Abraham Deceives Abimelech 1Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, 2Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. 3But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!” 4But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5Didn’t Abraham tell me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘Yes, he is my brother.’ I acted in complete innocence! My hands are clean.” 6In the dream God responded, “Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her. 7Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don’t return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.” 8Abimelech got up early the next morning and quickly called all his servants together. When he told them what had happened, his men were terrified. 9Then Abimelech called for Abraham. “What have you done to us?” he demanded. “What crime have I committed that deserves treatment like this, making me and my kingdom guilty of this great sin? No one should ever do what you have done!10Whatever possessed you to do such a thing?” 11Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.’ 12And she really is my sister, for we both have the same father, but different mothers. And I married her. 13When God called me to leave my father’s home and to travel from place to place, I told her, ‘Do me a favor. Wherever we go, tell the people that I am your brother.’” 14Then Abimelech took some of his sheep and goats, cattle, and male and female servants, and he presented them to Abraham. He also returned his wife, Sarah, to him.15Then Abimelech said, “Look over my land and choose any place where you would like to live.” 16And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1,000 pieces of silver in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to compensate you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.” 17Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children. 18For the LORD had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.
The Birth of Isaac 1The LORD kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. 3And Abraham named their son Isaac. 4Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. 5Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. 6And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. 7Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!” Hagar and Ishmael Are Sent Away 8When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion.9But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac.10So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” 11This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. 12But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. 13But I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.” 14So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. 16Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears. 17But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.18Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” 19Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink. 20And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer, 21and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt. Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech 22About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said.23“Swear to me in God’s name that you will never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so now swear that you will be loyal to me and to this country where you are living as a foreigner.” 24Abraham replied, “Yes, I swear to it!” 25Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had taken by force from Abraham’s servants. 26“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Abimelech answered. “I have no idea who is responsible. You have never complained about this before.” 27Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty. 28But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves. 29Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?” 30Abraham replied, “Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.” 31Then he named the place Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”), because that was where they had sworn the oath. 32After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines. 33Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the LORD, the Eternal God. 34And Abraham lived as a foreigner in Philistine country for a long time.
Abraham’s Faith Tested 1Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 2“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” 3The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about.4On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 6So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. 9When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11At that moment the angel of the LORDcalled to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 12“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 13Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 15Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. 16“This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.18And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” 19Then they returned to the servants and traveled back to Beersheba, where Abraham continued to live. 20Soon after this, Abraham heard that Milcah, his brother Nahor’s wife, had borne Nahor eight sons. 21The oldest was named Uz, the next oldest was Buz, followed by Kemuel (the ancestor of the Arameans), 22Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23(Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) In addition to these eight sons from Milcah, 24Nahor had four other children from his concubine Reumah. Their names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
Women Who Followed Jesus 1Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;3Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed 4One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5“A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out,“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 9His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they look, they won’t really see. When they hear, they won’t understand.’ 11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.14The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. Parable of the Lamp 16“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 17For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. 18“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” The True Family of Jesus 19Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. 20Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you.” 21Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.” Jesus Calms the Storm 22One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. 23As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. 24The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man 26So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. 27As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. 28As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power. 30Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons.31The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. 32There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. 34When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. 35People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 36Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. 38The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, 39“No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him. Jesus Heals in Response to Faith 40On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. 41Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. 43A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure.44Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. 45“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” 46But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” 49While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” 50But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” 51When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. 52The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” 53But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. 54Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” 55And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.