1When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right. 2I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.” 3Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said, 4“I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations. 5Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, because I am making you the ancestor of many nations. 6I will give you many descendants, and some of them will be kings. You will have so many descendants that they will become nations.
7“I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants. 8I will give to you and to your descendants this land in which you are now a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan will belong to your descendants for ever, and I will be their God.”
9God said to Abraham, “You also must agree to keep the covenant with me, both you and your descendants in future generations. 10You and your descendants must all agree to circumcise every male among you. 11-12From now on you must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old, including slaves born in your homes and slaves bought from foreigners. This will show that there is a covenant between you and me. 13Each one must be circumcised, and this will be a physical sign to show that my covenant with you is everlasting. 14Any male who has not been circumcised will no longer be considered one of my people, because he has not kept the covenant with me.”
15God said to Abraham, “You must no longer call your wife Sarai; from now on her name is Sarah.16I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will become the mother of nations, and there will be kings among her descendants.”
17Abraham bowed down with his face touching the ground, but he began to laugh when he thought, “Can a man have a child when he is a hundred years old? Can Sarah have a child at ninety?” 18He asked God, “Why not let Ishmael be my heir?”
19But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you will name him Isaac. I will keep my covenant with him and with his descendants for ever. It is an everlasting covenant. 20I have heard your request about Ishmael, so I will bless him and give him many children and many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make a great nation of his descendants. 21But I will keep my covenant with your son Isaac, who will be born to Sarah about this time next year.” 22When God finished speaking to Abraham, he left him.
23On that same day Abraham obeyed God and circumcised his son Ishmael and all the other males in his household, including the slaves born in his home and those he had bought. 24Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised, 25and his son Ishmael was thirteen. 26They were both circumcised on the same day, 27together with all Abraham's slaves.
1The LORD appeared to Abraham at the sacred trees of Mamre. As Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day, 2he looked up and saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran out to meet them. Bowing down with his face touching the ground, 3he said, “Sirs, please do not pass by my home without stopping; I am here to serve you. 4Let me bring some water for you to wash your feet; you can rest here beneath this tree. 5I will also bring a bit of food; it will give you strength to continue your journey. You have honoured me by coming to my home, so let me serve you.”
They replied, “Thank you; we accept.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick, take a sack of your best flour, and bake some bread.” 7Then he ran to the herd and picked out a calf that was tender and fat, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to get it ready. 8He took some cream, some milk, and the meat, and set the food before the men. There under the tree he served them himself, and they ate.
9Then they asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“She is there in the tent,” he answered.
10One of them said, “Nine months from now I will come back, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was behind him, at the door of the tent, listening. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods. 12So Sarah laughed to herself and said, “Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex? And besides, my husband is old too.”
13Then the LORD asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the LORD? As I said, nine months from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Because Sarah was afraid, she denied it. “I didn't laugh,” she said.
“Yes, you did,” he replied. “You laughed.”
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16Then the men left and went to a place where they could look down at Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way. 17And the LORD said to himself, “I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do. 18His descendants will become a great and mighty nation, and through him I will bless all the nations.19I have chosen him in order that he may command his sons and his descendants to obey me and to do what is right and just. If they do, I will do everything for him that I have promised.”
20Then the LORD said to Abraham, “There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. 21I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true.”
22Then the two men left and went on towards Sodom, but the LORD remained with Abraham. 23Abraham approached the LORD and asked, “Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty? 24If there are fifty innocent people in the city, will you destroy the whole city? Won't you spare it in order to save the fifty? 25Surely you won't kill the innocent with the guilty. That's impossible! You can't do that. If you did, the innocent would be punished along with the guilty. That is impossible. The judge of all the earth has to act justly.”
26The LORD answered, “If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake.”
27Abraham spoke again: “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything. 28But perhaps there will be only 45 innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?”
The LORD answered, “I will not destroy the city if I find 45 innocent people.”
29Abraham spoke again: “Perhaps there will be only forty.”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if there are forty.”
30Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?”
He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty.”
31Abraham said, “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy the city if I find twenty.”
32Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak just once more. What if only ten are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy it if there are ten.” 33After he had finished speaking with Abraham, the LORD went away, and Abraham returned home.
