War with the Canaanites
21 The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the ·southern area [Negev]. When he heard that the Israelites were coming on the road to Atharim, he attacked them and captured some of them. 2 Then the Israelites made ·this promise [a vow] to the Lord: “If you will ·help us defeat these people [L give this people into our hands], we will ·completely destroy [devote to the Lord] their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to the Israelites, and he let them defeat the Canaanites. The Israelites ·completely destroyed [devoted to the Lord] the Canaanites and their cities, so the place was named Hormah [C “Completely Destroyed”; “Devoted to the Lord”].
The Bronze Snake
4 The Israelites left Mount Hor and went on the road toward the ·Red [or Reed] Sea, in order to go around the country of Edom. But the people became impatient on the way 5 and ·grumbled at [L spoke against] God and Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this ·desert [wilderness]? There is no bread and no water, and we hate this terrible food!”
6 So the Lord sent them ·poisonous [L burning] snakes; they bit the people, and many of the ·Israelites [L people from Israel] died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we ·grumbled at [spoke against] you and the Lord. Pray that the Lord will take away these snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze snake, and put it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, that person will live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then when a snake bit anyone, that person looked at the bronze snake and lived [2 Kin. 18:4; John 3:14].
The Journey to Moab
10 The ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] went and camped at Oboth. 11 They went from Oboth to Iye Abarim, in the ·desert [wilderness] east of Moab. 12 From there they went and camped in the Zered ·Valley [Wadi]. 13 From there they went and camped across the Arnon, in the ·desert [wilderness] just inside the Amorite country. The Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14 That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord [C a source now lost] says:
“ … and Waheb in Suphah, and the ·ravines [wadis],
the Arnon, 15 and the slopes of the ·ravines [wadis]
that lead to the settlement of Ar.
These places are at the border of Moab.”
16 The Israelites went from there to Beer; a well is there where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people and I will give them water.”
17 Then the Israelites sang this song:
“·Pour out water [Spring up], well!
Sing ·about [or to] it.
18 Princes dug this well.
·Important men [Leaders of the people] made it.
With their scepters and poles, they dug it.”
The people went from the ·desert [wilderness] to Mattanah. 19 From Mattanah they went to Nahaliel and on to Bamoth. 20 From Bamoth they went to the valley of Moab where the top of Mount Pisgah looks over the ·desert [wilderness].
Israel Kills Sihon and Og
21 The Israelites sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let ·us [L me] pass through your country. We will not go through any fields of grain or vineyards, or drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the ·king’s road [King’s Highway; 20:17] until we have passed through your ·country [boundaries].”
23 But King Sihon would not let the Israelites pass through his ·country [boundaries]. He gathered his whole army together, and they marched out to meet Israel in the ·desert [wilderness]. At Jahaz they fought the Israelites. 24 Israel ·killed [L struck with the sword] the king and captured his land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They took the land as far as the ·Ammonite border [L border of the sons of Ammon], which was strongly defended. 25 Israel captured all the Amorite cities and lived in them, taking Heshbon and all the towns around it. 26 Heshbon was the city where Sihon, the Amorite king, lived. In the past he had fought with the king of Moab and had taken all the land from his hand as far as the Arnon.
27 That is why the poets say:
“Come to Heshbon
and rebuild it;
·rebuild [establish] Sihon’s city.
28 A fire ·began in [L went out from] Heshbon;
flames came from Sihon’s city.
It destroyed Ar in Moab,
and it ·burned [or swallowed] the Arnon highlands.
29 ·How terrible for [T Woe to] you, Moab!
The people of Chemosh are ruined.
His sons ran away
and his daughters were captured
by Sihon, king of the Amorites.
30 But we defeated those Amorites.
We ruined their towns from Heshbon to Dibon,
and we destroyed them as far as Nophah, near Medeba.”
31 So Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.
32 After Moses sent spies to the town of Jazer, they captured ·the towns around it [its villages], forcing out the Amorites who lived there.
