March 10 Lent 1 a very difficult reading
13 Jacob’s sons responded deviously to Shechem and his father Hamor because Shechem defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do this, allowing our sisters to marry uncircumcised men, because it’s disgraceful to us. 15 We can only agree to do this if you circumcise every male as we do. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves. We will live with you and be one people. 17 But if you don’t listen to us and become circumcised, we will take our daughter and leave.”
18 Their idea seemed like a good one to Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 The young man didn’t waste any time doing this because he liked Jacob’s daughter so much. He was more respected than anyone else in his father’s household. 20 Hamor and his son Shechem went to their city’s gate and spoke to the men of their city: 21 “These men want peace with us. Let them live in the land and travel through it; there’s plenty of land for them. We will marry their daughters and give them our daughters. 22 But the men will agree to live with us and become one people only if we circumcise every male just as they do. 23 Their livestock, their property, and all of their animals—won’t they be ours? Let’s agree with them and let them live with us.” 24 Everyone at the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, so every able-bodied male in the city was circumcised.
25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons and Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi took their swords, came into the city, which suspected nothing, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem’s household, and left. 27 When Jacob’s other sons discovered the dead, they looted the city that had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks, their cattle, and their donkeys, whether in the city or in the fields nearby. 29 They carried off their property, their children, and their wives. They looted the entire place. 30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You’ve put me in danger by making me offensive to those who live here in the land, to the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I have only a few men. They may join forces, attack me, and destroy me, me and my household. 31 They said, “But didn’t he treat our sister like a prostitute?”
Comment: Jacob’s response seems too small in the face of this atrocity. Did Simeon and Levi judge correctly and act in honor? Or did they judge in a way only God should judge?
13 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Then he went home; 20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
1 Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had named lands after themselves.
Prayer: Lord, in this season of Lent, remind us of your triumph over crucifying situations and your victory over the power of sin.