Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 7

Genesis 21–24, John 12–13

Bible text(s)

The Birth of Isaac

1The LORD blessed Sarah, as he had promised, 2and she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham when he was old. The boy was born at the time God had said he would be born. 3Abraham named him Isaac, 4and when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born. 6Sarah said, “God has brought me joy and laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” 7Then she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

8The child grew, and on the day that he was weaned, Abraham gave a great feast.

Hagar and Ishmael are Sent Away

9One day Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, was playing with Sarah's son Isaac. 10Sarah saw them and said to Abraham, “Send this slave and her son away. The son of this woman must not get any part of your wealth, which my son Isaac should inherit.” 11This troubled Abraham very much, because Ishmael was also his son. 12But God said to Abraham, “Don't be worried about the boy and your slave Hagar. Do whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that you will have the descendants I have promised. 13I will also give many children to the son of the slave woman, so that they will become a nation. He too is your son.”

14Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar some food and a leather bag full of water. He put the child on her back and sent her away. She left and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15When the water was all gone, she left the child under a bush 16and sat down about a hundred metres away. She said to herself, “I can't bear to see my child die.” While she was sitting there, she began to cry.

17God heard the boy crying, and from heaven the angel of God spoke to Hagar, “What are you troubled about, Hagar? Don't be afraid. God has heard the boy crying. 18Get up, go and pick him up, and comfort him. I will make a great nation out of his descendants.” 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went and filled the leather bag with water and gave some to the boy. 20God was with the boy as he grew up; he lived in the wilderness of Paran and became a skilful hunter. 21His mother found an Egyptian wife for him.

The Agreement between Abraham and Abimelech

22At that time Abimelech went with Phicol, the commander of his army, and said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23So make a vow here in the presence of God that you will not deceive me, my children, or my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so promise that you will also be loyal to me and to this country in which you are living.”

24Abraham said, “I promise.”

25Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well which the servants of Abimelech had seized. 26Abimelech said, “I don't know who did this. You didn't tell me about it, and this is the first I have heard of it.” 27Then Abraham gave some sheep and cattle to Abimelech, and the two of them made an agreement. 28Abraham separated seven lambs from his flock, 29and Abimelech asked him, “Why did you do that?”

30Abraham answered, “Accept these seven lambs. By doing this, you admit that I am the one who dug this well.” 31And so the place was called Beersheba, because it was there that the two of them made a vow.

32After they had made this agreement at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol went back to Philistia. 33Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshipped the LORD, the Everlasting God. 34Abraham lived in Philistia for a long time.

Genesis 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

God Commands Abraham to Offer Isaac

1Some time later God tested Abraham; he called to him, “Abraham!” And Abraham answered, “Yes, here I am!”

2“Take your son,” God said, “your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me.”

3Early the next morning Abraham cut some wood for the sacrifice, loaded his donkey, and took Isaac and two servants with him. They started out for the place that God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham saw the place in the distance. 5Then he said to the servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham made Isaac carry the wood for the sacrifice, and he himself carried a knife and live coals for starting the fire. As they walked along together, 7Isaac said, “Father!”

He answered, “Yes, my son?”

Isaac asked, “I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide one.” And the two of them walked on together.

9When they came to the place which God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he picked up the knife to kill him. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”

He answered, “Yes, here I am.”

12“Don't hurt the boy or do anything to him,” he said. “Now I know that you honour and obey God, because you have not kept back your only son from him.”

13Abraham looked round and saw a ram caught in a bush by its horns. He went and got it and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14Abraham named that place “The LORD Provides”. And even today people say, “On the LORD's mountain he provides.”

15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time, 16“I make a vow by my own name — the LORD is speaking — that I will richly bless you. Because you did this and did not keep back your only son from me, 17I promise that I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore. Your descendants will conquer their enemies. 18All the nations will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your descendants — all because you obeyed my command.” 19Abraham went back to his servants, and they went together to Beersheba, where Abraham settled.

