May 22, 2023
2 Samuel 13-14; Acts 28 (NRSV)
2 Samuel 13-14, Hechos 28 (RVR1960)
2 Samuel 13-14
Amnon and Tamar
13 Some time passed. David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and David’s son Amnon fell in love with her. 2 Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, and Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4 He said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5 Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill, and when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me something to eat and prepare the food in my sight, so that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’ ” 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill, and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.”
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. 9 Then she took the pan and set them before him, but he refused to eat. Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber so that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do anything so vile! 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the scoundrels in Israel. Now therefore, I beg you, speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon was seized with a very great loathing for her; indeed, his loathing was even greater than the lust he had felt for her. Amnon said to her, “Get out!” 16 But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her. 17 He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” 18 (Now she was wearing an ornamented) robe with sleeves, for this is how the virgin daughters of the king were clothed in earlier times.) So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. 19 But Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she was wearing; she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house. 21 When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon because he loved him, for he was his firstborn. 22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had raped his sister Tamar.
Absalom Avenges the Violation of His Sister
23 After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24 Absalom came to the king and said, “Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?” 25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” The king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. Absalom made a feast like a king’s feast. 28 Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Watch when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.” 29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
30 While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them was left. 31 The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground, and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. 32 But Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, said, “Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king’s sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 Now, therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king’s sons were dead, for Amnon alone is dead.”
34 But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain. 35 Jonadab said to the king, “See, the king’s sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.” 36 As soon as he had finished speaking, the king’s sons arrived and raised their voices and wept, and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.
37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day. 38 Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years. 39 And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom, for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.
Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
14 Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s mind was on Absalom. 2 Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner; put on mourning garments, and do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3 Go to the king and speak to him as follows.” And Joab put the words into her mouth.
4 When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance and said, “Help, O king!” 5 The king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 Your servant had two sons, and they fought with one another in the field; there was no one to part them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole family has risen against your servant. They say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he murdered, even if we destroy the heir as well.’ Thus they would quench my one remaining ember and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father’s house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11 Then she said, “Please, may the king keep the Lord your God in mind, so that the avenger of blood may kill no more and my son not be destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
12 Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Speak.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14 We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence. 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would cut both me and my son off from the heritage of God.’ 17 Your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is like the angel of God, discerning good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”
18 Then the king answered the woman, “Do not withhold from me anything I ask you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn right or left from anything that my lord the king has said. For it was your servant Joab who commanded me; it was he who put all these words into the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the course of affairs your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”
21 Then the king said to Joab, “Very well, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 Joab prostrated himself with his face to the ground and did obeisance and blessed the king, and Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab set off, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 The king said, “Let him go to his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not come into the king’s presence.
David Forgives Absalom
25 Now in all Israel there was no one to be praised so much for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 When he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. 27 There were born to Absalom three sons and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.
28 So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem without coming into the king’s presence. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. He sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab rose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Look, I sent word to you. Come here that I may send you to the king with the question, ‘Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.’ Now let me go into the king’s presence; if there is guilt in me, let him kill me!” 33 Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and prostrated himself with his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.
Paul on the Island of Malta
28 After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The local people showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it. 3 Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
7 Now in the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It so happened that the father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him. 9 After this happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They bestowed many honors on us, and when we were about to sail, they put on board all the provisions we needed.
Paul Arrives at Rome
11 Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there for three days; 13 then we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. After one day there a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found brothers and sisters and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
16 When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Paul and Jewish Leaders in Rome
17 Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my people. 20 For this reason therefore I asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
Paul Preaches in Rome
23 After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. 25 So they disagreed with each other, and as they were leaving Paul made one further statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
26 ‘Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen but never understand,
and you will indeed look but never perceive.
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might look with their eyes
and listen with their ears
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
28 “Let it be known to you, then, that this salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles; they will listen.”
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
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