The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Thursday March 16, 2017 (NIV)

Numbers 24-25

24 Balaam saw that ·the Lord wanted [L it was good in the eyes/sight of the Lord] to bless Israel, so he did not try to use any ·magic [divination] but looked toward the ·desert [wilderness]. When Balaam ·saw [L lifted his eyes and saw] the Israelites camped in their tribes, the Spirit of God ·took control of [L was on] him, and he gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“This is the ·message [utterance] of Balaam son of Beor,
the ·message [utterance] of a man ·who sees clearly [L whose eye is open];
this is the ·message [utterance] of a man who hears the words of God.
I see a vision from the Almighty,
and my eyes are open as I fall before him.
·Your tents are beautiful [L How beautiful/fair are your tents], people of Jacob!
·So are your homes [L Your dwellings], Israel!
Your tents spread out like ·valleys [wadis],
like gardens beside a river.
They are like ·spices [L aloes] planted by the Lord,
like cedar trees growing by the water.
Israel’s water buckets will always ·be full [or flow],
and their ·crops [L seed] will have plenty of water.
Their king will be greater than Agag [C perhaps a dynastic name of the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8–13); 1 Sam. 15:7–9, 32–33];
their kingdom will be very great.
God brought them out of Egypt;
they are ·as strong as [L like the horns of] a wild ox.
They will defeat their enemies
and break their enemies’ bones;
they will ·shoot [L strike] them with arrows.
Like a lion, they lie waiting to attack;
like a lioness, ·no one would be brave enough to wake [L who will rouse…?] them.
Anyone who blesses you will be blessed,
and anyone who curses you will be cursed [Gen. 12:3].”

10 Then Balak was angry with Balaam, and he ·pounded his fist [or struck his hands together]. He said to Balaam, “I called you here to curse my enemies, but you have continued to bless them three times. 11 Now go home! I said I would ·pay you well [make you wealthy], but the Lord has ·made you lose [denied you] your reward.”

12 Balaam said to Balak, “When you sent messengers to me, ·I told [L did I not tell…?] them, 13 ‘Balak could give me his ·palace [L house] filled with silver and gold, but I still cannot ·go against [transgress] the Lord’s commands. I could not do anything, good or bad, on my own, but I must say what the Lord says.’ 14 Now I am going back to my own people, but I will ·tell [L advise] you what these people will do to your people in the ·future [L later days].”

Balaam’s Final Message

15 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“This is the ·message [utterance] of Balaam son of Beor,
the ·message [utterance] of a man ·who sees clearly [L whose eye is open];
16 this is the ·message [utterance] of a man who hears the words of God.
I know well the Most High God.
I see a vision from the Almighty,
and my eyes are open as I fall before him.
17 I see someone ·who will come someday [L but not now],
·someone who will come, but not soon [L I see him, but not near].
A star will come from Jacob;
a ·ruler [L scepter] will rise from Israel [C Saul, then David and his descendants, including the Messiah].
He will crush the heads of the Moabites
and smash the skulls of the sons of Sheth [C identity uncertain].
18 Edom will be conquered;
his enemy Edom will be conquered,
but Israel will grow ·wealthy [or valiant].
19 A ruler will come from the descendants of Jacob
and will destroy those left in the city.”

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and gave this message:

“Amalek was the most important nation,
but Amalek will be destroyed at last [C the book of Esther tells the story of the final destruction of Amalek; Haman is a descendant of Agag; 24:7].”

21 Then Balaam saw the Kenites and gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“Your home is ·safe [enduring],
like a nest on a ·cliff [rock].
22 But you Kenites will be burned up;
·Assyria will [L How long will Assyria…?] keep you captive.”

23 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“·No one [L Who…?] can live when God does this.
24 Ships will sail from the shores of ·Cyprus [Kittim]
and ·defeat [afflict] Assyria and Eber,
but they will also be destroyed.”

25 Then Balaam got up and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.

Israel Worships Baal at Peor

25 While the people of Israel were still camped at ·Acacia [L Shittim], the men began ·sinning sexually [to prostitute themselves] with Moabite women [C on the advice of Balaam who found another way to get his money; 31:16]. The women invited them to their sacrifices to their gods, and the ·Israelites [L people] ate food there and worshiped these gods. So the Israelites ·began to worship [L yoked themselves to] Baal of Peor, and the Lord was very angry with them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Get all the leaders of the people and ·kill [impale] them in open daylight in the presence of the Lord. Then the Lord will not be angry with the people of Israel.”

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must ·put to death [kill] your people who have become ·worshipers of [L yoked to] Baal of Peor.”

