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Nehemiah chapter 5

1
Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers.
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Some were saying, "We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain."
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Others were saying, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine."
4
Still others were saying, "We have had to borrow money to pay the king's tax on our fields and vineyards.
5
Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others."
6
When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.
7
I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them
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and said: "As far as possible, we have bought back our Jewish brothers who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your brothers, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.
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So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?
10
I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop!
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Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them-- the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil."
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"We will give it back," they said. "And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say." Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised.
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I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, "In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!" At this the whole assembly said, "Amen," and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.
14
Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year-- twelve years-- neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor.
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But the earlier governors-- those preceding me-- placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that.
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Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.
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Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations.
18
Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
19
Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people.

Nehemiah chapter 6

1
When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it-- though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates--
2
Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono." But they were scheming to harm me;
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so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?"
4
Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5
Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter
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in which was written: "It is reported among the nations-- and Geshem says it is true-- that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king
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and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: 'There is a king in Judah!' Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together."
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I sent him this reply: "Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."
9
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed." [But I prayed,] "Now strengthen my hands."
10
One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, "Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you-- by night they are coming to kill you."
11
But I said, "Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!"
12
I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
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He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
14
Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.
15
So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
16
When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
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Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them.
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For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
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Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.

Psalm chapter 146

1
Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
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I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
4
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6
the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
7
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
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the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
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The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
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The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

Luke chapter 24

1
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3
but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
6
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
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'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"
8
Then they remembered his words.
9
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
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It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
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But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
12
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
13
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14
They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
15
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
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but they were kept from recognizing him.
17
He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast.
18
One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
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"What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
20
The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;
21
but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
22
In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning
23
but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.
24
Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
25
He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
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Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
27
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther.
29
But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
30
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32
They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
33
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
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and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon."
35
Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
36
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
37
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
38
He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
39
Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
40
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
41
And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?"
42
They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
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and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44
He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
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Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
46
He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
47
and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48
You are witnesses of these things.
49
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
50
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
51
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
52
Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
53
And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
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