Genesis 27:1–29:30, CEB
When Isaac had grown old and his eyesight was failing, he summoned his older son Esau and said to him, “My son?”
And Esau said, “I’m here.”
He said, “I’m old and don’t know when I will die. So now, take your hunting gear, your bow and quiver of arrows, go out to the field, and hunt game for me. Make me the delicious food that I love and bring it to me so I can eat. Then I can bless you before I die.”
Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau went out to the field to hunt game to bring back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I just heard your father saying to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and make me some delicious food so I can eat, and I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me, to what I’m telling you to do. Go to the flock and get me two healthy young goats so I can prepare them as the delicious food your father loves. You can bring it to your father, he will eat, and then he will bless you before he dies.”
Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “My brother Esau is a hairy man, but I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me and thinks I’m making fun of him? I will be cursed instead of blessed.”
His mother said to him, “Your curse will be on me, my son. Just listen to me: go and get them for me.” So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made the delicious food that his father loved. Rebekah took her older son Esau’s favorite clothes that were in the house with her, and she put them on her younger son Jacob. On his arms and smooth neck she put the hide of young goats, and the delicious food and the bread she had made she put into her son’s hands.
Jacob went to his father and said, “My father.”
And he said, “I’m here. Who are you, my son?”
Jacob said to his father, “I’m Esau your oldest son. I’ve made what you asked me to. Sit up and eat some of the game so you can bless me.”
Isaac said to his son, “How could you find this so quickly, my son?”
He said, “The Lord your God led me right to it.”
Isaac said to Jacob, “Come here and let me touch you, my son. Are you my son Esau or not?” So Jacob approached his father Isaac, and Isaac touched him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the arms are Esau’s arms.” Isaac didn’t recognize him because his arms were hairy like Esau’s arms, so he blessed him.
Isaac said, “Are you really my son Esau?”
And he said, “I am.”
Isaac said, “Bring some food here and let me eat some of my son’s game so I can bless you.” Jacob put it before him and he ate, and he brought him wine and he drank. His father Isaac said to him, “Come here and kiss me, my son.” So he came close and kissed him. When Isaac smelled the scent of his clothes, he blessed him,
“See, the scent of my son”
is like the scent of the field
that the Lord has blessed.
May God give you
showers from the sky,
olive oil from the earth,
plenty of grain and new wine.
May the nations serve you,
may peoples bow down to you.
Be the most powerful man
among your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons
bow down to you.
Those who curse you will be cursed,
and those who bless you
will be blessed.”
After Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and just as Jacob left his father Isaac, his brother Esau came back from his hunt. He too made some delicious food, brought it to his father, and said, “Let my father sit up and eat from his son’s game so that you may bless me.”
His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?”
And he said, “I’m your son, your oldest son, Esau.”
Isaac was so shocked that he trembled violently. He said, “Who was the hunter just here with game? He brought me food, and I ate all of it before you came. I blessed him, and he will stay blessed!”
When Esau heard what his father said, he let out a loud agonizing cry and wept bitterly. He said to his father, “Bless me! Me too, my father!”
Isaac said, “Your brother has already come deceitfully and has taken your blessing.”
Esau said, “Isn’t this why he’s called Jacob? He’s taken me twice now: he took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing.” He continued, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?”
Isaac replied to Esau, “I’ve already made him more powerful than you, and I’ve made all of his brothers his servants. I’ve made him strong with grain and wine. What can I do for you, my son?”
Esau said to his father, “Do you really have only one blessing, Father? Bless me too, my father!” And Esau wept loudly.
His father Isaac responded and said to him,
“Now, you will make a home
far away from the olive groves
of the earth,
far away from the showers
of the sky above.
You will live by your sword;
you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will tear away his harness
from your neck.”
Esau was furious at Jacob because his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, When the period of mourning for the death of my father is over, I will kill my brother.
Rebekah was told what her older son Esau was planning, so she summoned her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Esau your brother is planning revenge. He plans to kill you. So now, my son, listen to me: Get up and escape to my brother Laban in Haran. Live with him for a short while until your brother’s rage subsides, until your brother’s anger at you goes away and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send for you and bring you back from there. Why should I suffer the loss of both of you on one day?”
