter raised to life

9:18 While he was speaking to them, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved’.

9:19 Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him.

9:20 Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak,

9:21 for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again’.

9:22 Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health’. And from that moment the woman was well again.

9:23 When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion[*g] he said,

9:24 ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep’. And they laughed at him.

9:25 But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up.

9:26 And the news spread all round the countryside.

Cure of two blind men

9:27 As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David’.

9:28 And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do’.

9:29 Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you’.

9:30 And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this’.

9:31 But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

Cure of a dumb demoniac

9:32 They had only just left when a man was brought to him, a dumb demoniac.

9:33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said.

9:34 But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils’.

The distress of the crowds

9:35 Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.

9:36 And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.

9:37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest’.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 10


The mission of the Twelve

10:1 He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;

10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

10:4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him.

10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town;

10:6 go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

10:7 And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.

10:8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.

10:9 Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses,

10:10 with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

10:11 ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave.

10:12 As you enter his house, salute it,

10:13 and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you.

10:14 And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet.

10:15 I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.

10:16 Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

The missionaries will be persecuted[*a]

10:17 ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues.

10:18 You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans.

10:19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes;

10:20 because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.

10:21 ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death.

10:22 You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.

10:23 If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

10:24 ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master.

10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?

Open and fearless speech

10:26 ‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.

10:27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.

10:28 ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

10:29 Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing.

10:30 Why, every hair on your head has been counted.

10:31 So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

10:32 ‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.

10:33 But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.

Jesus, the cause of dissension

10:34 ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword.

10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

10:36 A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.[*b]

Renouncing self to follow Jesus

10:37 ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me.

10:38 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.

10:39 Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.


10:40 Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

10:41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

10:42 ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 11



11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.[*a]

The Baptist’s question. Jesus commends him

11:2 Now John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him,

11:3 ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’

11:4 Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see;

11:5 the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor;[*b]

11:6 and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me’.

11:7 As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No?

11:8 Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces.

11:9 Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet:

11:10 he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you.[*c]

11:11 ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.

11:12 Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm.

11:13 Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading;

11:14 and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return.[*d]

11:15 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!

Jesus condemns his contemporaries

11:16 ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:

11:17 “We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners”.

11:18 ‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed”.

11:19 The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’

Lament over the lake-towns

11:20 Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

11:21 ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

11:22 And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you.

11:23 And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell.[*e] For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet.

11:24 And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

The Good News revealed to the simple. The Father and the Son

11:25 At that time Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.

11:26 Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.

11:27 Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

The gentle mastery of Christ

11:28 ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

11:29 Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[*f]

11:30 Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 12

Picking corn on the sabbath

12:1 At that time Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them.

12:2 The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath’.

12:3 But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry –

12:4 how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone?

12:5 Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it?

12:6 Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple.

12:7 And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless.

12:8 For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’

Cure of the man with a withered hand

12:9 He moved on from there and went to their synagogue,

12:10 and a man was there at the time who had a withered hand. They asked him, ‘Is it against the law to cure a man on the sabbath day?’ hoping for something to use against him.

12:11 But he said to them, ‘If any one of you here had only one sheep and it fell down a hole on the sabbath day, would he not get hold of it and lift it out?

12:12 Now a man is far more important than a sheep, so it follows that it is permitted to do good on the sabbath day.’

12:13 Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’. He stretched it out and his hand was better, as sound as the other one.

12:14 At this the Pharisees went out and began to plot against him, discussing how to destroy him.

Jesus the ‘servant of Yahweh’

12:15 Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all,

12:16 but warned them not to make him known.

12:17 This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

12:18 Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved, the favourite of my soul. I will endow him with my spirit, and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.

12:19 He will not brawl or shout, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

12:20 He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick till he has led the truth to victory:

12:21 in his name the nations will put their hope.[*a]

Jesus and Beelzebul

12:22 Then they brought to him a blind and dumb demoniac; and he cured him, so that the dumb man could speak and see.

12:23 All the people were astounded and said, ‘Can this be the Son of David?’

12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this they said, ‘The man casts out devils only through Beelzebul,[*b] the prince of devils’.

12:25 Knowing what was in their minds he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin; and no town, no household divided against itself can stand.

12:26 Now if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; so how can his kingdom stand?

12:27 And if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges, then.

12:28 But if it is through the Spirit of God that I cast devils out, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you.

12:29 ‘Or again, how can anyone make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first? Only then can he burgle his house.

12:30 ‘He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

12:31 And so I tell you, every one of men’s sins and blasphemies will be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

12:32 And anyone who says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but let anyone speak against the Holy Spirit and he will not be forgiven either in this world or in the next.

Words betray the heart

12:33 ‘Make a tree sound and its fruit will be sound; make a tree rotten and its fruit will be rotten. For the tree can be told by its fruit.

12:34 Brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.

12:35 A good man draws good things from his store of goodness; a bad man draws bad things from his store of badness.

12:36 So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word men utter they will answer on Judgement day,

12:37 since it is by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words condemned.’

The sign of Jonah

12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign[*c] from you.’

12:39 He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah.

12:40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights,[*d] so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

12:41 On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.

12:42 On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.

The return of the unclean spirit

12:43 ‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and cannot find one.

12:44 Then it says, “I will return to the home I came from”. But on arrival, finding it unoccupied, swept and tidied,

12:45 it then goes off and collects seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and set up house there, so that the man ends up by being worse than he was before. That is what will happen to this evil generation.’

The true kinsmen of Jesus

12:46 He was still speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers[*e] appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him.

12:48 But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’

12:49 And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.

12:50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 13



13:1 That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside,

13:2 but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach,

13:3 and he told them many things in parables.

Parable of the sower

He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow.

13:4 As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.

13:5 Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth;

13:6 but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.

13:7 Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

13:8 Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

13:9 Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Why Jesus speaks in parables

13:10 Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’

13:11 ‘Because’ he replied ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them.

13:12 For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

13:13 The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding.

13:14 So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled: You will listen and listen again, but not understand, see and see again, but not perceive.

13:15 For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me.[*a]

13:16 ‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!

13:17 I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

The parable of the sower explained

13:18 ‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower.

13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path.

13:20 The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy.

13:21 But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once.

13:22 The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing.

13:23 And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

Parable of the darnel

13:24 He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

13:25 While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off.

13:26 When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well.

13:27 The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?”

13:28 “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?”

13:29 But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it.

13:30 Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”‘

Parable of the mustard seed

13:31 He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field.

13:32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

Parable of the yeast

13:33 He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through’.

The people are taught only in parables

13:34 In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables.

13:35 This was to fulfil the prophecy: I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.[*b]

The parable of the darnel explained

13:36 Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us’.

13:37 He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man.

13:38 The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one;

13:39 the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels.

13:40 Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time.

13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil,

13:42 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

13:43 Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.[*c] Listen, anyone who has ears!

Parables of the treasure and of the pearl

13:44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

13:45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls;

13:46 when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

Parable of the dragnet

13:47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds.

13:48 When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use.

13:49 This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just

13:50 to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.


13:51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes’.

13:52 And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old’.[*d]



A visit to Nazareth

13:53 When Jesus had finished these parables he left the district;

13:54 and, coming to his home town,[*e] he taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?

13:55 This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude?

13:56 His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?’

13:57 And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’,

13:58 and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 14

Herod and Jesus

14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus,

14:2 and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him’.

John the Baptist beheaded

14:3 Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s[*a] wife:.

14:4 For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her’.

14:5 He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

14:6 Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias[*b] danced before the company, and so delighted Herod

14:7 that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked.

14:8 Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish’.

14:9 The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her,

14:10 and sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

14:11 The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl who took it to her mother.

14:12 John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

First miracle of the loaves

14:13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot.

14:14 So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

14:15 When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food’.

14:16 Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves’.

14:17 But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish’.

14:18 ‘Bring them here to me’ he said.

14:19 He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds.

14:20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full.

14:21 Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.

Jesus walks on the water and, with him, Peter

14:22 Directly after this he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away.

14:23 After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

14:24 while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind.

14:25 In the fourth watch of the night[*c] he went towards them, walking on the lake,

14:26 and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear.

14:27 But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’

14:28 lt was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’

14:29 ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water,

14:30 but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried.

14:31 Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’

14:32 And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.

14:33 The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God’.

Cures at Gennesaret

14:34 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.

14:35 When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him,

14:36 begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were completely cured.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 15

The traditions of the Pharisees

15:1 Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem then came to Jesus and said,

15:2 ‘Why do your disciples break away from the tradition of the elders?[*a] They do not wash their hands when they eat food.’

15:3 ‘And why do you’ he answered ‘break away from the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

15:4 For God said: Do your duty to[*b] your father and mother and: Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.[*c]

15:5 But you say, “If anyone says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is dedicated to God”,

15:6 he is rid of his duty to father or mother.[*d] In this way you have made God’s word null and void by means of your tradition.

15:7 Hypocrites! It was you Isaiah meant when he so rightly prophesied:

15:8 This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.

15:9 The worship they offer me is worthless; the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.'[*e]

On clean and unclean

15:10 He called the people to him and said, ‘Listen, and understand.

15:11 What goes into the mouth does not make a man unclean; it is what comes out of the mouth that makes him unclean.’

15:12 Then the disciples came to him and said, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were shocked when they heard what you said?’

15:13 He replied, ‘Any plant my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.

15:14 Leave them alone. They are blind men leading blind men; and if one blind man leads another, both will fall into a pit.’

15:15 At this, Peter said to him, ‘Explain the parable for us’.

15:16 Jesus replied, ‘Do even you not yet understand?

15:17 Can you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes through the stomach and is discharged into the sewer?

15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is these that make a man unclean.

15:19 For from the heart come evil intentions: murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander.

15:20 These are the things that make a man unclean. But to eat with unwashed hands does not make a man unclean.’

The daughter of the Canaanite woman healed

15:21 Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

15:22 Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’

15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’

15:24 He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’.

15:25 But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’

15:26 He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs’.

15:27 She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table’.

15:28 Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Cures near the lake

15:29 Jesus went on from there and reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there,

15:30 and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them.

15:31 The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.

Second miracle of the loaves

15:32 But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’

15:33 The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’

15:34 Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’

15:35 Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground,

15:36 and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples who gave them to the crowds.

15:37 They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

15:38 Now four thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.

15:39 And when he had sent the crowds away he got into the boat and went to the district of Magadan.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 16

The Pharisees ask for a sign from heaven

16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked if he would show them a sign from heaven.

16:2 He replied, ‘In the evening you say, “It will be fine; there is a red sky”,

16:3 and in the morning, “Stormy weather today; the sky is red and overcast”. You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times.

16:4 It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.’ And leaving them standing there, he went away.

The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

16:5 The disciples, having crossed to the other shore, had forgotten to take any food.

16:6 Jesus said to them, ‘Keep your eyes open, and be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees’.

16:7 And they said to themselves, ‘It is because we have not brought any bread’.

16:8 Jesus knew it, and he said, ‘Men of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?

16:9 Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand and the number of baskets you collected?

16:10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and the number of baskets you collected?

16:11 How could you fail to understand that I was not talking about bread? What I said was: Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

16:12 Then they understood that he was telling them to be on their guard, not against the yeast for making bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.[*a]

Peter’s profession of faith; his pre-eminence

16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’

16:14 And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’.

16:15 ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’

16:16 Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God’.

16:17 Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.

16:18 So I now say to you: You are Peter[*b] and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld[*c] can never hold out against it.

16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.'[*d]

16:20 Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

First prophecy of the Passion

16:21 From that time Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.

16:22 Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you’.

16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’

The condition of following Christ

16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

16:25 For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

16:26 What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?

16:27 ‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.

16:28 I tell you solemnly, there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.'[*e]

JB MATTHEW Chapter 17

The transfiguration

17:1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone.

17:2 There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.

17:3 Suddenly Moses and Elijah[*a] appeared to them; they were talking with him.

17:4 Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’

17:5 He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

17:6 When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear.

17:7 But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’

17:8 And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

The question about Elijah

17:9 As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead’.

17:10 And the disciples put this question to him, ‘Why do the scribes say then that Elijah has to come first?’

17:11 ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be;

17:12 however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’

17:13 The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.

The epileptic demoniac

17:14 As they were rejoining the crowd a man came up to him and went down on his knees before him.

17:15 ‘Lord,’ he said ‘take pity on my son: he is a lunatic and in a wretched state; he is always falling into the fire or into the water.

17:16 I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.’

17:17 ‘Faithless and perverse generation!’ Jesus said in reply ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’

17:18 And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy who was cured from that moment.

17:19 Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. ‘Why were we unable to cast it out? they asked.

17:20 He answered, ‘Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’

Second prophecy of the Passion

17:22 One day when they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men;

17:23 they will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised to life again’. And a great sadness came over them.

The Temple tax paid by Jesus and Peter

17:24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel[*b] came to Peter and said, ‘Does your master not pay the half-shekel?’

17:25 ‘Oh yes’ he replied, and went into the house. But before he could speak, Jesus said, ‘Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?’

17:26 And when he replied, ‘From foreigners’, Jesus said, ‘Well then, the sons are exempt.

17:27 However, so as not to offend these people, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that bites, open its mouth and there you will find a shekel; take it and give it to them for me and for you.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 18


Who is the greatest?

18:1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

18:2 So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them.

18:3 Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

18:4 And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

On leading others astray

18:5 ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

18:6 But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a great millstone round his neck.

18:7 Alas for the world that there should be such obstacles! Obstacles indeed there must be, but alas for the man who provides them!

18:8 ‘If your hand or your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

18:9 And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell of fire.

18:10 ‘See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.[*a]

The lost sheep

18:12 ‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray?

18:13 I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all.

18:14 Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Brotherly correction

18:15 ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, is between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

18:16 If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge.

18:17 But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community;[*b] and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

18:18 ‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.

Prayer in common

18:19 ‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven.

18:20 For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’

Forgiveness of injuries

18:21 Then Peter went up to him and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’

18:22 Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

Parable of the unforgiving debtor

18:23 ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants.

18:24 When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents;[*c]

18:25 but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt.

18:26 At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.”

18:27 And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.

18:28 Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii;[*d] and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said.

18:29 His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you”.

18:30 But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt.

18:31 His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him.

18:32 Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me.

18:33 Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?”

18:34 And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt.

18:35 And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 19



The question about divorce

19:1 Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the part of Judaea which is on the far side of the Jordan.

19:2 Large crowds followed him and he healed them there.

19:3 Some Pharisees approached him, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’

19:4 He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female

19:5 and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?

