Day 217

Day 217

Ezra 1

Cyrus Allows the Exiles to Return

1 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom:

2 “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says:

“The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! 4 Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.”

5 Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord.6 And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings.

7 King Cyrus himself brought out the articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his own gods. 8 Cyrus directed Mithredath, the treasurer of Persia, to count these items and present them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of the exiles returning to Judah.9 This is a list of the items that were returned:

gold basins30

silver basins1,000

silver incense burners29

10 gold bowls30

silver bowls410

other items1,000

11 In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all of these along when the exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Ezra 2

Exiles Who Returned with Zerubbabel

2 Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived.2 Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile:

3 The family of Parosh2,172

4 The family of Shephatiah372

5 The family of Arah775

6 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab)2,812

7 The family of Elam1,254

8 The family of Zattu945

9 The family of Zaccai760

10 The family of Bani642

11 The family of Bebai623

12 The family of Azgad1,222

13 The family of Adonikam666

14 The family of Bigvai2,056

15 The family of Adin454

16 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah)98

17 The family of Bezai323

18 The family of Jorah112

19 The family of Hashum223

20 The family of Gibbar95

21 The people of Bethlehem123

22 The people of Netophah56

23 The people of Anathoth128

24 The people of Beth-azmaveth42

25 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth743

26 The people of Ramah and Geba621

27 The people of Micmash122

28 The people of Bethel and Ai223

29 The citizens of Nebo52

30 The citizens of Magbish156

31 The citizens of West Elam1,254

32 The citizens of Harim320

33 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono725

34 The citizens of Jericho345

35 The citizens of Senaah3,630

36 These are the priests who returned from exile:

The family of Jedaiah (through the line of Jeshua)973

37 The family of Immer1,052

38 The family of Pashhur1,247

39 The family of Harim1,017

40 These are the Levites who returned from exile:

The families of Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah)74

41 The singers of the family of Asaph128

42 The gatekeepers of the families of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai139

43 The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile:

Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,

44 Keros, Siaha, Padon,

45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub,

46 Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan,

47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah,

48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam,

49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai,

50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim,

51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,

52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,

53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,

54 Neziah, and Hatipha.

55 The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile:

Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,

56 Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,

57 Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami.

58 In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392.

59 Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. 60 This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 652 people.

61 Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) 62 They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests.63 The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots.

64 So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, 65 in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. 66 They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 67 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.

68 When they arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, 69 and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests.

70 So the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The Wisdom of God

18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

    and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul’s Message of Wisdom

1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Psalm 27:7-14

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.

    Be merciful and answer me!

8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”

    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

9 Do not turn your back on me.

    Do not reject your servant in anger.

    You have always been my helper.

Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,

    O God of my salvation!

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,

    the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.

    Lead me along the right path,

    for my enemies are waiting for me.

12 Do not let me fall into their hands.

    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;

    with every breath they threaten me with violence.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness

    while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.

    Be brave and courageous.

    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Proverbs 20:22-23

22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.”

    Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

23 The Lord detests double standards;

    he is not pleased by dishonest scales.