Rebekah then said to Isaac, “I really loathe these Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women, like the women of this land, why should I go on living?”
So Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him, and gave him these orders: “Don’t marry a Canaanite woman. Get up and go to Paddan-aram, to the household of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and once there, marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. God Almighty will bless you, make you fertile, and give you many descendants so that you will become a large group of peoples. He will give you and your descendants Abraham’s blessing so that you will own the land in which you are now immigrants, the land God gave to Abraham.” So Isaac sent Jacob off, and he traveled to Paddan-aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, Jacob and Esau’s mother.
Esau understood that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to marry a woman from there. He recognized that, when Isaac blessed Jacob, he had ordered him, “Don’t marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had listened to his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram. Esau realized that his father Isaac considered Canaanite women unacceptable. So he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth, in addition to his other wives.
Jacob left Beer-sheba and set out for Haran. He reached a certain place and spent the night there. When the sun had set, he took one of the stones at that place and put it near his head. Then he lay down there. He dreamed and saw a raised staircase, its foundation on earth and its top touching the sky, and God’s messengers were ascending and descending on it. Suddenly the Lord was standing on it and saying, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will become like the dust of the earth; you will spread out to the west, east, north, and south. Every family of earth will be blessed because of you and your descendants. I am with you now, I will protect you everywhere you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done everything that I have promised you.”
When Jacob woke from his sleep, he thought to himself, The Lord is definitely in this place, but I didn’t know it. He was terrified and thought, This sacred place is awesome. It’s none other than God’s house and the entrance to heaven. After Jacob got up early in the morning, he took the stone that he had put near his head, set it up as a sacred pillar, and poured oil on the top of it. He named that sacred place Bethel, though Luz was the city’s original name. Jacob made a solemn promise: “If God is with me and protects me on this trip I’m taking, and gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God. This stone that I’ve set up as a sacred pillar will be God’s house, and of everything you give me I will give a tenth back to you.”
Jacob got to his feet and set out for the land of the easterners. He saw a well in the field in front of him, near which three flocks of sheep were lying down. That well was their source for water because the flocks drank from that well. A huge stone covered the well’s opening. When all of the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well’s opening, water the sheep, and return the stone to its place at the well’s opening. Jacob said to them, “Where are you from, my brothers?”
They said, “We’re from Haran.”
Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
They said, “We know him.”
He said to them, “Is he well?”
They said, “He’s fine. In fact, this is his daughter Rachel now, coming with the flock.”
He said to them, “It’s now only the middle of the day. It’s not time yet to gather the animals. Water the flock, and then go, put them out to pasture.”
They said to him, “We can’t until all the herds are gathered, and then we roll the stone away from the well’s opening and water the flock.”
While he was still talking to them, Rachel came with her father’s flock since she was its shepherd. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his uncle, and the flock of Laban, Jacob came up, rolled the stone from the well’s opening, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban. Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. Jacob told Rachel that he was related to her father and that he was Rebekah’s son. She then ran to tell her father. When Laban heard about Jacob his sister’s son, he ran to meet him. Laban embraced him, kissed him, and invited him into his house, where Jacob recounted to Laban everything that had happened. Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my flesh and blood.”
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for a month, Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn’t have to work for free just because you are my relative. Tell me what you would like to be paid.”
Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah and the younger Rachel. Leah had delicate eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and was goodlooking. Jacob loved Rachel and said, “I will work for you for seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
Laban said, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. Stay with me.”
Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, but it seemed like a few days because he loved her. Jacob said to Laban, “The time has come. Give me my wife so that I may sleep with her.” So Laban invited all the people of that place and prepared a banquet. However, in the evening, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her. Laban had given his servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her servant. In the morning, there she was—Leah! Jacob said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work for you to have Rachel? Why did you betray me?”
Laban said, “Where we live, we don’t give the younger woman before the oldest. Complete the celebratory week with this woman. Then I will give you this other woman too for your work, if you work for me seven more years.” So that is what Jacob did. He completed the celebratory week with this woman, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. Laban had given his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her servant. Jacob slept with Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban seven more years.
