Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 61

Joshua 19–21, Acts 19–21

Bible text(s)

The Territory Assigned to Simeon

1The second assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Simeon. Its territory extended into the land assigned to the tribe of Judah. 2It included Beersheba, Sheba, Moladah, 3Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah, 6Beth Lebaoth, and Sharuhen: thirteen cities, along with the towns round them.

7There were also Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan: four cities, along with the towns round them. 8This included all the towns round these cities as far as Baalath Beer (or Ramah), in the south. This was the land which the families of the tribe of Simeon received as their possession. 9Since Judah's assignment was larger than was needed, part of its territory was given to the tribe of Simeon.

The Territory Assigned to Zebulun

10The third assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Zebulun. The land which they received reached as far as Sarid. 11From there the border went west to Mareal, touching Dabbesheth and the stream east of Jokneam. 12On the other side of Sarid it went east to the border of Chisloth Tabor, then to Daberath and up to Japhia. 13It continued east from there to Gath Hepher and Ethkazin, turning in the direction of Neah on the way to Rimmon. 14On the north the border turned towards Hannathon, ending at the Valley of Iphtahel. 15It included Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities, along with the towns round them. 16These cities and their towns were in the land which the families of the tribe of Zebulun received as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to Issachar

17The fourth assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Issachar. 18Its area included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, Engannim, Enhaddah, and Bethpazzez. 22The border also touched Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth Shemesh, ending at the Jordan. It included sixteen cities along with the towns round them. 23These cities and their towns were in the land which the families of the tribe of Issachar received as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to Asher

24The fifth assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Asher. 25Its area included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allam Melech, Amad, and Mishal. On the west it touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath. 27As it turned east, the border went to Bethdagon, touching Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtahel on the way north to Bethemek and Neiel. It continued north to Cabul, 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, and Kanah, as far as Sidon. 29The border then turned to Ramah, reaching the fortified city of Tyre; then it turned to Hosah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. It included Mahalab, Achzib, 30Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob: 22 cities, along with the towns round them. 31These cities and their towns were in the land which the families of the tribe of Asher received as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to Naphtali

32The sixth assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Naphtali. 33Its border went from Heleph to the oak in Zaanannim, on to Adaminekeb and to Jamnia, as far as Lakkum, and ended at the Jordan. 34There the border turned west to Aznoth Tabor, from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and the Jordan on the east. 35The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, Enhazor, 38Yiron, Migdalel, Horem, Bethanath, and Beth Shemesh: nineteen cities, along with the towns round them. 39These cities and their towns were in the land which the families of the tribe of Naphtali received as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to Dan

40The seventh assignment made was for the families of the tribe of Dan. 41Its area included Zorah, Eshtaol, Irshemesh, 42Shaalbim, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Beneberak, Gathrimmon, 46Mejarkon, and Rakkon, as well as the territory round Joppa. 47When the people of Dan lost their land, they went to Laish and attacked it. They captured it, killed its people, and claimed it for themselves. They settled there and changed the name of the city from Laish to Dan, naming it after their ancestor Dan. 48These cities and their towns were in the land which the families of the tribe of Dan received as their possession.

The Final Assignment of the Land

49When the people of Israel finished dividing up the land, they gave Joshua son of Nun a part of the land as his own. 50As the LORD had commanded, they gave him the city he asked for: Timnath Serah, in the hill country of Ephraim. He rebuilt the city and settled there.

51Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the families of the tribes of Israel assigned these parts of the land by drawing lots to consult the LORD at Shiloh, at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence. In this way they finished dividing the land.

The Cities of Refuge

(Num 35.9–34)

1Then the LORD told Joshua 2to say to the people of Israel, “Choose the cities of refuge that I commanded Moses to tell you about. 3A person who kills someone accidentally can go there and escape the one who is looking for revenge. 4He or she can run away to one of these cities, go to the place of judgement at the entrance to the city, and explain to the leaders what happened. Then they will let him or her into the city and give them a place to live in, so that they can stay there. 5If the one looking for revenge follows them there, the people of the city must not hand them over to them. They must protect them because they killed the person accidentally and not out of anger. 6They may stay in the city until they have received a public trial and until the death of the man who is then the High Priest. Then they may go back home to their own town, from which they had run away.”