Moses and the Israelites were gathered at the entrance to the Meeting Tent, crying there. Then an ·Israelite man [L man of the sons/T children of Israel] brought a Midianite woman to his ·brothers [family] in plain sight of Moses and all the ·people [community; congregation; assembly]. Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, so he ·left the meeting [L rose up from the community/congregation/assembly] and ·got [L took in his hand] his spear. He followed the Israelite into his ·tent [vaulted/newlywed tent] and drove his spear through the belly of both the Israelite man and the Midianite woman [C while they were embracing]. Then the ·terrible sickness [plague] among the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] stopped.

This ·sickness [plague] had killed twenty-four thousand people.

10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has saved the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] from my anger. He hates sin as much as I do. ·Since he tried to save my honor among them [L Because of his zeal in their midst], I will not kill them in my zeal. 12 So tell Phinehas that I am making my ·peace agreement [covenant/treaty of peace] with him. 13 He and his ·descendants [L seed] will ·always be priests [L have a covenant/treaty of eternal/perpetual priesthood], because he had ·great concern for the honor of [L passion/zeal for] his God. He ·removed the sins of the Israelites so they would belong to God [L provided atonement for the sons/T children of Israel].”

14 The Israelite man who was ·killed [L struck] with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu. He was the leader of a ·family [ancestral clan] in the tribe of Simeon. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was ·put to death [L struck] was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the chief of a Midianite ·family [ancestral clan].

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “·The Midianites are your enemies [Harrass the Midianites], and you should ·kill [L strike] them. 18 They have already ·made you their enemies [harrassed you], because they tricked you at Peor and because of their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader. She was the woman who was killed when the ·sickness [plague] came because the people sinned at Peor.”

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Luke 2:1-35

The Birth of Jesus

At that time, Augustus Caesar sent an ·order [decree] that all people in the ·countries under Roman rule [empire; Roman world] must ·list their names in a register [register for taxation]. ·This was the first registration; it was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria [or This was the first census while Quirinius was governor of Syria; or This census occurred before Quirinius was governor of Syria]. And all went to their own towns to be registered.

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David [C Bethlehem was David’s hometown]. Joseph went there because he was from the ·family [L house and family line] of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was ·engaged [pledged to be married; see 1:27] and who was now pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. She wrapped the baby ·with pieces of cloth [in cloths; T in swaddling clothes] and laid him in a ·feeding trough [T manger], because there ·were no rooms [was no space/room] left in the ·inn [or guest room (of a private residence); or caravan shelter].

Shepherds Hear About Jesus

·That night [L At night], some shepherds were [living out] in the fields ·nearby [L in that region/place] watching their ·sheep [L flock]. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord ·was shining around [surrounded] them, and they became very frightened. 10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. [L …for/because] I am bringing you good news that will ·be a [or bring] great joy to all the people. 11 Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is ·Christ [the Messiah], the Lord. 12 This ·is how you will know him [will be the sign for you]: You will find a baby wrapped in ·pieces of cloth [cloths; T swaddling clothes] and lying in a ·feeding trough [T manger].”

13 ·Then [L And suddenly] a ·very large group [or great army] of angels from heaven ·joined [appeared with] the first angel, praising God and saying:

14 “Give glory to God in ·heaven [the highest place/heaven],
and on earth let there be peace among the people ·who please God [or he favors; L of his pleasure/approval].”[a]

15 When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a ·feeding trough [T manger]. 17 When they had seen him, they ·told [spread the word about; let people know] what the angels had said about this child. 18 Everyone [L who heard] ·was amazed [wondered; marveled] at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary ·treasured [kept; preserved] these things and ·continued to think about them [L pondered/considered them in her heart]. 20 Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, ·praising [glorifying] God and ·thanking [praising] him for everything they had seen and heard. It had been just as the angel had told them.

21 When ·the baby was eight days old [L eight days were fulfilled; Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3], he was circumcised [1:59] and was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before ·the baby began to grow inside Mary [L he was conceived in the womb].

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple

22 When the ·time came [L days were fulfilled] for ·Mary and Joseph to do what the law of Moses taught about being made pure [L their purification according the law of Moses; C an animal sacrifice and ritual cleansing forty days after the birth of a son; see Lev. 12:2–8], they took Jesus [L up] to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 ([L Just as] It is written in the law of the Lord: “Every ·firstborn male [L male who opens the womb; C an idiom for a firstborn] shall be ·given [set apart; consecrated; L called holy] to the Lord” [Ex. 13:2].) 24 Mary and Joseph also went to offer a sacrifice, as the law of the Lord says: “You must sacrifice two ·doves [or turtledoves] or two young pigeons [Lev. 5:11; 12:8].”