The Descendants of Nahor

20Some time later Abraham learnt that Milcah had borne eight children to his brother Nahor: 21Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel, 23Rebecca's father. Milcah bore these eight sons to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24Reumah, Nahor's concubine, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

Genesis 22GNBOpen in Bible reader

Sarah Dies and Abraham Buys a Burial Ground

1Sarah lived to be 127 years old. 2She died in Hebron in the land of Canaan, and Abraham mourned her death.

3He left the place where his wife's body was lying, went to the Hittites, and said, 4“I am a foreigner living here among you; sell me some land, so that I can bury my wife.”

5They answered, 6“Listen to us, sir. We look upon you as a mighty leader; bury your wife in the best grave that we have. Any of us would be glad to give you a grave, so that you can bury her.”

7Then Abraham bowed before them 8and said, “If you are willing to let me bury my wife here, please ask Ephron son of Zohar 9to sell me Machpelah Cave, which is near the edge of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for its full price, here in your presence, so that I can own it as a burial ground.”

10Ephron himself was sitting with the other Hittites at the meeting place at the city gate; he answered in the hearing of everyone there, 11“Listen, sir; I will give you the whole field and the cave that is in it. Here in the presence of my own people, I will give it to you, so that you can bury your wife.”

12But Abraham bowed before the Hittites 13and said to Ephron, so that everyone could hear, “May I ask you, please, to listen. I will buy the whole field. Accept my payment, and I will bury my wife there.”

14Ephron answered, 15“Sir, land worth only 400 pieces of silver — what is that between us? Bury your wife in it.” 16Abraham agreed and weighed out the amount that Ephron had mentioned in the hearing of the people — 400 pieces of silver, according to the standard weights used by the merchants.

17That is how the property which had belonged to Ephron at Machpelah, east of Mamre, became Abraham's. It included the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees in the field up to the edge of the property. 18It was recognized as Abraham's property by all the Hittites who were there at the meeting.

19Then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in that cave in the land of Canaan. 20So the field which had belonged to the Hittites, and the cave in it, became the property of Abraham for a burial ground.

Genesis 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Wife for Isaac

1Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in everything he did. 2He said to his oldest servant, who was in charge of all that he had, “Place your hand between my thighs and make a vow. 3I want you to make a vow in the name of the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the people here in Canaan. 4You must go back to the country where I was born and get a wife for my son Isaac from among my relatives.”

5But the servant asked, “What if the young woman will not leave home to come with me to this land? Shall I send your son back to the land you came from?”

6Abraham answered, “Make sure that you don't send my son back there! 7The LORD, the God of heaven, brought me from the home of my father and from the land of my relatives, and he solemnly promised me that he would give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel before you, so that you can get a wife there for my son. 8If the young woman is not willing to come with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not under any circumstances take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand between the thighs of Abraham, his master, and made a vow to do what Abraham had asked.

10The servant, who was in charge of Abraham's property, took ten of his master's camels and went to the city where Nahor had lived in northern Mesopotamia. 11When he arrived, he made the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when women came out to get water. 12He prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and keep your promise to my master. 13Here I am at the well where the young women of the city will be coming to get water. 14I will say to one of them, ‘Please, lower your jar and let me have a drink.’ If she says, ‘Drink, and I will also bring water for your camels,’ may she be the one that you have chosen for your servant Isaac. If this happens, I will know that you have kept your promise to my master.”

15Before he had finished praying, Rebecca arrived with a water jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. 16She was a very beautiful young woman and still a virgin. She went down to the well, filled her jar, and came back. 17The servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a drink of water from your jar.”

18She said, “Drink, sir,” and quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19When he had finished, she said, “I will also bring water for your camels and let them have all they want.” 20She quickly emptied her jar into the animals' drinking-trough and ran to the well to get more water, until she had watered all his camels. 21The man kept watching her in silence, to see if the LORD had given him success.

22When she had finished, the man took an expensive gold ring and put it in her nose and put two large gold bracelets on her arms. 23He said, “Please tell me who your father is. Is there room in his house for my men and me to spend the night?”

24“My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah,” she answered. 25“There is plenty of straw and fodder at our house, and there is a place for you to stay.”

