HA’AZINU (GIVE EAR!)
The Song of Moses
32 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak!
Let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
2 May my teaching trickle like rain,
my speech distill like dew—
like gentle rain on new grass,
like showers on tender plants.
3 For I will proclaim Adonai’s Name,
ascribe greatness to our God!
4 The Rock—blameless is His work.
Indeed, all His ways are just.
God of faithfulness without iniquity,
righteous and upright is He.
5 Did it corrupt Him? No!
The blemish is His children’s—
a generation crooked and twisted.
6 Is this how you pay back Adonai,
O foolish, unwise people?
Isn’t He your Father who ransomed you?[a]
He made you and established you.
7 “Remember the days of antiquity,
understand the years across generations.[b]
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders and they will say to you.
8 When Elyon gave nations their heritage,
when He separated the sons of man,
He set boundaries for the people
by the number of Bnei-Yisrael.
9 But Adonai’s portion is His people—
Jacob is the share of His inheritance.
10 He found him in the wilderness land,
in the void of a howling waste.
He surrounded him, cared for him,
guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
11 As an eagle stirs up its nest,
hovers over its young,
He spreads His wings, catches him,
lifts him up on His pinions.
12 Adonai alone guided him—
there was no foreign god with him.
13 He made him mount the heights of the land.
so he ate the produce of the field.
He suckled him with honey from a rock,
with oil from a flinty boulder.
14 Butter of cattle and milk of a flock,
with fat of lambs,
rams of the Bashan and he-goats,
with fat of the kidneys of wheat,
and blood of grapes you drank.
15 But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked—
you got fat, you grew thick, you gorged!
He forsook God who made him.
He mocked the Rock of his salvation.
16 They made him jealous with strangers,
with abominations they angered Him.
17 They sacrificed to demons, a non-god,
gods they had not known—
to new ones who came in lately,
ones your fathers had not dreaded.
18 The Rock who birthed you, you ignored.
You forgot God who brought you forth.
19 “Adonai saw, and He spurned His sons
and His daughters out of vexation.
20 He said, “I will hide My face from them,
I want to see their hereafter.
For they are an upside down generation,
children with no faithfulness in them.
21 They made Me jealous with a non-god.
They vexed Me with airy idols.
So I will make them jealous with a non-people.
With a foolish nation I will vex them.[c]
22 For fire has ignited in My nostrils—
it will burn to Sheol beneath,
devour the earth and her produce,
and scorch the foundations of mountains.
23 I will heap calamities upon them.
With My arrows I will finish them.
24 Wasted by famine, ravaged by plague
and pestilence so bitter,
fangs of beasts I’ll let loose on them,
with venom of creepers in the dust.
25 Outside the sword deals death,
and inside terror—
to both young men and young women,
infants, with men of gray hair.
26 I would have said,
‘I will hack them to pieces,
make the memory of them cease from mankind,’
27 except I dread the taunt of the enemy,
lest their foes might misconstrue—
lest they say, ‘Our hand is held high,
and Adonai has not done all this.’
28 For they are a nation lacking counsel,
among them there is no understanding.
29 “If they were wise,
they would discern this,
they would understand their hereafter.
30 How can one chase a thousand
and two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them
and Adonai had handed them over?
31 Surely their rock is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies judge.
32 For their vine is from the vine of Sodom
and from the terraces of Gomorrah.
Its grapes are grapes of poison—
bitter clusters on it.
33 Venom of serpents is their wine—
poison of vipers so cruel.
34 Is it not stored up with Me,
sealed up in My treasuries?
35 Vengeance is Mine, and payback,[d]
for the time when their foot staggers.
Surely their day of disaster is near—
what is prepared rushes on them.
36 For Adonai will judge His people—
for His servants, He will relent
when He sees that strength[e] is gone
and no one is left, slave or free.
37 He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
the “rock” they took refuge in?
38 Who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their libation?
Let them rise up and help you
and be a shelter over you!
39 See now that I, I am He!
There are no other gods beside Me.