19:6 They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide’.

19:7 They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’

19:8 ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning.

19:9 Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’


19:10 The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry’.

19:11 But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted.

19:12 There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

Jesus and the children

19:13 People brought little children to him, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away,

19:14 but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’.

19:15 Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

The rich young man

19:16 And there was a man who came to him and asked, ‘Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?’

19:17 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’

19:18 He said, ‘Which?’ ‘These:’ Jesus replied ‘You must not kill. You must not commit adultery. You must not bring false witness.

19:19 Honour your father and mother, and: you must love your neighbour as yourself'[*a]

19:20 The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these. What more do I need to do?’

19:21 Jesus said, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me’.

19:22 But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

The danger of riches

19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

19:24 Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’

19:25 When the disciples heard this they were astonished. ‘Who can be saved, then?’ they said.

19:26 Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he told them ‘this is impossible; for God everything is possible.’

The reward of renunciation

19:27 Then Peter spoke. ‘What about us?’ he said to him ‘We have left everything and followed you. What are we to have, then?’

19:28 Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you solemnly, when all is made new and the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you will yourselves sit on twelve thrones to judge[*b] the twelve tribes of Israel.

19:29 And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life.

19:30 ‘Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 20

Parable of the vineyard labourers

20:1 ‘Now the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard.

20:2 He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard.

20:3 Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place

20:4 and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage”.

20:5 So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same.

20:6 Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?”

20:7 “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too”.

20:8 In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first”.

20:9 So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each.

20:10 When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each.

20:11 They took it, but grumbled at the landowner.

20:12 “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.”

20:13 He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius?

20:14 Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you.

20:15 Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?”

20:16 Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

Third prophecy of the Passion

20:17 Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them,

20:18 ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death

20:19 and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

The mother of Zebedee’s sons makes her request

20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low;

20:21 and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom’.

20:22 ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can’.

20:23 ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup[*a], but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

Leadership with service

20:24 When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers.

20:25 But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt.

20:26 This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant,

20:27 and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave,

20:28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

The two blind men of Jericho

20:29 As they left Jericho a large crowd followed him.

20:30 Now there were two blind men sitting at the side of the road. When they heard that it was Jesus who was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord! Have pity on us, Son of David.’

20:31 And the crowd scolded them and told them to keep quiet, but they only shouted more loudly, ‘Lord! Have pity on us, Son of David.’

20:32 Jesus stopped, called them over and said, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

20:33 They said to him, ‘Lord, let us have our sight back’.

20:34 Jesus felt pity for them and touched their eyes, and immediately their sight returned and they followed him.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 21

The Messiah enters Jerusalem

21:1 When they were near Jerusalem and had come in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,

21:2 saying to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.

21:3 If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back directly”.’

21:4 This took place to fulfil the prophecy:

21:5 Say to the daughter of Zion: Look, your king comes to you; he is humble, he rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.[*a]

21:6 So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them.

21:7 They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them.

21:8 Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path.

21:9 The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting: ‘Hosanna[*b] to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord![*c] Hosanna in the highest heavens!’

21:10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. ‘Who is this?’ people asked,

21:11 and the crowds answered, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee’.

The expulsion of the dealers from the Temple

21:12 Jesus then went into the Temple and drove out all those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling pigeons.[*d]

21:13 ‘According to scripture’ he said ‘my house will be called a house of prayer[*e]; but you are turning it into a robbers’ den'[*f].

21:14 There were also blind and lame people who came to him in the Temple, and he cured them.

21:15 At the sight of the wonderful things he did and of the children shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes were indignant.

21:16 ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ they said to him. ‘Yes,’ Jesus answered ‘have you never read this: By the mouths of children, babes in arms, you have made sure of praise?'[*g]

21:17 With that he left them and went out of the city to Bethany where he spent the night.

The barren fig tree withers. Faith and prayer

21:18 As he was returning to the city in the early morning, he felt hungry.

21:19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it and found nothing on it but leaves. And he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again’; and at that instant the fig tree withered.

21:20 The disciples were amazed when they saw it. ‘What happened to the tree’ they said ‘that it withered there and then?’

21:21 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you solemnly, if you have faith and do not doubt at all, not only will you do what I have done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Get up and throw yourself into the sea”, it will be done.

21:22 And if you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer you will receive.’

The authority of Jesus is questioned

21:23 He had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’

21:24 ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this.

21:25 John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”;

21:26 but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet’.

21:27 So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know’. And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.

Parable of the two sons

21:28 ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today”.

21:29 He answered, “I will not go”, but afterwards thought better of it and went.

21:30 The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir”, but did not go.

21:31 Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.

21:32 For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.

Parable of the wicked husbandmen

21:33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad.

21:34 When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce.

21:35 But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third.

21:36 Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way.

21:37 Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said.

21:38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.”

21:39 So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

21:40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’

21:41 They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives’.

21:42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?[*h]

21:43 I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

21:45 When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them,

21:46 but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 22

Parable of the wedding feast

22:1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once again,

22:2 ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding.

22:3 He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come.

22:4 Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.”

22:5 But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business,

22:6 and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.

22:7 The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town.

22:8 Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy,

22:9 go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding”.

22:10 So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

22:11 When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment,

22:12 and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent.

22:13 Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth”.

22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.’

On tribute to Caesar

22:15 Then the Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap him in what he said.

22:16 And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians,[*a] to say, ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you.

22:17 Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

22:18 But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied, ‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me?

22:19 Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’ They handed him a denarius,

22:20 and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’

22:21 ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. He then said to them, ‘Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God’.

22:22 This reply took them by surprise, and they left him alone and went away.

The resurrection of the dead

22:23 That day some Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him,

22:24 ‘Master, Moses said that if a man dies childless, his brother is to marry the widow, his sister-in-law to raise children for his brother.

22:25 Now we had a case involving seven brothers; the first married and then died without children, leaving his wife to his brother;

22:26 the same thing happened with the second and third and so on to the seventh,

22:27 and then last of all the woman herself died.

22:28 Now at the resurrection to which of those seven will she be wife, since she had been married to them all?’

22:29 Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God.

22:30 For at the resurrection men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven.

22:31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you never read what God himself said to you:

22:32 I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?[*b] God is God, not of the dead, but of the living.’

22:33 And his teaching made a deep impression on the people who heard it.

The greatest commandment of all

22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees they got together

22:35 and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question,

22:36 ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’

22:37 Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

22:38 This is the greatest and the first commandment.

22:39 The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

22:40 On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’

Christ not only son but also Lord of David

22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered round, Jesus put to them this question,

22:42 ‘What is your opinion about the Christ? Whose son is he?’ ‘David’s’ they told him.

22:43 ‘Then how is it’ he said ‘that David, moved by the Spirit, calls him Lord, where he says:

22:44 The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand and I will put your enemies under your feet?[*c]

22:45 ‘If David can call him Lord, then how can he be his son?’

22:46 Not one could think of anything to say in reply, and from that day no one dared to ask him any further questions.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 23

The scribes and Pharisees: their hypocrisy and vanity

23:1 Then addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said,

23:2 ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses.

23:3 You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach.

23:4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they!

23:5 Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels[*a],

23:6 like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues,

23:7 being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

23:8 ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers.

23:9 You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven.

23:10 Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.

23:11 The greatest among you must be your servant.

23:12 Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will exalted.

The sevenfold indictment of the scribes and Pharisees

23:13 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who shut up the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in[*b] who want to.

23:15 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you have him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.

23:16 ‘Alas for you, blind guides! You who say, “If a man swears by the Temple, it has no force; but if a man swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound”.

23:17 Fools and blind! For which is of greater worth, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?

23:18 Or else, “If a man swears by the altar it has no force; but if a man swears by the offering that is on the altar, he is bound”.

23:19 You blind men! For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred?

23:20 Therefore, when a man swears by the altar he is swearing by that and by everything on it.

23:21 And when a man swears by the Temple he is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it.

23:22 And when a man swears by heaven he is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.

23:23 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who pay your tithe of mint and dill and cummin[*c] and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others.

23:24 You blind guides! Straining out gnats and swallowing camels!

23:25 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance.

23:26 Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.

23:27 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of corruption.

23:28 In the same way you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

23:29 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of holy men,

23:30 saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day”.

23:31 So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets!

23:32 Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers began.

Their crimes and approaching punishment

23:33 ‘Serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell?

23:34 This is why, in my turn, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes: some you will slaughter and crucify, some you will scourge in your synagogues and hunt from town to town;

23:35 and so you will draw down on yourselves the blood of every holy man that has been shed on earth, from the blood of Abel the Holy to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah[*d] whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

23:36 I tell you solemnly, all of this will recoil on this generation.

Jerusalem admonished

23:37 ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you refused!

23:38 So be it! Your house will be left to you desolate,

23:39 for, I promise, you shall not see me any more until you say: Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!'[*e]

JB MATTHEW Chapter 24



24:1 Jesus left the Temple, and as he was going away his disciples came up to draw his attention to the Temple buildings.

24:2 He said to them in reply, ‘You see all these? I tell you solemnly, not a single stone here will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’

24:3 And when he was sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came and asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?’

The beginning of sorrows

24:4 And Jesus answered them, ‘Take care that no one deceives you;

24:5 because many will come using my name and saying, “I am the Christ”, and they will deceive many.

24:6 You will hear of wars and rumours of wars; do not be alarmed, for this is something that must happen, but the end will not be yet.

24:7 For nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes here and there.

24:8 All this is only the beginning of the birthpangs.

24:9 ‘Then they will hand you over to be tortured and put to death; and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.

24:10 And then many will fall away; men will betray one another and hate one another.

24:11 Many false prophets will arise; they will deceive many,

24:12 and with the increase of lawlessness, love in most men will grow cold;

24:13 but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.

24:14 ‘This Good News of the kingdom will be proclaimed to the whole world[*a] as a witness to all the nations. And then the end[*b] will come.

The great tribulation of Jerusalem

24:15 ‘So when you see the disastrous abomination, of which the prophet Daniel spoke, set up in the Holy Place (let the reader understand),

24:16 then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains;

24:17 if a man is on the housetop, he must not come down to collect his belongings;

24:18 if a man is in the fields, he must not turn back to fetch his cloak.

24:19 Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!

24:20 Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on a sabbath.

24:21 For then there will be great distress such as, until now, since the world began, there never has been, nor ever will be again.

24:22 And if that time had not been shortened, no one would have survived; but shortened that time shall be, for the sake of those who are chosen.

24:23 ‘If anyone says to you then, “Look, here is the Christ” or, “He is there”, do not believe it;

24:24 for false Christs and false prophets will arise and produce great signs and portents, enough to deceive even the chosen, if that were possible.

24:25 There; I have forewarned you.

The coming of the Son of Man will be evident

24:26 ‘If, then, they say to you, “Look, he is in the desert”, do not go there; “Look, he is in some hiding place”, do not believe it;

24:27 because the coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning striking in the east and flashing far into the west.

24:28 Wherever the corpse is, there will the vultures gather.

The universal significance of this coming

24:29 ‘Immediately after the distress of those days[*c] the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

24:30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven; then too all the peoples of the earth will beat their breasts; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.[*d]

24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The time of this coming

24:32 ‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.

24:33 So with you when you see all these things: know that he is near, at the very gates.

24:34 I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place.[*e]

24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

24:36 But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father only.

Be on the alert

24:37 ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes.

24:38 For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark,

24:39 and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes.

24:40 Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left;

24:41 of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

24:42 ‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.

24:43 You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.

24:44 Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Parable of the conscientious steward

24:45 ‘What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time?

24:46 Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment.

24:47 I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns.

24:48 But as for the dishonest servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time”,

24:49 and sets about beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with drunkards,

24:50 his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know.

24:51 The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 25

Parable of the ten bridesmaids

25:1 ‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

25:2 Five of them were foolish and five were sensible:

25:3 the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil,

25:4 whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps.

25:5 The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.

25:6 But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.”

25:7 At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps,

25:8 and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out”.

25:9 But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves”.

25:10 They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed.

25:11 The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.”

25:12 But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you”.

25:13 So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.

Parable of the talents

25:14 ‘It is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them.

25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third is one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.

25:16 The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more.

25:17 The man who had received two made two more in the same way.

25:18 But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

25:19 Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them.

25:20 The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”

25:21 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness”.

25:22 Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.”

25:23 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness”.

25:24 Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered;

25:25 so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.”

25:26 But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered?

25:27 Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest.

25:28 So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents.

25:29 For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

25:30 As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”

The Last Judgement

25:31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory.

25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.

25:33 He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.

25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome;

25:36 naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”

25:37 Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink?

25:38 When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you;

25:39 sick or in prison and go to see you?”

25:40 And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me”.

25:41 Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

25:42 For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink;

25:43 I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.”

25:44 Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?”

25:45 Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me”.

25:46 And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

JB MATTHEW Chapter 26


The conspiracy against Jesus

26:1 Jesus had now finished all he wanted to say, and he told his disciples,

26:2 ‘It will be Passover, as you know, in two days’ time, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified’.

26:3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas,

26:4 and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death.

26:5 They said, however, ‘It must not be during the festivities; there must be no disturbance among the people’.

The anointing at Bethany

26:6 Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, when

26:7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of the most expensive ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table.

26:8 When they saw this, the disciples were indignant; ‘Why this waste?’ they said.

26:9 ‘This could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.’

26:10 Jesus noticed this. ‘Why are you upsetting the woman?’ he said to them. ‘What she has done for me is one of the good works[*a] indeed!

26:11 You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me.

26:12 When she poured this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.

26:13 I tell you solemnly, wherever in all the world this Good News is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her.’

Judas betrays Jesus

26:14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,

26:15 ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’

26:16 They paid him thirty silver pieces[*b], and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

Preparations for the Passover supper

26:17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread[*c] the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’

26:18 ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”‘

26:19 The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

The treachery of Judas foretold

26:20 When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples.

26:21 And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me’

26:22 They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’

26:23 He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me.

26:24 The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’

26:25 Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

The institution of the Eucharist

26:26 Now as they were eating[*d], Jesus took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat;’ he said ‘this is my body.’

26:27 Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them. ‘Drink all of you from this,’ he said

26:28 ‘for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

26:29 From now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.’

Peter’s denial foretold

26:30 After psalms had been sung[*e] they left for the Mount of Olives.

26:31 Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all lose faith in me this night,[*f] for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,[*g]

26:32 but after my resurrection I shall go before you to Galilee’.