26Then the man knelt down and worshipped the LORD. 27He said, “Praise the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has faithfully kept his promise to my master. The LORD has led me straight to my master's relatives.”

28The young woman ran to her mother's house and told the whole story. 29Now Rebecca had a brother named Laban, and he ran outside to go to the well where Abraham's servant was. 30Laban had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister's arms and had heard her say what the man had told her. He went to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well, 31and said, “Come home with me. You are a man whom the LORD has blessed. Why are you standing out here? I have a room ready for you in my house, and there is a place for your camels.”

32So the man went into the house, and Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and fodder. Then he brought water for Abraham's servant and his men to wash their feet. 33When food was brought, the man said, “I will not eat until I have said what I have to say.”

Laban said, “Go on and speak.”

34“I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 35“The LORD has greatly blessed my master and made him a rich man. He has given him flocks of sheep and goats, cattle, silver, gold, male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys. 36Sarah, my master's wife, bore him a son when she was old, and my master has given everything he owns to him. 37My master made me promise with a vow to obey his command. He said, ‘Do not choose a wife for my son from the young women in the land of Canaan. 38Instead, go to my father's people, to my relatives, and choose a wife for him.’ 39And I asked my master, ‘What if she will not come with me?’ 40He answered, ‘The LORD, whom I have always obeyed, will send his angel with you and give you success. You will get for my son a wife from my own people, from my father's family. 41There is only one way for you to be free from your vow: if you go to my relatives and they refuse you, then you will be free.’

42“When I came to the well today, I prayed, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, please give me success in what I am doing. 43Here I am at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I will ask her to give me a drink of water from her jar. 44If she agrees and also offers to bring water for my camels, may she be the one that you have chosen as the wife for my master's son.’ 45Before I had finished my silent prayer, Rebecca came with a water jar on her shoulder and went down to the well to get water. I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels. 47I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ And she answered, ‘My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah.’ Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48I knelt down and worshipped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me straight to my master's relative, where I found his daughter for my master's son. 49Now, if you intend to fulfil your responsibility towards my master and treat him fairly, please tell me; if not, say so, and I will decide what to do.”

50Laban and Bethuel answered, “Since this matter comes from the LORD, it is not for us to make a decision. 51Here is Rebecca; take her and go. Let her become the wife of your master's son, as the LORD himself has said.” 52When the servant of Abraham heard this, he bowed down and worshipped the LORD. 53Then he brought out clothing and silver and gold jewellery, and gave them to Rebecca. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and to her mother.

54Then Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, and spent the night there. When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me go back to my master.”

55But Rebecca's brother and her mother said, “Let her stay with us a week or ten days, and then she may go.”

56But he said, “Don't make us stay. The LORD has made my journey a success; let me go back to my master.”

57They answered, “Let's call her and find out what she has to say.” 58So they called Rebecca and asked, “Do you want to go with this man?”

“Yes,” she answered.

59So they let Rebecca and her old family servant go with Abraham's servant and his men. 60And they gave Rebecca their blessing in these words:

“May you, sister, become the mother of millions!

May your descendants conquer the cities of their enemies!”

61Then Rebecca and her young women got ready and mounted the camels to go with Abraham's servant, and they all started out.

62Isaac had come into the wilderness of “The Well of the Living One who Sees Me” and was staying in the southern part of Canaan. 63He went out in the early evening to take a walk in the fields and saw camels coming. 64When Rebecca saw Isaac, she got down from her camel 65and asked Abraham's servant, “Who is that man walking towards us in the field?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her scarf and covered her face.

66The servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67Then Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent that his mother Sarah had lived in, and she became his wife. Isaac loved Rebecca, and so he was comforted for the loss of his mother.

Genesis 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

Jesus is Anointed at Bethany

(Mt 26.6–13; Mk 14.3–9)

1Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from death. 2They prepared a dinner for him there, which Martha helped to serve; Lazarus was one of those who were sitting at the table with Jesus. 3Then Mary took half a litre of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house. 4One of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot — the one who was going to betray him — said, 5“Why wasn't this perfume sold for 300 silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would help himself from it.

