Day 196 – July 15, 2022

1 Maccabees 9:54-10:58; Psalm 17:18–32; Proverbs 3:11–16; Acts 19:1–22

1 Maccabees 9:54-10:58

54 Then in the one hundred fifty-third year, in the second month, Alcimus issued the command to take down the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary. Then he took down the work of the prophets and started to destroy it. 55 At that instant, Alcimus was stricken, his mischief was thwarted, his mouth was shut up, and he became paralyzed. He could not even speak a word so as to give orders concerning his property. 56 So Alcimus died then and there in great pain. 57 When Bacchides saw that Alcimus had died, he returned to King Demetrius. Thus the land of Judah was peaceful for two years.
58 Soon, all the lawless men deliberated among themselves, saying, “Behold, Jonathan and those with him are living in peace and certitude. Now, therefore, let us bring Bacchides back here, and he will seize them all in one night.” 59 So they went and conversed with him, 60 and he departed to come with a large army, secretly sending letters to all his allies in Judea, telling them to capture Jonathan and those with him. But they could not do so, because their plot had been discovered. 61 So Jonathan and his men caught about fifty of their countrymen who were the leaders of the agitation, and killed them.
Bacchides’ Forces Are Crushed
62 Then Jonathan, Simon, and those with them departed for Bethbasi in the desert, and rebuilt the outpost that had been destroyed and strengthened it. 63 When Bacchides heard of this, he gathered all his army and sent orders to the men of Judea. 64 Then he arrived and camped at Bethbasi and attacked it for many days, making engines of war. 65 But Jonathan left Simon his brother in the city, and headed out into the country with a handful of men. 66 He struck Odomera and his brothers and the sons of Phasiron inside their tents. Then he launched his attack and entered into battle with his armies. 67 Meanwhile Simon and those with him came out of the city and set on fire the engines of war. 68 Once they took the offensive against Bacchides, he was crushed by them. They upset him greatly because his plan of attack was in vain. 69 Also, he was filled with rage at his advisors, the lawless men who urged him to come into the country. So he killed many of them and then decided to return home.
70 When Jonathan learned of these events, he sent envoys to make peace with Bacchides and to obtain freedom for the captives. 71 Bacchides accepted the proposal and swore to Jonathan he would not harm him all the days of his life. 72 He returned to him the hostages taken earlier from the land of Judah. Then he returned to his homeland and made no further attempt to come into their country. 73 Thus the sword was laid down in Israel. Then Jonathan settled down in Michmash, where he began to judge the people and to destroy the ungodly men of Israel.
Alexander Appoints Jonathan High Priest
1 Then in the one hundred and sixtieth year, Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, went forth and conquered Ptolemais. They made him welcome, and he reigned there. 2 But when Demetrius the king learned this, he gathered a huge army and went out to battle him. 3 Demetrius also sent a letter to Jonathan with peaceful words to flatter him. 4 For he said, “Let us act with foresight to make peace with him before he sides with Alexander against us. 5 For he will recall the evils we carried out against him, and against his brothers and his nation.” 6 So the king gave authority to Jonathan to assemble an army, prepare weapons, and be his ally. He also ordered the hostages in the citadel to be released to him.
7 Then Jonathan entered Jerusalem and read the letter in the presence of all the people and those in the citadel. 8 They were very frightened when they heard the king had given Jonathan authorization to assemble an army. 9 So the men in the citadel returned the hostages to Jonathan, and he brought them back to their parents.
  10 Soon, Jonathan settled in Jerusalem and began to reconstruct the city. 11 He also told the workers to build the walls to surround Mount Zion with square-cut stones for fortification, which they did. 12 Then the foreigners who had been in their fortresses built by Bacchides fled. 13 Each one left his place and departed into his own land. 14 Only some in Beth-zur who had forsaken the law and the commandments remained, for it was a place of refuge.
15 When King Alexander heard about the proposals Demetrius had sent to Jonathan, and was told about the battles and the courageous deeds done by Jonathan and his brothers (as well as what they had suffered), 16 he said, “Where will we find another like this man? Let us make him our friend and our ally.” 17 So he wrote a letter and sent it to him, saying:
18 “Alexander the king to Jonathan his brother, greetings. 19 We have heard you are a mighty warrior and suitable to be our friend. 20 So now we appoint you today as high priest of your people and command that you be called a friend of the king (he also sent him a purple robe and a golden crown). We ask you to agree with our interests and maintain friendship with us.”
21 So Jonathan, in the seventh month of the one hundred and sixtieth year, put on the holy robe at the Feast of Tabernacles. Then he gathered an army and stockpiled many weapons.
Demetrius I Writes to Jonathan
22 When Demetrius heard these reports, he was disturbed and said, 23 “What is this that we have done? Alexander has upstaged us by forming a friendship with the Jews for support! 24 I also will write them words of encouragement and promise them glory and gifts, that they may be my support.” 25 So he sent them the following message:
“King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews, greetings. 26 Since you have kept your agreements with us and maintained our friendship, and have not sided with our enemies, we have learned of this and rejoice. 27 Even now, do continue to keep faith with us, and we will repay you good things for your deeds. 28 We will grant you many prerogatives and give you gifts.
29 “At this time I am releasing and exempting all Jews from tribute and salt taxes and from crown levies. 30 Furthermore, instead of handing over to me a third of the harvest and half of the fruit of the trees, which I am due, I cancel them from this day forward and beyond. I will not extract them from those of Judah, nor from the three provinces annexed to them from Samaria and Galilee from now on. 31 In addition, let Jerusalem and her vicinities be set apart and released from tithes and taxes. 32 I am also releasing my control of the citadel in Jerusalem, and I give it to the high priest, that he may place men in it whom he himself chooses to guard it. 33 So every soul of the Jews taken captive from the land of Judah into all my kingdom I release freely without payment. Let all officials also cancel the duties on their livestock.
34 “Moreover, all the feasts, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed days, as well as the three days prior to the feast and three after the feast, let all these days be established as exempt and released for the Jews in my kingdom. 35 No one will have the power to exact anything from them or to trouble any of them about anything.
  36 “Let the number of Jews in the army of the king be limited to thirty thousand men, and let the stipend that is due to all the troops of the king be paid to them. 37 Some of them are to be established in the great fortresses of the king, and some are to be set in positions of trust wherever the kingdom has need. Let their officers and leaders be taken from them, and let them live by their own laws, as the king commanded in the land of Judah.
38 “As for the three provinces added to Judea from the country of Samaria, let them be considered as one, so it may not be subject to any other authority than the high priest. 39 I have given Ptolemais and the land adjoining it as gifts to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, for regular expenses in the sanctuary. 40 I also grant fifteen thousand silver shekels yearly out of the king’s revenues from the appropriate places. 41 Even all the surplus the officials did not pay as in the first years, from now on they will give for the works of the temple. 42 Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver which the officials received every year from the incomes of the sanctuary, these are also cancelled, because they belong to the priests who minister there. 43 Further, whoever takes refuge at the temple in Jerusalem or in any of its vicinities because he owes a royal payment or any debt, let him be released and receive back all his property in my kingdom.
44 “The expense of rebuilding and restoring the structures of the sanctuary is also to be paid from the king’s revenue. 45 Then too, the expenses of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the fortifications around it are to be paid from the king’s revenue, and also the rebuilding of the walls in Judea.”
Offer Rejected, Demetrius Killed
46 But when Jonathan and the people heard these words, they did not believe or accept them, because they remembered the great wrongs Demetrius had done in Israel and how badly he had afflicted them. 47 So they favored Alexander, because he was the first to offer peaceable words to them; therefore, they remained allied with him all his days.
48 Now King Alexander assembled a large army and took position opposite Demetrius. 49 The two kings met in battle, and the army of Demetrius fled. Alexander took pursuit and defeated them. 50 He fought very hard until sunset, and Demetrius fell on that day.
Alexander Weds Cleopatra
51 Then Alexander sent envoys to Ptolemy the king of Egypt with the following message:
52 “Since I returned to my kingdom and have taken the throne of my fathers and established my rule (for I defeated Demetrius and secured control of my country; 53 I faced him in war and he and his forces were destroyed by us; and we indeed have sat down upon the throne of his kingdom), 54 now let us build a friendship with each other. Give me your daughter in marriage, and I will become your son-in-law. I will give you gifts worthy of both you and her.”
55 Then Ptolemy the king answered, saying:
“It was a good day when you went back to your fathers’ homeland and occupied the throne of their kingdom. 56 Now I will do for you what you requested, so meet me at Ptolemais, that we might see each other; and I will be your father-in-law, as you asked.”
  57 Then Ptolemy left Egypt along with his daughter Cleopatra, and reached Ptolemais in the one hundred and sixty-second year. 58 King Alexander met him there, and Ptolemy gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage. He celebrated her wedding in Ptolemais with great pageantry, in royal manner.
Psalm 17:18–32