26:33 At this, Peter said, ‘Though all lose faith in you, I will never lose faith’.

26:34 Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you solemnly, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times’.

26:35 Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you’. And all the disciples said the same.


26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a small estate called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray’.

26:37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And sadness came over him, and great distress.

26:38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and keep awake with me.’

26:39 And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’

26:40 He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour?

26:41 You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

26:42 Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said ‘If this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done!’

26:43 And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy.

26:44 Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words.

26:45 Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and take your rest. Now the hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.

26:46 Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is already close at hand.’

The arrest

26:47 He was still speaking when Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people.

26:48 Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them. ‘The one I kiss,’ he had said ‘he is the man. Take him in charge.’

26:49 So he went straight up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi’, and kissed him.

26:50 Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for’. Then they came forward, seized Jesus and took him in charge.

26:51 At that, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.

26:52 Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

26:53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence?

26:54 But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?’

26:55 It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me.’

26:56 Now all this happened to fulfil the prophecies in scripture. Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.

Jesus before the Sanhedrin

26:57 The men who had arrested Jesus led him off to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

26:58 Peter followed him at a distance, and when he reached the high priest’s palace, he went in and sat down with the attendants to see what the end would be.

26:59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus, however false, on which they might pass the death-sentence.

26:60 But they could not find any, though several lying witnesses came forward. Eventually two stepped forward

26:61 and made a statement, ‘This man said, “I have power to destroy the Temple of God and in three days build it up”‘

26:62 The high priest then stood up and said to him, ‘Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?’

26:63 But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, ‘I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’.

26:64 ‘The words are your own’ answered Jesus. ‘Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

26:65 At this, the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed. What need of witnesses have we now? There! You have just heard the blasphemy.

26:66 What is your opinion?’ They answered, ‘He deserves to die’.

26:67 Then they spat in his face and hit him with their fists; others said as they struck him,

26:68 ‘Play the prophet, Christ! Who hit you then?’

Peter’s denials

26:69 Meanwhile Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came up to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean’.

26:70 But he denied it in front of them all. ‘I do not know what you are talking about’ he said.

26:71 When he went out to the gateway another servant-girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This man was with Jesus the Nazarene’.

26:72 And again, with an oath, he denied it, ‘I do not know the man’.

26:73 A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘You are one of them for sure! Why, your accent gives you away.’

26:74 Then he started calling down curses on himself and swearing, ‘I do not know the man’. At that moment the cock crew,

26:75 and Peter remembered what Jesus had said, ‘Before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times’. And he went outside and wept bitterly.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 27

Jesus is taken before Pilate

27:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people met in council to bring about the death of Jesus.

27:2 They had him bound, and led him away to hand him over to Pilate[*a], the governor.

The death of Judas

27:3 When he found that Jesus had been condemned, Judas his betrayer was filled with remorse and took the thirty silver pieces back to the chief priests and elders.

27:4 ‘I have sinned;’ he said ‘I have betrayed innocent blood’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied ‘That is your concern.’

27:5 And flinging down the silver pieces in the sanctuary he made off and hanged himself;

27:6 The chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said, ‘It is against the Law to put this into the treasury; it is blood-money’.

27:7 So they discussed the matter and bought the potter’s field with it as a graveyard for foreigners,

27:8 and this is why the field is called the Field of Blood today.

27:9 The words of the prophet Jeremiah[*b] were then fulfilled: And they took the thirty silver pieces, the sum at which the precious One was priced by children of Israel,

27:10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, just as the Lord directed me.

Jesus before Pilate

27:11 Jesus, then, was brought before the governor, and the governor put to him this question, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus replied, ‘It is you who say it’.

27:12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders he refused to answer at all.

27:13 Pilate then said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many charges they have brought against you?’

27:14 But to the governor’s complete amazement, he offered no reply to any of the charges.

27:15 At festival time it was the governor’s practice to release a prisoner for the people, anyone they chose.

27:16 Now there was at that time a notorious prisoner whose name was Barabbas.

27:17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Which do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’

27:18 For Pilate knew it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

27:19 Now as he was seated in the chair of judgement, his wife sent him a message, ‘Have nothing to do with that man; I have been upset all day by a dream I had about him’.

27:20 The chief priests and the elders, however, had persuaded the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.

27:21 So when the governor spoke and asked them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ they said, ‘Barabbas’.

27:22 ‘But in that case,’ Pilate said to them ‘what am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’

27:23 ‘Why?’ he asked ‘What harm has he done?’ But they shouted all the louder, ‘Let him be crucified!’

27:24 Then Pilate saw that he was making no impression, that in fact a riot was imminent. So he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.’

27:25 And the people, to a man, shouted back, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’

27:26 Then he released Barabbas for them. He ordered Jesus to be first scourged[*c] and then handed over to be crucified.

Jesus is crowned with thorns

27:27 The governor’s soldiers took Jesus with them into the Praetorium and collected the whole cohort round him.

27:28 Then they stripped him and made him wear a scarlet cloak,

27:29 and having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and placed a reed in his right hand. To make fun of him they knelt to him saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’

27:30 And they spat on him and took the reed and struck him on the head with it.

27:31 And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucify him.

The crucifixion

27:32 On their way out, they came across a man from Cyrene, Simon by name, and enlisted him to carry his cross.

27:33 When they had reached a place called Golgotha[*d], that is, the place of the skull,

27:34 they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink.

27:35 When they had finished crucifying him they shared out his clothing by casting lots,

27:36 and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him.

27:37 Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews’.

27:38 At the same time two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.

The crucified Christ is mocked

27:39 The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads

27:40 and said, ‘So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days! Then save yourself! If you are God’s son, come down from the cross!’

27:41 The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way.

27:42 ‘He saved others;’ they said ‘he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.

27:43 He puts his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, “I am the son of God”.’

27:44 Even the robbers who were crucified with him taunted him in the same way.

The death of Jesus

27:45 From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour[*e].

27:46 And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?'[*f]

27:47 When some of those who stood there heard this, they said, ‘The man is calling on Elijah’,

27:48 and one of them quickly ran to get a sponge which he dipped in vinegar[*g] and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink.

27:49 ‘Wait!’ said the rest of them ‘and see if Elijah will come to save him.’

27:50 But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.

27:51 At that, the veil of the Temple[*h] was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked; the rocks were split;

27:52 the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead,

27:53 and these, after his resurrection, came out of the tombs, entered the Holy City and appeared to a number of people.

27:54 Meanwhile the centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said, ‘In truth this was a son of God.’

27:55 And many women were there, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him.

27:56 Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The burial

27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.

27:58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate thereupon ordered it to be handed over.

27:59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud

27:60 and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away.

27:61 Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre.

The guard at the tomb

27:62 Next day, that is, when Preparation Day[*i] was over, the chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pilate

27:63 and said to him, ‘Your Excellency, we recall that this impostor said, while he was still alive, “After three days I shall rise again”.

27:64 Therefore give the order to have the sepulchre kept secure until the third day, for fear his disciples come and steal him away and tell the people, “He has risen from the dead”. This last piece of fraud would be worse than what went before.’

27:65 ‘You may have your guard’ said Pilate to them. ‘Go and make all as secure as you know how.’

27:66 So they went and made the sepulchre secure, putting seals on the stone and mounting a guard.

JB MATTHEW Chapter 28

The empty tomb. The angel’s message

28:1 After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre.

28:2 And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.

28:3 His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow.

28:4 The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men.

28:5 But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay,

28:7 then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him”. Now I have told you.’

28:8 Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

Appearance to the women

28:9 And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet.

28:10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there’.

Precautions taken by the leaders of the people

28:11 While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened.

28:12 These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers

28:13 with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep”.

28:14 And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’

28:15 The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Appearance in Galilee. The mission to the world

28:16 Meanwhile the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them.

28:17 When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.

28:18 Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

28:19 Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,[*a]

28:20 and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

END OF JB MATTHEW [28 Chapters].























































































1:1 The word of Yahweh that was addressed to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.


Prelude: judgement on all creation

1:2 I mean to sweep away everything off the face of the earth – it is Yahweh who speaks.

1:3 I mean to sweep away men and beasts, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, I mean to send the wicked staggering, and wipe man off the face of the earth – it is Yahweh who speaks.

Against the worship of alien gods

1:4 I am going to raise my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and from this place I will wipe out Baal, to the very last vestige of him, even to the name of his spurious priests,

1:5 those who prostrate themselves on the roofs before the array of heaven, those who prostrate themselves before Yahweh but swear by Milcom,[*a]

1:6 those who turn aside from Yahweh, who do not seek Yahweh, who will not bother with him.

1:7 Silence before the Lord Yahweh! For the day of Yahweh is near. Yes, Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.

Against the dignitaries of the court[*b]

1:8 On the day of Yahweh’s sacrifice, I will punish the ministers, the royal princes, and all those who dress themselves in foreign style.

1:9 On that day I mean to punish all those who are near the throne, those who fill the palace of their lord with violence and deceit.

Against the merchants of Jerusalem

1:10 On that day – it is Yahweh who speaks – a shout will be raised from the Fish Gate, from the new town, howls, from the hills, a great uproar.

1:11 Men of the Mortar, howl! For the whole brood of Canaan[*c] has been destroyed, the weighers of silver are all wiped out.

Against unbelievers

1:12 When that time comes I will search Jerusalem by torchlight, and punish the men who are stagnating on their lees, those who say in their hearts, ‘Yahweh has no power for good or for evil’.

1:13 Then their wealth will be given up to looting, their households to plundering. They built houses, did they? They will not live in them. They planted vineyards, did they? They will not drink their wine.

The day of Yahweh

1:14 The great day of Yahweh is near, near, and coming with all speed. How bitter the sound of the day of Yahweh, the day when the warrior shouts his cry of war.

1:15 A day of wrath, that day, a day of distress and agony, a day of ruin and of devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of cloud and blackness,

1:16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against fortified town and high corner-tower.

1:17 I am going to bring such distress on men that they will grope like the blind (because they have sinned against Yahweh); their blood will be scattered like dust, their corpses like dung.

1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold will have any power to save them. On the day of the anger of Yahweh, in the fire of his jealousy, all the earth will be consumed. For he means to destroy, yes, to make an end of all the inhabitants of the earth.


Conclusion: a call to conversion

2:1 ………………. nation without desire,

2:2 before you are driven like chaff that is blown away in a day, before there descends on you the fierce anger of Yahweh (before there descends on you the day of the anger of Yahweh).

2:3 Seek Yahweh, all you, the humble of the earth, who obey his commands. Seek integrity, seek humility: you may perhaps find shelter on the day of the anger of Yahweh.


The enemy to the west: the Philistines

2:4 Yes, Gaza is going to be reduced to desert, Ashkelon to waste. Ashdod will be stormed in broad daylight, and Ekron rooted out.

2:5 Woe to the members of the Confederacy of the Sea, to the nation of the Cherethites! This is the word of Yahweh against you: I mean to bring you down, land of the Philistines, I am going to ruin you, empty you of inhabitants;

2:6 and you will be reduced to pasture land, to grazing grounds for the shepherds, to folds for the sheep.

2:7 It will be included in the property of the remnant of the House of Judah; they will lead flocks there to pasture; among the houses of Ashkelon they will rest at evening; for Yahweh their God is going to deal kindly with them and restore their fortunes.

The enemies to the east: Moab and Ammon

2:8 I have heard the taunts of Moab and the insults of the sons of Ammon as they laughed at my people, and boasted of their own domains.

2:9 For this, as I live – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks, the God of Israel – Moab shall become like Sodom and the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah: a realm of nettles, a heap of salt, a desolation for ever. What is left of my people will plunder them, those of my nation who survive will take their heritage.

2:10 This will be the price of their pride, of their taunts, of their boasts against the people of Yahweh Sabaoth.

2:11 Full of terror will Yahweh be for them. When he has utterly destroyed all the gods of the earth, the nations will prostrate themselves before him, each on its own soil, all the islands of the nations.

The enemy to the south: Ethiopia[*a]

2:12 And as for you, Ethiopians: They will be run through with my sword.

The enemy to the north: Assyria

2:13 He is going to raise his hand against the north and bring Assyria down in ruins; he will make Nineveh a waste, dry as the desert.

2:14 In the middle of her the flocks will rest; all the beasts of the valley, even the pelican and the heron will roost round her cornices at night; the owl will hoot at the window and the raven croak on the doorstep. …………………..

2:15 Is this the joyful city, so confident on her throne, who said in her heart, ‘Here am I, with none to equal me’? What a ruin she is now, a lair for beasts! All those who pass by her whistle and shake their fists.



Against the leaders of the people

3:1 Trouble is coming to the rebellious, the defiled, the tyrannical city!

3:2 She would never listen to the call, would never learn the lesson; she has never trusted in Yahweh, never drawn near to her God.

3:3 The leaders she harbours are roaring lions, her judges, wolves at evening that have had nothing to gnaw that morning;

3:4 her prophets are braggarts, they are impostors; her priests profane the holy things, they do violence to the Law.

3:5 Yahweh is in her, he is just and honourable; he never does wrong; morning by morning he makes his law known, each dawn unfailingly; he knows no injustice.

The pagans punished

3:6 I have wiped out nations, their corner-towers lie in ruins; I have emptied their streets, no one walks there; their towns have been sacked: no one left there, no more inhabitants.

3:7 ‘At least,’ I used to say ‘you will fear me now, you will learn the lesson; she cannot lose sight of the many times I have punished her.’ But no, it only made them more anxious to see that all they did was corrupt.

3:8 Therefore, expect me – it is Yahweh who speaks – on the day I stand up to make my accusation; for I am determined to gather the nations, to assemble the kingdoms, and to pour out my fury on you, the whole heat of my anger.


Conversion of the pagans

3:9 Yes, I will then give the peoples lips that are clean, so that all may invoke the name of Yahweh and serve him under the same yoke.

3:10 From beyond the banks of the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants will bring me offerings.

The humble remnant of Israel

3:11 When that day comes you need feel no shame for all the misdeeds you have committed against me, for I will remove your proud boasters from your midst; and you will cease to strut on my holy mountain.

3:12 In your midst I will leave a humble and lowly people,

3:13 and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of Yahweh. They will do no wrong, will tell no lies; and the perjured tongue will no longer be found in their mouths. But they will be able to graze and rest with no one to disturb them.

Psalms of joy in Zion

3:14 Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!