1When the two angels came to Sodom that evening, Lot was sitting at the city gate. As soon as he saw them, he got up and went to meet them. He bowed down before them 2and said, “Sirs, I am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and stay the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way.”
But they answered, “No, we will spend the night here in the city square.”
3He kept on urging them, and finally they went with him to his house. Lot ordered his servants to bake some bread and prepare a fine meal for the guests. When it was ready, they ate it.
4Before the guests went to bed, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. All the men of the city, both young and old, were there. 5They called out to Lot and asked, “Where are the men who came to stay with you tonight? Bring them out to us!” The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them.
6Lot went outside and closed the door behind him. 7He said to them, “Friends, I beg you, don't do such a wicked thing! 8Look, I have two daughters who are still virgins. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. But don't do anything to these men; they are guests in my house, and I must protect them.”
9But they said, “Get out of our way, you foreigner! Who are you to tell us what to do? Out of our way, or we will treat you worse than them.” They pushed Lot back and moved up to break down the door. 10But the two men inside reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and shut the door. 11Then they struck all the men outside with blindness, so that they couldn't find the door.
Lot Leaves Sodom
12The two men said to Lot, “If you have anyone else here — sons, daughters, sons-in-law, or any other relatives living in the city — get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The LORD has heard the terrible accusations against these people and has sent us to destroy Sodom.”
14Then Lot went to the men that his daughters were going to marry, and said, “Hurry up and get out of here; the LORD is going to destroy this place.” But they thought he was joking.
15At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. “Quick!” they said. “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed.” 16Lot hesitated. The LORD, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17Then one of the angels said, “Run for your lives! Don't look back and don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won't be killed.”
18But Lot answered, “No, please don't make us do that, sir. 19You have done me a great favour and saved my life. But the hills are too far away; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die before I get there. 20Do you see that little town? It is near enough. Let me go over there — you can see it is just a small place — and I will be safe.”
21He answered, “All right, I agree. I won't destroy that town. 22Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you get there.”
Because Lot called it small, the town was named Zoar.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
23The sun was rising when Lot reached Zoar. 24Suddenly the LORD rained burning sulphur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 25and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land. 26But Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
27Early the next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood in the presence of the LORD. 28He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a huge furnace. 29But when God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot was living, he kept Abraham in mind and allowed Lot to escape to safety.
The Origin of the Moabites and Ammonites
30Because Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters moved up into the hills and lived in a cave. 31The elder daughter said to her sister, “Our father is getting old, and there are no men in the whole world to marry us so that we can have children. 32Come on, let's make our father drunk, so that we can sleep with him and have children by him.” 33That night they gave him wine to drink, and the elder daughter had intercourse with him. But he was so drunk that he didn't know it.
34The next day the elder daughter said to her sister, “I slept with him last night; now let's make him drunk again tonight, and you sleep with him. Then each of us will have a child by our father.” 35So that night they made him drunk, and the younger daughter had intercourse with him. Again he was so drunk that he didn't know it. 36In this way both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their own father. 37The elder daughter had a son, whom she named Moab. He was the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. 38The younger daughter also had a son, whom she named Benammi. He was the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites.
1Abraham moved from Mamre to the southern part of Canaan and lived between Kadesh and Shur. Later, while he was living in Gerar, 2he said that his wife Sarah was his sister. So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him. 3One night God appeared to him in a dream and said: “You are going to die, because you have taken this woman; she is already married.”
4But Abimelech had not come near her, and he said, “Lord, I am innocent! Would you destroy me and my people? 5Abraham himself said that she was his sister, and she said the same thing. I did this with a clear conscience, and I have done no wrong.”
6God replied in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did it with a clear conscience; so I kept you from sinning against me and did not let you touch her. 7But now, give the woman back to her husband. He is a prophet, and he will pray for you, so that you will not die. But if you do not give her back, I warn you that you are going to die, you and all your people.”
8Early the next morning Abimelech called all his officials and told them what had happened, and they were terrified. 9Then Abimelech called Abraham and asked, “What have you done to us? What wrong have I done to you to make you bring this disaster on me and my kingdom? No one should ever do what you have done to me. 10Why did you do it?”
