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Genesis chapter 37

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Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
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This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
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Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.
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When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
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Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
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He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had:
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We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it."
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His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
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Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
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When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?"
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His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
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Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem,
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and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied.
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So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem,
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a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
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He replied, "I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?"
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"They have moved on from here," the man answered. "I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan.
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But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
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"Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other.
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"Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
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When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said.
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"Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
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So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe-- the richly ornamented robe he was wearing--
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and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
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As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
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Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?
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Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
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So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
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When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes.
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He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?"
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Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.
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They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe."
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He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces."
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Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.
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All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." So his father wept for him.
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Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard.

Genesis chapter 38

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At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.
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There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her;
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she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er.
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She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan.
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She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.
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Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
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But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death.
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Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother."
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But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.
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What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.
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Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." For he thought, "He may die too, just like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
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After a long time Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
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When Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,"
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she took off her widow's clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
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When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.
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Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, "Come now, let me sleep with you." "And what will you give me to sleep with you?" she asked.
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"I'll send you a young goat from my flock," he said. "Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?" she asked.
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He said, "What pledge should I give you?" "Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand," she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.
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After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again.
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Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her.
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He asked the men who lived there, "Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?" "There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here," they said.
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So he went back to Judah and said, "I didn't find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, 'There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here.'"
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Then Judah said, "Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her."
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About three months later Judah was told, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant." Judah said, "Bring her out and have her burned to death!"
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As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," she said. And she added, "See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are."
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Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah." And he did not sleep with her again.
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When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.
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As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, "This one came out first."
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But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez.
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Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah.

Psalm chapter 7

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A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite. O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
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or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
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O LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands--
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if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe--
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then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. Selah
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Arise, O LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice.
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Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high;
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let the LORD judge the peoples. Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.
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O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.
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My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
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God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.
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If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow.
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He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows.
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He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.
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He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.
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The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.
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I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Luke chapter 15

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Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.
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But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
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Then Jesus told them this parable:
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"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
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And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
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and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
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I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
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"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
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And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'
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In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
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Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
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The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
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"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
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After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
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So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
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He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
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"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
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I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
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I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'
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So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
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"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
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"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
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Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.
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For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
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"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
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So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
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'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
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"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
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But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
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But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
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"'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
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But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
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