3:15 Yahweh has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away. Yahweh, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.

3:16 When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.

3:17 Yahweh your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you

3:18 as on a day of festival.

Return of the exiles

I have taken away your misfortune, no longer need you bear the disgrace of it.

3:19 I am taking action here and now against your oppressors. When that time comes I will rescue the lame, and gather the strays, and I will win them praise and renown when I restore their fortunes.

3:20 When that times comes, I will be your guide, when that time comes, I will gather you in; I will give you praise and renown among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes under your own eyes, says Yahweh.





A summons to conversion

1:1 In the second year of Darius, in the eighth month[*a] the word of Yahweh was addressed to the prophet Zechariah (son of Berechiah),[*b] son of Iddo, as follows,

1:3 ‘Cry out to the remnant of this people and say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Return to me, and I will return to you, says Yahweh Sabaoth.

1:4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried: Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds. But – it is Yahweh who speaks – they would not listen or pay attention to me.

1:5 Where are your ancestors now? Are those prophets still alive?

1:6a Did not my words and my orders, with which I charged my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

1:2 Yahweh was stirred to anger against your ancestors.” ‘

1:6b This reduced them to such confusion that they said, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth has treated us as he resolved to do, and as our ways and deeds deserved.’

First vision: the horsemen

1:7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (the month of Shebat), in the second year of Darius,[*c] the word of Yahweh was addressed to the prophet Zechariah (son of Berechiah), son of Iddo, as follows,

1:8 ‘I saw a vision during the night. It was this: a man was standing among the deep-rooted myrtles; behind him were horses, red and sorrel and black and white.

1:9 I said: What are these, my lord? (And the angel who was talking to me said, “I will explain to you what they are”.)

1:10 The man standing among the myrtles answered, “They are those whom Yahweh has sent to patrol throughout the world”.

1:11 They then spoke to the angel of Yahweh standing among the myrtles; they said, “We have been patrolling the world, and see, the whole world is at peace and rest”.

1:12 The angel of Yahweh then spoke and said, “Yahweh Sabaoth, how long will you wait before taking pity on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, on which you have inflicted your anger for the past seventy years?”

1:13 Yahweh then replied with very consoling words to the angel who was talking to me.

1:14 The angel who was talking to me then said to me, “Make this proclamation: Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I feel most jealous love for Jerusalem and Zion,

1:15 but very bitter anger against is the proud nations; for my part I was only a little angry, but they have overstepped all limits.

1:16 Yahweh, then, says this. I turn again in compassion to Jerusalem; my Temple there shall be rebuilt – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – and the measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.

1:17 Make this proclamation too: Yahweh Sabaoth says this: My cities are once more going to be very prosperous. Yahweh will again take pity on Zion, again make Jerusalem his very own.”‘


Second vision: the horns and the smiths

2:1 Then, raising my eyes, I saw a vision. It was this: there were four horns.

2:2 I said to the angel who was talking to me, ‘What are these horns, my lord?’ He said to me, ‘These are the horns which have scattered Judah (Israel) and Jerusalem’.

2:3 Yahweh then showed me four smiths.

2:4 And I said, ‘What are these coming to do?’ He said to me, ‘(Those are the horns which have so scattered Judah that no one has dared to raise his head; but) these have come to lay them low (to strike down the horns of the nations who lifted their hands against the land of Judah, in order to scatter it)’.

Third vision: the measurer

2:5 Then, raising my eyes, I saw a vision. It was this: there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.

2:6 I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to find out her breadth and her length’.

2:7 and then, while the angel who was talking to me stood still, another angel came forward to meet him.

2:8 He said to him, ‘Run, and tell that young man this, “Jerusalem is to remain unwalled, because of the great number of men and cattle there will be in her.

2:9 But I – it is Yahweh who speaks – I will be a wall of fire for her all round her, and I will be her glory in the midst of her.”‘

Two exhortations to the exiles

2:10 Up, up, and leave the land of the North (it is Yahweh who speaks)!(For to the four winds of heaven I have scattered you – it is Yahweh who speaks.)

2:11 Zion, up! Dweller in Babylon, flee!

2:12 For Yahweh Sabaoth says this (he whose glory has sent me here) as regards the nations who despoiled you (for whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye):

2:13 See now, I raise my hand over them, for them to be plunder for their slaves. (And you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me.)

2:14 Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion; for I am coming to dwell in the middle of you – it is Yahweh who speaks.

2:15 Many nations will join Yahweh, on that day; they will become his people. (But he will remain among you, and you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you.)

2:16 But Yahweh will hold Judah as his portion in the Holy Land, and again make Jerusalem his very own.

2:17 Let all mankind be silent before Yahweh! For he is awaking and is coming from his holy dwelling.


Fourth vision: the investiture of Joshua

3:1 He[*a] showed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of Yahweh, with Satan standing on his right to accuse him.

3:2 The angel of Yahweh said to Satan, ‘May Yahweh rebuke you, Satan, may Yahweh rebuke you, he who has made Jerusalem his very own. Is not this man a brand snatched from the fire?'[*b]

3:3 Now Joshua was dressed in dirty clothes[*c] as he stood before the angel of Yahweh.

3:4a The angel said these words to those who stood before him, ‘Take off his dirty clothes and clothe him in splendid robes of state,

3:5 and put a clean turban on his head’. They clothed him in splendid robes of state and put a clean turban on his head.[*d] The angel of Yahweh was standing there and said to him,

3:4b ‘Look, I have taken away your iniquity from you’.

3:6 The angel of Yahweh then proclaimed to Joshua:

3:7 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this, “If you walk in my ways and keep my ordinances, you shall govern my house, you shall watch over my courts, and I will give you free access among those who stand here.

3:9a For this is the stone which I am placing before Joshua; on this single stone there are seven eyes; and I myself intend to cut the inscription on it – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

The coming of the ‘Branch’

3:8 “Now listen, High Priest Joshua, you and the friends who sit before you – for you are men of good omen. I now mean to raise my servant Branch,

3:9b and I intend to put aside the iniquity of this land in a single day.

3:10 On that day-it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks-you will entertain each other under your vine and fig tree.”


Fifth vision: the lamp-stand and the olive trees

4:1 The angel who was talking to me came back and roused me as a man is roused from his sleep.

4:2 And he asked me, ‘What can you see?’ I answered, ‘As I look, this is what I see: there is a lamp-stand entirely of gold with a bowl at the top of it; seven lamps are on the lamp-stand, and seven lips for the lamps on it.

4:3 By it are two olive trees, one to the right of it and one to the left.’

4:4 Speaking again, I said to the angel who was talking to me, ‘What do those things mean, my lord?’

4:5 The angel who was talking to me replied, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ I said, ‘No, my lord’.

4:6a He then gave me this answer,

4:10b ‘These seven are the eyes of Yahweh; they cover the whole world’.

4:11 In reply to this I asked him, ‘What is the meaning of these two olive trees, to the right

and to the left of the lamp-stand?’

4:12 (Speaking again, I asked him, ‘What is the meaning of the two olive branches pouring the oil through the two golden pipes?’)

4:13 He replied, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ I said, ‘No, my lord’.

4:14 He said, ‘These are the two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of the whole world.[*a]

Three sayings about Zerubbabel

4:6b ‘This is the word of Yahweh with regard to Zerubbabel, “Not by might and not by power, but by my spirit, says Yahweh Sabaoth.

4:7 “What are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, be a plain! He will pull out the keystone to shouts of: Blessings on it, blessings on it!”‘

4:8 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

4:9 ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this Temple; his hands will finish it. (And you will learn that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you.)

4:10a A day for little things, no doubt, but who would dare despise it? People will rejoice when they see the chosen stone in the hands of Zerubbabel.’


Sixth vision: the flying scroll

5:1 Again I raised my eyes, and this is what I saw: a flying scroll.

5:2 The angel who was talking to me said, ‘What can you see?’ I replied, ‘I can see a flying scroll; it is twenty cubits long and ten cubits broad’.

5:3 He then said to me, ‘This is the Curse sweeping across the face of the whole country. According to what it says, every thief will be banished; according to what it says, everyone who swears falsely by my name will be banished.

5:4 I am going to let it loose – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – to enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name, to settle in his house and to consume it, timber, stone and all.’

Seventh vision: the woman in the bushel

5:5 The angel who was talking to me came forward and said to me, ‘Raise your eyes, and see what this is, moving forward’.

5:6 I said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘This is a bushel moving forward’. He went on, ‘This is their iniquity throughout the country’.

5:7 At this, a disc of lead was raised, and I saw a Woman sitting inside the bushel.

5:8 He said, ‘This is Wickedness’. And he forced her back into the bushel and closed its mouth with the mass of lead.

5:9 I raised my eyes, and this is what I saw: two women appearing. The wind caught their wings – they had wings like a stork’s; they raised the bushel midway between earth and heaven.

5:10 I then said to the angel who was talking to me, ‘Where are they taking the bushel?’

5:11 He replied, ‘They mean to build a temple for it in the land of Shinar, and to make a plinth on which to place it’.[*a]


Eighth vision: the chariots

6:1 Again I raised my eyes, and this is what I saw: four chariots coming out between the two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.

6:2 The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot had black horses,

6:3 the third chariot had white horses and the fourth chariot had (vigorous) piebald horses.

6:4 I asked the angel who was talking to me, I said, ‘What is the meaning of these, my lord?’

6:5 The angel answered, ‘These are going out to the four winds of heaven after standing before the Lord of the whole world.

6:6 The red horses are going out to the country of the East; the black horses are going out to the country of the North; the white are going out to the country of the West and the piebald are going out to the country of the South.’

6:7 They came out vigorously, eager to patrol the world. He said to them, ‘Go and patrol the world’. And they patrolled the world.

6:8 He called me and said to me, ‘See, those going northward is will make the spirit of Yahweh descend on the country of the North.[*a]

6:15 And those who are far away will come and rebuild the sanctuary of Yahweh. (And you will learn that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you.) (This will happen if you listen carefully to the voice of Yahweh your God.)’

The votive crown

6:9 And the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

6:10 ‘Take the offerings of the captives,[*b] of Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, and go to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah, who has arrived from Babylon.

6:11 Take the silver and gold, make a crown and set it on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.[*c]

6:12 And say this to him, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Here is a man whose name is Branch; where he is, there will be a branching out (and he will rebuild the sanctuary of Yahweh).

6:13 It is he who is going to rebuild the sanctuary of Yahweh. It is he who is going to wear the royal insignia. He will sit on his throne as ruler. And a priest shall be at his right hand. Perfect peace will reign between these two;

6:14 while the crown will be a glorious memorial to Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, and to Josiah, son of Zephaniah, in the sanctuary of Yahweh.”‘


A question on fasting

7:1 In the fourth year of King Darius (the word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah), on the fourth day of the ninth month[*a] (the month of Chislev),

7:2 Bethel sent Sharezer and his men to entreat the favour of Yahweh

7:3 and to say to the priests in the Temple of Yahweh Sabaoth, and to his prophets, ‘Ought I to go on mourning and fasting in the fifth month as I have been doing for so many years past?'[*b]

The nation’s past surveyed

7:4 Then the word of Yahweh Sabaoth was addressed to me as follows,

7:5 ‘Say to all the people of the country, and to the priests, “While you have been fasting and mourning in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it for my sake you fasted so rigorously?

7:6 And when you were eating and drinking, were not you the eaters and you the drinkers?

7:7 Do you not know the words which Yahweh proclaimed through the prophets in the past, when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure, with her surrounding towns, and when the Negeb and the Lowlands were inhabited?

7:8 (The word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah as follows:

7:9 Yahweh Sabaoth says this.) He said: Apply the law fairly, and practise kindness and compassion towards each other.

7:10 Do not oppress the widow and the orphan, the settler and the poor man, and do not secretly plan evil against one another.

7:11 But they would not pay attention; they turned a petulant shoulder; they stopped their ears rather than hear;

7:12 they made their hearts adamant rather than listen to the teaching and the words that Yahweh Sabaoth had sent by his spirit through the prophets in the past. This aroused great anger on the part of Yahweh Sabaoth.

7:13 And this is what happened, since he kept calling them and they would not listen (similarly they will call and I shall not listen, says Yahweh Sabaoth):

7:14 he scattered them throughout nations unknown to them; hence the country was reduced to desolation behind them, and no one came or went. They turned a land of delights into a desert.”‘


A prospect of messianic salvation

8:1 The word of Yahweh Sabaoth was addressed to me as follows:

8:2 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. I am burning with jealousy for Zion, with great anger for her sake.

8:3 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. I am coming back to Zion and shall dwell in the middle of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called Faithful City and the mountain of Yahweh Sabaoth, the Holy Mountain.

8:4 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. Old men and old women will again sit down in the squares of Jerusalem; every one of them staff in hand because of their great age.

8:5 And the squares of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in the squares.

8:6 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. If this seems a miracle to the remnant of this people (in those days), will it seem one to me? It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

8:7 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. Now I am going to save my people from the countries of the East and from the countries of the West.

8:8 I will bring them back to live inside Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God in faithfulness and integrity.

8:9 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. Let your hands be strong, you who here and now listen to these words from the mouths of the prophets who have been prophesying since the day when the Temple of Yahweh Sabaoth had its foundation laid for the rebuilding of the sanctuary.

8:10 For before the present day men were not paid their wages and nothing was paid for the animals either; and because of the enemy there was no security for a man to go about his business; I had set every man against everyone else.

8:11 But now, with the remnant of this people, I am not as I was in the past. It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

8:12 For I mean to spread peace everywhere; the vine will give its fruit, the earth its increase, and heaven its dew. I am going to bestow all these blessings on the remnant of this people.

8:13 Just as once you were a curse among the nations, you House of Judah (and House of Israel), so I mean to save you for you to become a blessing. Do not be afraid; let your hands be strong.

8:14 For Yahweh Sabaoth says this. Just as I once resolved to inflict evil on you when your ancestors provoked me-says Yahweh Sabaoth-and as I did not then relent,

8:15 So now I have another purpose, and I intend in the present day to confer benefits on Jerusalem and on the House of Judah. Do not be afraid.

8:16 ‘These are the things that you must do. Speak the truth to one another; let the judgements at your gates be such as conduce to peace;

8:17 do not secretly plot evil against one another; do not love false oaths; since all this is what I hate. It is Yahweh who speaks.’

