Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 58

Joshua 10–12, Acts 10–12

Bible text(s)

The Amorites are Defeated

1Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and totally destroyed Ai and had killed its king, just as he had done to Jericho and its king. He also heard that the people of Gibeon had made peace with the Israelites and were living among them. 2The people of Jerusalem were greatly alarmed at this because Gibeon was as large as any of the cities that had a king; it was larger than Ai, and its men were good fighters. 3So Adonizedek sent the following message to King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and to King Debir of Eglon: 4“Come and help me attack Gibeon, because its people have made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” 5These five Amorite kings, the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, joined forces, surrounded Gibeon, and attacked it.

6The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal: “Do not abandon us, sir! Come at once and help us! Save us! All the Amorite kings in the hill country have joined forces and have attacked us!”

7So Joshua and his whole army, including the best troops, started out from Gilgal. 8The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. I have already given you the victory. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.” 9All night Joshua and his army marched from Gilgal to Gibeon, and they made a surprise attack on the Amorites. 10The LORD made the Amorites panic at the sight of Israel's army. The Israelites slaughtered them at Gibeon and pursued them down the mountain pass at Beth Horon, keeping up the attack as far south as Azekah and Makkedah. 11While the Amorites were running down the pass from the Israelite army, the LORD made large hailstones fall down on them all the way to Azekah. More were killed by the hailstones than by the Israelites.

12On the day that the LORD gave the men of Israel victory over the Amorites, Joshua spoke to the LORD. In the presence of the Israelites he said,

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon;

Moon, stop over Aijalon Valley.”

13The sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation had conquered its enemies. This is written in The Book of Jashar. The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not go down for a whole day. 14Never before, and never since, has there been a day like it, when the LORD obeyed a human being. The LORD fought on Israel's side!

15After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua Captures the Five Amorite Kings

16The five Amorite kings, however, had escaped and were hiding in the cave at Makkedah. 17Someone found them, and Joshua was told where they were hiding. 18He said, “Roll some big stones in front of the entrance to the cave. Place some guards there, 19but don't stay there yourselves. Keep on after the enemy and attack them from the rear; don't let them get to their cities! The LORD your God has given you victory over them.” 20Joshua and the men of Israel slaughtered them, although some managed to find safety inside their city walls and were not killed. 21Then all of Joshua's men came back safe to him at the camp at Makkedah.

No one in the land dared even to speak against the Israelites.

22Then Joshua said, “Open the entrance to the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23So the cave was opened, and the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon were brought out 24and taken to Joshua. Joshua then called all the men of Israel to him and ordered the officers who had gone with him to come and put their feet on the necks of the kings. They did so. 25Then Joshua said to his officers, “Don't be afraid or discouraged. Be determined and confident because this is what the LORD is going to do to all your enemies.” 26Then Joshua killed the kings and hanged them on five trees, where their bodies stayed until evening. 27At sunset Joshua gave orders, and their bodies were taken down and thrown into the same cave where they had hidden earlier. Large stones were placed at the entrance to the cave, and they are still there.

Joshua Captures More Amorite Territory

28Joshua attacked and captured Makkedah and its king that day. He put everyone in the city to death; no one was left alive. He did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho.

29After this, Joshua and his army went on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30The LORD also gave the Israelites victory over this city and its king. They spared no one, but killed every person in it. They did to the king what they had done to the king of Jericho.

31After this, Joshua and his army went on from Libnah to Lachish, surrounded it and attacked it. 32The LORD gave the Israelites victory over Lachish on the second day of the battle. Just as they had done at Libnah, they spared no one, but killed every person in the city. 33King Horam of Gezer came to the aid of Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army and left none of them alive.

34Next, Joshua and his army went on from Lachish to Eglon, surrounded it and attacked it. 35They captured it the same day and put everyone there to death, just as they had done at Lachish.

36After this, Joshua and his army went from Eglon up into the hills to Hebron, attacked it 37and captured it. They killed the king and everyone else in the city as well as in the nearby towns. Joshua condemned the city to total destruction, just as he had done to Eglon. No one in it was left alive.

38Then Joshua and his army turned back to Debir and attacked it. 39He captured it, with its king and all the nearby towns. They put everyone there to death. Joshua did to Debir and its king what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.

