1 “And you, O Bethlehem, House of Ephrathah, though you are fewest in number among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth were from the beginning, even from everlasting.” 2 Therefore He shall give them up until the appointed time for her to give birth, and then the remnant of their brothers will return to the sons of Israel. 3 And He shall stand and see, and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, and they will dwell in the glory of the name of the Lord their God, for now they will be magnified unto the ends of the earth. 4 And she will have peace; for when the Assyrian comes into our land and goes up upon our country, then seven shepherds and eight attacks from men will be raised up against them.
5 They will tend the Assyrian with a sword and the land of Nimrod in her trench. And He shall deliver you from the Assyrian should he come into your land, and should he come up over your borders. 6 And the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, as dew falling from the Lord and as lambs in a field of grass, in order that none among the sons of men may assemble together nor resist. 7 And the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, as a lion among the cattle in the forest, and as a young lion among a flock of sheep, which, whenever it passes through, seizes and carries off its prey, and there is none to rescue. 8 But your hand will be exalted above those oppressing you, and all your enemies will be completely cut off.
9 “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord, “I shall utterly destroy your horses from your midst and destroy your chariots. 10 I shall utterly destroy the cities of your land and demolish all your strongholds. 11 And I shall drive away your sorceries out of your hands, and there shall be no soothsayers among you. 12 I shall utterly destroy your carved images and the sacred pillars from your midst, and you will no longer worship the work of your hands; 13 and I shall cut off your sacred groves from your midst and destroy your cities. 14 And I shall exact vengeance on the nations with wrath and anger among those who did not heed.”
The Lord Has a Case against Israel
1 Now hear the word of the Lord. The Lord says, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, O mountains, the judgment of the Lord, and you valleys, the foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a case against His people, and He will contend with Israel. 3 O My people, what have I done to you? How have I grieved you? Answer Me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent you Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O My people, remember now what King Balak of Moab plotted against you, and what answer Balaam the son of Beor gave to him from the reeds as far as to Gilgal, that the righteousness of the Lord might be known.”
6 How shall I come to understand the Lord and devote myself to the Most High God? Shall I reach Him with burnt offerings? with year-old calves? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams? or with a myriad of streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my ungodliness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. Or what does the Lord seek from you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to be ready to walk with the Lord your God?
9 The Lord’s voice shall be proclaimed in the city, and He shall save those who fear His name. “Hear, O tribe, who will put the city in order? 10 For is there not a fire there, and the house of the lawless storing up lawless treasures with insolent unrighteousness? 11 Will the lawless be justified by a balance scale or a bag of deceitful weights 12 from which they accumulated their ungodly wealth? And those that dwell in the city have spoken lies and exalted themselves with their own mouth.
13 “Therefore I will begin to smite you; I will destroy you because of your sins. 14 You shall eat but not be satisfied, and there will be darkness upon you, and he will depart without being noticed, and you will not be rescued; and all who do escape will be given over to the sword. 15 You will sow, but you will not reap. You will press olives, but you will not anoint yourself with oil. And you will make wine, but you will not drink any of it, and the statutes of my people will be utterly abolished. 16 For you have kept the ordinances of Omri and done all the works of the house of Ahab. You walked in their counsels, so that I should deliver you over to complete destruction and make your inhabitants into a hissing, and you will bear the reproach of the peoples.”
Trust Not in Men
1 Woe is me! For I have become like one harvesting stubble, like one gleaning small grapes after the vintage grapes are picked, but not finding for myself any cluster of first fruit to eat. Woe is me, O my soul! 2 For the God-fearing man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among the men. They all lie in wait, even unto blood, and each one grievously oppresses his neighbor. 3 They prepare their hands for evil; the prince demands a gift, and the judge speaks flattering words; it is the desire of their soul. “Thus I shall take away 4 their good things as the moth who eats away, and as one proceeding by the rule in the day of the watch. Alas! alas! the time of your vengeance is come; now shall be their lamentation. 5 Do not trust in friends, nor put your hope in those who govern. Beware of your wife and do not tell her anything. 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are all the people of his own house.”
Hope in the Lord
7 But I will look to the Lord. I will wait for God my Savior, for my God will hear me. 8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy, for though I have fallen, yet will I arise, because even if I should sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. 9 I will endure the wrath of the Lord, for I sinned against Him, until He pleads my cause; for He will execute my judgment and will bring me out into the light, and I will perceive His righteousness. 10 And my enemy will see it, and he who says to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” will be clothed with shame. And my eyes will look upon him, and now he will be for trampling upon as mud in the streets.
11 In the days when your bricks are being plastered—that day will be your destruction, and your ordinances will be abolished. 12 In that day even your cities will be leveled to the ground and divided among the Assyrians; your fortified cities will be divided from Tyre as far as the River of Syria; it will be a day of flood and chaos. 13 And the land will become totally desolate together with those dwelling in it, because of the fruit of their practices.
14 Shepherd Your people with Your staff, the sheep of Your inheritance, those dwelling solitarily in the thicket in the midst of Carmel. They will feed in Bashan and in Gilead, as in days of old. 15 And as in the days of your departure from the land of Egypt, you will see many wonders. 16 The Gentiles will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will cover their mouth with their hands, and their ears will become deaf. 17 They shall lick the dust like serpents crawling on the earth; they will be confounded in their confinement and be amazed at the Lord our God, and they will be afraid of You.
18 Who is a God like You, removing wrongdoings and passing over the ungodliness of the remnant of His inheritance? He does not keep His anger as a witness, for He delights in mercy. 19 He will return and have compassion on us. He will subdue our transgressions, and all our sins will be cast into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truthfulness to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, as You swore to our ancestors from days of old.
1 A prayer of Moses, a man of God.
O Lord, You became a refuge to us in generation and generation;
2 Before the mountains were made,
And before the earth and the world were formed,
And from everlasting to everlasting, You are.
3 Do not let man be turned back to humiliation,
And You said, “Return, you sons of men.”
4 For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday, which passed,
And like a watch in the night.
5 Years shall be objects of contempt to them;
In the morning let man pass by like grass;
6 In the morning let him blossom, and pass by;
In the evening let him fall off, be dried up and withered.
7 For we fainted in Your wrath,
And in Your wrath we were troubled.
8 You set our transgressions before You,
Our time in the light of Your face.
9 For all our days failed,
And in Your wrath we fainted;
Our years were spent in thought like a spider.
10 As for the days of our years, their span is seventy years,
But if we stay strong, perhaps eighty;
And most of them are labor and pain;
For meekness came upon us, and we shall be chastened.
11 Who knows the power of Your wrath,
And who knows Your anger because of Your fear?
12 So make known Your right hand to us, that we may number our days,
And our heart may be bound with wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord; how long?
And be entreated concerning Your servants.
14 We were filled with Your mercy in the morning,
And in all our days we greatly rejoiced and were glad;
15 Gladden us in return for the days You humbled us,
For the years we saw evil things.
16 And behold Your servants and Your works,
And guide their sons;
17 And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us,
And prosper for us the works of our hands.
13 A son without discernment is a disgrace to his father,
And vows paid from the wage of a prostitute are not pure.
14 Fathers divide the house and property to their children,
But a wife is suited to her husband by God.
15 Cowardice possesses a weak man,
And the soul of the idle man will be hungry.
16 He who guards the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who despises his ways shall perish.
17 The one who has mercy on the poor lends to God,
And He will repay him according to his gift.
18 Instruct your son, for thus he shall be hopeful,
But do not lift up your soul in arrogance.
1 Thessalonians 4
1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
A Brotherly and Orderly Life
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;
11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
The Comfort of Christ’s Coming
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.