7So, on the west side of the Jordan they set aside Kedesh in Galilee, in the hill country of Naphtali; Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; and Hebron, in the hill country of Judah. 8East of the Jordan, on the desert plateau east of Jericho, they chose Bezer in the territory of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead, in the territory of Gad; and Golan in Bashan, in the territory of Manasseh. 9These were the cities of refuge chosen for all the people of Israel and for any foreigner living among them. Anyone who killed a person accidentally could find protection there from the one looking for revenge; no one could be killed without first receiving a public trial.

The Cities of the Levites

1The leaders of the Levite families went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and to the heads of the families of all the tribes of Israel. 2There at Shiloh in the land of Canaan they said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that we were to be given cities to live in, as well as pasture land round them for our livestock.” 3So in accordance with the LORD's command the people of Israel gave the Levites certain cities and pasture lands out of their own territories.

4The families of the Levite clan of Kohath were the first to be assigned cities. The families who were descended from Aaron the priest were assigned thirteen cities from the territories of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5The rest of the clan of Kohath was assigned ten cities from the territories of Ephraim, Dan, and West Manasseh.

6The clan of Gershon was assigned thirteen cities from the territories of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh.

7The families of the clan of Merari were assigned twelve cities from the territories of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.

8By drawing lots, the people of Israel assigned these cities and their pasture lands to the Levites, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

9These are the names of the cities from the territories of Judah and Simeon which were given 10to the descendants of Aaron who were of the clan of Kohath, which was descended from Levi. Their assignment was the first to be made. 11They were given the city of Arba (Arba was Anak's father), now called Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture land surrounding it. 12However, the fields of the city, as well as its towns, had already been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his possession.

13In addition to Hebron (one of the cities of refuge), the following cities were assigned to the descendants of Aaron the priest: Libnah, 14Jattir, Eshtemoa, 15Holon, Debir, 16Ain, Juttah, and Beth Shemesh, with their pasture lands: nine cities from the tribes of Judah and Simeon. 17From the territory of Benjamin they were given four cities: Gibeon, Geba, 18Anathoth, and Almon, with their pasture lands. 19Thirteen cities in all, with their pasture lands, were given to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

20The other families of the Levite clan of Kohath were assigned some cities from the territory of Ephraim. 21They were given four cities: Shechem and its pasture lands in the hill country of Ephraim (one of the cities of refuge), Gezer, 22Kibzaim, and Beth Horon, with their pasture lands. 23From the territory of Dan they were given four cities: Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 24Aijalon, and Gathrimmon, with their pasture lands. 25From the territory of West Manasseh they were given two cities: Taanach and Gathrimmon, with their pasture lands. 26These families of the clan of Kohath received ten cities in all, with their pasture lands.

27Another group of Levites, the clan of Gershon, received from the territory of East Manasseh two cities: Golan in Bashan (one of the cities of refuge) and Beeshterah, with their pasture lands. 28From the territory of Issachar they received four cities: Kishion, Daberath, 29Jarmuth, and Engannim, with their pasture lands. 30From the territory of Asher they received four cities: Mishal, Abdon, 31Helkath, and Rehob, with their pasture lands. 32From the territory of Naphtali they received three cities: Kedesh in Galilee, with its pasture lands (one of the cities of refuge), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan, with their pasture lands. 33The various families of the clan of Gershon received a total of thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

34The rest of the Levites, the clan of Merari, received from the territory of Zebulun four cities: Jokneam, Kartah, 35Dimnah, and Nahalal, with their pasture lands. 36From the territory of Reuben they received four cities: Bezer, Jahaz, 37Kedemoth, and Mephaath, with their pasture lands. 38From the tribe of Gad they received four cities: Ramoth in Gilead, with its pasture lands (one of the cities of refuge), Mahanaim, 39Heshbon, and Jazer, with their pasture lands. 40So the clan of Merari was assigned a total of twelve cities.

41-42From the land that the people of Israel possessed, a total of 48 cities, with the pasture lands round them, was given to the Levites.

Israel Takes Possession of the Land

43So the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he had solemnly promised their ancestors he would give them. When they had taken possession of it, they settled down there. 44The LORD gave them peace throughout the land, just as he had promised their ancestors. Not one of all their enemies had been able to stand against them, because the LORD gave the Israelites the victory over all their enemies. 45The LORD kept every one of the promises that he had made to the people of Israel.

Paul in Ephesus

1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”

“We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” they answered.

3“Well, then, what kind of baptism did you receive?” Paul asked.

“The baptism of John,” they answered.

4Paul said, “The baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins; and he told the people of Israel to believe in the one who was coming after him — that is, in Jesus.”

