Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 60

Joshua 16–18, Acts 16–18

Bible text(s)

The Territory Assigned to Ephraim and West Manasseh

1The southern boundary of the land assigned to the descendants of Joseph started from the Jordan near Jericho, at a point east of the springs of Jericho, and went into the desert. It went from Jericho up into the hill country as far as Bethel. 2From Bethel it went to Luz, passing on to Ataroth Addar, where the Archites lived. 3It then went west to the area of the Japhletites, as far as the area of Lower Beth Horon. It went on from there to Gezer and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.

4The descendants of Joseph, the tribes of Ephraim and West Manasseh, received this land as their possession.

Ephraim

5This was the territory of the Ephraimite families: their border ran from Ataroth Addar eastwards to Upper Beth Horon, 6and from there to the Mediterranean Sea. Michmethath was on their north. East of there the border bent towards Taanath Shiloh and went past it on the east to Janoah. 7Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, reaching Jericho and ending at the Jordan. 8The border went west from Tappuah to the stream of Kanah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the land given to the families of the tribe of Ephraim as their possession, 9along with some towns and villages that were within the borders of Manasseh, but given to the Ephraimites. 10But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived among the Ephraimites to this day, but they have been forced to work as slaves.

West Manasseh

1A part of the land west of the Jordan was assigned to some of the families descended from Joseph's elder son Manasseh. Machir, the father of Gilead, was Manasseh's eldest son and a military hero, so Gilead and Bashan, east of the Jordan, were assigned to him. 2Land west of the Jordan was assigned to the rest of the families of Manasseh: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These were male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and they were heads of families. 3Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, did not have any sons, but only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4They went to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua son of Nun and to the leaders, and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us, as well as our male relatives, a part of the land to possess.” So, as the LORD had commanded, they were given land along with their male relatives. 5That is why Manasseh received ten shares in addition to Gilead and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan, 6since his female descendants as well as his male descendants were assigned land. The land of Gilead was assigned to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.

7The territory of Manasseh reached from Asher to Michmethath, east of Shechem. The border then went south to include the people of Entappuah. 8The land round Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but the town of Tappuah, on the border, belonged to the descendants of Ephraim. 9The border then went down to the stream of Kanah. The cities south of the stream belonged to Ephraim, even though they were in the territory of Manasseh. The border of Manasseh proceeded along the north side of the stream and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. 10Ephraim was to the south, and Manasseh was to the north, with the Mediterranean Sea as their western border. Asher was to the north-west, and Issachar to the north-east. 11Within the territories of Issachar and Asher, Manasseh possessed Beth Shan and Ibleam, along with their surrounding towns, as well as Dor (the one on the coast), Endor, Taanach, Megiddo, and their surrounding towns. 12The people of Manasseh, however, were not able to drive out the people living in those cities, so the Canaanites continued to live there. 13Even when the Israelites became stronger, they did not drive out all the Canaanites, but they did force them to work for them.

Ephraim and West Manasseh Request More Land

14The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one part of the land to possess as our own? There are very many of us because the LORD has blessed us.”

15Joshua answered, “If there are so many of you and the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, then go into the forests and clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim.”

16They replied, “The hill country is not big enough for us, but the Canaanites in the plains have iron chariots, both those who live in Beth Shan and its surrounding towns and those who live in the Valley of Jezreel.”

17Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and West Manasseh, “There are indeed many of you, and you are very powerful. You shall have more than one share. 18The hill country will be yours. Even though it is a forest, you will clear it and take possession of it from one end to the other. As for the Canaanites, you will drive them out, even though they do have iron chariots and are a strong people.”

The Division of the Rest of the Land

1After they had conquered the land, the entire community of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the Tent of the LORD's presence. 2There were still seven tribes of the people of Israel who had not yet been assigned their share of the land. 3So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long are you going to wait before you go in and take the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you? 4Let me have three men from each tribe. I will send them out over the whole country to map out the territory that they would like to have as their possession. Then they are to come back to me. 5The land will be divided among them in seven parts; Judah will stay in its territory in the south, and Joseph in its territory in the north. 6Write down a description of these seven divisions and bring it to me. Then I will draw lots to consult the LORD our God for you. 7The Levites, however, will not receive a share of the land with the rest of you, because their share is to serve as the LORD's priests. And of course, the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and East Manasseh have already received their land east of the Jordan, which Moses, the LORD's servant, gave to them.”

8The men went on their way to map out the land after Joshua had given them these instructions: “Go all over the land and map it out, and come back to me. And then here in Shiloh I will consult the LORD for you by drawing lots.” 9So the men went all over the land and set down in writing how they divided it into seven parts, making a list of the towns. Then they went back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10Joshua drew lots to consult the LORD for them, and assigned each of the remaining tribes of Israel a certain part of the land.