40Joshua conquered the whole land. He defeated the kings of the hill country, the eastern slopes, and the western foothills, as well as those of the dry country in the south. He spared no one; everyone was put to death. This was what the LORD God of Israel had commanded. 41Joshua's campaign took him from Kadesh Barnea in the south to Gaza near the coast, including all the area of Goshen, and as far north as Gibeon. 42Joshua conquered all these kings and their territory in one campaign because the LORD, Israel's God, was fighting for Israel. 43After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua Defeats Jabin and his Allies

1When the news of Israel's victories reached King Jabin of Hazor, he sent word to King Jobab of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Achshaph, 2and to the kings in the hill country in the north, in the Jordan Valley south of Lake Galilee, in the foothills, and on the coast near Dor. 3He also sent word to the Canaanites on both sides of the Jordan, to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, as well as to the Hivites who lived at the foot of Mount Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4They came with all their soldiers — an army with as many men as there are grains of sand on the seashore. They also had many horses and chariots. 5All these kings joined forces and came together and set up camp at Merom Brook to fight against Israel.

6The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will have killed all of them for Israel. You are to cripple their horses and burn their chariots.” 7So Joshua and all his men attacked them by surprise at Merom Brook. 8The LORD gave the Israelites victory over them; the Israelites attacked and pursued them as far north as Misrephoth Maim and Sidon, and as far east as the valley of Mizpah. The fight continued until none of the enemy was left alive. 9Joshua did to them what the LORD had commanded: he crippled their horses and burnt their chariots.

10Joshua then turned back, captured Hazor and killed its king. (At that time Hazor was the most powerful of all those kingdoms.) 11They put everyone there to death; no one was left alive, and the city was burnt.

12Joshua captured all these cities and their kings, putting everyone to death, just as Moses, the LORD's servant, had commanded. 13However, the Israelites did not burn any of the cities built on mounds, except Hazor, which Joshua did burn. 14The people of Israel took all the valuables and livestock from these cities and kept them for themselves. But they put every person to death; no one was left alive. 15The LORD had given his commands to his servant Moses, Moses had given them to Joshua, and Joshua obeyed them. He did everything that the LORD had commanded Moses.

The Territory Taken by Joshua

16Joshua captured all the land — the hill country and foothills, both north and south, all the area of Goshen and the dry country south of it, as well as the Jordan Valley. 17-18The territory extended from Mount Halak in the south near Edom, as far as Baalgad in the north, in the valley of Lebanon south of Mount Hermon. Joshua was at war with the kings of this territory for a long time, but he captured them all and put them to death. 19The only city that made peace with the people of Israel was Gibeon, where some of the Hivites lived. All the others were conquered in battle. 20The LORD had made them determined to fight the Israelites, so that they would be condemned to total destruction and all be killed without mercy. This was what the LORD had commanded Moses.

21At this time Joshua went and destroyed the race of giants called the Anakim who lived in the hill country — in Hebron, Debir, Anab, and in all the hill country of Judah and Israel. Joshua completely destroyed them and their cities. 22None of the Anakim were left in the land of Israel; a few, however, were left in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.

23Joshua captured the whole land, as the LORD had commanded Moses. Joshua gave it to the Israelites as their own and divided it into portions, one for each tribe.

So the people rested from war.

The Kings Defeated by Moses

1The people of Israel had already conquered and occupied the land east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Valley up the Jordan Valley and as far north as Mount Hermon. They defeated two kings. 2One was Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled at Heshbon. His kingdom included half of Gilead: from Aroer (on the edge of the valley of the Arnon) and the city in the middle of that valley, as far as the River Jabbok, the border of Ammon; 3it included the Jordan Valley from Lake Galilee south to Beth Jeshimoth (east of the Dead Sea) and on towards the foot of Mount Pisgah.

4They also defeated King Og of Bashan, who was one of the last of the Rephaim; he ruled at Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5His kingdom included Mount Hermon, Salecah, and all of Bashan as far as the boundaries of Geshur and Maacah, as well as half of Gilead, as far as the territory of King Sihon of Heshbon.

6These two kings were defeated by Moses and the people of Israel. Moses, the LORD's servant, gave their land to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh, to be their possession.

The Kings Defeated by Joshua

7Joshua and the people of Israel defeated all the kings in the territory west of the Jordan, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak in the south near Edom. Joshua divided this land among the tribes and gave it to them as a permanent possession. 8This portion included the hill country, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley and its foothills, the eastern slopes, and the dry country in the south. This land had been the home of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The people of Israel defeated the kings of the following cities: Jericho, Ai (near Bethel), 10Jerusalem, Hebron, 11Jarmuth, Lachish, 12Eglon, Gezer, 13Debir, Geder, 14Hormah, Arad, 15Libnah, Adullam, 16Makkedah, Bethel, 17Tappuah, Hepher, 18Aphek, Lasharon, 19Madon, Hazor, 20Shimron Meron, Achshaph, 21Taanach, Megiddo, 22Kedesh, Jokneam (in Carmel), 23Dor (on the coast), Goiim (in Galilee), 24and Tirzah — 31 kings in all.