The answer to the question on fasting

8:18 The word of Yahweh Sabaoth was addressed to me as follows:

8:19 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth are to become gladness and happiness and days of joyful feasting for the House of Judah.[*a] But love the truth and peace!

A prospect of messianic salvation

8:20 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. There will be other peoples yet, and citizens of great cities.

8:21 And the inhabitants of one city will go to the next and say, “Come, let us go and entreat the favour of Yahweh, and seek Yahweh Sabaoth; I am going myself”

8:22 And many peoples and great nations will come to seek Yahweh Sabaoth in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of Yahweh.

8:23 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this. In those days, ten men of nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say, “We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you”.’



9:1 An oracle.

The new promised land[*a]

Yahweh has passed through the land of Hadrach and Damascus is his dwelling place; for the cities of Aram belong to Yahweh no less than all the tribes of Israel;

9:2 Hamath too, which borders on it, (Tyre) and Sidon also, despite her acumen.

9:3 Tyre has built herself a rampart, has heaped up silver like dust and gold like the dirt of the streets.

9:4 And now the Lord is going to take possession of her; he will topple her power into the sea; she herself will be consumed by fire.

9:5 Seeing this, Ashkelon will be terrified, and Gaza be seized with trembling, so will Ekron, at the ruin of her prospects; the king will vanish from Gaza and Ashkelon remain unpeopled,

9:6 but the bastard[*b] will live in Ashdod! I mean to destroy the arrogance of the Philistine;

9:7 I intend to take his blood out of his mouth and his abomination from between his teeth.[*c] He too will become a remnant for our God and be like a family in Judah: Ekron shall be like the Jebusite.[*d]

9:8 Near my house I will take my stand like a watchman on guard against prowlers; the tyrant shall pass their way no more, because I have now taken notice of its distress.

The Messiah

9:9 Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

9:10 He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace for the nations. His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

The restoration of Israel

9:11 As for you, because of the blood of your covenant I am sending back your prisoners from the pit (in which there is no water).

9:12 To you, daughter of Zion, the hopeful captives will return. In compensation for your days of banishment I will give you back double.

9:13 For I bend my bow; it is Judah; I make Ephraim its arrow. I am going to brandish your children, Zion, (against your children, Javan);[*e] I mean to make you like the sword of a hero.

9:14 Yahweh will appear above them and his arrow will flash out like lightning. (The Lord) Yahweh will sound the trumpet and advance in the storms of the south.

9:15 Yahweh (Sabaoth) will protect them! They will trample sling stones underfoot, they will drink blood like wine, they will be soaked in it like the horns of an altar.

9:16 Yahweh their God will give them victory when that day comes;

he will pasture his people like a flock (like the flashing jewels of a diadem) on his land.

9:17 What joy and what beauty shall be theirs! Corn will make the young men flourish, and sweet wine the maidens.


Faithfulness to Yahweh

10:1 Ask Yahweh for rain at the time of the spring rains. For it is Yahweh who sends the lightning and gives the showers of rain; he gives bread to man, and grass to the cattle.

10:2 Because the teraphim utter futile words and the diviners have lying visions[*a] and publish empty dreams and voice misleading nonsense, naturally the people stray like sheep; they wander because they have no shepherd.

Israel’s deliverance and return

10:3 ‘My anger burns against the shepherds, and I mean to punish the he-goats.’ Yes, Yahweh (Sabaoth) will take care of his flock (the House of Judah), he will make it his proud steed (in battle).

10:4 From him will issue Cornerstone and Tent-peg,[*b] from him the Bow of battle, from him all the Leaders. Together

10:5 they will be like heroes trampling the dirt of the streets (in battle); they will fight, since Yahweh is with them, and the riders of horses will be thrown into confusion.

10:6 And I will make the House of Judah mighty, and the House of Joseph victorious. I am going to restore them, because I have taken pity on them, and they shall be as though I had never cast them off (for I am Yahweh their God and I mean to answer their prayer).

10:7 Ephraim will be like a hero. Their hearts will be cheered as though by wine. Their sons will look on this in gladness, their hearts will exult in Yahweh.

10:8 I am going to whistle to them and gather them in (for I have redeemed them);

they will be as numerous as they used to be.

10:9 I have scattered them among the peoples but from far away they will remember me (they will teach their sons, and these will return).

10:10 I mean to bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria; I shall lead them into the land of Gilead (and Lebanon), and even that will not be large enough for them.

10:11 They will pass through the sea of Egypt (and he will strike the waves on the sea); all the depths of the Nile will be dried up. The arrogance of Assyria will be cast down and the sceptre of Egypt be taken away.

10:12 Their strength will be in Yahweh; in his name they will glory: it is Yahweh who speaks.


11:1 Open your gateways, Lebanon, and let the fire burn down your cedars.

11:2 (Wail, cypress, for felled is the cedar, the mighty ones have been brought low!) Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the impenetrable forest has been felled!

11:3 The wailing of the shepherds is heard; their glorious pastures have been ruined. The roaring of the young lions is heard; the thickets of the Jordan have been laid waste.

The two shepherds

11:4 This is how Yahweh spoke to me, ‘Pasture the sheep bred for slaughter,

11:5 whose buyers kill them and go unpunished, whose sellers say of them, “Blessed be Yahweh; now I am rich!” and their shepherds handle[*a] them without kindness.

11:6 (For no longer am I going to show kindness to the inhabitants of the world – it is Yahweh who speaks. But instead I mean to hand over every man to the next, and to his king. They shall devastate the world and I will not deliver them from their hands.)’

11:7 Then I began to pasture these sheep bred for slaughter for the sheepdealers. I took two staves: one I called Goodwill, the other Union. And so I began to pasture the sheep.

11:8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month.[*b] But I began to dislike the sheep, and they equally detested me.

11:9 I then said, ‘I am going to pasture you no longer; let those that wish to die, die; let those that wish to perish, perish; and let those that are left devour each other’s flesh!’ .

11:10 I then took my staff, Goodwill, and broke it in half, to break the covenant Yahweh had made with all the peoples.[*c]

11:11 When it was broken, that day the dealers, who were watching me, realised that this had been a word of Yahweh.

11:12 I then said to them, ‘If you think it right, give me my wages; if not, never mind’. And they weighed out my wages: thirty shekels of silver.[*d]

11:13 But Yahweh told me, ‘Throw it into the treasury, this princely sum at which they have valued me’. Taking the thirty shekels of silver, I threw them into the Temple of Yahweh, into the treasury.

11:14 I then broke my second staff, Union, in half, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.[*e]

11:15 Next, Yahweh said to me, ‘Now take the gear of an incompetent shepherd.

11:16 For I am now going to raise an incompetent shepherd in this country. He will not bother about the lost; he will not look for the stray; he will not heal the wounded; he will not support the weary; but he will only eat the flesh of the fat beasts and tear off their hoofs.

11:17 ‘Trouble is coming to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm wither entirely, may his eye be totally blinded!’


The deliverance and restoration of Jerusalem

12:1 An oracle. The word of Yahweh about Israel. It is Yahweh who speaks, I who spread out the heaven and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:

12:2 ‘Look, I am going to make Jerusalem an intoxicating cup to all the surrounding peoples…

12:3 ‘When that day comes, I mean to make Jerusalem a stone to be lifted by all the peoples; all who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely. (And all the nations of the earth will mass against her.)

12:4 When that day comes – it is Yahweh who speaks – l intend to strike all the horses with confusion and their riders with madness. (But on the House of Judah I will open my eyes.) And I will strike all the horses of the peoples with blindness.

12:5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, “Strength for the citizens of Jerusalem is in Yahweh Sabaoth their God”.

12:6 When that day comes I mean to make the clans of Judah like a brazier burning in a pile of wood, like a flaming torch in stubble; and they will consume the peoples round them to right and left. And Jerusalem shall stand firm in her place.

12:7 Yahweh will save the tents of Judah first to forestall the arrogance of the House of David and the arrogance of the citizens of Jerusalem from rising to the detriment of Judah.

12:8 When that day comes, Yahweh will spread his protection over the citizens of Jerusalem; the one among them who was about to fall will be like David on that day, and the House of David will be like God (like the angel of Yahweh) at their head.

12:9 ‘When that day comes, I shall set myself to destroy all the nations who advance against Jerusalem.

12:10 But over the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem I will pour out a spirit of kindness and prayer. They will look on the one whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as for an only son, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child.

12:11 When that day comes, there will be great mourning in Judah, like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

12:12 And the country will mourn clan by clan; the clan of the House of David apart, with their wives by themselves;

12:13 the clan of the House of Nathan apart, with their wives by themselves; the clan of the House of Levi apart, with their wives by themselves; the clan of Shimei apart, with their wives by themselves.

12:14 All the clans that remain, clan by clan, with their wives by themselves.


13:1 When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem, for sin and impurity.

13:2 When that day comes – it is Yahweh (Sabaoth) who speaks – I am going to root out the names of the idols from the country, and they shall never be mentioned again; and I will also rid the country of the prophets, and of the spirit of impurity.

13:3 If anyone still wants to prophesy, his father and the mother who gave him birth shall say to him, “You have no right to live, since you utter lies in the name of Yahweh”. And while he is prophesying, his father and the mother who gave him birth shall run him through.

13:4 When that day comes, every prophet shall be ashamed of his prophetic vision; they will no longer put on their hair cloaks to utter their lies,

13:5 but they will all say, “I am no prophet. I am a peasant; the land has been my living ever since I was a boy.”

13:6 And if anyone asks him, “Then what are these wounds on your body?” he will reply, “These I received in the house of my friends”.

Invocation to the sword; the new people

13:7 ‘Awake, sword, against my shepherd and against the man who is my companion – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks. I am going to strike the shepherd so that the sheep may be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the weak.

13:8 And it will happen throughout this territory – it is Yahweh who speaks – that two-thirds in it will be cut off (‘will be killed’) and the remaining third will be left.

13:9 I will lead that third into the fire, and refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name and I shall listen; and I shall say: These are my people; and each will say, “Yahweh is my God!”‘


The eschatological battle; the splendour of Jerusalem

14:1 See, day is coming for Yahweh when the spoils taken from you will be divided among you.

14:2 Yahweh will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle. The city will be taken, the houses plundered, the women ravished. Half the city will go into captivity, but the remnant of the people will not be cut off from the city.

14:3 Then Yahweh will take the field; he will fight against these nations as he fights in the day of battle.

14:4 On that day, his feet will rest on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge gorge; half the Mount will recede northwards, the other half southwards.

14:5 And the Vale of Hinnom will be filled up from Goah to Jasol; it will be blocked as it was by the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Yahweh your God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

14:6 When that day comes, there will be no more cold, no more frost.

14:7 It will be a day of wonder-Yahweh knows it-with no alternation of day and night; in the evening it will be light.

14:8 When that day comes, running waters will issue from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea, half of them to the western sea; they will flow summer and winter.

14:9 And Yahweh will be king of the whole world. When that day comes, Yahweh will be unique and his name unique.

14:10 The entire country will be transformed into plain, from Geba to Rimmon in the Negeb. And Jerusalem will be raised higher, though still in the same place; from the Gate of Benjamin to the site of the First Gate, that is to say to the Gate of the Corner and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepress,

14:11 people will make their homes. The ban will be lifted; Jerusalem will be safe to live in.

14:12 And this is the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the nations who have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh will moulder while they are still standing on their feet; their eyes will rot in their sockets; their tongues will rot in their mouths.

14:15 And such will be the plague on the horses and mules, camels and donkeys, and all the animals to be found in that camp. When that day comes, a great terror will fall on them from Yahweh; each man will grab his neighbour’s hand and they will hit out at each other.

14:14 Even Judah will fight against Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be heaped together: gold, silver, clothing, in vast quantity.

14:16 All who survive of all the nations that have marched against Jerusalem will go up year by year to worship the King, Yahweh Sabaoth, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles.

14:17 Should one of the races of the world fail to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh Sabaoth, there will be no rain for that one.

14:18 Should the race of Egypt fail to go up and pay its visit, on it will fall the plague which Yahweh will inflict on each one of those nations that fail to go up to keep the feast of Tabernacles.

14:19 Such shall be the punishment for Egypt and for all the nations that fail to go up to keep the feast of Tabernacles.

14:20 When that day comes, the horse bells will be inscribed with the words, ‘Sacred to Yahweh’, and in the Temple of Yahweh the very cooking pots will be as fine as the sprinkling bowls at the altar.

14:21 And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall become sacred to Yahweh Sabaoth; all who want to offer sacrifice will come and help themselves from them for their cooking; there will be no more traders in the Temple of Yahweh Sabaoth, when that day comes.

END OF JB ZACHARIAH [14 Chapters].


JB WISDOM Chapter 1


On seeking God and rejecting evil

1:1 Love virtue, you who are judges on earth,[*a] let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart;

1:2 since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him.

1:3 But selfish intentions divorce from God; and Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish.

1:4 No, Wisdom will never make its way into a crafty soul nor stay in a body that is in debt to sin;

1:5 the holy spirit of instruction shuns deceit, it stands aloof from reckless purposes, is taken aback when iniquity appears.

1:6 Wisdom is a spirit, a friend to man, though she will not pardon the words of a blasphemer, since God sees into the innermost parts of him, truly observes his heart, and listens to his tongue.

1:7 The spirit of the Lord, indeed, fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every word that is said.

1:8 The man who gives voice to injustice will never go unnoticed, nor shall avenging Justice pass him by.

1:9 For the godless man’s deliberations will be examined, and a report of his words will reach the Lord to convict him of his crimes.

1:10 There is a jealous ear that overhears everything, not so much as a murmur of complaint escapes it.

1:11 Beware, then, of complaining about nothing, and keep your tongue from finding fault; since the most secret word will have repercussions, and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.

1:12 Do not court death by the errors of your ways, nor invite destruction through your own actions.

1:13 Death was not God’s doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living.

1:14 To be – for this he created all; the world’s created things have health in them, in them no fatal poison can be found, and Hades[*b] holds no power on earth;

1:15 for virtue is undying.

Life as the godless see it

1:16 But the godless call with deed and word for Death, counting him friend, they wear themselves out for him, with him they make a pact, and are fit to be his partners.

JB WISDOM Chapter 2

2:1 For they say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning: ‘Our life is short and dreary, nor is there any relief when man’s end comes, nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades.

2:2 By chance we came to birth, and after this life we shall be as if we had never been. The breath in our nostrils is a puff of smoke, reason a spark from the beating of our hearts;

2:3 put this out and our body turns to ashes, and the spirit melts away like idle air.

