Bright Saturday prayers
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As raindrops on the tender herb,
And as showers on the grass.
For I proclaim the name of the LORD:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.
“They have corrupted themselves;
They are not His children,
Because of their blemish:
A perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus deal with the LORD,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is He not your Father, who bought you?
Has He not made you and established you?
“ Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you;
Your elders, and they will tell you:
When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
For the LORD’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
“He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him, He instructed him,
He kept him as the apple of His eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
So the LORD alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.
“He made him ride in the heights of the earth,
That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock;
Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs;
And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the choicest wheat;
And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
You grew fat, you grew thick,
You are obese!
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons, not to God,
To gods they did not know,
To new gods, new arrivals
That your fathers did not fear.
Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful,
And have forgotten the God who fathered you.
“And when the LORD saw it, He spurned them,
Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.
They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;
They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.
But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation;
I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And shall burn to the lowest hell;
It shall consume the earth with her increase,
And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
‘I will heap disasters on them;
I will spend My arrows on them.
They shall be wasted with hunger,
Devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction;
I will also send against them the teeth of beasts,
With the poison of serpents of the dust.
The sword shall destroy outside;
There shall be terror within
For the young man and virgin,
The nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
I would have said, “I will dash them in pieces,
I will make the memory of them to cease from among men,”
Had I not feared the wrath of the enemy,
Lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
Lest they should say, “Our hand is high;
And it is not the LORD who has done all this.”’
“For they are a nation void of counsel,
Nor is there any understanding in them.
Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!
How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the LORD had surrendered them?
For their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom
And of the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of gall,
Their clusters are bitter.
Their wine is the poison of serpents,
And the cruel venom of cobras.
‘Is this not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up among My treasures?
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.’
“For the LORD will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their power is gone,
And there is no one remaining, bond or free.
He will say: ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?
Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
And drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise and help you,
And be your refuge.
‘Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
For I raise My hand to heaven,
And say, “As I live forever,
If I whet My glittering sword,
And My hand takes hold on judgment,
I will render vengeance to My enemies,
And repay those who hate Me.
I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword shall devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the heads of the leaders of the enemy.”’
“ Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;[a]
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
So Moses came with Joshua[b] the son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.”
1 Samuel 2
And Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
My horn[a] is exalted in the LORD.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“No one is holy like the LORD,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
“Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the LORD is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.
“The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.
“For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.
“For by strength no man shall prevail.
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest.
The Prophet’s Prayer
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth.[a]
O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman,
The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His glory covered the heavens,
And the earth was full of His praise.
His brightness was like the light;
He had rays flashing from His hand,
And there His power was hidden.
Before Him went pestilence,
And fever followed at His feet.
He stood and measured the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
And the everlasting mountains were scattered,
The perpetual hills bowed.
His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.
O LORD, were You displeased with the rivers,
Was Your anger against the rivers,
Was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
Your chariots of salvation?
Your bow was made quite ready;
Oaths were sworn over Your arrows.[b] Selah
You divided the earth with rivers.
The mountains saw You and trembled;
The overflowing of the water passed by.
The deep uttered its voice,
And lifted its hands on high.
The sun and moon stood still in their habitation;
At the light of Your arrows they went,
At the shining of Your glittering spear.
You marched through the land in indignation;
You trampled the nations in anger.
You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For salvation with Your Anointed.
You struck the head from the house of the wicked,
By laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah
You thrust through with his own arrows
The head of his villages.
They came out like a whirlwind to scatter me;
Their rejoicing was like feasting on the poor in secret.
You walked through the sea with Your horses,
Through the heap of great waters.
When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When he comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.
A Hymn of Faith
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God [c] is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.
Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. And he said:
“ I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction,
And He answered me.
“ Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.
For You cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the floods surrounded me;
All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD, my God.
“ When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
“ Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.”
So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Hezekiah’s Life Extended
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”
Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.”’ And this is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken: Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.
This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
“ In the prime of my life
I shall go to the gates of Sheol;
I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”
“ I shall not see YAH,
The LORD[a] in the land of the living;
I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.[b]
My life span is gone,
Taken from me like a shepherd’s tent;
I have cut off my life like a weaver.