Peter and Cornelius

1There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman regiment called “The Italian Regiment”. 2He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshipped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. 3It was about three o'clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius!”

4He stared at the angel in fear and said, “What is it, sir?”

The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you. 5And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter. 6He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea.” 7Then the angel went away, and Cornelius called two of his house servants and a soldier, a religious man who was one of his personal attendants. 8He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.

9The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. 11He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 13A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!”

14But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.”

15The voice spoke to him again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” 16This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.

17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learnt where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate. 18They called out and asked, “Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?”

19Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, “Listen! Three men are here looking for you. 20So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 21So Peter went down and said to the men, “I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”

22“Captain Cornelius sent us,” they answered. “He is a good man who worships God and is highly respected by all the Jewish people. An angel of God told him to invite you to his house, so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23Peter invited the men in and persuaded them to spend the night there.

The next day he got ready and went with them; and some of the believers from Joppa went along with him. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting for him, together with relatives and close friends that he had invited. 25As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and bowed down before him. 26But Peter made him rise. “Stand up,” he said; “I myself am only a man.” 27Peter kept on talking to Cornelius as he went into the house, where he found many people gathered. 28He said to them, “You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. 29And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?”

30Cornelius said, “It was about this time three days ago that I was praying in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me 31and said: ‘Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity. 32Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.’ 33And so I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God, waiting to hear anything that the Lord has instructed you to say.”

Peter's Speech

34Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. 35Those who worship him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know of the great event that took place throughout the land of Israel, beginning in Galilee after John preached his message of baptism. 38You know about Jesus of Nazareth and how God poured out on him the Holy Spirit and power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were under the power of the Devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses of everything that he did in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. Then they put him to death by nailing him to a cross. 40But God raised him from death three days later and caused him to appear, 41not to everyone, but only to the witnesses that God had already chosen, that is, to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from death. 42And he commanded us to preach the gospel to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets spoke about him, saying that all who believe in him will have their sins forgiven through the power of his name.”

The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. 45The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also. 46For they heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising God's greatness. Peter spoke up: 47“These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water?” 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay with them for a few days.

Peter's Report to the Church at Jerusalem

1The apostles and the other believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2When Peter went to Jerusalem, those who were in favour of circumcising Gentiles criticized him, saying, 3“You were a guest in the home of uncircumcised Gentiles, and you even ate with them!” 4So Peter gave them a complete account of what had happened from the very beginning:

5“While I was praying in the city of Joppa, I had a vision. I saw something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it stopped next to me. 6I looked closely inside and saw domesticated and wild animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat!’ 8But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No ritually unclean or defiled food has ever entered my mouth.’ 9The voice spoke again from heaven, ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.’ 10This happened three times, and finally the whole thing was drawn back up into heaven. 11At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without hesitation. These six fellow-believers from Joppa accompanied me to Caesarea, and we all went into the house of Cornelius. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. 14He will speak words to you by which you and all your family will be saved.’ 15And when I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them just as on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17It is clear that God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, then, to try to stop God!”

18When they heard this, they stopped their criticism and praised God, saying, “Then God has given to the Gentiles also the opportunity to repent and live!”

The Church at Antioch

19Some of the believers who were scattered by the persecution which took place when Stephen was killed went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, telling the message to Jews only. 20But other believers, who were from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and proclaimed the message to Gentiles also, telling them the Good News about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord's power was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22The news about this reached the church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord.

25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he took him to Antioch, and for a whole year the two met with the people of the church and taught a large group. It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.

27About that time some prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and by the power of the Spirit predicted that a severe famine was about to come over all the earth. (It came when Claudius was emperor.) 29The disciples decided that they would each send as much as they could to help their fellow-believers who lived in Judea. 30They did this, then, and sent the money to the church elders by Barnabas and Saul.

More Persecution

1About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went on to arrest Peter. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.

Peter is Set Free from Prison

6The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter's hands. 8Then the angel said, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak round you and come with me.” 9Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed by the first guard post and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate leading into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter.

11Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod's power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.”

12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter's voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15“You are mad!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.”

16Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else.

18When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards — what had happened to Peter? 19Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them to be put to death.

After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea.

The Death of Herod

20Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king's country.

21On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22“It isn't a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honour to God. He was eaten by worms and died.

24Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow.

25Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.

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