The Territory Assigned to Benjamin

11The territory belonging to the families of the tribe of Benjamin was the first to be assigned. Their land lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph. 12On the north their border began at the Jordan and then went up the slope north of Jericho and westwards through the hill country as far as the desert of Bethaven. 13The border then went to the slope on the south side of Luz (also called Bethel), then down to Ataroth Addar, on the mountain south of Lower Beth Horon. 14The border then went in another direction, turning south from the western side of this mountain and going to Kiriath Baal (or Kiriath Jearim), which belongs to the tribe of Judah. This was the western border. 15The southern border started on the edge of Kiriath Jearim and went to the Springs of Nephtoah. 16It then went down to the foot of the mountain that overlooks the Valley of Hinnom, at the north end of the Valley of Rephaim. It then went south through the Valley of Hinnom, south of the Jebusite ridge, towards Enrogel. 17It then turned north to Enshemesh and then on to Geliloth, opposite Adummim Pass. The border then went down to the Stone of Bohan (Bohan was a son of Reuben) 18and passed north of the ridge overlooking the Jordan Valley. It then went down into the valley, 19passing north of the ridge of Beth Hoglah, and ended at the northern inlet on the Dead Sea, where the River Jordan empties into it. This was the southern border. 20The Jordan was the eastern border. These were the borders of the land which the families of the tribe of Benjamin received as their possession.

21The cities belonging to the families of the tribe of Benjamin were Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 22Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24Chepharammoni, Ophni, and Geba: twelve cities, along with the towns round them. 25There were also Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26Mizpah, Chephirah, Mozah, 27Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28Zela, Haeleph, Jebus (or Jerusalem), Gibeah, and Kiriath Jearim: fourteen cities, along with the towns round them. This is the land which the families of the tribe of Benjamin received as their possession.

Timothy Goes with Paul and Silas

1Paul travelled on to Derbe and Lystra, where a Christian named Timothy lived. His mother, who was also a Christian, was Jewish, but his father was a Greek. 2All the believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3Paul wanted to take Timothy along with him, so he circumcised him. He did so because all the Jews who lived in those places knew that Timothy's father was Greek. 4As they went through the towns, they delivered to the believers the rules decided upon by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and told them to obey those rules. 5So the churches were made stronger in the faith and grew in numbers every day.

In Troas: Paul's Vision

6They travelled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. 7When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8So they travelled right on through Mysia and went to Troas. 9That night Paul had a vision in which he saw a Macedonian standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10As soon as Paul had this vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, because we decided that God had called us to preach the Good News to the people there.

In Philippi: the Conversion of Lydia

11We left by ship from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis. 12From there we went inland to Philippi, a city of the first district of Macedonia; it is also a Roman colony. We spent several days there. 13On the Sabbath we went out of the city to the riverside, where we thought there would be a place where Jews gathered for prayer. We sat down and talked to the women who gathered there. 14One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshipped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, “Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord.” And she persuaded us to go.

In Prison at Philippi

16One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a young servant woman who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17She followed Paul and us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They announce to you how you can be saved!” 18She did this for many days, until Paul became so upset that he turned round and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her!” The spirit went out of her that very moment.

19When her owners realized that their chance of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. 20They brought them before the Roman officials and said, “These men are Jews, and they are causing trouble in our city. 21They are teaching customs that are against our law; we are Roman citizens, and we cannot accept these customs or practise them.” 22And the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas.

Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be whipped. 23After a severe beating, they were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to lock them up tight. 24Upon receiving this order, the jailer threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet between heavy blocks of wood.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, “Don't harm yourself! We are all here!”

29The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30Then he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your family.” 32Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that very hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; and he and all his family were baptized at once. 34Then he took Paul and Silas up into his house and gave them some food to eat. He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.

35The next morning the Roman authorities sent police officers with the order, “Let those men go.”

36So the jailer told Paul, “The officials have sent an order for you and Silas to be released. You may leave, then, and go in peace.”

37But Paul said to the police officers, “We were not found guilty of any crime, yet they whipped us in public — and we are Roman citizens! Then they threw us in prison. And now they want to send us away secretly. Not likely! The Roman officials themselves must come here and let us out.”

38The police officers reported these words to the Roman officials; and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39So they went and apologized to them; then they led them out of the prison and asked them to leave the city. 40Paul and Silas left the prison and went to Lydia's house. There they met the believers, spoke words of encouragement to them, and left.

In Thessalonica

1Paul and Silas travelled on through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue. 2According to his usual habit Paul went to the synagogue. There during three Sabbaths he held discussions with the people, quoting 3and explaining the Scriptures and proving from them that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from death. “This Jesus whom I announce to you,” Paul said, “is the Messiah.” 4Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so did many of the leading women and a large group of Greeks who worshipped God.