He cuts me off from the loom;
From day until night You make an end of me.
I have considered until morning—
Like a lion,
So He breaks all my bones;
From day until night You make an end of me.
Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered;
I mourned like a dove;
My eyes fail from looking upward.
O LORD,[c] I am oppressed;
Undertake for me!
“ What shall I say?
He has both spoken to me,[d]
And He Himself has done it.
I shall walk carefully all my years
In the bitterness of my soul.
O Lord, by these things men live;
And in all these things is the life of my spirit;
So You will restore me and make me live.
Indeed it was for my own peace
That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day;
The father shall make known Your truth to the children.
“ The LORD was ready to save me;
Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments
All the days of our life, in the house of the LORD.”
Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.”
And Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?”
A Song of Salvation
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.[a]
For He brings down those who dwell on high,
The lofty city;
He lays it low,
He lays it low to the ground,
He brings it down to the dust.
The foot shall tread it down—
The feet of the poor
And the steps of the needy.”
The way of the just is uprightness;
O Most Upright,
You weigh the path of the just.
Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see.
But they will see and be ashamed
For their envy of people;
Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
LORD, You will establish peace for us,
For You have also done all our works in us.
O LORD our God, masters besides You
Have had dominion over us;
But by You only we make mention of Your name.
They are dead, they will not live;
They are deceased, they will not rise.
Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
And made all their memory to perish.
You have increased the nation, O LORD,
You have increased the nation;
You are glorified;
You have expanded all the borders of the land.
LORD, in trouble they have visited You,
They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
As a woman with child
Is in pain and cries out in her pangs,
When she draws near the time of her delivery,
So have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind;
We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth,
Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body[b] they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.
Take Refuge from the Coming Judgment
Come, my people, enter your chambers,
And shut your doors behind you;
Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,
Until the indignation is past.
For behold, the LORD comes out of His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
The earth will also disclose her blood,
And will no more cover her slain.
Praise to God
O LORD, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful things;
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
For You have made a city a ruin,
A fortified city a ruin,
A palace of foreigners to be a city no more;
It will never be rebuilt.
Therefore the strong people will glorify You;
The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
For You have been a strength to the poor,
A strength to the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm,
A shade from the heat;
For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
You will reduce the noise of aliens,
As heat in a dry place;
As heat in the shadow of a cloud,
The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.
And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
And it will be said in that day:
“ Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest,
And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,
As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.
And He will spread out His hands in their midst
As a swimmer reaches out to swim,
And He will bring down their pride
Together with the trickery of their hands.
The fortress of the high fort of your walls
He will bring down, lay low,
And bring to the ground, down to the dust.
A Prayer for Restoration
Remember, O LORD, what has come upon us;
Look, and behold our reproach!
Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens,
And our houses to foreigners.
We have become orphans and waifs,
Our mothers are like widows.
We pay for the water we drink,
And our wood comes at a price.
They pursue at our heels;[a]
We labor and have no rest.
We have given our hand to the Egyptians
And the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
Our fathers sinned and are no more,
But we bear their iniquities.
Servants rule over us;
There is none to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives,
Because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is hot as an oven,
Because of the fever of famine.
They ravished the women in Zion,
The maidens in the cities of Judah.
Princes were hung up by their hands,
And elders were not respected.
Young men ground at the millstones;
Boys staggered under loads of wood.
The elders have ceased gathering at the gate,
And the young men from their music.
The joy of our heart has ceased;
Our dance has turned into mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our heart is faint;
Because of these things our eyes grow dim;
Because of Mount Zion which is desolate,
With foxes walking about on it.
You, O LORD, remain forever;
Your throne from generation to generation.
Why do You forget us forever,
And forsake us for so long a time?
Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
Unless You have utterly rejected us,
And are very angry with us!
The Book of Baruch, Chapter 3
O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish the troubled spirit, crieth unto thee.
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy; ar thou art merciful: and have pity upon us, because we have sinned before thee.
For thou endurest for ever, and we perish utterly.
O Lord Almighty, thou God of Israel, hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites, and of their children, which have sinned before thee, and not hearkened unto the voice of thee their God: for the which cause these plagues cleave unto us.
