ESV — M'Cheyne Reading Plan: Day 15
With family
Genesis 16; Matthew 15

In private
Nehemiah 5; Acts 15

Sarai and Hagar

16 aNow Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was bHagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children1 by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram chad lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, dshe looked with contempt on her mistress.2 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May ethe Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to fShur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, g“I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant

and shall bear a son.

You shall call his name Ishmael,3

hbecause the Lord has listened to your affliction.

12  He shall be ia wild donkey of a man,

his hand against everyone

and everyone's hand against him,

and he shall dwell jover against all his kinsmen.”

13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”4 for she said, k“Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”5 14 Therefore the well was called lBeer-lahai-roi;6 it lies between mKadesh and Bered.

15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.


[1] 16:2 Hebrew be built up, which sounds like the Hebrew for children
[2] 16:4 Hebrew her mistress was dishonorable in her eyes; similarly in verse 5
[3] 16:11 Ishmael means God hears
[4] 16:13 Or You are a God who sees me
[5] 16:13 Hebrew Have I really seen him here who sees me? or Would I have looked here for the one who sees me?
[6] 16:14 Beer-lahai-roi means the well of the Living One who sees me

Traditions and Commandments

15 eThen Pharisees and fscribes came to Jesus ffrom Jerusalem and said, g“Why do your disciples break hthe tradition of the elders? jFor they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, k‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, l‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”1 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have mmade void the word2 of God. nYou hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

o“‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,

teaching as pdoctrines the commandments of men.’”

What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, q“Hear and understand: 11 rit is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were soffended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, t“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted uwill be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; vthey are blind guides.3 And wif the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, x“Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, y“Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that zwhatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?4 18 But awhat comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come bevil thoughts, cmurder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, dslander. 20 eThese are what defile a person. But fto eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 gAnd Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, ha Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, i“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, j“Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, k“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and lknelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and mthrow it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat nthe crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, ogreat is your faith! pBe it done for you as you desire.” qAnd her daughter was phealed instantly.5

Jesus Heals Many

29 rJesus went on from there and walked sbeside the Sea of Galilee. And he twent up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them uthe lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 vso that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, wthe crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And xthey glorified ythe God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

32 zThen Jesus called his disciples to him and said, a“I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, b“Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and chaving given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And dthey all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of eMagadan.


[1] 15:5 Or is an offering
[2] 15:6 Some manuscripts law
[3] 15:14 Some manuscripts add of the blind
[4] 15:17 Greek is expelled into the latrine
[5] 15:28 Greek from that hour

Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor

Now there arose fa great outcry of the people and of their wives gagainst their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for hthe king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. Now iour flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet jwe are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

I was very angry when I heard ftheir outcry and these words. I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, k“You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, lhave bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say. So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk min the fear of our God nto prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore these and orequire nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and pmade them swear qto do as they had promised. 13 rI also shook out the fold1 of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” sAnd all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

Nehemiah's Generosity

14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from tthe twentieth year to uthe thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, vneither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration2 forty shekels3 of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, wbecause of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were xat my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 yNow what was prepared at my expense4 for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this vI did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 zRemember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.


[1] 5:13 Hebrew bosom
[2] 5:15 Compare Vulgate; Hebrew took from them for food and wine after
[3] 5:15 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
[4] 5:18 Or prepared for me

The Jerusalem Council

15 yBut some men came down from Judea and were teaching zthe brothers, “Unless you are acircumcised baccording to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and cdebate with them, Paul and Barnabas and dsome of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to ethe apostles and the elders about this question. So, fbeing sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, gdescribing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and hbrought great joy to all ithe brothers.1 jWhen they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and kthe apostles and the elders, and gthey declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to lthe party of the Pharisees rose up and said, m“It is necessary nto circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

oThe kapostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much pdebate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, qthat by my mouth the Gentiles should hear rthe word of sthe gospel and believe. And God, twho knows the heart, ubore witness to them, vby giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and whe made no distinction between us and them, xhaving cleansed their hearts yby faith. 10 Now, therefore, why zare you putting God to the test aby placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples bthat neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we cbelieve that we will be dsaved through ethe grace of the Lord Jesus, wjust as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul fas they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, gJames replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 hSimeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them ia people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16  j“‘After this I will return,

and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;

I will rebuild its ruins,

and I will restore it,

17  that the remnant2 of mankind kmay seek the Lord,

and all the Gentiles lwho are called by my name,

says the Lord, who makes these things 18 mknown from of old.’

19 Therefore nmy judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who oturn to God, 20 but should write to them pto abstain from qthe things polluted by idols, and from rsexual immorality, and from swhat has been strangled, and from sblood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, tfor he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to uthe apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called vBarsabbas, and wSilas, leading men among xthe brothers, 23 with the following letter: x“The brothers, both uthe apostles and the elders, to the brothers3 who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, ygreetings. 24 Since we have heard that zsome persons have gone out from us and atroubled you4 with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come bto one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our cbeloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 dmen who have erisked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent fJudas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good gto the Holy Spirit and hto us ito lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 jthat you abstain from kwhat has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves lprophets, encouraged and mstrengthened nthe brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off oin peace by nthe brothers to those who had sent them.5 35 But pPaul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit nthe brothers qin every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them rJohn called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one swho had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose ta sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. uBarnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, vhaving been commended by wthe brothers to xthe grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, ystrengthening the churches.


[1] 15:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 22
[2] 15:17 Or rest
[3] 15:23 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 32, 33, 36
[4] 15:24 Some manuscripts some persons from us have troubled you
[5] 15:33 Some manuscripts insert verse 34: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there