1 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. 2 There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. 3 He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way – he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. 5 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” 6 Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. 7 Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” 8 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor – and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” 9 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! 10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
11 While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God’s kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story: 12 “There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. 13 But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’ 14 “But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’ 15 “When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done. 16 “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’ 17 “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’ 18 “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’ 19 “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’ 20 “The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. 21 To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.‘ 22 “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly – and you’ve acted the fool! 23 Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?‘ 24 “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’ 25 “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’ 26 “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag. 27 “‘As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don’t want to see their faces around here again.'”
3 Then Jacob sent messengers on ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir in Edom. 4 He instructed them: “Tell my master Esau this, ‘A message from your servant Jacob: I’ve been staying with Laban and couldn’t get away until now. 5 I’ve acquired cattle and donkeys and sheep; also men and women servants. I’m telling you all this, my master, hoping for your approval.'” 6 The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We talked to your brother Esau and he’s on his way to meet you. But he has four hundred men with him.” 7 Jacob was scared. Very scared. Panicked, he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two camps. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes on the first camp and attacks it, the other camp has a chance to get away.”
9 And then Jacob prayed, “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, ‘Go back to your parents’ homeland and I’ll treat you well.’ 10 I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me – two camps! 11 Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. 12 You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.'”
13 He slept the night there. Then he prepared a present for his brother Esau from his possessions: 14 two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty camels with their nursing young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put a servant in charge of each herd and said, “Go ahead of me and keep a healthy space between each herd.” 17 Then he instructed the first one out: “When my brother Esau comes close and asks, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these?’ 18 – answer him like this, ‘Your servant Jacob. They are a gift to my master Esau. He’s on his way.'” 19 He gave the same instructions to the second servant and to the third – to each in turn as they set out with their herds: 20 “Say ‘Your servant Jacob is on his way behind us.'” He thought, “I will soften him up with the succession of gifts. Then when he sees me face-to-face, maybe he’ll be glad to welcome me.” 21 So his gifts went before him while he settled down for the night in the camp. 22 But during the night he got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He got them safely across the brook along with all his possessions.
24 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint. 26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” 27 The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” 28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” 29 Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?” The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!” 31 The sun came up as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. 32 (This is why Israelites to this day don’t eat the hip muscle; because Jacob’s hip was thrown out of joint.)
1 Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah and Rachel and the two maidservants. 2 He put the maidservants out in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He led the way and, as he approached his brother, bowed seven times, honoring his brother. 4 But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him. And they both wept.
5 Then Esau looked around and saw the women and children: “And who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children that God saw fit to bless me with.” 6 Then the maidservants came up with their children and bowed; 7 then Leah and her children, also bowing; and finally, Joseph and Rachel came up and bowed to Esau. 8 Esau then asked, “And what was the meaning of all those herds that I met?” “I was hoping that they would pave the way for my master to welcome me.” 9 Esau said, “Oh, brother. I have plenty of everything – keep what is yours for yourself.” 10 Jacob said, “Please. If you can find it in your heart to welcome me, accept these gifts. When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me. 11 Accept the gifts I have brought for you. God has been good to me and I have more than enough.” Jacob urged the gifts on him and Esau accepted. 12 Then Esau said, “Let’s start out on our way; I’ll take the lead.” 13 But Jacob said, “My master can see that the children are frail. And the flocks and herds are nursing, making for slow going. If I push them too hard, even for a day, I’d lose them all. 14 So, master, you go on ahead of your servant, while I take it easy at the pace of my flocks and children. I’ll catch up with you in Seir.” 15 Esau said, “Let me at least lend you some of my men.” “There’s no need,” said Jacob. “Your generous welcome is all I need or want.”
16 So Esau set out that day and made his way back to Seir. 17 And Jacob left for Succoth. He built a shelter for himself and sheds for his livestock. That’s how the place came to be called Succoth (Sheds). 18 And that’s how it happened that Jacob arrived all in one piece in Shechem in the land of Canaan – all the way from Paddan Aram. He camped near the city. 19 He bought the land where he pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. He paid a hundred silver coins for it. 20 Then he built an altar there and named it El-Elohe-Israel (Mighty Is the God of Israel).
1 My head is high, God, held high; 2 I’m looking to you, God; No hangdog skulking for me. 3 I’ve thrown in my lot with you; You won’t embarrass me, will you? Or let my enemies get the best of me? Don’t embarrass any of us Who went out on a limb for you. It’s the traitors who should be humiliated. 4 Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways. 5 Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth. You are my Savior, aren’t you? 6 Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God; Rebuild the ancient landmarks! 7 Forget that I sowed wild oats; Mark me with your sign of love. Plan only the best for me, God!
8 God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction. 9 He gives the rejects his hand, And leads them step-by-step. 10 From now on every road you travel Will take you to God. Follow the Covenant signs; Read the charted directions. 11 Keep up your reputation, God; Forgive my bad life; It’s been a very bad life. 12 My question: What are God-worshipers like? Your answer: Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye. 13 They settle down in a promising place; Their kids inherit a prosperous farm. 14 God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.
15 If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet. 16 Look at me and help me! I’m all alone and in big trouble. 17 My heart and kidneys are fighting each other; Call a truce to this civil war. 18 Take a hard look at my life of hard labor, Then lift this ton of sin. 19 Do you see how many people Have it in for me? How viciously they hate me? 20 Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble; Don’t let me down when I run to you. 21 Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product. 22 God, give your people a break From this run of bad luck.