Remember not the iniquities of our forefathers: but think upon thy power and thy name now at this time.
For thou art the Lord our God, and thee, O Lord, will we praise.
And for this cause thou hast put thy fear in our hearts, to the intent that we should call upon thy name, and praise thee in our captivity: for we have called to mind all the iniquity of our forefathers, that sinned before thee.
Behold, we are yet this day in our captivity, where thou hast scattered us, for a reproach and a curse, and to be subject to payments, according to all the iniquities of our fathers, which departed from the Lord our God.
Hear, Israel, the commandments of life: give ear to understand wisdom.
How happeneth it Israel, that thou art in thine enemies' land, that thou art waxen old in a strange country, that thou art defiled with the dead,
That thou art counted with them that go down into the grave?
Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom.
For if thou hadst walked in the way of God, thou shouldest have dwelled in peace for ever.
Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding; that thou mayest know also where is length of days, and life, where is the light of the eyes, and peace.
Who hath found out her place? or who hath come into her treasures ?
Where are the princes of the heathen become, and such as ruled the beasts upon the earth;
They that had their pastime with the fowls of the air, and they that hoarded up silver and gold, wherein men trust, and made no end of their getting?
For they that wrought in silver, and were so careful, and whose works are unsearchable,
They are vanished and gone down to the grave, and others are come up in their steads.
Young men have seen light, and dwelt upon the earth: but the way of knowledge have they not known,
Nor understood the paths thereof, nor laid hold of it: their children were far off from that way.
It hath not been heard of in Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman.
The Agarenes that seek wisdom upon earth, the merchants of Meran and of Theman, the authors of fables, and searchers out of understanding; none of these have known the way of wisdom, or remember her paths.
O Israel, how great is the house of God! and how large is the place of his possession!
Great, and hath none end; high, and unmeasurable.
There were the giants famous from the beginning, that were of so great stature, and so expert in war.
Those did not the Lord choose, neither gave he the way of knowledge unto them:
But they were destroyed, because they had no wisdom, and perished through their own foolishness.
Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds?
Who hath gone over the sea, and found her, and will bring her for pure gold?
No man knoweth her way, nor thinketh of her path.
But he that knoweth all things knoweth her, and hath found her out with his understanding: he that prepared the earth for evermore hath filled it with fourfooted beasts:
He that sendeth forth light, and it goeth, calleth it again, and it obeyeth him with fear.
The stars shined in their watches, and rejoiced: when he calleth them, they say, Here we be; and so with cheerfulness they shewed light unto him that made them.
This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him
He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men.
1 Kings 18
Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [a] of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."
"Do it again," he said, and they did it again.
"Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"
Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
"Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
"There is nothing there," he said.
Seven times Elijah said, "Go back."
The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea."
So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' "
Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus [a] (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian [b] kingdom- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
"Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
"Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
The Song of Mary
And Mary said:
“ My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
Birth of John the Baptist
Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
Circumcision of John the Baptist
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.
Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
“ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
“ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[e] us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Now there was a man that dwelt in Babylon, and his name was Joakim:
And he took a wife whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Helcias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared God.
For her parents being just, had instructed their daughter according to the law of Moses.
Now Joakim was very rich, and had an orchard near his house: and the Jews resorted to him, because he was the most honourable of them all.
And there were two of the ancients of the people appointed judges that year, of whom the Lord said: Iniquity came out from Babylon from the ancient judges, that seemed to govern the people.
These men frequented the house of Joakim, and all that had any matters of judgment came to them.
And when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went in, and walked in her husband's orchard.
And the old men saw her going in every day, and walking: and they were inflamed with lust towards her:
And they perverted their own mind and turned away their eyes that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments.
So they were both wounded with the love of her, yet they did not make known their grief one to the other:
For they were ashamed to declare to one another their lust, being desirous to have to do with her.
And they watched carefully every day to see her. And one said to the other:
Let us now go home, for it is dinner time. So going out they departed one from another.
And turning back again, they came both to the same place: and asking one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust; and then they agreed upon a time, when they might find her alone.