5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also proclaimed God's message. 7They were about twelve men in all.

8Paul went into the synagogue and during three months spoke boldly with the people, holding discussions with them and trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God. 9But some of them were stubborn and would not believe, and before the whole group they said evil things about the Way of the Lord. So Paul left them and took the believers with him, and every day he held discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to those who were ill, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13Some Jews who travelled round and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” 14Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this.

15But the evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you — who are you?”

16The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honour. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practised magic brought their books together and burnt them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to 50,000 silver coins. 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing stronger.

The Riot in Ephesus

21After these things had happened, Paul made up his mind to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go on to Jerusalem. “After I go there,” he said, “I must also see Rome.” 22So he sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia, while he spent more time in the province of Asia.

23It was at this time that there was serious trouble in Ephesus because of the Way of the Lord. 24A certain silversmith named Demetrius made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis, and his business brought a great deal of profit to the workers. 25So he called them all together with others whose work was like theirs and said to them, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this work. 26Now, you can see and hear for yourselves what this fellow Paul is doing. He says that gods made by human hands are not gods at all, and he has succeeded in convincing many people, both here in Ephesus and in nearly the whole province of Asia. 27There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed — the goddess worshipped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!”

28As the crowd heard these words, they became furious and started shouting, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!” 29The uproar spread throughout the whole city. The mob seized Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were travelling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theatre. 30Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. 31Some of the provincial authorities, who were his friends, also sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theatre. 32Meanwhile the whole meeting was in an uproar: some people were shouting one thing, others were shouting something else, because most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33Some of the people concluded that Alexander was responsible, since the Jews made him go up to the front. Then Alexander motioned with his hand for the people to be silent, and he tried to make a speech of defence. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted together the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”

35At last the town clerk was able to calm the crowd. “Fellow-Ephesians!” he said. “Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell down from heaven. 36Nobody can deny these things. So then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless. 37You have brought these men here even though they have not robbed temples or said evil things about our goddess. 38If Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against anyone, we have the authorities and the regular days for court; charges can be made there. 39But if there is something more that you want, it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of citizens. 40For after what has happened today, there is the danger that we will be accused of a riot. There is no excuse for all this uproar, and we would not be able to give a good reason for it.” 41After saying this, he dismissed the meeting.

To Macedonia and Achaia

1After the uproar died down, Paul called together the believers and with words of encouragement said goodbye to them. Then he left and went on to Macedonia. 2He went through those regions and encouraged the people with many messages. Then he came to Achaia, 3where he stayed three months. He was getting ready to go to Syria when he discovered that there were Jews plotting against him; so he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from Berea, went with him; so did Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica; Gaius, from Derbe; Tychicus and Trophimus, from the province of Asia; and Timothy. 5They went ahead and waited for us in Troas. 6We sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later we joined them in Troas, where we spent a week.

Paul's Last Visit to Troas

7On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal. Paul spoke to the people and kept on speaking until midnight, since he was going to leave the next day. 8Many lamps were burning in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window, and as Paul kept on talking, Eutychus got sleepier and sleepier, until he finally went sound asleep and fell from the third storey to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10But Paul went down and threw himself on him and hugged him. “Don't worry,” he said, “he is still alive!” 11Then he went back upstairs, broke bread, and ate. After talking with them for a long time, even until sunrise, Paul left. 12They took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

From Troas to Miletus

13We went on ahead to the ship and sailed off to Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had told us to do this, because he was going there by land. 14When he met us in Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15We sailed from there and arrived off Chios the next day. A day later we came to Samos, and the following day we reached Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, so as not to lose any time in the province of Asia. He was in a hurry to arrive in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost, if at all possible.

Paul's Farewell Speech to the Elders of Ephesus

17From Miletus Paul sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they arrived, he said to them, “You know how I spent the whole time I was with you, from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19With all humility and many tears I did my work as the Lord's servant during the hard times that came to me because of the plots of some Jews. 20You know that I did not hold back anything that would be of help to you as I preached and taught in public and in your homes. 21To Jews and Gentiles alike I gave solemn warning that they should turn from their sins to God and believe in our Lord Jesus. 22And now, in obedience to the Holy Spirit I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit has warned me that prison and troubles wait for me. 24But I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me; I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the Good News about the grace of God.

