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Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading

August 4 - Straight Thru the Bible


Proverbs 31

Chapter 31

Sayings of King Lemuel

1 The sayings(a) of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
     Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!(b)
3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
     your vigor on those who ruin kings.(c)

4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
     it is not for kings to drink wine,(d)
     not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink(e) and forget what has been decreed,(f)
     and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
     wine(g) for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink(h) and forget their poverty
     and remember their misery no more.

8 Speak(i) up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
     for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
     defend the rights of the poor and needy.(j)

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character(k) who can find?(l)
     She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband(m) has full confidence in her
     and lacks nothing of value.(n)
12 She brings him good, not harm,
     all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
     and works with eager hands.(o)
14 She is like the merchant ships,
     bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
     she provides food for her family
     and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
     out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
     her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
     and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
     and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
     and extends her hands to the needy.(p)
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
     for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
     she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
     where he takes his seat among the elders(q) of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
     and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
     she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
     and faithful instruction is on her tongue.(r)
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
     and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
     her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,
     but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
     and let her works bring her praise(s) at the city gate.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:8

Chapter 1

Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher,[a](a) son of David, king in Jerusalem:(b)

2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!"
     says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
     Everything is meaningless."(c)

3 What do people gain from all their labors
     at which they toil under the sun?(d)
4 Generations come and generations go,
     but the earth remains forever.(e)
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
     and hurries back to where it rises.(f)
6 The wind blows to the south
     and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
     ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
     yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
     there they return again.(g)
8 All things are wearisome,
     more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,(h)
     nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
     what has been done will be done again;(i)
     there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
     "Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago;
     it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,(j)
     and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
     by those who follow them.(k)

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher,(l) was king over Israel in Jerusalem.(m) 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens.(n) What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!(o) 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.(p)

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;(q)
     what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, "Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me;(r) I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom,(s) and also of madness and folly,(t) but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;(u)
     the more knowledge, the more grief.(v)

Chapter 2

Pleasures Are Meaningless

1 I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure(a) to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 "Laughter,"(b) I said, "is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?" 3 I tried cheering myself with wine,(c) and embracing folly(d)—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself(e) and planted vineyards.(f) 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves(g) who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold(h) for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.(i) I acquired male and female singers,(j) and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man's heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem(k) before me.(l) In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
     I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
     and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
     and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;(m)
     nothing was gained under the sun.(n)

Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
     and also madness and folly.(o)
What more can the king's successor do
     than what has already been done?(p)
13 I saw that wisdom(q) is better than folly,(r)
     just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
     while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
     that the same fate overtakes them both.(s)

15 Then I said to myself,

"The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
     What then do I gain by being wise?"(t)
I said to myself,
     "This too is meaningless."
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;(u)
     the days have already come when both have been forgotten.(v)
Like the fool, the wise too must die!(w)

Toil Is Meaningless

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.(x) 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.(y) 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish?(z) Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?(aa) 23 All their days their work is grief and pain;(ab) even at night their minds do not rest.(ac) This too is meaningless.

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink(ad) and find satisfaction in their own toil.(ae) This too, I see, is from the hand of God,(af) 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?(ag) 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom,(ah) knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth(ai) to hand it over to the one who pleases God.(aj) This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Chapter 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time(a) for everything,
     and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2       a time to be born and a time to die,
     a time to plant and a time to uproot,(b)
3       a time to kill(c) and a time to heal,
     a time to tear down and a time to build,
4       a time to weep and a time to laugh,
     a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5       a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6       a time to search and a time to give up,
     a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7       a time to tear and a time to mend,
     a time to be silent(d) and a time to speak,
8       a time to love and a time to hate,
     a time for war and a time for peace.

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