The LORD’s Covenant Promise to Abram 1Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” 2But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” 4Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. 7Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” 8But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” 9The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. 11Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. 12As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him.13Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. 14But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 15(As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) 16After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” 17After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. 18So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River—19the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
The Birth of Ishmael 1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) 4So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!” 6Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. 7The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. 9The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” 11And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. 12This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” 13Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to theLORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. 15So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.
Abram Is Named Abraham 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORDappeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” 3At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, 4“This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! 5What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. 6I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! 7“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” The Mark of the Covenant 9Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. 10This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. 11You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. 13All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. 14Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.” Sarai Is Named Sarah 15Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. 16And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.” 17Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” 18So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” 19But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. 20As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.21But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.”22When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham. 23On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him. 24Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25and Ishmael, his son, was thirteen. 26Both Abraham and his son, Ishmael, were circumcised on that same day, 27along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as servants. All were circumcised with him.
A Discussion about the Sabbath 1One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. 2But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” 3Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” 5And Jesus added,“The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” Jesus Heals on the Sabbath 6On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching.7The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. 8But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.”So the man came forward. 9Then Jesus said to his critics,“I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” 10He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles 12One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), 16Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). Crowds Follow Jesus 17When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon.18They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed.19Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone. The Beatitudes 20Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way. Sorrows Foretold 24“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. 25What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. 26What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. Love for Enemies 27“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!33And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!34And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Do Not Judge Others 37“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” 39Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher. 41“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eyewhen you have a log in your own? 42How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. The Tree and Its Fruit 43“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Building on a Solid Foundation 46“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”