The King of Arad Is Defeated
21 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were coming on the road to Atharim, he fought them and took some of them as prisoners. 2 Then the Israelites made this vow to the Lord: “If you will hand these people over to us, we’ll destroy their cities because you’ve claimed them.” 3 The Lord listened to the Israelites and handed the Canaanites over to them. They destroyed the Canaanites and their cities. So they called the place Hormah [Claimed for Destruction].
The Bronze Snake
4 Then they moved from Mount Hor, following the road that goes to the Red Sea, in order to get around Edom. The people became impatient on the trip 5 and criticized God and Moses. They said, “Why did you make us leave Egypt—just to let us die in the desert? There’s no bread or water, and we can’t stand this awful food!”
6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people. They bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we criticized the Lord and you. Pray to the Lord so that he will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake, and put it on a pole. Anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. People looked at the bronze snake after they were bitten, and they lived.[a]
Israel Travels Past Edom to Moab
10 The Israelites moved and set up camp at Oboth. 11 Next they moved from Oboth and set up camp at Iye Abarim in the desert west of Moab. 12 From there they moved and set up camp at the Zered River. 13 They moved from there and set up camp on the other side of the Arnon Valley in the desert that extends into Amorite territory. (The Arnon Valley is the border between Moab and the Amorites.) 14 This is how it’s described in the Book of the Wars of the Lord:
“… Waheb in Suphah and the valleys,
15 Arnon and the slopes of the valleys
that go down to the site of Ar
and lie along the border of Moab….”
16 From there they went to Beer [Well]. This is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song about the well:
“Make your water spring up!
Sing to the well,
18 the well dug by princes,
dug out by the nobles of the people
with their scepters and staffs.”
From the desert they went to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where Mount Pisgah overlooks Jeshimon.
Sihon and Og Defeated
21 Then Israel sent messengers to say to King Sihon of the Amorites, 22 “Let us go through your country. We won’t go through any of your fields or vineyards or drink any of the water from your wells. We’ll stay on the king’s highway until we’ve passed through your territory.”
23 Sihon wouldn’t let Israel pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his troops and came out into the desert to attack Israel. When Sihon’s troops came to Jahaz, they fought against Israel. 24 But Israel defeated them in battle and took possession of their land from the Arnon Valley to the Jabbok River. ⌞They stopped at⌟ the border of the Ammon because it was fortified. 25 Israel took all those Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all its villages, and lived in them. 26 Heshbon was the city of King Sihon of the Amorites. He had fought the former king of Moab and had taken all his land up to the Arnon Valley.
27 This is why the poets say:
“Come to Heshbon! Rebuild it!
Restore Sihon’s city!
28 Fire came out of Heshbon,
flames from Sihon’s city.
They destroyed Ar of Moab,
the rulers of Arnon’s worship sites.[b]
29 How horrible it is for you, Moab!
You are destroyed, you people of the god Chemosh.
Chemosh let his sons become refugees
and he let his daughters become prisoners
of King Sihon of the Amorites.
30 But we shot the Amorites full of arrows.
From Heshbon to Dibon they all died.
We destroyed everyone and everything
between Nophah and Medeba.”
31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. 32 After Moses sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its cities and villages and forced out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and followed the road that goes to Bashan. King Og of Bashan and all his troops came out to fight the Israelites at Edrei.
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I’ll hand him, all his troops, and his land over to you. Do to him what you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.” 35 The Israelites defeated him, his sons, and all his troops, leaving no survivors. And they took possession of his land.
Balaam Is Hired to Curse Israel
22 Then the Israelites moved and set up camp across from Jericho, on the plains of Moab east of the Jordan River.
2 Balak, son of Zippor, saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 The Moabites were very afraid because there were so many Israelites. Besides, the Moabites couldn’t stand these people.
4 So the Moabites said to the leaders of Midian, “All those people will eventually eat up everything around us the same way an ox eats up the grass in a field.”