I bring death and give life,
I have wounded but I will heal,[f]
and none can rescue from My hand.’
40 “Yes, I lift My hand up to heaven
and say, ‘As I Myself live forever,
41 when I sharpen My lightning sword
and My hand seizes it in judgment,
I will return vengeance on My foes,
and those who hate Me I will pay back.
42 I will make My arrows drunk from blood,
and My sword will devour flesh—
the blood of the slain and the captive,
the head of the leaders of the enemy.’
43 Make His people rejoice, O nations,[g]
for He will avenge the blood of His servants.[h]
He will return vengeance on His foes,
and atone for the land of His people.”
44 Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people—he and Joshua son of Nun. 45 When Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Put in your hearts all the words that I call as witness against you today—that you may command your children to keep and do all the words of this Torah. 47 For it is not an empty thing for you, because it is your life! By this word you will prolong your days on the land, which you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”
48 On that very day, Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 49 “Go up this mountain of the Avarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab facing Jericho, and see the land of Canaan, which I am giving to Bnei-Yisrael as a possession. 50 On the mountain that you are ascending, there be gathered to your people—as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people— 51 because you both broke faith with Me among Bnei-Yisrael at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of Bnei-Yisrael. 52 For you will see the land from afar, but you will not enter there, into the land that I am giving to Bnei-Yisrael.”
2 Samuel 22
David’s Songs of Valor and Last Words
22 David spoke to Adonai the words of this song in the day that Adonai delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said:
“Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.
3 My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge,
my shield, my horn of salvation,[a]
my stronghold and my refuge,
my Savior—You save me from violence.
4 I called upon Adonai, worthy of praise,
and I was rescued from my enemies.
5 For waves of death encompassed me.
Torrents of Belial overwhelmed me.
6 Cords of death entangled me.
Snares of death came before me.
7 In my distress I called upon Adonai,
yes, I called to my God.
From His Temple He heard my voice,
my cry came into His ears.
8 Then the earth rocked and quaked,
the foundation of heaven trembled.
They reeled because He was angry.
9 Smoke rose from His nostrils
and consuming fire from His mouth.
Coals blazed from Him.
10 He parted the heavens and came down,
with thick darkness under His feet.
11 He rode upon a cheruv and flew.
He was seen on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness as a sukkah round Him—
a mass of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
13 Out of the brilliance before Him
coals of fire flamed out.
14 Adonai also thundered from heaven
and Elyon gave forth His voice.
15 He shot arrows and scattered them,
lightning bolts, and routed them.
16 Then the ravines of the sea appeared,
the foundations of the world were exposed
by the rebuke of Adonai,
at a blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17 He reached down from on high
and He took hold of me.
He drew me out of mighty waters.
18 He delivered me from my powerful enemy,
from those who hated me—
for they were much stronger than me.
19 They came against me in the day of my calamity,
but Adonai was my support.
20 He brought me out to a wide-open place.
He rescued me since He delighted in me.
21 Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness.
For the cleanness of my hands
He repaid me.
22 For I kept the ways of Adonai,
and did not turn wickedly from my God.
23 For all His judgments are before me.
As for His rulings,
I do not turn away from them.
24 I also had integrity with Him,
and kept myself from my sin.
25 So Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in His eyes.
26 With the loyal You deal loyally.
With the blameless You are blameless.
27 With the pure You show Yourself pure,
but with the crooked You show Yourself shrewd.
28 You save lowly people.
But Your eyes are on the haughty—
You will humble them.
29 For You are my lamp, Adonai.
Adonai shines in my darkness.
30 For with You I rush on a troop,
with my God I can leap over a wall.
31 As for God, His way is perfect.
The word of Adonai is pure.
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
32 For who is God, besides Adonai?
and who is a Rock, besides our God?
33 God is my strong fortress
and He keeps my way blameless.
34 He makes my legs like a deer
and sets me on my heights.
35 Who trains my hands for battle,
so my arms can bend a bronze bow.
36 You gave me Your shield of salvation.
and Your answering has made me great.