Job 10:1–11:20, MEV
“My soul loathes my life;
I will freely give my complaint,
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
show me why You contend with me.
Is it good for You that You should oppress,
that You should despise the work of Your hands
and smile on the counsel of the wicked?
Do You have eyes of flesh?
Or do You see as man sees?
Are Your days as the days of man?
Are Your years as the days of a mortal,
that You inquire after my iniquity
and search after my sin?
You know that I am not wicked,
and there is none who can deliver out of Your hand.
“Your hands have shaped me and made me completely,
yet You destroy me.
Remember, I pray,
that You have made me as the clay.
And would You return me to dust?
Have You not poured me out as milk
and curdled me like cheese?
You have clothed me with skin and flesh,
and have knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and loyal love,
and Your care has preserved my spirit.
“These things You have hid in Your heart.
I know that this is with You.
If I have sinned, then You would watch me,
and You would not acquit me from my iniquity.
If I am wicked, woe unto me;
and if I am righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.
I am full of shame;
look at my affliction!
For if my head is lifted up, You would hunt me like a lion,
and again You show Yourself marvelous to me.
You renew Your witnesses against me
and increase Your indignation upon me.
Your troops come against me.
“Why then did You bring me forth out of the womb?
Oh, that I had died, and no eye had seen me!
I should have been as though I had not been;
I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Are not my days few? Stop then,
and leave me alone that I may cheer up a little,
before I go and do not return,
even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death,
a land of darkness, as darkness itself;
and of the shadow of death, without any order,
and where the light is as thick darkness.”
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:
“Should not the multitude of words be answered?
And should a man full of talk be justified?
Should your empty talk make men hold their peace?
And when you mock, will no one shame you?
For you have said, ‘My teaching is pure,
And I am clean in your eyes.’
But oh, that God would speak
and open His lips against you,
and that He would show you the secrets of wisdom!
For they would double your prudence.
And know that God overlooks some of your iniquity.
“Can you search out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the totality of the Almighty?
It is as high as heaven; what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol; what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth
and broader than the sea.
“If He passes through, and shuts up, and gathers together for judgment,
then who can hinder Him?
For He knows worthless men;
He sees wickedness also; will He not then consider it?
For an empty-headed man will become wise,
when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man.
“If you prepare your heart
and stretch out your hands toward Him;
if iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
and do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
for then you will lift up your face without blemish;
yes, you will be steadfast and will not fear,
because you will forget misery,
and remember it as waters that pass away,
and your life will be brighter than noonday,
even your darkness will be as the morning.
You will trust because there is hope;
yes, you will search about you,
and you will look around and rest in safety.
Also you will lie down, and none will make you afraid;
yes, many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and they will not escape,
and their hope will be as the giving up of breath.”
Isaiah 14, NLT
But the Lord will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. He will choose Israel as his special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land. And people from many different nations will come and join them there and unite with the people of Israel. The nations of the world will help the people of Israel to return, and those who come to live in the Lord’s land will serve them. Those who captured Israel will themselves be captured, and Israel will rule over its enemies.
In that wonderful day when the Lord gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains, you will taunt the king of Babylon. You will say,
“The mighty man has been destroyed.
Yes, your insolence is ended.
For the Lord has crushed your wicked power
and broken your evil rule.
You struck the people with endless blows of rage
and held the nations in your angry grip
with unrelenting tyranny.
But finally the earth is at rest and quiet.
Now it can sing again!
Even the trees of the forest—
the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon—
sing out this joyous song:
‘Since you have been cut down,
no one will come now to cut us down!’
“In the place of the dead there is excitement
over your arrival.
The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead
stand up to see you.
With one voice they all cry out,
‘Now you are as weak as we are!
Your might and power were buried with you.
The sound of the harp in your palace has ceased.
Now maggots are your sheet,
and worms your blanket.’
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths.
Everyone there will stare at you and ask,
‘Can this be the one who shook the earth
and made the kingdoms of the world tremble?
