After this, Jesus went into Judea with his disciples, stayed there with them, and baptized.
John was also baptizing, at Aenon, near to Salim, because water was plentiful in that region; and people were constantly coming for baptism. (This was before John’s imprisonment.)
Some of John’s disciples had fallen into disputes with Judeans about purification; so they came to [John] and said, “Rabbi, there was a man with you on the other side of the Jordan, to whom you bore your witness. Here he is baptizing, and crowds are flocking to him!”
John’s answer was, “A man can have only what God gives him. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah; I have been sent as his forerunner.’
“It is the bridegroom to whom the bride belongs. The bridegroom’s friend, who stands by and listens to him, is overjoyed at hearing the bridegroom’s voice. This joy, this perfect joy, is now mine. As he grows greater, I must grow less.”
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave woman whose name was Hagar, and Sarah said to Abram, “You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go into my slave; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”
And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. He went into Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.
Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”
But Abram said to Sarai, “Your slave is in your power; do to her as you please!”
Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away.
The Angel of the Lord found [Hagar] by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”
She said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.”
The Angel of the Lord said to Sarai, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.” And the Angel of the Lord said to her,
“Now you have conceived and shall bear a son.
You shall call him Ishmael, [= “God hears”]
for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
He shall be a wild ass of a man
with his hand against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him
and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”
So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi;” [“God of seeing”?] for she said, “Have I really seen God, and remained alive?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [“that is: the Well of the Living One Who Sees Me”]; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
There was one of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Judean council, who came to Jesus by night. “Rabbi,” he said, “We know that you are a teacher sent by God; no one could perform these signs of yours unless God were with him.”
Jesus answered, “In truth, in very truth I tell you, unless a man has been born over again he cannot see the reign of God.”
“But how is it possible,” said Nicodemus, “for a man to be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
Jesus answered, “In truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born from water and spirit. Meat can give birth only to meat; it is spirit that gives birth to spirit. You shouldn’t be astonished, then, when I tell you you must be born over again.
“The wind blows where it wishes; you hear the sound of it; but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So with everyone who is born from spirit.”
Nicodemus replied, “How is this possible?”
“What?” said Jesus. “Is this famous teacher of Israel ignorant of such things? In very truth I tell you, we speak of what we know, and testify to what we have seen, and yet you reject all our testimony. If you disbelieve me when I talk to you about things on earth, how are you to know if I should talk about the Heavens?
“No one ever went up into Heaven except the one who came down from Heaven, the son of Adam whose home is in Heaven. This son of Adam must be lifted up as the serpent was lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, so that everyone who has faith in him may possess eternal life.
“God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life. It was not to condemn the world that God sent his son into the world, but that through him the world might be saved.
“The man who puts his faith in him does not come under judgment; but the unbeliever has already been judged in that he has not given his allegiance to God’s only son. Here lies the test: The light has come into the world; but men preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil. Bad men all hate the light and avoid it, for fear that their practices would be shown up. The honest man comes to the light so that it may be clearly seen that God is in all he does.”
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.”
But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.”
But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward Heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
And he believed the Lord, and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.”
But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I am to possess it?”
He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove and a young pigeon.”
He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying one half over against the other, but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a deal with Abram, saying “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Raphaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashitees, and the Jebusites.”
While [Jesus] was in Jerusalem for Passover many gave their allegiance to him when they saw the signs that he performed.
But Jesus for his part would not trust himself to them. He knew men so well, all of them, that he needed no evidence from others about a man, for he himself could tell what was in a man.
In the days of King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim, these kings made war with King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the King of Bela. All these joined forces in the valley of Siddim (the Dead Sea.)
Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the 13th year they rebelled. In the 14th year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and subdued the Rephaim in Astoroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shavehkiriathaim, and the Horites in the hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the edge of the wilderness; then they turned back and came to Enmishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.
Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela went out, and they joined battle in the valley of Siddim with King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five.
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country.
So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way; they also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who lived in Sodom, and departed.
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.
After [Abram’s] return… the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh.
And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him, saying:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Maker of Heaven and Earth;
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And Abram gave him 1/10 of everything.
Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.”
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High, maker of Heaven and Earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’
“I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me–Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their share.”
After this Jesus went down to Capernaum in company with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; but they did not stay there long.
As it was near the time of the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There he found in the Temple the dealers in cattle, sheep, and pigeons–and the money-changers seated at their tables. Jesus made a whip of cords and drove them out of the Temple: sheep, cattle, and all.
He upset the tables of the money-changers, scattering their coins. Then he turned on the dealers in pigeons: “Take them out,” he said. “You must not turn my Father’s house into a market.”
HIs disciples recalled the words of Scripture, “Zeal for thy house shall destroy me.”
The “Jews” challenged Jesus, “What sign,” they asked, “can you show us as authority for doing this?”
“Destroy this Temple,” Jesus replied, “and in three days I will raise it again.”
They said, “It’s taken 46 years to build this Temple, and [we should knock it down so] you can raise it again in three days?”
But the temple he was speaking of was his body. After his resurrection his disciples recalled what he had said, and they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; and there was strife between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock.
(At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.)
Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well-watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and journeyed eastward; thus they separated.
Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. (Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.)
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are–northward and southward and eastward and westward–for all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the Earth; if no one can could the dust of the Earth, then your offspring will also be too many to count. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana-in-Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples were guests also. The wine gave out, so Jesus’s mother said to him, “They have no wine left.”
He answered, “What does that matter to you or me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
There were six stone water-jars standing near, of the kind used for Jewish rites of purification; each held from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. “Now draw some off,” he ordered, “and take it to the steward of the feast;” and they did so.
The steward tasted the water now turned into wine, not knowing its source, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He hailed the bridegroom and said, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and waits until the guests have drunk freely before serving the poorer sort, but you have kept the best wine until now.”
This deed at Cana-in-Galilee is the first of the signs by which Jesus revealed his glory and led his disciples to believe in him.
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to live there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.
When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Serai, “I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see me, they will say, ‘This is his wife;’ then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.'”
When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels.
But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Serai, Abram’s wife.
So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and be gone!”
And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him, and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.