At that time Balak, son of Zippor, was king of Moab. 5 He sent messengers to summon Balaam, son of Beor, who was at Pethor, on the Euphrates River, in the land where his people lived. Balak’s message was, “A nation has just come here from Egypt. They’ve spread out all over the countryside and are setting up their camp here in front of me. 6 Please come and curse these people for me, because they are too strong for me. Maybe then I’ll be able to defeat them and force them out of the country. I know that whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is cursed.”
7 The leaders of Moab and Midian left, taking money with them to pay for Balaam’s services. They came to Balaam and told him what Balak had said.
8 “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I’ll report to you what the Lord tells me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam answered, “Balak, son of King Zippor of Moab, sent them with this message: 11 ‘Some people have just come from Egypt and are spreading out all over the countryside. Now come and curse them for me. Maybe I’ll be able to fight them and force them out.’ ”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Don’t go with them! Don’t curse these people, because they are blessed.”
13 When Balaam got up in the morning, he said to Balak’s princes, “Go back to your own country, because the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite princes went back to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Balak sent a larger group of more highly respected princes. 16 When they came to Balaam, they said to him, “This is what Balak, son of Zippor, says: Don’t let anything keep you from coming to me. 17 I will make sure you are richly rewarded, and I will do whatever you ask. Please, come and curse these people for me.”
18 But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I couldn’t disobey the command of the Lord my God no matter whether the request was important or not. 19 Now, why don’t you stay here tonight, as the others did, and I’ll find out what else the Lord may have to tell me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “If these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”
The Angel Gabriel Comes to Mary
26 Six months after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee. 27 The angel went to a virgin promised in marriage to a descendant of David named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 When the angel entered her home, he greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.”
29 She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.
30 The angel told her,
“Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor [a] with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son,
and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man
and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever,
and his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”
35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.
36 “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn’t have a child. 37 But nothing is impossible for God.”
38 Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 Soon afterward, Mary hurried to a city in the mountain region of Judah. 40 She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard the greeting, she felt the baby kick. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child that you will have. 43 I feel blessed that the mother of my Lord is visiting me. 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, I felt the baby jump for joy. 45 You are blessed for believing that the Lord would keep his promise to you.”
Mary Praises God
46 Mary said,
“My soul praises the Lord’s greatness!
47 My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior,
48 because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant.
“From now on, all people will call me blessed
49 because the Almighty has done great things to me.
His name is holy.
50 For those who fear him,
his mercy lasts throughout every generation.
51 “He displayed his mighty power.
He scattered those who think too highly of themselves.
52 He pulled strong rulers from their thrones.
He honored humble people.
53 He fed hungry people with good food.
He sent rich people away with nothing.
54 “He remembered to help his servant Israel forever.
55 This is the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
- 1:30 Or “grace.”
For the choir director; al tashcheth; [a] a miktam by David when he fled from Saul into the cave.
57 Have pity on me, O God. Have pity on me,
because my soul takes refuge in you.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until destructive storms pass by.
2 I call to God Most High,
to the God who does everything for me.
3 He sends his help from heaven and saves me.
He disgraces the one who is harassing me. Selah
God sends his mercy and his truth!
4 My soul is surrounded by lions.
I must lie down with man-eating lions.
Their teeth are spears and arrows.
Their tongues are sharp swords.
5 May you be honored above the heavens, O God.
Let your glory extend over the whole earth.
6 ⌞My enemies⌟ spread out a net to catch me.
(My soul is bowed down.)
They dug a pit to trap me,
but then they fell into it. Selah
7 My heart is confident, O God.
My heart is confident.
I want to sing and make music.[b]
8 Wake up, my soul! [c]
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I want to wake up at dawn.
9 I want to give thanks to you among the people, O Lord.
I want to make music to praise you among the nations
10 because your mercy is as high as the heavens.
Your truth reaches the skies.
11 May you be honored above the heavens, O God.
Let your glory extend over the whole earth.
9 With his talk a godless person can ruin his neighbor,
but righteous people are rescued by knowledge.
10 When righteous people prosper, a city is glad.
When wicked people die, there are songs of joy.
11 With the blessing of decent people a city is raised up,
but by the words of wicked people, it is torn down.