37 You broaden my steps beneath me,
so my feet have not slipped.
38 I pursue my enemies and destroy them.
I will not return till they are consumed.
39 I consumed them and crushed them till they cannot rise;
yes, they fall beneath my feet.
40 You girded me with strength for battle.
You made those rising up against me bow down before me.
41 You also made my enemies turn their backs to me.
I cut off those who hate me.
42 They looked, but there was none to save
—to Adonai, but He did not answer them.
43 Then I beat them as the dust of the earth,
I stamped and crushed them like mud of the streets.
44 You free me from strifes of my people.
You kept me as head of the nations—
people I did not know are serving me.
45 Children of foreigners cringe before me.
As soon as they hear, they obey me.
46 Children of foreigners lose heart
and come trembling from their hideouts.
47 Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock!
Exalted be God—the Rock of my salvation!
48 God—He gives me vengeance
and brings down peoples under me.
49 He brings me out from my enemies.
Indeed You lift me up above those who rise up against me.
You deliver me from the violent man.
50 Therefore I praise You among the nations, Adonai,
and will sing praises to Your name.
51 He is a tower of salvation to His king,
He shows loyal love to His anointed—
to David and to his seed, forever.
[a] 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah.
18 But I say, have they never heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”[b]
19 But I say, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will provoke you to jealousy
by those who are not a nation,
with a nation empty of understanding
I will vex you.”[c]
20 And Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I became visible to those who did not ask for Me.”[d]
21 But about Israel He says,
“All day long I stretched forth My hands
to a disobedient and contrary people.”[e]
Israel Not Rejected
11 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He?[f] May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He knew beforehand.[g] Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Adonai, they have killed your prophets, they have destroyed your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” [h] 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” [i] 5 So in the same way also at this present time there has come to be a remnant[j] according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained; but the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened— 8 just as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes not to see and ears not to hear,
until this very day.”[k]
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened so they do not see,
and bend their back continually.”[l]
11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?[m] May it never be! But by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy. [n] 12 Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness!
19 Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath—for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,”[a] says Adonai.
9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy. As it is written,
“For this reason I will give You praise among the Gentiles,
and I will sing to Your name.”[a]
10 And again it says,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”[b]
23 Paul, looking intently at the Sanhedrin, said, “Brothers, I have lived my life in all good conscience for God up to this day.” 2 But the kohen gadol Ananias ordered those standing by him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you on the mouth, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit judging me according to the Torah, and yet in violation of the Torah you order me to be struck?”[a]
4 Those standing nearby said, “Do you insult God’s kohen gadol?”
5 Paul said, “I didn’t know, brothers, that he is the kohen gadol. For it has been written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”[b]
6 But recognizing that one group was Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!”
7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all. 9 Then there was a great uproar. Some of the Torah scholars of the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested sharply, “We find nothing wrong with this man! What if a spirit or angel has spoken to him?”
10 As a big dispute was developing, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. So he ordered the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and to bring him into headquarters.
11 The following night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage! For just as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome!”
Conspiracy to Kill Paul
12 When it was day, the Judean leaders formed a conspiracy. They bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They went to the ruling kohanim and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you and the Sanhedrin serve notice to the commander to bring him down to you—like you are about to investigate his case more thoroughly. But we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush. He went into the headquarters and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has a message for him.”
18 So the centurion took him and led him to the commander and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”
19 The commander took him by the hand, stepped aside, and began asking him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”
20 And he said, “The Judean leaders have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow—as if they are about to investigate more thoroughly about him. 21 But do not give in to them, for more than forty of them have bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now, they are ready and waiting for your consent.”
22 So the commander dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me about these things.”
Escorted to Caesarea
23 Calling two of his centurions, he said, “At the third hour of the night,[c] prepare two hundred soldiers, along with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, to proceed as far as Caesarea. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, so that he might be brought safely to Felix the governor.”