2:4 In time, our name will be forgotten, nobody will remember what we have done; our life will pass away like wisps of cloud, dissolve like the mist that the sun’s rays drive away and the heat of it overwhelms.

2:5 Yes, our days are the passing of a shadow, from our death there is no turning back, the seal is set: no one returns.

2:6 ‘Come then, let us enjoy what good things there are, use this creation with the zest of youth:

2:7 take our fill of the dearest wines and perfumes, let not one flower of springtime pass us by,

2:8 before they wither crown ourselves with roses.

2:9 Let none of us forgo his part in our orgy, let us leave the signs of our revelry everywhere, this is our portion, this the lot assigned us.

2:10 ‘As for the virtuous man who is poor, let us oppress him; let us not spare the widow, nor respect old age, white-haired with many years.

2:11 Let our strength be the yardstick of virtue, since weakness argues its own futility.

2:12 Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our breaches of the law and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.

2:13 He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a son of the Lord.

2:14 Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;

2:15 his way of life is not like other men’s, the paths he treads are unfamiliar.

2:16 In his opinion we are counterfeit; he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth; he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy and boasts of having God for his father.

2:17 Let us see if what he says is true, let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.

2:18 If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.

2:19 Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof.

2:20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

The godless gravely mistaken

2:21 This is the way they reason, but they are misled, their malice makes them blind.

2:22 They do not know the hidden things of God, they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded, they can see no reward for blameless souls.

2:23 Yet God did make man imperishable, he made him in the image of his own nature;

2:24 it was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world, as those who are his partners will discover.

JB WISDOM Chapter 3

The destinies of good and bad men compared

3:1 But the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.

3:2 In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster,

3:3 their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.

3:4 If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality;

3:5 slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be. God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him;

3:6 he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.

3:7 When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.

3:8 They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king for ever.

3:9 They who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

3:10 But the godless will be duly punished for their reasoning, for neglecting the virtuous man and deserting the Lord.

3:11 Yes, wretched are they who scorn wisdom and discipline:[*a] their hope is void, their toil unavailing, their achievements unprofitable;

3:12 their wives are reckless, their children depraved, their descendants accursed.

Better be barren than have godless children

3:13 Blessed the barren woman[*b] if she be blameless, she who has known no guilty bed; her fruitfulness will be seen at the scrutiny of souls.

3:14 Blessed, too, the eunuch[*c] whose hand has committed no crime, who has contemplated no wrong against the Lord; for his loyalty special favour will be granted him, a most desirable portion in the temple of the Lord.

3:15 For the fruit of honest labours is glorious, and the root of understanding does not decay.

3:16 But children of adulterers,[*d] these shall have no future, the offspring of an unlawful bed must vanish.

3:17 Even if they live long, they will count for nothing, their old age will go unhonoured at the last;

3:18 while if they die early, they have neither hope nor comfort on the day of doom.

3:19 Yes, harsh is the fate of a race of evil-doers.

JB WISDOM Chapter 4

4:1 Better to have no children yet to have virtue, since immortality perpetuates its memory and God and men both think highly of it.

4:2 Present, we imitate it, absent, we long for it; crowned, it holds triumph through eternity, having striven for blameless prizes and emerged the victor.

4:3 But the swarming brood of the godless shall bring no advantage; offspring of bastard stock, it will never strike deep roots, never put down firm foundations.

4:4 Branch out for a time they may; but, frailly rooted, they will sway in the wind, be torn up by the violence of the storm;

4:5 hardly grown, their branches will be snapped off, their fruit be useless, too unripe to eat, fit for nothing.

4:6 For children begotten of unlawful intercourse witness, when God judges them, to the wrong their parents did.

The premature death of the virtuous man

4:7 The virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest.

4:8 Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life;

4:9 understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age.

4:10 He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up.

4:11 He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or treachery seduce his soul;

4:12 for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart.

4:13 Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life;

4:14 his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him. Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads

4:15 that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord, and protection, his holy ones.

4:16 The virtuous man who dies condemns the godless who survive, and youth’s untimely end the protracted age of the wicked.

4:17 These people see the wise man’s ending without understanding what the Lord has in store for him or why he has taken him to safety;

4:18 they look on and sneer, but the Lord will laugh at them.

4:19 Soon they will be corpses without honour, objects of scorn among the dead for ever. The Lord will dash them down headlong, dumb. He will tear them from their foundations, they will be utterly laid waste, anguish will be theirs, and their memory shall perish.

Virtuous men and godless at the judgement

4:20 They will come trembling to the reckoning of their sins, and their crimes, confronting them, will accuse them.

JB WISDOM Chapter 5

5:1 Then the virtuous man stands up boldly to face those who have oppressed him, those who thought so little of his sufferings.

5:2 And they, at the sight of him, will shake with cowards’ fear, amazed he should be saved so unexpectedly.

5:3 Stricken with remorse, each will say to the other, say with a groan and in distress of spirit:

5:4 ‘This is the man we used to laugh at once, a butt for our sarcasm, fools that we were! His life we regarded as madness, his ending as without honour.

5:5 How has he come to be counted as one of the sons of God? How does he come to be assigned a place among the saints?

5:6 Clearly we have strayed from the way of truth; the light of justice has not shone for us, the sun never rose on us.

5:7 We have left no path of lawlessness or ruin unexplored, we have crossed deserts where there was no track, but the way of the Lord is one we have never known.

5:8 Arrogance, what advantage has this brought us? Wealth and boasting, what have these conferred on us?

5:9 All those things have passed like a shadow, passed like a fleeting rumour.

5:10 Like a ship that cuts through heaving waves – leaving no trace to show where it has passed, no wake from its keel in the waves.

5:11 Or like a bird flying through the air – leaving no proof of its passing; it whips the light air with the stroke of its pinions, tears it apart in its whirring rush, drives its way onward with sweeping wing, and afterwards no sign is seen of its passage.

5:12 Or like an arrow shot at a mark, the pierced air closing so quickly on itself, there is no knowing which way the arrow has passed.

5:13 So with us: scarcely born, we have ceased to be; of virtue not a trace have we to show, we have spent ourselves on wickedness instead.’

5:14 Yes, the hope of the godless is like chaff carried on the wind, like fine spray driven by the gale; it disperses like smoke before the wind, goes like the memory of a one-day guest.

5:15 But the virtuous live for ever, their recompense lies with the Lord, the Most High takes care of them.

5:16 So they shall receive the royal crown of splendour, the diadem of beauty from the hand of the Lord; for he will shelter them with his right hand and shield them with his arm.

5:17 For armour he will take his jealous love, he will arm creation to punish his enemies;

5:18 he will put on justice as a breastplate, and for helmet wear his undissembling judgement;

5:19 he will take up invincible holiness for shield,

5:20 he will forge a biting sword of his stern wrath, and the universe will march with him to fight the reckless.

5:21 Bolts truly aimed, the shafts of lightning will leap, and from the clouds, as from a full-drawn bow, fly to their mark;

5:22 and the catapult will hurl hailstones charged with fury. The waters of the sea will rage against them, the rivers engulf them without pity.

5:23 The breath of Omnipotence will blow against them and winnow them like a hurricane. So lawlessness will bring the whole earth to ruin and evil-doing bring the thrones of the mighty down.

JB WISDOM Chapter 6



The duty of kings to cultivate wisdom

6:1 [*a]Listen then, kings, and understand; rulers of remotest lands, take warning;

6:2 hear this, you who have thousands under your rule, who boast of your hordes of subjects.

6:3 For power is a gift to you from the Lord, sovereignty is from the Most High; he himself will probe your acts and scrutinise your intentions.

6:4 If, as administrators of his kingdom, you have not governed justly nor observed the law, nor behaved as God would have you behave,

6:5 he will fall on you swiftly and terribly. Ruthless judgement is reserved for the high and mighty;

6:6 the lowly will be compassionately pardoned, the mighty will be mightily punished.

6:7 For the Lord of All does not cower before a personage, he does not stand in awe of greatness, since he himself has made small and great and provides for all alike;

6:8 but strict scrutiny awaits those in power.

6:9 Yes, despots, my words are for you, that you may learn what wisdom is and not transgress;

6:10 for they who observe holy things holily will be adjudged holy, and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defence in them.

6:11 Look forward, therefore, to my words; yearn for them, and they will instruct you.

Wisdom sought is Wisdom found

6:12 Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is readily seen, and found by those who look for her.

6:13 Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them.

6:14 Watch for her early and you will have no trouble; you will find her sitting at your gates.

6:15 Even to think about her is understanding fully grown; be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you.

6:16 She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.

6:17 Of her the most sure beginning is the desire for discipline, care for discipline means loving her,

6:18 loving her means keeping her laws, obeying her laws guarantees incorruptibility,

6:19 incorruptibility brings near to God;

6:20 thus desire for Wisdom leads to sovereignty.

6:21 If then, despots of nations, you delight in throne and sceptre, honour Wisdom, thus to reign for ever.

Solomon sets out to describe Wisdom

6:22 What Wisdom is and how she came to be, I will now declare, I will hide none of the secrets from you; I will trace her right from the beginning and set out knowledge of her, plainly, not swerving from the truth.

6:23 Neither will I take blighting Envy as my travelling companion, for she has nothing in common with Wisdom.

6:24 In the greatest number of wise men lies the world’s salvation, in a sagacious king the stability of a people.

6:25 Learn, therefore, from my words; the gain will be yours.

JB WISDOM Chapter 7

Solomon a man like other men

7:1 Like all the others, I too am a mortal man, descendant of the first being fashioned from the earth, I was modelled in flesh within my mother’s womb,

7:2 for ten months[*a] taking shape in her blood by means of virile seed and pleasure, sleep’s companion.

7:3 I too, when I was born, drew in the common air, I fell on the same ground that bears us all, a wail my first sound, as for all the rest.

7:4 I was nurtured in swaddling clothes, with every care.

7:5 No king has known any other beginning of existence;

7:6 for all there is one way only into life, as out of it.

Solomon’s respect for Wisdom

7:7 And so I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.

7:8 I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones; compared with her, I held riches as nothing.

7:9 I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside her silver ranks as mud.

7:10 I loved her more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light, since her radiance never sleeps.

7:11 In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.

7:12 All these I delighted in, since Wisdom brings them, but as yet I did not know she was their mother.

7:13 What I learned without self-interest, I pass on without reserve; I do not intend to hide her riches.

7:14 For she is an inexhaustible treasure to men, and those who acquire it win God’s friendship, commended as they are to him by the benefits of her teaching.

The appeal to divine inspiration

7:15 May God grant me to speak as he would wish and express thoughts worthy of his gifts, since he himself is the guide of Wisdom, since he directs the sages.

7:16 We are indeed in his hand, we ourselves and our words, with all our understanding, too, and technical knowledge.

7:17 It was he who gave me true knowledge of all that is,[*b] who taught me the structure of the world and the properties of the elements,

7:18 the beginning, end and middle of the times, the alternation of the solstices and the succession of the seasons,

7:19 the revolution of the year and the positions of the stars,

7:20 the natures of animals and the instincts of wild beasts, the powers of spirits and the mental processes of men, the varieties of plants and the medical properties of roots.

7:21 All that is hidden, all that is plain, I have come to know, instructed by Wisdom who designed them all.

In praise of Wisdom

7:22 For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, active, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp,

7:23 irresistible, beneficent, loving to man, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits;

7:24 for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.

7:25 She is a breath of the power of God, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; hence nothing impure can find a way into her.

7:26 She is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, image of his goodness.

7:27 Although alone, she can do all; herself unchanging, she makes all things new. In each generation she passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets;

7:28 for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.

7:29 She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place,

7:30 for light must yield to night, but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.

JB WISDOM Chapter 8

8:1 She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.

From Wisdom comes all that is desirable

8:2 She it was I loved and searched for from my youth; I resolved to have her as my bride, I fell in love with her beauty.

8:3 Her closeness to God lends lustre to her noble birth, since the Lord of All has loved her.

8:4 Yes, she is an initiate in the mysteries of God’s knowledge, making choice of the works he is to do.

8:5 If in this life wealth be a desirable possession, what is more wealthy than Wisdom whose work is everywhere?

8:6 Or if it be the intellect that is at work, where is there a greater than Wisdom, designer of all?

8:7 Or if it be virtue you love, why, virtues are the fruit of her labours, since it is she who teaches temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude; nothing in life is more serviceable to men than these.

8:8 Or if you are eager for wide experience, she knows the past, she forecasts the future; she knows how to turn maxims, and solve riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders, of the unfolding of the ages and the times.

Wisdom indispensable to rulers

8:9 I therefore determined to take her to share my life, knowing she would be my counsellor in prosperity, my comfort in cares and sorrow.

8:10 Through her, I thought, I shall be acclaimed where people gather and honoured, while still a youth, among the elders.

8:11 I shall be reckoned shrewd when I sit in judgement, in presence of the great I shall be admired.

8:12 They will wait on my silences, and pay attention when I speak; if I speak at some length, they will lay their hand on their lips.

8:13 By means of her, immortality shall be mine, I shall leave an everlasting memory to my successors.

8:14 I shall govern peoples and nations will be subject to me;

8:15 at the sound of my name fearsome despots will be afraid; I shall show myself kind to my people and valiant in battle.

8:16 When I go home I shall take my ease with her, for nothing is bitter in her company, when life is shared with her there is no pain, gladness only, and joy.

Solomon prepares to ask for Wisdom

8:17 Inwardly revolving these thoughts, and considering in my heart that immortality is found in being kin to Wisdom

8:18 pure contentment in her friendship, inexhaustible riches in what she does, intelligence in the cultivation of her society, and renown in the fellowship of her conversation, I went in all directions seeking by what means I might make her mine.

8:19 I was a boy of happy disposition, I had received a good soul as my lot,

8:20 or rather, being good, I had entered an undefiled body; but knowing I could not master Wisdom but by the gift of God – a mark itself of understanding, to know whose the bounty was – I turned to the Lord and entreated him, with all my heart I said:

JB WISDOM Chapter 9

A prayer for Wisdom

9:1 ‘God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy, who by your word have made all things,

9:2 and in your wisdom have fitted man to rule the creatures that have come from you,

9:3 to govern the world in holiness and justice and in honesty of soul to wield authority,

9:4 grant me Wisdom, consort of your throne, and do not reject me from the number of your children.

