O Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath; neither chasten me in your fierce anger. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak; Lord, heal me, for my bones are racked. My soul also shakes with terror; how long, O Lord, how long?
Turn again, O Lord, and deliver my soul; save me for your loving mercy’s sake. For in death no one remembers you; and who can give you thanks in the grave?
I am weary with my groaning; every night I drench my pillow and flood my bed with my tears. My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you that do evil, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. All my enemies shall be put to shame and confusion; they shall suddenly turn back in their shame.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will make music to your name, O Most High.
When my enemies are driven back, they stumble and perish at your presence. For you have maintained my right and my cause; ♦you sat on your throne giving righteous judgement.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
The enemy was utterly laid waste.
You uprooted their cities; their very memory has perished.
But the Lord shall endure for ever; he has made fast his throne for judgement.
For he shall rule the world with righteousness and govern the peoples with equity.
Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in the time of trouble.
And those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples the things he has done.
The avenger of blood has remembered them; he did not forget the cry of the oppressed.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion and rejoice in your salvation.
The nations shall sink into the pit of their making and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken.
The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice; the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands.
They shall return to the land of darkness, all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand; let the nations be judged before your face.
Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.
Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred and forty-seven years.
When the time of Israel’s death drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘If I have found favour with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my ancestors, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ He answered, ‘I will do as you have said.’ And he said, ‘Swear to me’; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed.
After this Joseph was told, ‘Your father is ill.’ So he took with him his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, ‘Your son Joseph has come to you’, he summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, and said to me, “I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.” Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath’ (that is, Bethlehem).
When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ And he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, and he could not see well. So Joseph brought them near him; and he kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I did not expect to see your face; and here God has let me see your children also.’ Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand towards Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left hand towards Israel’s right, and brought them near him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said,
‘The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.’
When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused, and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.’
So he blessed them that day, saying,
‘By you Israel will invoke blessings, saying, “God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.” ’
So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
Then Israel said to Joseph,
‘I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. I now give to you one portion more than to your brothers, the portion that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.’
About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us go on towards perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith towards God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. And we will do this, if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over.
Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence, so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.