18 He will deliver me from my strong enemies,

And from those who hate me,

Because they were too strong for me.

19 They overran me in the day of my misfortune,

But the Lord became my support,

20 And He led me into a wide place;

He will deliver me, because He willed it for me.

He will deliver me from my strong enemies

And from those who hate me.

21 The Lord will reward me according to my righteousness;

And according to the purity of my hands He will recompense me,

22 Because I kept the ways of the Lord

And did not act impiously against my God;

23 For all His judgments are before me,

And I did not remove His ordinances from me.

24 I will also be blameless before Him,

And I will keep myself from my lawlessness.

25 The Lord will reward me according to my righteousness,

According to the purity of my hands before His eyes.

26 With the holy You will be holy;

And with the innocent man You will be innocent;

27 And with the elect You will be elect;

And with the crooked You will be crooked.

28 For You will save a humble people,

And You will humble the eyes of the arrogant.

29 For You will light my lamp, O Lord;

O my God, You will enlighten my darkness.

30 For in You I shall be delivered from ordeals,

And in my God I shall leap over a wall.

31 My God, His way is blameless;

The teachings of the Lord are tried by fire;

He is the shield of all who set their hope on Him.

32 For who is God besides the Lord?

And who is God besides our God?

Proverbs 3:11–16

11 My son, do not despise the instruction of the Lord,

Neither grow weary under His reproof.

12 For whom the Lord loves He instructs,

And chastises every son He receives.

13 Blessed is a man who finds wisdom,

And a mortal who sees discernment;

14 For the profits gained from wisdom are better

Than the treasures of gold and silver.

15 And wisdom is more valuable than precious stones,

And nothing evil will withstand her;

16 She is well known to all who come near her,

And no honor is worthy of her.

Acts 19:1–22

19 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”

So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.

And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, [a]“We [b]exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.

15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”

16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, [c]overpowered them, and prevailed against [d]them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.

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