And it fell out, as they watched a fit day, she went in on a time, as yesterday and the day before, with two maids only, and was desirous to wash herself in the orchard: for it was hot weather.
And there was nobody there, but the two old men that had hid themselves and were beholding her.
So she said to the maids: Bring me oil, and washing balls, and shut the doors of the orchard, that I may wash me.
And they did as she bade them: and they shut the doors of the orchard, and went out by a back door to fetch what she had commanded them, and they knew not that the elders were hid within.
Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders arose, and ran to her, and said:
Behold the doors of the orchard are shut, and nobody seeth us, and we are in love with thee: wherefore consent to us, and lie with us.
But if thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee, and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee.
Susanna sighed, and said: I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death to me: and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands.
But it is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
With that Susanna cried out with a loud voice: and the elders also cried out against her.
And one of them ran to the door of the orchard, and opened it.
So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the orchard, they rushed in by the back door to see what was the matter.
But after the old men had spoken, the servants were greatly ashamed: for never had there been any such word said of Susanna. And on the next day,
When the people were come to Joakim her husband, the two elders also came full of wicked device against Susanna, to put her to death.
And they said before the people: Send to Susanna daughter of Helcias the wife of Joakim. And presently they sent.
And she came with her parents, and children, and all her kindred.
Now Susanna was exceeding delicate, and beautiful to behold.
But those wicked men commanded that her face should be uncovered, (for she was covered,) that so at least they might be satisfied with her beauty.
Therefore her friends and all her acquaintance wept.
But the two elders rising up in the midst of the people, laid their hands upon her head.
And she weeping looked up to heaven, for her heart had confidence in the Lord.
And the elders said: As we walked in the orchard alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the doors of the orchard, and sent away the maids from her.
Then a young man that was there hid came to her, and lay with her.
But we that were in a corner of the orchard, seeing this wickedness, ran up to them, and we saw them lie together.
And him indeed we could not take, because he was stronger than us, and opening the doors be leaped out:
But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: of this thing we are witnesses.
The multitude believed them as being the elders and the judges of the people, and they condemned her to death.
Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said: O eternal God, who knowest hidden things, who knowest all things before they come to pass,
Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me: and behold I must die, whereas I have done none of these things, which these men have maliciously forged against me.
And the Lord heard her voice.
And when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young boy, whose name was Daniel.
And he cried out with a loud voice I am clear from the blood of this woman.
Then all the people turning themselves towards him, said: What meaneth this word that thou hast spoken?
But he standing in the midst of them, said: Are ye so foolish, ye children of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth, you have condemned a daughter of Israel?
Return to judgment, for they have borne false witness against her.
So all the people turned again in haste, and the old men said to him: Come, and sit thou down among us, and shew it as: seeing God hath given thee the honour of old age.
And Daniel said to the people: Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them.
So when they were put asunder one from the other, he called one of them, and said to him: O thou that art grown old in evil days, now are thy sins come out, which thou hast committed before:
In judging unjust judgments, oppressing the innocent, and letting the guilty to go free, whereas the Lord saith: I The innocent and the just thou shalt not kill.
Now then, if thou sawest her, tell me under what tree thou sawest them conversing together. He said: Under a mastic tree.
And Daniel said: Well hast thou lied against thy own head: for behold the angel of God having received the sentence of him, shall cut thee in two.
And having put him aside, he commanded that the other should come, and he said to him: O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart:
Thus did you do to the daughters of Israel, and they for fear conversed with you: but a daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness.
Now therefore tell me, under what tree didst thou take them conversing together., And he answered: Under a holm tree.
And Daniel said to him: Well hast thou also lied against thy own head: for the angel of the Lord waiteth with a sword to cut thee in two, and to destroy you.
With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and they blessed God, who saveth them that trust in him.
And they rose up against the two elders, (for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth,) and they did to them as they had maliciously dealt against their neighbour,
To fulfil the law of Moses: and they put them to death, and innocent blood was saved in that day.
But Helcias and his wife praised God, for their daughter Susanna, with Joakim her husband, and all her kindred, because there was no dishonesty found in her.
And Daniel became great in the sight of the people from that day, and thenceforward.
And king Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus the Persian received his kingdom.
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