25“I have gone about among all of you, preaching the Kingdom of God. And now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26So I solemnly declare to you this very day: if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible. 27For I have not held back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God. 28So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son. 29I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30The time will come when some men from your own group will tell lies to lead the believers away after them. 31Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught every one of you for three years.

32“And now I commend you to the care of God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you the blessings God has for all his people. 33I have not wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that I have worked with these hands of mine to provide everything that my companions and I have needed. 35I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.’ ”

36When Paul finished, he knelt down with them and prayed. 37They were all crying as they hugged him and kissed him goodbye. 38They were especially sad because he had said that they would never see him again. And so they went with him to the ship.

Paul Goes to Jerusalem

1We said goodbye to them and left. After sailing straight across, we came to Cos; the next day we reached Rhodes, and from there we went on to Patara. 2There we found a ship that was going to Phoenicia, so we went aboard and sailed away. 3We came to where we could see Cyprus, and then sailed south of it on to Syria. We went ashore at Tyre, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4There we found some believers and stayed with them a week. By the power of the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 5But when our time with them was over, we left and went on our way. All of them, together with their wives and children, went with us out of the city to the beach, where we all knelt and prayed. 6Then we said goodbye to one another, and we went on board the ship while they went back home.

7We continued our voyage, sailing from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the believers and stayed with them for a day. 8On the following day we left and arrived in Caesarea. There we stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen as helpers in Jerusalem. 9He had four unmarried daughters who proclaimed God's message. 10We had been there for several days when a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. 11He came to us, took Paul's belt, tied up his own feet and hands with it, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: The owner of this belt will be tied up in this way by the Jews in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.”

12When we heard this, we and the others there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13But he answered, “What are you doing, crying like this and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but even to die there for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”

14We could not convince him, so we gave up and said, “May the Lord's will be done.”

15After spending some time there, we got our things ready and left for Jerusalem. 16Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and took us to the house of the man we were going to stay with — Mnason, from Cyprus, who had been a believer since the early days.

Paul Visits James

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the believers welcomed us warmly. 18The next day Paul went with us to see James; and all the church elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and gave a complete report of everything that God had done among the Gentiles through his work. 20After hearing him, they all praised God. Then they said, “Brother Paul, you can see how many thousands of Jews have become believers, and how devoted they all are to the Law. 21They have been told that you have been teaching all the Jews who live in Gentile countries to abandon the Law of Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or follow the Jewish customs. 22They are sure to hear that you have arrived. What should be done, then? 23This is what we want you to do. There are four men here who have taken a vow. 24Go along with them and join them in the ceremony of purification and pay their expenses; then they will be able to shave their heads. In this way everyone will know that there is no truth in any of the things that they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in accordance with the Law of Moses. 25But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent them a letter telling them we decided that they must not eat any food that has been offered to idols, or any blood, or any animal that has been strangled, and that they must keep themselves from sexual immorality.”

26So Paul took the men and the next day performed the ceremony of purification with them. Then he went into the Temple and gave notice of how many days it would be until the end of the period of purification, when a sacrifice would be offered for each one of them.

Paul is Arrested in the Temple

27But just when the seven days were about to come to an end, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized Paul. 28“Men of Israel!” they shouted. “Help! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching everyone against the people of Israel, the Law of Moses, and this Temple. And now he has even brought some Gentiles into the Temple and defiled this holy place!” 29(They said this because they had seen Trophimus from Ephesus with Paul in the city, and they thought that Paul had taken him into the Temple.)

30Confusion spread through the whole city, and the people all ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the Temple. At once the Temple doors were closed. 31The mob was trying to kill Paul, when a report was sent up to the commander of the Roman troops that all Jerusalem was rioting. 32At once the commander took some officers and soldiers and rushed down to the crowd. When the people saw him with the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander went over to Paul, arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked, “Who is this man, and what has he done?” 34Some in the crowd shouted one thing, others something else. There was such confusion that the commander could not find out exactly what had happened, so he ordered his men to take Paul up into the fort. 35They got as far as the steps with him, and then the soldiers had to carry him because the mob was so wild. 36They were all coming after him and screaming, “Kill him!”

Paul Defends Himself

37As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the fort, he spoke to the commander: “May I say something to you?”

“You speak Greek, do you?” the commander asked. 38“Then you are not that Egyptian fellow who some time ago started a revolution and led 4,000 armed terrorists out into the desert?”

39Paul answered, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please let me speak to the people.”

40The commander gave him permission, so Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand for the people to be silent. When they were quiet, Paul spoke to them in Hebrew:

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