Read the Bible | June 19th
The People of Israel Confess Their Sin
 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.  And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God.  On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.  Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
 “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.  You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham.  You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
 “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea,  and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day.  And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters.  By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go.  You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments,  and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant.  You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments.  They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.  Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies,  you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.  Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan.  You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess.  So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness.
 “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies.  Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies.  But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies.  And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.  Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.  Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
 “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day.  Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.  Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them.  Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works.  Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves.  And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.
 “Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests. (ESV)
The People Who Sealed the Covenant
 “On the seals are the names of Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah,  Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,  Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,  Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,  Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,  Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,  Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,  Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah; these are the priests.  And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;  and their brothers, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,  Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,  Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,  Hodiah, Bani, Beninu.  The chiefs of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,  Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,  Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,  Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,  Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,  Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,  Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,  Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,  Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,  Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,  Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,  Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,  Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,  Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
The Obligations of the Covenant
 “The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding,  join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his rules and his statutes.  We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons.  And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
 “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God:  for the showbread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.  We, the priests, the Levites, and the people, have likewise cast lots for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, according to our fathers' houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the Law.  We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the LORD;  also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks;  and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.  And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive the tithes. And the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.  For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.” (ESV)
The Leaders in Jerusalem
 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns.  And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.
 These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah everyone lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon's servants.  And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin. Of the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez;  and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, son of Col-hozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, son of the Shilonite.  All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men.
 And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah,  and his brothers, men of valor, 928.  Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city.
 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin,  Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God,  and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah,  and his brothers, heads of fathers' houses, 242; and Amashsai, the son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer,  and their brothers, mighty men of valor, 128; their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim.
 And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni;  and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God;  and Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise, who gave thanks, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun.  All the Levites in the holy city were 284.
 The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172.  And the rest of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, every one in his inheritance.  But the temple servants lived on Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the temple servants.
 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, son of Hashabiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the work of the house of God.  For there was a command from the king concerning them, and a fixed provision for the singers, as every day required.  And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the sons of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's side in all matters concerning the people.
Villages Outside Jerusalem
 And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages,  and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet,  in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba and its villages,  in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages,  in En-rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth,  Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom.  The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages,  Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,  Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,  Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,  Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.  And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were assigned to Benjamin. (ESV)
The Believers Pray for Boldness
 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.  And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,  who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.  And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,  while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
They Had Everything in Common
 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.  And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold  and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.  Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus,  sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. (ESV)