25 He wrote a letter to this effect:
26 “Claudius Lysias,
To the Most Excellent Governor Felix:
27 This man was seized by the Judean leaders and was about to be killed by them, when I came on the scene with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 Desiring to know the charge of which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that he was accused concerning issues of their law, but charged with nothing worthy of death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you immediately, also ordering his accusers to state before you what they have against him.”
31 So the soldiers, in keeping with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 On the next day, they returned to headquarters, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. 33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul before him. 34 Upon reading the letter, the governor asked what province he was from. When he learned that Paul was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers have arrived also.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be guarded in Herod’s Praetorium.
Defense Before Governor Felix
24 After five days, the kohen gadol Ananias came down with some of the elders and an attorney named Tertullus. They brought formal charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “We are enjoying much peace through you, and reforms are introduced for this nation because of your foresight. 3 We acknowledge this, most excellent Felix, in every way and every place with all gratitude.
4 “But in order that I may not weary you any longer, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5 For we have found this man to be a pest, stirring up riots among all the Jewish people throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natzratim. 6 He even tried to defile the Temple, but we seized him. [d] 8 By examining him yourself, you will be able to learn from him all these things about which we accuse him.”
9 The Judean leaders also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were true. 10 When the governor nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that you have been judge over this nation for many years, I gladly make my own defense. 11 As you can verify, it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 They did not find me arguing with anyone or inciting a riot—not in the Temple or in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 Nor can they prove to you the charges they now bring against me.
14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), I worship the God of our fathers,[e] believing everything written in the Torah and the Prophets. 15 In God I have a hope—which these men also wait for—that there will surely be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.[f]
16 “Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience before both God and men. 17 Now after several years, I came to bring tzedakah to my country for the poor and to present offerings. 18 As I was doing this, they found me in the Temple, having been purified—without any crowd or uproar. 19 But there were some Jewish people from Asia, who ought to be here before you to press charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or let these men themselves tell what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 except for this one cry I shouted out while standing among them: ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead that today I am on trial before you.’”
In Prison for Two Years
22 But Felix, having a rather extensive knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will rule on your case.” 23 Then he gave the centurion orders for Paul to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from attending to his needs.
24 Now some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him speak about faith in Messiah Yeshua. 25 But as he was arguing about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became afraid and said, “Go away for now! When I find time, I will summon you.”
26 At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given to him by Paul; so he sent for him frequently and would talk with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Judean leaders a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Appeal to Caesar
25 Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2 There the ruling kohanim and the leading Judeans brought charges against Paul. They were urging him, 3 asking a favor—to have Paul sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the road.
4 Festus then answered that Paul was being guarded at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly. 5 “So then,” he said, “let the prominent men among you go down with me; and if there is any wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”
6 After spending not more than eight to ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought in. 7 When he arrived, the Judeans who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.
8 Paul said in his defense, “I have committed no offense against the Torah of the Jewish people, or against the Temple, or against Caesar.”
9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jewish leaders a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me?”
10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Judeans, as you very well know. 11 If then I am in the wrong and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12 Then when Festus had consulted with the council, he responded, “You have appealed to Caesar—to Caesar you shall go!”
Festus Seeks Agrippa’s Counsel
13 Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 While they were staying there several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left behind as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the ruling kohanim and elders of the Judeans brought charges against him, asking for a judgment against him. 16 I answered them that it is not Roman practice to turn over anyone before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense concerning the charges. 17 So when they came together here, I did not delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they were not bringing a charge of what crimes I suspected. 19 Instead, they had certain issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Yeshua, who had died, whom Paul claimed to be alive.
20 “Since I was at a loss as to how to investigate these matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there in regard to them. 21 But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
23 So on the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pageantry. They entered the audience hall with the commanders and the most prominent men of the city. Then at the order of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24 Festus said, “King Agrippa and all present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Judean population petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting out that he ought not live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving of death; and when he himself appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 Yet I have nothing specific to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you—and especially before you, King Agrippa—so that after the investigation has taken place, I might have something to write. 27 For it seems illogical to me when sending a prisoner, not to report also the charges against him.”