Is this the one who destroyed the world
and made it into a wasteland?
Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities
and had no mercy on his prisoners?’
“The kings of the nations lie in stately glory,
each in his own tomb,
but you will be thrown out of your grave
like a worthless branch.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
you will be dumped into a mass grave
with those killed in battle.
You will descend to the pit.
You will not be given a proper burial,
for you have destroyed your nation
and slaughtered your people.
The descendants of such an evil person
will never again receive honor.
Kill this man’s children!
Let them die because of their father’s sins!
They must not rise and conquer the earth,
filling the world with their cities.”
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“I, myself, have risen against Babylon!
I will destroy its children and its children’s children,”
says the Lord.
“I will make Babylon a desolate place of owls,
filled with swamps and marshes.
I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction.
I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath:
“It will all happen as I have planned.
It will be as I have decided.
I will break the Assyrians when they are in Israel;
I will trample them on my mountains.
My people will no longer be their slaves
nor bow down under their heavy loads.
I have a plan for the whole earth,
a hand of judgment upon all the nations.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—
who can change his plans?
When his hand is raised,
who can stop him?”
This message came to me the year King Ahaz died:
Do not rejoice, you Philistines,
that the rod that struck you is broken—
that the king who attacked you is dead.
For from that snake a more poisonous snake will be born,
a fiery serpent to destroy you!
I will feed the poor in my pasture;
the needy will lie down in peace.
But as for you, I will wipe you out with famine
and destroy the few who remain.
Wail at the gates! Weep in the cities!
Melt with fear, you Philistines!
A powerful army comes like smoke from the north.
Each soldier rushes forward eager to fight.
What should we tell the Philistine messengers? Tell them,
“The Lord has built Jerusalem;
its walls will give refuge to his oppressed people.”
Matthew 8:28–9:17, The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation
So he went across to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes. Two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs. They were very violent and made it impossible for anyone to go along that road.
‘What is it with us and you, son of God?’ they yelled. ‘Have you come here to torture us ahead of the time?’
Some way off from where they were there was a large herd of pigs feeding.
‘If you cast us out,’ the demons begged Jesus, ‘send us into the herd of pigs!’
‘Off you go, then!’ said Jesus.
So the demons went out of the men and into the pigs. Then and there the entire herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake, and were drowned in the water.
The herdsmen took to their heels. They went off to the town and told the whole tale, including the bit about the demon-possessed men. So the whole town came out to see Jesus for themselves. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their district.
Jesus got into the boat, and crossed back over to his own town.
Some people brought to him a paralysed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, ‘Cheer up, my son! Your sins are forgiven!’
‘This fellow’s blaspheming!’ said some of the scribes to themselves.
Jesus read their thoughts. ‘Why let all this wickedness fester in your hearts?’ he said. ‘Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Get up and walk”? But, to let you know that the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he spoke to the paralysed man—‘Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!’
And he got up, and went away to his home. When the crowds saw it they were frightened, and praised God for giving authority like this to humans.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax-office.
‘Follow me!’ he said to him. And he rose up and followed him.
When he was at home, sitting down to a meal, there were lots of tax-collectors and sinners there who had come to have dinner with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’
Jesus heard them.
‘It isn’t the healthy who need a doctor,’ he said, ‘it’s the sick. Go and learn what this saying means: “It’s mercy I want, not sacrifice.” My job isn’t to call upright people, but sinners.’
Then John’s disciples came to him with a question.
‘How come,’ they asked, ‘we and the Pharisees fast a good deal, but your disciples don’t fast at all?’
‘Wedding guests can’t fast, can they,’ replied Jesus, ‘as long as the bridegroom is with them? But sooner or later the bridegroom will be taken away from them. They’ll fast then all right.
‘No one’, he went on, ‘sews a patch of unshrunk cloth onto an old coat. The patch will simply pull away from the coat, and you’ll have a worse hole than you started with. People don’t put new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the skins will split; then the wine will be lost, and the skins will be ruined. They put new wine into new skins, and then both are fine.’