9:5 ‘For I am your servant, son of your serving maid, a feeble man, with little time to live, with small understanding of justice and the laws.

9:6 Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men, if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing.

9:7 You yourself have chosen me[*a] to be king over your people, to be judge of your sons and daughters.

9:8 You have bidden me build a temple on your holy mountain, an altar in the city where you have pitched your tent, a copy of that sacred tabernacle which you prepared from the beginning.

9:9 With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works, she who was present when you made the world; she understands what is pleasing in your eyes and what agrees with your commandments.

9:10 Despatch her from the holy heavens, send her forth from your throne of glory to help me and to toil with me and teach me what is pleasing to you,

9:11 since she knows and understands everything. She will guide me prudently in my undertakings and protect me by her glory.

9:12 Then all I do will be acceptable, I shall govern your people justly and shall be worthy of my father’s[*b] throne.

9:13 ‘What man indeed can know the intentions of God? Who can divine the will of the Lord?

9:14 The reasonings of mortals are unsure and our intentions unstable;

9:15 for a perishable body presses down the soul, and this tent of clay weighs down the teeming mind.

9:16 It is hard enough for us to work out what is on earth, laborious to know what lies within our reach; who, then, can discover what is in the heavens?

9:17 As for your intention, who could have learnt it, had you not granted Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from above?

9:18 Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and men been taught what pleases you, and saved, by Wisdom.’

JB WISDOM Chapter 10


From Adam to Moses

10:1 The father of the world, the first being to be fashioned, created alone, he had her for his protector and she delivered him from his fault;[*a]

10:2 she gave him the strength to subjugate all things.

10:3 But when a sinner[*b] in his wrath deserted her, he perished in his fratricidal fury.

10:4 When because of him the earth was drowned, it was Wisdom again who saved it, piloting the virtuous man[*c] on a paltry piece of wood.

10:5 Again, when, concurring in wickedness, the nations had been thrown into confusion, it was she who singled out the virtuous man,[*d] preserved him blameless before God and fortified him against pity for his child.

10:6 It was she who, while the godless perished, saved the virtuous man,[*e] as he fled from the fire raining down on the Five Cities,

10:7 in witness against whose evil ways a desolate land still smokes, where shrubs bear fruit that never ripens and where, monument to an unbelieving soul, there stands a pillar of salt.

10:8 For, by neglecting the path of Wisdom, not only were they kept from knowledge of the good, they actually left the world a memorial of their folly, so that their crimes might not escape notice.

10:9 But Wisdom delivered her servants from their ordeals.

10:10 The virtuous man,[*f] fleeing from the anger of his brother, was led by her along straight paths. She showed him the kingdom of God and taught him the knowledge of holy things. She brought him success in his toil and gave him full return for all his efforts;

10:11 she stood by him against grasping and oppressive men and she made him rich.

10:12 She guarded him closely from his enemies and saved him from the traps they set for him. In an arduous struggle she awarded him the prize, to teach him that piety is stronger than all.

10:13 She did not forsake the virtuous man when he was sold,[*g] but kept him free from sin;

10:14 she went down to the dungeon with him; she would not abandon him in his chains, but procured for him the sceptre of a kingdom and authority over his despotic masters, thus exposing as liars those who had traduced him, and giving him honour everlasting.

The Exodus

10:15 A holy people and a blameless race, this she delivered from a nation of oppressors.

10:16 She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord,[*h] and withstood fearsome kings with wonders and signs.

10:17 To the saints she gave the wages of their labours; she led them by a marvellous road; she herself was their shelter by day and their starlight through the night.

10:18 She brought them across the Red Sea, led them through that immensity of water,

10:19 while she swallowed their enemies in the waves then spat them out from the depths of the abyss.

10:20 So the virtuous despoiled the godless; Lord, they extolled your holy name, and with one accord praised your protecting hand,

10:21 for Wisdom opened the mouths of the dumb and gave speech to the tongues of babes.

JB WISDOM Chapter 11

11:1 At the hand of a holy prophet[*a] she gave their actions success.

11:2 They journeyed through an unpeopled wilderness and pitched their tents in inaccessible places.

11:3 They stood firm against their enemies, fought off their foes.

11:4 On you[*b] they called when they were thirsty, and from the rocky cliff water was given them, from hard stone their thirst was quenched.

How water proved the ruin of Egypt and the saving of Israel

11:5 Thus, what served to punish their enemies became a benefit for them in their distress.

11:6 You gave them not that ever-flowing source of river water turbid with defiling floods,

11:7 stern answer for their decree of infanticide,[*c] but, against all hope, water in abundance,

11:8 showing by the thirst that then was raging how severely you punished their enemies.

11:9 From their ordeals, which were no more than the reproofs of Mercy, they learned what tortures a sentence of wrath inflicts on the godless;

11:10 you tested them indeed, correcting them like a father, but the others you strictly examined, like a severe king who condemns.

11:11 Near or far away,[*d] they were equally worn down,

11:12 double indeed was the grief that seized on them, double the groaning at the memory of the past;

11:13 hearing that what punished them[*e] had set the others rejoicing, they saw the Lord in it,

11:14 and for him whom long ago they had cast out, exposed, and later mockingly rebuffed,[*f] they felt only amazement when all was done; the thirst of the virtuous and theirs had worked so differently.

God’s forbearance with Egypt

11:15 As their foolish and wicked notions led them astray into worshipping mindless reptiles and contemptible beasts, you sent hordes of mindless creatures to punish them

11:16 and teach them that the instruments of sin are instruments of punishment.

11:17 And indeed your all-powerful hand did not lack means – the hand that from formless matter created the world – to unleash a horde of bears or savage lions on them

11:18 or unknown beasts, newly created, full of rage, exhaling fiery breath, ejecting swirls of stinking smoke or flashing fearful sparks from their eyes,

11:19 beasts not only able to crush them with a blow, but also to destroy them by their terrifying appearance.

11:20 But even without these, they could have dropped dead at a single breath, pursued by your justice, whirled away by the breath of your power. But no, you ordered all things by measure, number, weight.

This forbearance explained

11:21 For your great strength is always at your call; who can withstand the might of your arm?

11:22 In your sight the whole world is like a grain of dust that tips the scales, like a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.

11:23 Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.

11:24 Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.

11:25 And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved if not called forth by you?

11:26 You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life,

JB WISDOM Chapter 12

12:1 you whose imperishable spirit is in all.

12:2 Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.

God’s forbearance with Canaan

12:3 The ancient inhabitants of your holy land

12:4 you hated for their loathsome practices, their deeds of sorcery and unholy rites,

12:5 hated as ruthless murderers of children, as eaters of entrails at feasts of human flesh, initiated while the bloody orgy goes on,[*a]

12:6 as murderous parents of defenceless beings. You determined to destroy them at our fathers’ hands,

12:7 so that this land, dearer to you than any other, might receive a colony of God’s children worthy of it.

12:8 Even so, since these were men, you treated them leniently, sending hornets as forerunners of your army, to destroy them bit by bit.

12:9 Not that you could not hand the godless over to the virtuous in pitched battle or destroy them at once by savage beasts or one stern word from you;

12:10 but, by condemning them piece by piece, you gave them the chance to repent, although you knew very well they were inherently evil, innately wicked

12:11 and fixed in their cast of mind; for they were a race accursed from the beginning.

This forbearance explained

Nor was it from awe of anyone that you left them unpunished

12:12 for their sins. Who would venture to say, ‘What have you done?’ Who would dare to defy your sentence? Who arraign you for destroying nations which you have created? What champion of guilty men dare come to confront you and challenge you?

12:13 For there is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing, to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly;

12:14 as for those you punished, no king, no despot, dare reproach you with it to your face.

12:15 Being just yourself, you order all things justly, holding it unworthy of your power to condemn a man who has not deserved to be punished.

12:16 Your justice has its source in strength, your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.

12:17 You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned and you expose the insolence of those who know it;

12:18 but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement, you govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there.

What is to be learned from God’s forbearance

12:19 By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men, and you have given your sons the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance.

12:20 If with such care and such indulgence you have punished the enemies of your children, when death was what they deserved, and given them time and room to rid themselves of wickedness,

12:21 with what exact attention have you not judged your sons, to whose ancestors you made such fair promises by oaths and covenants.

12:22 Thus, while you correct us, you flog our enemies ten thousand times harder, to teach us, when we judge, to reflect on your kindness and when we are judged, to look for mercy.

God follows clemency with severity

12:23 This is why, against those who were leading wicked and foolish lives, you turned their own abominations[*b] to torment them;

12:24 they had indeed strayed too far from paths that strayed already, and came to regard the vilest, most contemptible animals as gods, being deceived, like silly little children.

12:25 So, as to children with no sense, you sent them a punishment to mock them,

12:26 but they who took no warning from such mocking correction were soon to experience a punishment worthy of God.

12:27 Worn down by what they suffered from these beasts, those beasts they had taken for gods, now the means of their punishment, they saw straight, and acknowledged as true God him they had hitherto refused to know. That is why the extreme penalty was inflicted on them.

JB WISDOM Chapter 13

Astral and nature cults

13:1 Yes, naturally stupid are all men who have not known God and who, from the good things that are seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have failed to recognise the Artificer.

13:2 Fire however, or wind, or the swift air, the sphere of the stars, impetuous water, heaven’s lamps, are what they have held to be the gods who govern the world.

13:3 If, charmed by their beauty, they have taken things for gods, let them know how much the Lord of these excels them, since the very Author of beauty has created them.

13:4 And if they have been impressed by their power and energy, let them deduce from these how much mightier is he that has formed them,

13:5 since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author.

13:6 Small blame, however, attaches to these men, for perhaps they only go astray in their search for God and their eagerness to find him;

13:7 living among his works, they strive to comprehend them and fall victim to appearances, seeing so much beauty.

13:8 Even so, they are not to be excused:

13:9 if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have they been so slow to find its Master?

The cults of idols

13:10 But wretched are they – in dead things putting their hopes – who have given to things made by human hands the title of gods, gold and silver, finely worked, likenesses of animals, or some useless stone, carved by some hand long ago.

13:11 Take a woodcutter. He fells a suitable tree, neatly strips off the bark all over and then with admirable skill works the wood into an object useful in daily life.

13:12 The bits left over from his work he uses for cooking his food, then eats his fill.

13:13 There is still a good-for-nothing bit left over, a gnarled and knotted billet: he picks it up, whittles it with the concentration of leisure, he shapes it with the skill of relaxation, he gives it a human shape

13:14 or perhaps he makes it into some vile animal, smears it with ochre, paints its surface red, coats over all its blemishes.

13:15 He next makes a worthy home for it, lets it into the wall, fixes it with an iron clamp.

13:16 Thus he makes sure that it will not fall down – he is well aware it cannot help itself: it is only an image, and it needs to be helped.

13:17 And yet, if he wishes to pray for his goods, for marriages, for his children, he does not blush to harangue this lifeless thing – for health he invokes weakness,

13:18 for life he pleads with death, for help he goes begging to utter inexperience, for his travels, to something that cannot stir a foot;

13:19 for his profits and plans and success in pursuing his craft, he asks skill from something whose hands have no skill whatever.

JB WISDOM Chapter 14

14:1 Or someone else, taking ship to cross the raging sea, invokes a log[*a] even frailer than the vessel that bears him.

14:2 No doubt that ship is the product of a craving for gain, its building embodies the wisdom of the shipwright,

14:3 but your providence, Father, is what steers it, you having opened a pathway even through the sea, a safe way over the waves,

14:4 showing that you can save, whatever happens, so that even without skill a man may sail abroad.

14:5 It is not your will that the works of your Wisdom lie idle, and hence men entrust their lives to the smallest piece of wood, cross the high seas on a raft and come safe to port.

14:6 Why, in the beginning even, while the proud giants were perishing, the hope of the world took refuge on a raft[*b] and, steered by your hand, preserved the germ of a new generation for the ages to come

14:7 For blessed is the wood which serves the cause of virtue,

14:8 but accursed that hand-made thing and its maker, he for having made it, the perishable thing itself because it has been called god.

14:9 Yes, God holds the godless and his godlessness in equal hatred;

14:10 work and workman alike shall be punished.

14:11 Hence judgement shall fall on the idols themselves of the heathen, since, although part of God’s creation, they have become an abomination, snares for the souls of men, a pitfall for the feet of the reckless.

The origin of the cult of idols

14:12 The invention of idols was the origin of fornication,[*c] their discovery the corrupting of life.

14:13 They did not exist at the beginning, they will not exist for ever;

14:14 through human vanity they came into the world and hence a sudden end has been designed for them.

14:15 A father afflicted by untimely mourning makes an image of his child so swiftly taken, and now he honours as a god what yesterday had only been a dead man, bequeathing mysteries and initiations to his dependents.

14:16 Then in the course of time the godless custom hardens, and is observed as law

14:17 and, by command of princes, the carved images receive worship. Of those who lived too far away to be honoured in person men would make a portrait from a distance and produce a visible image of the king they honoured, meaning, by such zeal, to flatter the absent as if he were with them.

14:18 Even people who did not know him were stimulated into spreading his cult by the idealism of the artist;

14:19 for the latter, doubtless wishing to please the ruler, exerted all his skill to make the likeness finer than reality

14:20 and the crowd, carried away by the beauty of the work, accorded divine honours to him whom only recently they had honoured as a man.

14:21 And this became a pitfall for life, that men, whether slaves to misfortune or princely power, should have bestowed the incommunicable name on sticks and stones.

The consequences of idolatry

14:22 Soon it is not enough for them that their knowledge of God should be at fault; in the great struggle to which ignorance condemns their lives they next give such massive ills the name of peace.

14:23 With their child-murdering initiations, their secret mysteries, their orgies with outlandish ceremonies,[*d]

14:24 they no longer retain any purity in their lives or their marriages, one treacherously murdering the next or doing him injury by adultery.

14:25 Everywhere a welter of blood and murder, theft and fraud, corruption, treachery, riots, perjury,

14:26 disturbance of decent people, forgetfulness of favours, pollution of souls, sins against nature, disorder in marriage, adultery, debauchery.

14:27 For the worship of unnamed[*e] idols is the beginning, cause, and end of every evil.

14:28 Either that, or they rave in ecstasy, or utter false oracles, or lead lives of great wickedness, or perjure themselves without hesitation;

14:29 for since they put their trust in lifeless idols they do not reckon their false oaths can harm them.