5But some Jews were jealous and gathered worthless loafers from the streets and formed a mob. They set the whole city in an uproar and attacked the home of a man called Jason, in an attempt to find Paul and Silas and bring them out to the people. 6But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city authorities and shouted, “These men have caused trouble everywhere! Now they have come to our city, 7and Jason has kept them in his house. They are all breaking the laws of the Emperor, saying that there is another king, whose name is Jesus.” 8With these words they threw the crowd and the city authorities into an uproar. 9The authorities made Jason and the others pay the required amount of money to be released, and then let them go.

In Berea

10As soon as night came, the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the synagogue. 11The people there were more open-minded than the people in Thessalonica. They listened to the message with great eagerness, and every day they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true. 12Many of them believed; and many Greek women of high social standing and many Greek men also believed. 13But when the Jews in Thessalonica heard that Paul had preached the word of God in Berea also, they came there and started exciting and stirring up the mob. 14At once the believers sent Paul away to the coast; but both Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15The men who were taking Paul went with him as far as Athens and then returned to Berea with instructions from Paul that Silas and Timothy should join him as soon as possible.

In Athens

16While Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy, he was greatly upset when he noticed how full of idols the city was. 17So he held discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentiles who worshipped God, and also in the public square every day with the people who happened to pass by. 18Certain Epicurean and Stoic teachers also debated with him. Some of them asked, “What is this ignorant show-off trying to say?”

Others answered, “He seems to be talking about foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching about Jesus and the resurrection. 19So they took Paul, brought him before the city council, the Areopagus, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. 20Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21(For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing.)

22Paul stood up in front of the city council and said, “I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious. 23For as I walked through your city and looked at the places where you worship, I found an altar on which is written, ‘To an Unknown God’. That which you worship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now proclaim to you. 24God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. 25Nor does he need anything that we can supply by working for him, since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. 26From one human being he created all races on earth and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. 27He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt about for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; 28as someone has said,

‘In him we live and move and exist.’

It is as some of your poets have said,

‘We too are his children.’

29Since we are God's children, we should not suppose that his nature is anything like an image of gold or silver or stone, shaped by human art and skill. 30God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways. 31For he has fixed a day in which he will judge the whole world with justice by means of a man he has chosen. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising that man from death!”

32When they heard Paul speak about a raising from death, some of them made fun of him, but others said, “We want to hear you speak about this again.” 33And so Paul left the meeting. 34Some men joined him and believed, among whom was Dionysius, a member of the council; there was also a woman named Damaris, and some other people.

In Corinth

1After this, Paul left Athens and went on to Corinth. 2There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, for the Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3and stayed and worked with them, because he earned his living by making tents, just as they did. 4He held discussions in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks.

5When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul gave his whole time to preaching the message, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. 6When they opposed him and said evil things about him, he protested by shaking the dust from his clothes and saying to them, “If you are lost, you yourselves must take the blame for it! I am not responsible. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7So he left them and went to live in the house of a Gentile named Titius Justus, who worshipped God; his house was next to the synagogue. 8Crispus, who was the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his family; and many other people in Corinth heard the message, believed, and were baptized.

9One night Paul had a vision in which the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up, 10for I am with you. No one will be able to harm you, for many in this city are my people.” 11So Paul stayed there for a year and a half, teaching the people the word of God.

12When Gallio was made the Roman governor of Achaia, Jews there got together, seized Paul, and took him into court. 13“This man,” they said, “is trying to persuade people to worship God in a way that is against the law!”

14Paul was about to speak when Gallio said to the Jews, “If this were a matter of some evil crime or wrong that has been committed, it would be reasonable for me to be patient with you Jews. 15But since it is an argument about words and names and your own law, you yourselves must settle it. I will not be the judge of such things!” 16And he drove them out of the court. 17They all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the court. But that did not bother Gallio a bit.

The Return to Antioch

18Paul stayed on with the believers in Corinth for many days, then left them and sailed off with Priscilla and Aquila for Syria. Before sailing from Cenchreae he had his head shaved because of a vow he had taken. 19They arrived in Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He went into the synagogue and held discussions with the Jews. 20The people asked him to stay longer, but he would not consent. 21Instead, he told them as he left, “If it is the will of God, I will come back to you.” And so he sailed from Ephesus.

22When he arrived at Caesarea, he went to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went to Antioch. 23After spending some time there, he left and went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the believers.

Apollos in Ephesus and Corinth

24At that time a Jew named Apollos, who had been born in Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he proclaimed and taught correctly the facts about Jesus. However, he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home with them and explained to him more correctly the Way of God. 27Apollos then decided to go to Achaia, so the believers in Ephesus helped him by writing to the believers in Achaia, urging them to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who through God's grace had become believers. 28For with his strong arguments he defeated the Jews in public debates by proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

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