Simeon Sees Jesus

25 [Now; L And behold] In Jerusalem ·lived [L was] a man named Simeon who was ·a good man [righteous; just] and ·godly [devout; reverent]. He was waiting for the ·time when God would take away Israel’s sorrow [restoration/consolation of Israel; Is. 40:1] and the Holy Spirit was ·in [or upon] him. 26 ·Simeon had been told [L It had been revealed to him] by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw ·the Christ promised by the Lord [L the Lord’s Messiah/Anointed One]. 27 The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. When ·Mary and Joseph [L the parents] brought the ·baby [child] Jesus to the Temple to do [L for him] what ·the law said they must do [the custom of the law required], 28 Simeon took the baby in his arms and ·thanked [praised; blessed] God:

29 “Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant,
·die [L depart; be dismissed] in peace ·as you said [L according to your word].
30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation [Is. 52:10],
31 which you prepared ·before [in the presence of] all ·people [nations; people groups].
32 It is a light ·for the Gentiles to see [L of revelation for the Gentiles/nations; Is. 42:6; 49:6]
and ·an honor [the glory] for your people, ·the Israelites [L Israel].”

33 Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon had said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to ·Mary [L his mother], “·God has chosen this child [L Look/T Behold, this one is destined/appointed] to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel. ·He will be a sign from God that many people will not accept [L …and to be a sign that is spoken against] 35 so that the thoughts of many [L hearts] will be made known. And ·the things that will happen will make your heart sad, too [L a sword will pierce your own soul; C Mary will experience deep sorrow over the death of Jesus].”


  1. Luke 2:14 and … God Some Greek copies read “and on earth let there be peace and goodwill among people.”
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Psalm 59

A Prayer for Protection

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A miktam [C perhaps “inscription”] of David when Saul sent men to ·watch David’s house [L the house] to kill him [1 Sam. 19:11–17].

59 God, ·save [protect] me from my enemies.
·Protect me [Give me refuge] from those who ·come [rise] against me.
·Save [Protect] me from those who do evil
and ·save me from [give me victory over] ·murderers [the bloodthirsty].

Look, they are waiting to ambush ·me [my life; Prov. 1:11].
·Cruel [Defiant; Strong] people attack me,
but I have not sinned or ·done wrong [transgressed], Lord.
I have done nothing wrong, but they ·are ready to attack me [L run and get ready].
Wake up to ·help [meet] me, and look.
You are the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel.
·Arise [L Awake] and ·punish [visit] ·those people [L all the nations].
Do not give those traitors any ·mercy [grace]. ·Selah [Interlude]

They come back at ·night [evening].
Like dogs they ·growl [make a commotion] and ·roam around [surround] the city.
Notice what ·comes [bubbles up] from their mouths.
·Insults [L Swords] come from their lips,
because they say, “Who’s listening?”
But, Lord, you laugh at them [2:4];
you ·make fun of [ridicule] all ·of them [L the nations].

God, my strength, I ·am looking to [keep watch for] you,
because God is my ·defender [refuge].
10 My God ·loves [is loyal to] me, and he goes in front of me.
He will help me ·defeat [L look on] my enemies.
11 Lord, our ·protector [L shield], do not kill them, or my people will forget.
With your power ·scatter them [make them wander] and ·defeat them [L bring them down].
12 They sin by what they say;
they sin with their ·words [L lips].
They curse and tell lies,
so let their pride ·trap [capture] them.
13 ·Destroy [Annihilate] them in your anger;
·destroy [annihilate] them ·completely [L so they will be no more]!
Then they will know
that God rules over ·Israel [L Jacob]
and to the ends of the earth. ·Selah [Interlude]

14 They come back at ·night [evening].
Like dogs they ·growl [make a commotion]
and ·roam around [surround] the city.
15 They wander about looking for food,
and they ·howl [grumble] if they ·do not find enough [are not satisfied].
16 But I will sing about your strength.
In the morning I will sing about your ·love [loyalty].
You are my ·defender [refuge],
my place of safety in ·times of trouble [L the day of distress].
17 God, my strength, I will sing ·praises [a psalm] to you.
God, my ·defender [refuge], you are the God who ·loves [is loyal to] me.

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Proverbs 11:14

14 Without ·leadership [guidance] a ·nation [people] falls,
but ·lots of good advice [L an abundance of counselors] will ·save it [bring victory; Eccl. 9:13–15].

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