11Abraham answered, “I thought that there would be no one here who has reverence for God and that they would kill me to get my wife. 12She really is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not of my mother, and I married her. 13So when God sent me from my father's house into foreign lands, I said to her, ‘You can show how loyal you are to me by telling everyone that I am your brother.’ ”
14Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and at the same time he gave him sheep, cattle, and slaves. 15He said to Abraham, “Here is my whole land; live anywhere you like.” 16He said to Sarah, “I am giving your brother a thousand pieces of silver as proof to all who are with you that you are innocent; everyone will know that you have done no wrong.”
17-18Because of what had happened to Sarah, Abraham's wife, the LORD had made it impossible for any woman in Abimelech's palace to have children. So Abraham prayed for Abimelech, and God healed him. He also healed his wife and his slave women, so that they could have children.
1Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.2The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.4When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.5They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”
6Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
7So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep.8All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.9I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture.10The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.
11“I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep.12When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them.13The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and does not care about the sheep.14-15I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them.16There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them, too; they will listen to my voice, and they will becomeone flock with one shepherd.
17“The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again.18No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father has commanded me to do.”
19Again there was a division among the people because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon! He is mad! Why do you listen to him?”
21But others were saying, “A man with a demon could not talk like this! How could a demon give sight to blind people?”
Jesus is Rejected
22It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication of the Temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem. 23Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the Temple, 24when the people gathered round him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Tell us the plain truth: are you the Messiah?”
25Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you would not believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority speak on my behalf;26but you will not believe, for you are not my sheep.27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me.29What my Father has given me is greaterthan everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father's care.30The Father and I are one.”
31Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him. 32Jesus said to them, “I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?”
33They replied, “We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!”
34Jesus answered, “It is written in your own Law that God said, ‘You are gods.’35We know that what the scripture says is true for ever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his message was given.36As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God?37Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do.38But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father.”
39Once more they tried to seize Jesus, but he slipped out of their hands.
40Jesus then went back again across the River Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing, and he stayed there. 41Many people came to him. “John performed no miracles,” they said, “but everything he said about this man was true.” 42And many people there believed in him.
1A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, was ill. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 2(This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.) 3The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is ill.”
4When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this illness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.”
5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8“Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?”
9Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, hasn't it? So whoever walks in broad daylight does not stumble, for they see the light of this world.10But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.”11Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.”
12The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.”
13Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,15but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.”
16Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow-disciples, “Let us all go with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!”
Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18Bethany was less than three kilometres from Jerusalem, 19and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them over their brother's death.
20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.”
23“Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her.
24“I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.”
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die;26and all those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27“Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. 30(Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31The people who were in the house with Mary, comforting her, followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there.
32Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!”
33Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people who were with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34“Where have you buried him?” he asked them.
“Come and see, Lord,” they answered.
35Jesus wept. 36“See how much he loved him!” the people said.
37But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn't he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Lazarus is Brought to Life
38Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39“Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered.
Martha, the dead man's sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!”
40Jesus said to her, “Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believed?”41They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me.42I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.”43After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”44He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave clothes, and with a cloth round his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.”
45Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did, and they believed in him. 46But some of them returned to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47So the Pharisees and the chief priests met with the Council and said, “What shall we do? Look at all the miracles this man is performing! 48If we let him go on in this way, everyone will believe in him, and the Roman authorities will take action and destroy our Temple and our nation!”
49One of them, named Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, said, “What fools you are! 50Don't you realize that it is better for you to let one man die for the people, instead of having the whole nation destroyed?” 51Actually, he did not say this of his own accord; rather, as he was High Priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish people, 52and not only for them, but also to bring together into one body all the scattered people of God.
53From that day on the Jewish authorities made plans to kill Jesus. 54So Jesus did not travel openly in Judea, but left and went to a place near the desert, to a town named Ephraim, where he stayed with the disciples.
55The time for the Passover Festival was near, and many people went up from the country to Jerusalem to perform the ritual of purification before the festival. 56They were looking for Jesus, and as they gathered in the Temple, they asked one another, “What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?” 57The chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where Jesus was, he must report it, so that they could arrest him.