I cry aloud to the Lord; to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before him and tell him of my trouble.
When my spirit faints within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk have they laid a snare for me. I look to my right hand, and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for my soul. I cry out to you, O Lord, and say:
‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Listen to my cry, for I am brought very low; save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name; when you have dealt bountifully with me. then shall the righteous gather around me.’
Blessed be the Lord my rock, who teaches my hands for war and my fingers for battle; My steadfast help and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I trust, who subdues the peoples under me.
O Lord, what are mortals that you should consider them; mere human beings, that you should take thought for them?
They are like a breath of wind; their days pass away like a shadow. Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains and they shall smoke. Cast down your lightnings and scatter them; shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and take me out of the great waters, from the hand of foreign enemies, Whose mouth speaks wickedness and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.
O God, I will sing to you a new song; I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp, You that give salvation to kings and have delivered David your servant. Save me from the peril of the sword and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies,
Whose mouth speaks wickedness and whose right hand is the hand of falsehood; So that our sons in their youth may be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters like pillars carved for the corners of the temple. Our barns be filled with all manner of store; our flocks bearing thousands, and ten thousands in our fields;
Our cattle be heavy with young: •
may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth,no cry of distress in our streets.
may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth,no cry of distress in our streets.
Happy are the people whose blessing this is. Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God.
2 Chronicles 22.10-23.end
Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the king’s daughter, took Joash son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s children who were about to be killed; she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath, daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada—because she was a sister of Ahaziah—hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not kill him;he remained with them for six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
But in the seventh year Jehoiada took courage, and entered into a compact with the commanders of the hundreds, Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. They went about through Judah and gathered the Levites from all the towns of Judah, and the heads of families of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. Then the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. Jehoiada said to them, ‘Here is the king’s son! Let him reign, as the Lord promised concerning the sons of David. This is what you are to do: one-third of you, priests and Levites, who come on duty on the sabbath, shall be gatekeepers, one-third shall be at the king’s house, and one-third at the Gate of the Foundation; and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. Do not let anyone enter the house of the Lord except the priests and ministering Levites; they may enter, for they are holy, but all the other people shall observe the instructions of the Lord. The Levites shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; and whoever enters the house shall be killed. Stay with the king in his comings and goings.’
The Levites and all Judah did according to all that the priest Jehoiada commanded; each brought his men, who were to come on duty on the sabbath, with those who were to go off duty on the sabbath; for the priest Jehoiada did not dismiss the divisions. The priest Jehoiada delivered to the captains the spears and the large and small shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of God; and he set all the people as a guard for the king, everyone with weapon in hand, from the south side of the house to the north side of the house, around the altar and the house. Then he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the covenant;they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him; and they shouted, ‘Long live the king!’
When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the Lordto the people; and when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration. Athaliah tore her clothes, and cried, ‘Treason! Treason!’ Then the priest Jehoiada brought out the captains who were set over the army, saying to them, ‘Bring her out between the ranks; anyone who follows her is to be put to the sword.’ For the priest said, ‘Do not put her to death in the house of the Lord.’ So they laid hands on her; she went into the entrance of the Horse Gate of the king’s house, and there they put her to death.
Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars.Jehoiada assigned the care of the house of the Lord to the levitical priests whom David had organized to be in charge of the house of the Lord, to offer burnt-offerings to the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. He stationed the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the Lord so that no one should enter who was in any way unclean. And he took the captains, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and they brought the king down from the house of the Lord, marching through the upper gate to the king’s house. They set the king on the royal throne. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been killed with the sword.
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,
‘So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging.’
But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), ‘Let us do evil so that good may come’? Their condemnation is deserved!
What then? Are we any better off?No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,as it is written:
‘There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.’
‘Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.’ The venom of vipers is under their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’ Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’
Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
O Lord, from whom all good things come: grant to us your humble servants, that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.