Oppression by the Midianites
6 The Israelites did things that the Lord saw as evil, and the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. 2 The power of the Midianites prevailed over Israel, and because of the Midianites, the Israelites used crevices and caves in the mountains as hidden strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted seeds, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other easterners would invade. 4 They would set up camp against the Israelites and destroy the land’s crops as far as Gaza, leaving nothing to keep Israel alive, not even sheep, oxen, or donkeys. 5 They would invade with their herds and tents, coming like a swarm of locusts, so that no one could count them or their camels. They came into the land to destroy it. 6 So Israel became very weak on account of Midian, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord.
7 This time when the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent them a prophet, who said to them, “The Lord, Israel’s God, proclaims: I myself brought you up from Egypt, and I led you out of the house of slavery. 9 I delivered you from the power of the Egyptians and from the power of all your oppressors. I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.’ But you have not obeyed me.”
11 Then the Lord’s messenger came and sat under the oak at Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The Lord’s messenger appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”
13 But Gideon replied to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?”
15 But again Gideon said to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my household.”
16 The Lord replied, “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person.”[a]
17 Then Gideon said to him, “If I’ve gained your approval, please show me a sign that it’s really you speaking with me. 18 Don’t leave here until I return, bring out my offering, and set it in front of you.”
The Lord replied, “I’ll stay until you return.”
19 So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and used an ephah[b] of flour for unleavened bread. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them. 20 Then God’s messenger said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and set them on this rock, then pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 The Lord’s messenger reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and devoured the meat and the unleavened bread; and the Lord’s messenger vanished before his eyes. 22 Then Gideon realized that it had been the Lord’s messenger. Gideon exclaimed, “Oh no, Lord God! I have seen the Lord’s messenger face-to-face!”
23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Don’t be afraid! You won’t die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it “The Lord makes peace.” It still stands today in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old. Break down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah[c] that is beside it. 26 Build an altar to the Lord your God in the proper way on top of this high ground. Then take the second bull and offer it as an entirely burned offering with the wood of the Asherah that you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did just as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his household and the townspeople to do it during the day, he did it at night.
28 When the townspeople got up early in the morning, there was the altar to Baal broken down, with the asherah image that had been beside it cut down, and the second bull offered on the newly built altar! 29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” They searched and investigated, and finally they concluded, “Gideon, Joash’s son, did this!” 30 The townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son for execution because he tore down the altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah that was beside it.”
31 But Joash replied to all who were lined up against him, “Will you make Baal’s complaint for him? Will you come to his rescue? Anyone who argues for him will be killed before morning. If he is a god, let him argue for himself, because it was his altar that was torn down.” 32 So on that day Gideon became known as Jerubbaal, meaning, “Let Baal argue with him,” because he tore down his altar.
Gideon seeks a sign
33 Some time later, all the Midianites, Amalekites, and other easterners joined together, came over, and set up camp in the Jezreel Valley. 34 Then the Lord’s spirit came over Gideon, and he sounded the horn and summoned the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers into all of Manasseh, and they were also summoned to follow him. Then he sent messengers into Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali too, and they marched up to meet them.
36 But then Gideon said to God, “To see if you really intend to rescue Israel through me as you have declared, 37 I’m now putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece but all the ground is dry, then I’ll know that you are going to rescue Israel through me, as you have declared.” 38 And that is what happened. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung out enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me, but let me speak just one more time. Please let me make just one more test with the fleece: now let only the fleece be dry and let dew be on all the ground.” 40 And God did so that night. Only the fleece was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.
Peter denies knowing Jesus
54 After they arrested Jesus, they led him away and brought him to the high priest’s house. Peter followed from a distance. 55 When they lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56 Then a servant woman saw him sitting in the firelight. She stared at him and said, “This man was with him too.”
57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him!”
58 A little while later, someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.”
But Peter said, “Man, I’m not!”
59 An hour or so later, someone else insisted, “This man must have been with him, because he is a Galilean too.”
60 Peter responded, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” At that very moment, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the Lord’s words: “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably.
63 The men who were holding Jesus in custody taunted him while they beat him. 64 They blindfolded him and asked him repeatedly, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 Insulting him, they said many other horrible things against him.
Jesus before the Jerusalem leadership
66 As morning came, the elders of the people, both chief priests and legal experts, came together, and Jesus was brought before their council.
67 They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”
70 They all said, “Are you God’s Son, then?”
He replied, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony? We’ve heard it from his own lips.”
Jesus before Pilate
23 The whole assembly got up and led Jesus to Pilate and 2 began to accuse him. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he is the Christ, a king.”
3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.”
4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no legal basis for action against this man.”
5 But they objected strenuously, saying, “He agitates the people with his teaching throughout Judea—starting from Galilee all the way here.”
Jesus before Herod
6 Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was from Herod’s district, Pilate sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. 8 Herod was very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard about Jesus and had wanted to see him for quite some time. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign. 9 Herod questioned Jesus at length, but Jesus didn’t respond to him. 10 The chief priests and the legal experts were there, fiercely accusing Jesus. 11 Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt. Herod mocked him by dressing Jesus in elegant clothes and sent him back to Pilate. 12 Pilate and Herod became friends with each other that day. Before this, they had been enemies.
95 Come, let’s sing out loud to the Lord!
Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let’s come before him with thanks!
Let’s shout songs of joy to him!
3 The Lord is a great God,
the great king over all other gods.
4 The earth’s depths are in his hands;
the mountain heights belong to him;
5 the sea, which he made, is his
along with the dry ground,
which his own hands formed.
6 Come, let’s worship and bow down!
Let’s kneel before the Lord, our maker!
7 He is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
the sheep in his hands.
If only you would listen to his voice right now!
8 “Don’t harden your hearts
like you did at Meribah,
like you did when you were at Massah,
in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me
and scrutinized me,
even though they had already seen my acts.
10 For forty years I despised that generation;
I said, ‘These people have twisted hearts.
They don’t know my ways.’
11 So in anger I swore:
‘They will never enter my place of rest!’”
96 Sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord! Bless his name!
Share the news of his saving work every single day!
3 Declare God’s glory among the nations;
declare his wondrous works among all people
4 because the Lord is great and so worthy of praise.
He is awesome beyond all other gods
5 because all the gods of the nations are just idols,
but it is the Lord who created heaven!
6 Greatness and grandeur are in front of him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Give to the Lord, all families of the nations—
give to the Lord glory and power!
8 Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
Enter his courtyards!
9 Bow down to the Lord in his holy splendor!
Tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Tell the nations, “The Lord rules!
Yes, he set the world firmly in place;[a]
it won’t be shaken.
He will judge all people fairly.”
11 Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it roar!
12 Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
Then all the trees of the forest too
will shout out joyfully
13 before the Lord because he is coming!
He is coming to establish justice on the earth!
He will establish justice in the world rightly.
He will establish justice among all people fairly.
5 A truthful witness doesn’t lie,
but a false witness spews lies.
6 A mocker searches for wisdom and gets none,
but knowledge comes quickly to the intelligent.