7But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Let her keep what she has for the day of my burial. 8You will always have poor people with you, but you will not always have me.”

The Plot against Lazarus

9A large number of people heard that Jesus was in Bethany, so they went there, not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from death. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus too, 11because on his account many Jews were rejecting them and believing in Jesus.

The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

(Mt 21.1–11; Mk 11.1–11; Lk 19.28–40)

12The next day the large crowd that had come to the Passover Festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel!”

14Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the scripture says,

15“Do not be afraid, city of Zion!

Here comes your king,

riding on a young donkey.”

16His disciples did not understand this at the time; but when Jesus had been raised to glory, they remembered that the scripture said this about him and that they had done this for him.

17The people who had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of the grave and raised him from death had reported what had happened. 18That was why the crowd met him — because they heard that he had performed this miracle. 19The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, we are not succeeding at all! Look, the whole world is following him!”

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

20Some Greeks were among those who had gone to Jerusalem to worship during the festival. 21They went to Philip (he was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”

22Philip went and told Andrew, and the two of them went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. 24I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. 25Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. 26Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honour anyone who serves me.

Jesus Speaks about his Death

27“Now my heart is troubled — and what shall I say? Shall I say, ‘Father, do not let this hour come upon me’? But that is why I came — so that I might go through this hour of suffering. 28Father, bring glory to your name!”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, “I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again.”

29The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

30But Jesus said to them, “It was not for my sake that this voice spoke, but for yours. 31Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. 32When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.” 33(In saying this he indicated the kind of death he was going to suffer.)

34The crowd answered, “Our Law tells us that the Messiah will live for ever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

35Jesus answered, “The light will be among you a little longer. Continue on your way while you have the light, so that the darkness will not come upon you; for the one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Believe in the light, then, while you have it, so that you will be the people of the light.”

The Unbelief of the People

After Jesus said this, he went off and hid himself from them. 37Even though he had performed all these miracles in their presence, they did not believe in him, 38so that what the prophet Isaiah had said might come true:

“Lord, who believed the message we told?

To whom did the Lord reveal his power?”

39And so they were not able to believe, because Isaiah also said:

40“God has blinded their eyes

and closed their minds,

so that their eyes would not see,

and their minds would not understand,

and they would not turn to me, says God,

for me to heal them.”

41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.

42Even then, many of the Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. 43They loved human approval rather than the approval of God.

Judgement by Jesus' Words

44Jesus said in a loud voice, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. 45Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. 46I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47If anyone hears my message and does not obey it, I will not judge him. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. 48Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! 49This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus Washes his Disciples' Feet

1It was now the day before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved those in the world who were his own, and he loved them to the very end.

2Jesus and his disciples were at supper. The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, the thought of betraying Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God. 4So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel round his waist. 5Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel round his waist. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?”

7Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”

8Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”

“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.”

9Simon Peter answered, “Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!”

10Jesus said, “Those who have had a bath are completely clean and do not have to wash themselves, except for their feet. All of you are clean — all except one.” 11(Jesus already knew who was going to betray him; that is why he said, “All of you, except one, are clean.”)

12After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” he asked. 13“You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. 14I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet. 15I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you. 16I am telling you the truth: slaves are never greater than their master, and messengers are never greater than the one who sent them. 17Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!

18“I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared my food turned against me.’ 19I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that ‘I Am Who I Am.’ 20I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

Jesus Predicts his Betrayal

(Mt 26.20–25; Mk 14.17–21; Lk 22.21–23)

21After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.”

22The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.”

25So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?”

26Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “Be quick about what you are doing!” 28None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.

30Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.

The New Commandment

31After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man's glory is revealed; now God's glory is revealed through him. 32And if God's glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. 33My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ 34And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

(Mt 26.31–35; Mk 14.27–31; Lk 22.31–34)

36“Where are you going, Lord?” Simon Peter asked him.

“You cannot follow me now where I am going,” answered Jesus; “but later you will follow me.”

37“Lord, why can't I follow you now?” asked Peter. “I am ready to die for you!”

38Jesus answered, “Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the cock crows you will say three times that you do not know me.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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