33 Then the Israelites went up the road toward Bashan. Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet the Israelites, and they fought at Edrei.
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I will hand him, his whole army, and his land over to you. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who lived in Heshbon.”
Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the ·people [L sons/T children of] of Israel went to the plains of Moab, and they camped near the Jordan River across from Jericho.
2 Balak son of Zippor saw everything the Israelites had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab ·was scared of [dreaded] so many Israelites; truly, Moab was terrified by them.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “·These people [L This community/assembly/congregation] will ·take [lick up] everything around us like an ox ·eating [licking] grass.”
Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab at this time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, near the Euphrates River in ·his native land [or the land of Amaw]. Balak said, “A nation has come out of Egypt that covers the land. They have ·camped [L settled] next to me, 6 and they are too powerful for me. So come and put a curse on them. Maybe then I can defeat them and ·make them leave [drive them from] the area. I know that if you bless someone, the blessings happen, and if you put a curse on someone, it happens.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian went with ·payment [L fee for divination] in their hands. When they found Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
8 Balaam said to them, “Stay here for the night, and I will tell you what the Lord tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with him.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “The king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, sent them to me with this message: 11 ‘A ·nation [people] has come out of Egypt that ·covers [spreads over] the land. So come and put a curse on them, and maybe I can fight them and force them out of my land.’”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. Don’t put a curse on those people, because I have blessed them.”
13 The next morning Balaam ·awoke [rose] and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your own country; the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite leaders went back to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 So Balak sent other leaders—this time there were more of them, and they were more ·important [distinguished]. 16 They went to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says this: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. 17 I will ·pay you very well [make you wealthy; honor you], and I will do what you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
18 But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “King Balak could give me his palace full of silver and gold, but I cannot ·disobey [transgress] the Lord my God in anything, great or small. 19 You stay here tonight as the other men did, and I will find out what more the Lord tells me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “These men have come to ask you to go with them. Go, but only do what I tell you.”
An Angel Appears to Mary
26 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel [1:19] to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was ·engaged to marry [pledged to; C engagement was a binding contract between two families and could only be broken by divorce] a man named Joseph ·from the family [a descendent; L from the house] of David. ·Her [L The virgin’s] name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “·Greetings [Hello; L Rejoice; C a common greeting]! ·The Lord has blessed you and is with you [or …favored one, the Lord is with you].”
29 But Mary was ·very startled [disturbed; perplexed; troubled] by what the angel said and wondered what ·this greeting might mean [sort of greeting this was].
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; [L for; because] ·God has shown you his grace [L you have found favor/grace with God]. 31 ·Listen [L Look; T Behold]! You will ·become pregnant [L conceive in your womb] and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [Is. 7:14]. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of ·King David, his ancestor [L his father David]. 33 He will ·rule [reign] over the ·people [L house] of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end [2 Sam. 7:13, 16; Dan. 7:14, 27].”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How ·will [can] this happen since ·I am a virgin [L I have not known a man (sexually)]?”
35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come ·upon [over] you, and the power of the Most High will ·cover [overshadow] you. For this reason the ·baby will be holy and [holy one to be born] will be called the Son of God. 36 ·Now [L And look/T behold] Elizabeth, your relative, ·is also pregnant with [has also conceived] a son ·though she is very old [in her old age]. ·Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. [L And this is the sixth month for the woman they called barren!] 37 ·God can do anything […because nothing is impossible with God; or …because no word/message from God will ever fail; Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17]!”
38 Mary said, “[L Look; T Behold] I am the ·servant [bondservant; T handmaid] of the Lord. Let this happen to me ·as you say [according to your word]!” Then the angel ·went away [left her].
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 [L In those days] Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the hills of Judea [C from Galilee in the north to southern Israel, about three or four days journey by foot]. 40 She ·came to [entered] Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby ·inside her [in her womb] ·jumped [leaped; kicked], and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She cried out in a loud voice, “·God has blessed you [L You are blessed] ·more than any other woman [L among women], and ·he has blessed the baby to which you will give birth [L blessed is the fruit of your womb]. 43 [L But] Why ·has this good thing happened to me [am I so honored], that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 [L For look/T behold] When I heard ·your voice [L the sound of your greeting], the baby inside ·me [my womb] ·jumped [leaped; kicked] with joy. 45 ·You are blessed because you [L Blessed is she who has] believed that what the Lord said would ·really happen [be fulfilled].”
