March 1

Numbers 20–22

1 Then the children of Israel, the whole assembly, came to the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people dwelt in Kadesh, and Miriam died there and was buried there.

2 And there was no water for the assembly, and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 The people argued with Moses, and spoke, saying, “O that we had died when our brothers died before the Lord! 4 And why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 And why have you brought us up from Egypt, to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates. Nor is there any water to drink.”

6 Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tent of meeting, and they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 8 Take the rod, and gather the assembly together, you and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give its water, and you will bring out to them water from the rock; so you will give the assembly and their livestock drink.

9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He commanded him. 10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels. Will we bring out water from this rock for you?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and he struck the rock twice with his rod, and plenty of water came out, and the assembly drank, and their livestock.

12 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13 This is the water of Meribah because the children of Israel argued with the Lord, and He was sanctified among them.

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom,

“Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that has found us, 15 how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians distressed us and our fathers. 16 And when we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt.

“And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through the fields or the vineyards, or drink of the water of the wells. We will travel the king’s highway. We will not turn to the right hand nor the left, until we have passed through your territory.”

18 Edom said to him,

“You will not pass through me, lest with the sword I come out against you.”

19 The children of Israel said to him,

“We will travel the highway, and if we and our livestock drink of your water, then we will pay for it. I will only go through on my feet without doing anything else.”

20 He said,

“You will not go through.”

And Edom came out against them with many people and with a strong hand. 21 Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel turned away from him.

22 They journeyed from Kadesh, and the children of Israel, even the whole assembly, came to Mount Hor. 23 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people because he will not enter into the land which I have given to the children of Israel because you rebelled against Me at the water of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor, 26 and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son, and Aaron will be gathered to his people, and he will die there.”

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded, and they went up onto Mount Hor in the sight of all the assembly. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there on the top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the assembly saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, all the house of Israel.

Chapter 21

1 When King Arad the Canaanite, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel came by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. 2 Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities, and he called the name of the place Hormah.

4 They journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom, and the soul of the people was very discouraged because of the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread or water, and our soul loathes this worthless manna.”

6 So the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and many children of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, and He will take away the serpents from us.” And Moses prayed for the people.

8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and put it on a pole, and it will be, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, will live.” 9 Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole, and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the bronze serpent he lived.

10 The children of Israel set out and camped in Oboth. 11 They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim in the wilderness, which is before Moab toward the sunrise. 12 From there they journeyed and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they journeyed and camped on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the borders of the Amorites, for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord:

“Zahab in Suphah, and in the brooks

of Arnon, 15 and at the stream of the brooks

that goes down to the dwelling of Ar,

and lies on the border of Moab.”

16 From there they went to Beer. That is the well of which the Lord spoke to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!

sing to it—

18 the leaders dug the well;

the nobles of the people dug,

by the lawgiver, with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth in the valley that is in the country of Moab to the top of Pisgah, which looks toward Jeshimon.

21 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,

22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn into the fields nor into the vineyards. We will not drink of the waters of the well. But we will go along by the king’s highway until we are past your borders.”

23 Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border. But Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and possessed his land from Arnon to Jabbok, all the way to the children of Ammon, because the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 25 Israel took all these cities, and Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 Because Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, to Arnon.

27 Therefore they that speak in proverbs say:

“Come into Heshbon; let it be built,

and let the city of Sihon be established,

28 because a fire went out of Heshbon,

a flame from the city of Sihon;

it has devoured Ar of Moab

and the masters of the high places of Arnon.

29 Woe to you, Moab!

You have perished, O people of Chemosh!

He has made his sons fugitives,

and his daughters captives,

to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 “We have overthrown them;

Heshbon is perished to Dibon,

and we have desolated them to Nophah,

which reaches to Medeba.”

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.

32 Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they took its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 They turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him because into your hand I have given him, and all his people, and his land, and you will do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.”

35 So they killed him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was not a survivor left to him alive, and they possessed his land.

Chapter 22

1 Then the children of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan from Jericho.

2 Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 Moab was very afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.

4 Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up all that are around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.”

And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the Euphrates in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying,

“A people went out from Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they dwell next to me. 6 And now, please come curse this people for me because they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I will prevail, and we will defeat them, and I will drive them out of the land because I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

7 The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian went with the divination payments in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.

8 He said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord will speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab dwelt with Balaam.

9 God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent word to me, saying, 11 ‘A people went out of Egypt who covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I will be able to battle them and drive them out.’”

12 God said to Balaam, “You will not go with them. You will not curse the people because they are blessed.”

13 So Balaam rose up in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your land because the Lord refuses to let me to go with you.”

14 The princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Again Balak sent officials, more numerous and more honorable than they. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him,

“Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Please, let nothing hold you back from coming to me, 17 because I will promote you to very great honor, and anything you say to me I will do. Come please, curse this people for me.’”

18 Balaam answered the servants of Balak, “If Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I am not able to go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now please remain here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

20 God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise up and go with them. But surely the word which I will say to you, that will you do.”

21 Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 The anger of God was inflamed because he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and His sword was drawn in His hand, so the donkey turned out of the way and went into the field. Balaam struck the donkey to turn her onto the road.

24 But the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she threw herself into the wall and crushed the foot of Balaam against the wall, and he struck her again.

26 The angel of the Lord went further and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam, and the anger of Balaam was inflamed, and he struck the donkey with a staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “You have mocked me. O that there was a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you.”

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, whom you have ridden since I became yours, to this day? Do I normally do this to you?”

And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and His sword was drawn in His hand, and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out to oppose you, because your way is perverse before Me. 33 And the donkey saw Me and turned from Me these three times. If she had not turned from Me, surely by now I would have slain you and saved her alive.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned because I did not know that You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will return.”

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men. But only speak the word that I tell you to speak.” So Balaam went with the leaders of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him in a city of Moab which is on the border of Arnon, which is at the furthest end of the border. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Indeed am I not able to honor you?”

38 And Balaam said to Balak, “I have come to you now. But am I able to speak just anything? The word God puts in my mouth is what I will speak.”

39 Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak offered oxen and sheep and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.

41 It came to pass on the next day that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he saw the extent of the people.

Mark 7:1–13

1 The Pharisees and certain scribes who came from Jerusalem gathered around Him. 2 When they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, ritually unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews, unless they wash their hands ritually, do not eat, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the market, unless they wash, they do not eat. And there are many other traditions which they have received and observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and bronze vessels and dining couches.

5 So the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”

6 He answered, “Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘These people honor Me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from Me.

7 In vain do they worship Me,

teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9 And He said to them, “You full well reject the commandment of God so that you may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “It is Corban,” that is to say, “What you would have profited from me is a gift to God,” he shall be free.’ 12 Then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have delivered. And you do many similar things.”