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Old Testament:  Joshua 4-6

Joshua 4

Memorials to the Jordan Crossing
 1  When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua,  2  "Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe.  3  Tell them, `Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.'"
   4  So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel.  5  He told them, "Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the LORD your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  6  We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, `What do these stones mean?'  7  Then you can tell them, `They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD's Covenant went across.' These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever."
   8  So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the LORD had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there.
   9  Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day.
   10  The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the LORD's commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed.  11  And when everyone was safely on the other side, the priests crossed over with the Ark of the LORD as the people watched.
   12  The armed warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh led the Israelites across the Jordan, just as Moses had directed.  13  These armed men—about 40,000 strong—were ready for battle, and the LORD was with them as they crossed over to the plains of Jericho.
   14  That day the LORD made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.
   15  The LORD had said to Joshua,  16  "Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant [16]  to come up out of the riverbed."  17  So Joshua gave the command.  18  As soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the LORD's Covenant came up out of the riverbed and their feet were on high ground, the water of the Jordan returned and overflowed its banks as before.
   19  The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. [19]  Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho.  20  It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.
   21  Then Joshua said to the Israelites, "In the future your children will ask, `What do these stones mean?'  22  Then you can tell them, `This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.'  23  For the LORD your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea [23]  when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.  24  He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORD's hand is powerful, and so you might fear the LORD your God forever."

Joshua 5

 1  When all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings who lived along the Mediterranean coast [1]  heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan River so the people of Israel could cross, they lost heart and were paralyzed with fear because of them.

Israel Reestablishes Covenant Ceremonies
 2  At that time the LORD told Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise this second generation of Israelites. [2] "  3  So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the entire male population of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. [3] 
   4  Joshua had to circumcise them because all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died in the wilderness.  5  Those who left Egypt had all been circumcised, but none of those born after the Exodus, during the years in the wilderness, had been circumcised.  6  The Israelites had traveled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the LORD, and the LORD vowed he would not let them enter the land he had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.  7  So Joshua circumcised their sons—those who had grown up to take their fathers' places—for they had not been circumcised on the way to the Promised Land.  8  After all the males had been circumcised, they rested in the camp until they were healed.
   9  Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt." So that place has been called Gilgal [9]  to this day.
   10  While the Israelites were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. [10]   11  The very next day they began to eat unleavened bread and roasted grain harvested from the land.  12  No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.

The LORD's Commander Confronts Joshua
 13  When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, "Are you friend or foe?"
   14  "Neither one," he replied. "I am the commander of the LORD's army." At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. "I am at your command," Joshua said. "What do you want your servant to do?"    15  The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did as he was told.

Joshua 6

The Fall of Jericho
 1  Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in.  2  But the LORD said to Joshua, "I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.  3  You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.  4  Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram's horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns.  5  "When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams' horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town."    6  So Joshua called together the priests and said, "Take up the Ark of the LORD's Covenant, and assign seven priests to walk in front of it, each carrying a ram's horn."  7  Then he gave orders to the people: "March around the town, and the armed men will lead the way in front of the Ark of the LORD."
   8  After Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests with the rams' horns started marching in the presence of the LORD, blowing the horns as they marched. And the Ark of the LORD's Covenant followed behind them.  9  Some of the armed men marched in front of the priests with the horns and some behind the Ark, with the priests continually blowing the horns.  10  "Do not shout; do not even talk," Joshua commanded. "Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!"  11  So the Ark of the LORD was carried around the town once that day, and then everyone returned to spend the night in the camp.
   12  Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests again carried the Ark of the LORD.  13  The seven priests with the rams' horns marched in front of the Ark of the LORD, blowing their horns. Again the armed men marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the LORD. All this time the priests were blowing their horns.  14  On the second day they again marched around the town once and returned to the camp. They followed this pattern for six days.
   15  On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times.  16  The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the town!  17  Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed [17]  as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.
   18  "Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel.  19  Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the LORD and must be brought into his treasury."
   20  When the people heard the sound of the rams' horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.  21  They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.
   22  Meanwhile, Joshua said to the two spies, "Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute's house and bring her out, along with all her family."
   23  The men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel.
   24  Then the Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the LORD's house.  25  So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day.
   26  At that time Joshua invoked this curse:

"May the curse of the LORD fall on anyone
  who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho.
At the cost of his firstborn son,
  he will lay its foundation.
At the cost of his youngest son,
  he will set up its gates."

   27  So the LORD was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land.
<<  4:16 Hebrew Ark of the Testimony.
<<  4:19 This day in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in late March, April, or early May.
<<  4:23 Hebrew sea of reeds.
<<  5:1 Hebrew along the sea.
<<  5:2 Or circumcise the Israelites a second time.
<<  5:3 Gibeath-haaraloth means "hill of foreskins."
<<  5:9 Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew word galal, meaning "to roll."
<<  5:10 This day in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in late March, April, or early May.
<<  6:17 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the L<%=ftSC%>ORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; similarly in 6:18, 21.

New Testament:  Luke 1:1-20

Luke 1 : 1-20

 1  Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us.  2  They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. [2]   3  Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus,  4  so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
 5  When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.  6  Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God's eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord's commandments and regulations.  7  They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
   8  One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week.  9  As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.  10  While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
   11  While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar.  12  Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him.  13  But the angel said, "Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.  14  You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,  15  for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. [15]   16  And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.  17  He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, [17]  and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly."
   18  Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I be sure this will happen? I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years."
   19  Then the angel said, "I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!"  20  But now, since you didn't believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time."
<<  1:2 Greek from those who from the beginning were servants of the word.
<<  1:15 Or even from birth.
<<  1:17 See Mal 4:5-6.

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