Mary Praises God
46 Then Mary said,
“My soul ·praises [exalts; glorifies; magnifies] the Lord [1 Sam. 2:1–10];
47 my ·heart [spirit] rejoices in God my Savior [Ps. 35:9],
48 because he has ·shown his concern for [noticed; looked favorably on] his ·humble [lowly] servant girl [1 Sam. 1:11].
[L For look/T behold] From now on, all ·people [L generations] will ·say that I am [call me] blessed [Ps. 138:6],
49 because the ·Powerful [Mighty] One has done great things for me.
His name is holy.
50 ·God will show his mercy [L His mercy is/continues] ·forever and ever [L to generations and generations]
to those who ·worship and serve [L fear; reverence] him [Ps. 103:17].
51 He has done mighty deeds ·by his power [L with his arm; C a metaphor for strength].
He has scattered the people who are proud
·and think great things about themselves [or in the schemes they devise; L in the thoughts/intentions of their hearts].
52 He has brought down ·rulers [the powerful] from their thrones
and ·raised up [exalted] the ·humble [lowly].
53 He has filled the hungry with good things [Ps. 107:9]
and sent the rich away ·with nothing [empty-handed].
54 He has helped his servant, the people of Israel,
·remembering to show them [mindful of his] mercy
55 as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his ·children [descendants; L seed] forever [Gen. 17:7, 19].”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
A Prayer in Troubled Times
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A miktam [C perhaps “inscription”] of David when he ·escaped [fled] from Saul in the cave [C likely a reference to 1 Sam. 22:1–5, but possibly 1 Sam. 24].
57 Be ·merciful [gracious] to me, God; be ·merciful [gracious] to me
because I ·come to you for protection [L seek refuge].
Let me ·hide [be protected; L seek refuge] under the shadow of your wings [Ruth 2:12; Matt. 23:37]
until the ·trouble [destruction] has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to the God who ·does everything for [fulfills his purpose for; or avenges] me.
3 He sends help from heaven and ·saves me [gives me victory].
He ·punishes [reproaches; scorns] those who ·chase [trample on; hound; snap at] me. ·
God sends me his ·love [loyalty] and ·truth [faithfulness].
4 I lie down among lions [C his enemies];
who are aflame for human prey.
Their teeth are like spears and arrows,
their tongues as sharp as swords.
5 God is ·supreme [exalted] over the ·skies [heavens];
his ·majesty [glory; C his manifest presence] ·covers [L is over] the earth.
6 They set a ·trap [net] for ·me [L my feet].
I am ·very worried [bowed down].
They dug a pit ·in my path [L before me],
but they fell into it themselves. ·
7 My heart is ·steady [steadfast; ready], God; my heart is ·steady [steadfast; ready].
I will sing and ·praise [play a psalm for] you.
8 Wake up, my ·soul [or glory].
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
9 Lord, I will ·praise [thank] you among the ·nations [peoples];
I will ·sing songs of praise about [play a psalm for] you to all the nations.
10 Your ·love [loyalty] ·reaches to [is greater than] the ·skies [heavens],
your ·truth [faithfulness] to the clouds.
11 God, you are ·supreme [exalted] above the ·skies [heavens].
Let your glory [C manifest presence] be over all the earth.
9 With ·words [L their mouth] an ·evil [godless] person can destroy a neighbor,
but a ·good [righteous] person will escape by ·being resourceful [L their knowledge].
10 When ·good [righteous] people ·succeed [flourish], the city is happy.
When evil people ·die [perish], there are shouts of joy.
11 ·Good [Righteous] people bless and build up their city,
but the wicked can ·destroy [demolish] it with their ·words [L mouth].