The Burial of Sarah 1When Sarah was 127 years old, 2she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her. 3Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders,4“Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.” 5The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6“Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.” 7Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites 8and said, “Since you are willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron son of Zohar 9to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I will pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I will have a permanent burial place for my family.” 10Ephron was sitting there among the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. 11“No, my lord,” he said to Abraham, “please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.” 12Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, 13and he replied to Ephron as everyone listened. “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.” 14Ephron answered Abraham, 15“My lord, please listen to me. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.” 16So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested—400 pieces of silver, weighed according to the market standard. The Hittite elders witnessed the transaction. 17So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees.18It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.
A Wife for Isaac 1Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. 2One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. 3Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women.4Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” 5The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” 6“No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. 7For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. 8If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” 9So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. 10Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. 11He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water. 12“O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” 15Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah.16Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. 17Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 18“Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels. 21The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission.22Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists. 23“Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?” 24“I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. 25Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.” 26The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.27“Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” 28The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. 29Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. 30He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. 31Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by theLORD! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?” 32So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. 33Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.” “All right,” Laban said, “tell us.” 34“I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. 35“And theLORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys. 36“When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. 37And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 38Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’ 39“But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ 40He responded, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 41Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’ 42“So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. 43See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 44If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’ 45“Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels. 47“Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48“Then I bowed low and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife.49So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.” 50Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say.51Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” 52When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the LORD.53Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. 54Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.” 55“But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.” 56But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.” 57“Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” 58So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.” 59So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.60They gave her this blessing as she parted: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.” 61Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way. 62Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi. 63One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. 64When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. 65“Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant. And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. 66Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples 1One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. 2Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.3“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them.“Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,or even a change of clothes. 4Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. 5And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” 6So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick. Herod’s Confusion 7When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about everything Jesus was doing, he was puzzled. Some were saying that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. 8Others thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets risen from the dead. 9“I beheaded John,” Herod said, “so who is this man about whom I hear such stories?” And he kept trying to see him. Jesus Feeds Five Thousand 10When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he slipped quietly away with them toward the town of Bethsaida. 11But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick. 12Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.” 13But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” 14For there were about 5,000 men there. Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15So the people all sat down. 16Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. 17They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! Peter’s Declaration about Jesus 18One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 19“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.” 20Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!” Jesus Predicts His Death 21Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. 22“The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,”he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” 23Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?26If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. 27I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.” The Transfiguration 28About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus.31They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. 32Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. 33As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 34But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them. 35Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” 36When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen. Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy 37The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. 38A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. 39An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone.40I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” 41Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.” 42As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. 43Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power. Jesus Again Predicts His Death While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44“Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” 45But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. The Greatest in the Kingdom 46Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. 47But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. 48Then he said to them,“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalfwelcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Using the Name of Jesus 49John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” 50But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.” Opposition from Samaritans 51As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56So they went on to another village. The Cost of Following Jesus 57As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” 59He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”