14:30 But justice will overtake them on two counts: as idolaters, for degrading the concept of God, as frauds, for swearing in despite of truth, in defiance of all that is holy.

14:31 For it is not the power of the things by which men swear but the retribution due to sinners that always overtakes the offence of the guilty.

JB WISDOM Chapter 15

Israel not idolatrous

15:1 But you, our God, are kind, loyal and slow to anger, and you govern all things with mercy.

15:2 If we sin, we still are yours, since we acknowledge your power, but, knowing you acknowledge us as yours, we will not sin.

15:3 To acknowledge you is indeed the perfect virtue, to know your power is the root of immortality.

15:4 No invention of perverted human skill has led us astray, no painter’s sterile labour, no figure daubed with assorted colours,

15:5 the sight of which sets fools yearning and reverencing the lifeless form of some unbreathing image.

15:6 Lovers of evil and worthy of such hopes, are those who make them, those who reverence them and those who worship them.

The makers of idols are fools

15:7 Take a potter, now, laboriously working the soft earth, shaping all sorts of things for us to use. Out of the same clay, even so, he models vessels intended for clean purposes and the contrary sort, all alike; but which of these two uses each will have is for the potter himself to decide.

15:8 Then – effort very evilly spent – of the same clay he shapes a futile god – he who, so recently made out of earth himself, will shortly return to what he was taken from, once he is called to give an account of his life.

15:9 Even so he wastes no thought on imminent death or on the shortness of his life. Far from it, he strives to outdo the goldsmiths and silversmiths, apes the bronzeworkers too, and takes pride in the spurious models that he makes.

15:10 Ashes, his heart, meaner than dirt his hope, his life more ignoble than clay,

15:11 since he misconceives the One who shaped him, who breathed an active soul into him and inspired a living spirit.

15:12 What is more, he looks on this life of ours as a kind of game, and our time here like a fair, full of bargains. ‘However foul the means,’ he says ‘a man must make a living.’

15:13 He, more than any other, knows he is sinning, he who from the same earthly material makes both breakable vessel and idol.

The folly of the Egyptians; their indiscriminate idolatry

15:14 But most foolish, more pitiable even than the soul of a little child, are the enemies who once played the tyrant with your people,

15:15 and have taken all the idols of the heathen for gods, which can use neither their eyes for seeing nor their nostrils for breathing the air nor their ears for hearing nor the fingers on their hands for handling; while their feet are no use for walking,

15:16 since a human being made them, a creature of borrowed breath gave them shape. Now no man can shape a god as good as himself;

15:17 subject to death, his impious hands can only produce something dead. He himself is worthier than the things he worships; he will at least have lived, but never they.

15:18 Even the most hateful animals are worshipped, worse than the rest in their degree of stupidity.

15:19 With no trace of beauty to prompt the inclination – as some animals might have – the praise and blessing of God do not come their way.

JB WISDOM Chapter 16

Egypt and Israel: harmful animals, quails

16:1 Thus they were appropriately punished by similar creatures and were tormented by hordes of brutes.

16:2 In contrast to this punishment, you treated your own people with kindness and, to satisfy their sharp appetite, you provided for their food quails, a luscious rarity.

16:3 Thus the Egyptians, at the repulsive sight of the creatures sent against them,[*a] were to find, though they longed for food, that even their natural appetite had revolted. While your own people, after a short privation, were to have a rare relish for their portion.

16:4 Inevitable that relentless want should seize on the former, the oppressors; enough for the latter to be shown how their enemies were being tortured.

Egypt and Israel: the plague of locusts, the bronze serpent

16:5 When the savage rage of wild animals overtook them and they were perishing from the bites of writhing snakes, your wrath did not continue to the end.

16:6 It was by way of reprimand, lasting a short time, that they were distressed, for they had a saving token to remind them of the commandment of your Law.

16:7 Whoever turned to it was saved, not by what he looked at, but by you, the universal saviour.

16:8 And by such means you proved to our enemies that it is you who deliver from every evil;

16:9 since the bites of locusts and flies proved fatal to them and no remedy could be found to save them – and well they deserved to be punished by such creatures.

16:10 But, for your sons, not even the fangs of venomous serpents could bring them down; your mercy came to their help and cured them.

16:11 One sting – how quickly healed! – to remind them of your oracles rather than that, by sinking into deep forgetfulness, they should be cut off from your kindness.

16:12 No herb, no poultice cured them, but it was your word, Lord, which heals all things.

16:13 For you have power of life and death, you bring down to the gates of Hades and bring back again.

16:14 Man in his malice may put to death, he does not bring the departed spirit back or free the soul that Hades has once received.

Egypt and Israel: the elements

16:15 It is not possible to escape your hand.

16:16 The godless who refused to acknowledge you were scourged by the strength of your arm, pursued by no ordinary rains, hail and unrelenting downpours, and consumed by fire.

16:17 Even more wonderful, in the water – which quenches all – the fire raged fiercer than ever; for the elements fight for the virtuous.

16:18 At one moment the flame would die down, to avoid consuming the animals sent against the godless and to make clear to them by that sight, that the sentence of God was pursuing them;

16:19 at another, in the very heart of the water, it would burn more fiercely than fire to ruin the harvests of a guilty land.

16:20 How differently with your people! You gave them the food of angels,[*b] from heaven untiringly sending them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste.

16:21 And the substance you gave demonstrated your sweetness towards your children, for, conforming to the taste of whoever ate it, it transformed itself into what each eater wished.

16:22 Snow and ice endured the fire, without melting; by which they were to know that, to destroy the harvests of their enemies, fire would burn even in hail and flare in falling rain,

16:23 whereas, on the other hand, it would even forget its own virtue in the service of feeding the virtuous.

16:24 For creation, in obedience to you, its maker, exerts itself to punish the wicked and slackens for the benefit of those who trust in you.

16:25 Thus it became, by a total transformation, the agent of your all-nourishing bounty, conforming to the wish of those in need,

16:26 so that your beloved children, Lord, might learn that the various crops are not what nourishes man, but your word which preserves all who trust in you.

16:27 For that, which fire could not destroy melted in the heat of a single fleeting sunbeam,

16:28 to show that, to give you thanks, we must rise before the sun and pray to you when light begins to dawn;

16:29 for the hope of the ungrateful will melt like winter’s frost and flow away like water running to waste.

JB WISDOM Chapter 17

Egypt and Israel: darkness and light

17:1 Your judgements are indeed great and inexpressible, which is why undisciplined souls have gone astray.

17:2 When impious men imagined they had the holy nation in their power, they themselves lay prisoners of the dark,[*a] in the fetters of long night, confined under their own roofs, banished from eternal providence.

17:3 While they thought to remain unnoticed with their secret sins, curtained by dark forgetfulness, they were scattered in fearful dismay, terrified by apparitions.

17:4 The hiding place sheltering them could not ward off their fear; terrifying noises echoed round them; and gloomy, grim-faced spectres haunted them.

17:5 No fire had power enough to give them light, nor could the brightly blazing stars illuminate that dreadful night –

17:6 only a great blaze, burning of its own accord, that, full of dread, shone through to them; And in their terror, once that sight had vanished, they thought what they had seen more terrible than ever.

17:7 Their magic arts proved utterly unavailing, their boasted cunning was ignominiously confounded;

17:8 for those who professed to drive out fears and disorders from sick souls, themselves fell sick of a ridiculous terror.

17:9 Even when there was nothing frightful to scare them, the prowling of beasts and the hissing of reptiles terrified them; they died convulsed with fright, refusing so much as to look at the air, which cannot be eluded anyhow!

17:10 Wickedness is confessedly very cowardly, and it condemns itself; under pressure from conscience it always assumes the worst.

17:11 Fear, indeed, is nothing other than the abandonment of the supports offered by reason;

17:12 the less you rely within yourself on these, the more alarming it is not to know the cause of your suffering.

17:13 And they, all locked in the same sleep, while that darkness lasted, which was in fact quite powerless and had issued from the depths of equally powerless Hades,

17:14 were now chased by monstrous spectres, now paralysed by fainting of their souls; for a sudden, unexpected terror had swept over them.

17:15 And thus, whoever it might be that fell there stayed clamped to the spot in this prison without bars.

17:16 Whether he was ploughman or shepherd, or someone working by himself, he was still overtaken and suffered the inevitable fate, for all had been bound by the one same chain of darkness.

17:17 The soughing of the wind, the tuneful noise of birds in the spreading branches, the measured beat of water in its powerful course, the harsh din of the rocky avalanche,

17:18 the invisible, swift course of bounding animals, the roaring of the savagest wild beasts, the echo rebounding from the clefts in the mountains, all held them paralysed with fear.

17:19 The whole world was shining with brilliant light and, unhindered, went on with its work;

17:20 over them alone there spread a heavy darkness, image of the dark that would receive them. But heavier than the darkness, the burden they were to themselves.

JB WISDOM Chapter 18

18:1 But for your holy ones all was great light. The Egyptians who could hear their voices, though not see their shapes, called them fortunate because they had not suffered too;

18:2 they thanked them for doing no injury in return for previous wrongs and asked forgiveness for their past ill-will.

18:3 In contrast to the darkness, you gave your people a pillar of blazing fire, to guide them on their unknown journey, a mild sun for their ambitious migration.

18:4 But well they deserved, those others, to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness, for having kept in captivity your children, by whom the imperishable light of the Law was to be given to the world.

Egypt and Israel: the Destroyer

18:5 As they had resolved to kill the infants of the holy ones, and as of those exposed only one child had been saved, to punish them, you made away with thousands of their children, and destroyed them all together in the wild waves.

18:6 That night had been foretold to our ancestors, so that, once they saw what kind of oaths they had put their trust in, they would joyfully take courage.

18:7 This was the expectation of your people, the saving of the virtuous and the ruin of their enemies;

18:8 for by the same act with which you took vengeance on our foes you made us glorious by calling us to you.

18:9 The devout children of worthy men offered sacrifice[*a] in secret and this divine pact they struck with one accord: that the saints would share the same blessings and dangers alike; and forthwith they had begun to chant the hymns of the fathers.[*b]

18:10 In echo came the discordant cries of their enemies and the pitiful sound rang out of those lamenting their children.

18:11 The same punishment struck slave and master alike, commoner and king suffered the selfsame loss.

18:12 All had innumerable dead alike, struck by the same death. There were not enough living left to bury them, for in a moment the flower of their race had perished.

18:13 They who, thanks to their sorceries, had been wholly incredulous, at the destruction of their first-born now acknowledged this people to be son of God.

18:14 When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run the half of her swift course,

18:15 down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word; into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt. Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword,

18:16 he stood, and filled the universe with death; he touched the sky, yet trod the earth.

18:17 Immediately, dreams and gruesome visions overwhelmed them with terror, unexpected fears assailed them.

18:18 Hurled down, some here, some there, half dead, they proclaimed why it was they were dying;

18:19 for the dreams that had troubled them had warned them why beforehand, so that they might not perish without knowing why they had been struck down.

18:20 But the virtuous, too, felt the touch of death; a multitude was struck down in the wilderness. But the wrath did not last long,

18:21 for a blameless man[*c] hastened to champion their cause. Wielding the weapons of his sacred office, prayer and atoning incense, he took his stand against the Anger and put an end to the calamity, showing that he was indeed your servant.

18:22 He conquered the bitter plague, not by physical strength, not by force of arms; but by word he prevailed over the Punisher, by recalling the oaths made to the Fathers, and the covenants.

18:23 Already the corpses lay piled in heaps, when he interposed and beat back the wrath and cut off its approach to the living.

18:24 For the whole world was on his flowing robe,[*d] the glorious names of the Fathers on the four rows of stones, and your Majesty on the diadem on his head.

18:25 From these the Destroyer recoiled, he was afraid of these; a mere taste of the wrath had been enough.

JB WISDOM Chapter 19

Egypt and Israel: the Red Sea

19:1 But the godless were assailed by merciless anger to the very end, for God knew beforehand what they would do,

19:2 how, after letting his people leave and hastening their departure, they would change their minds and set out in pursuit.

19:3 They were actually still conducting their mourning rites and lamenting at the tombs of their dead, when another mad scheme entered their heads, and they set out to pursue as fugitives the very people they had begged to go away.

19:4 A well-deserved fate urged them to this extreme and made them forget what had already happened, so that to all their torments they might add the one penalty still outstanding

19:5 and, while your people accomplished a miraculous journey, themselves meet an extraordinary death.

19:6 For, to keep your children from all harm, the whole creation, obedient to your commands, was once more, and newly, fashioned in its nature.

19:7 Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud, where water had been, dry land was seen to rise, the Red Sea became an unimpeded way, the tempestuous flood a green plain;

19:8 sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across, gazing at these amazing miracles.

19:9 They were like horses at pasture, they skipped like lambs, singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.

Nature refashioned for Israel

19:10 They still remembered the events of their exile, how the land, not bearing animals, had bred mosquitoes instead, how, instead of fish, the river had disgorged innumerable frogs.

19:11 Later they saw a new method of birth for birds when, goaded by hunger, they asked for food they could relish,

19:12 and quails came out of the sea to satisfy them.

Egypt more blameworthy than Sodom

19:13 On the sinners, however, punishments rained down not without violent thunder as early warning; and deservedly they suffered for their crimes, since they evinced such bitter hatred towards strangers.

19:14 Others[*a] had refused to welcome unknown men on their arrival, but these had made slaves of guests and benefactors.

19:15 The former, moreover – and this will be to their credit – had shown the foreigners hostility from the start;

19:16 not so the latter: these welcomed your people with feasting and after granting them equal rights with themselves then afflicted them with forced labour.

19:17 Thus they were struck with blindness like the former at the door of the virtuous man,[*b] when, yawning darkness all around them, each had to grope his way through his own door.

Nature refashioned at the Exodus

19:18 Thus the elements interchanged their qualities, as on a harp the notes may change their rhythm, though all the while preserving their tone; this clearly appears from a scrutiny of the events.

19:19 Creatures that live on land became aquatic,[*c] and those that swim emerged on land.

19:20 Fire increased its own virtue in the water, water forgot its property of extinguishing.

19:21 Flames, on the other hand, would not scorch the flesh of animals, however frail, that ventured into them; nor would they melt that heavenly food like hoarfrost, and as easily melted.


19:22 Yes, Lord, in every way you have made your people great and glorious; you have never disdained them, but stood by them always and everywhere.

END OF JB WISDOM [19 Chapters].