Read the Bible | September 23rd
Song of Solomon 7
 How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O noble daughter!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
 Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
 Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
which looks toward Damascus.
 Your head crowns you like Carmel,
and your flowing locks are like purple;
a king is held captive in the tresses.
 How beautiful and pleasant you are,
O loved one, with all your delights!
 Your stature is like a palm tree,
and your breasts are like its clusters.
 I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its fruit.
Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
and the scent of your breath like apples,
 and your mouth like the best wine.
It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
gliding over lips and teeth.
 I am my beloved’s,
and his desire is for me.
The Bride Gives Her Love
 Come, my beloved,
let us go out into the fields
and lodge in the villages;
 let us go out early to the vineyards
and see whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
 The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and beside our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,
which I have laid up for you, O my beloved. (ESV)
Song of Solomon 8
Longing for Her Beloved
 Oh that you were like a brother to me
who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I found you outside, I would kiss you,
and none would despise me.
 I would lead you and bring you
into the house of my mother—
she who used to teach me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the juice of my pomegranate.
 His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
 Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.
 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
 We have a little sister,
and she has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day when she is spoken for?
 If she is a wall,
we will build on her a battlement of silver,
but if she is a door,
we will enclose her with boards of cedar.
 I was a wall,
and my breasts were like towers;
then I was in his eyes
as one who finds peace.
 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
he let out the vineyard to keepers;
each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.
 My vineyard, my very own, is before me;
you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,
and the keepers of the fruit two hundred.
 O you who dwell in the gardens,
with companions listening for your voice;
let me hear it.
 Make haste, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
on the mountains of spices. (ESV)
 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
The Wickedness of Judah
 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
 The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
 Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
 Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.
 Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
 And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.
 If the LORD of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.
 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
 learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
The Unfaithful City
 How the faithful city
has become a whore,
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
 Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
 Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them.
 Therefore the Lord declares,
the LORD of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.
 I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy.
 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.”
 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
 For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
 And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them. (ESV)
By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
The Law and the Promise
 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.  Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.  This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.  Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.  But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (ESV)