Listen to what I am saying; that is all the comfort I ask from you.
Give me a chance to speak and then, when I am through, sneer if you like.
My quarrel is not with mortals; I have good reason to be impatient.
Look at me. Isn't that enough to make you stare in shocked silence?
When I think of what has happened to me, I am stunned, and I tremble and shake.
Why does God let evil people live, let them grow old and prosper?
They have children and grandchildren, and live to watch them all grow up.
God does not bring disaster on their homes; they never have to live in terror.
Yes, all their cattle breed and give birth without trouble.
Their children run and play like lambs
and dance to the music of harps and flutes.
They live out their lives in peace and quietly die without suffering.
The wicked tell God to leave them alone; they don't want to know his will for their lives.
They think there is no need to serve God nor any advantage in praying to him.
They claim they succeed by their own strength, but their way of thinking I can't accept.
Was a wicked person's light ever put out? Did one of them ever meet with disaster? Did God ever punish the wicked in anger
and blow them away like straw in the wind, or like dust carried away in a storm?
You claim God punishes a child for the sins of his father. No! Let God punish the sinners themselves; let him show that he does it because of their sins.
Let sinners bear their own punishment; let them feel the wrath of Almighty God.
When our lives are over, do we really care whether our children are happy?
Can anyone teach God, who judges even those in high places?
Some people stay healthy till the day they die; they die happy and at ease, their bodies well-nourished.
Others have no happiness at all; they live and die with bitter hearts.
But all alike die and are buried; they all are covered with worms.
I know what spiteful thoughts you have.
You ask, "Where are the homes of great people now, those who practiced evil?"
Haven't you talked with people who travel? Don't you know the reports they bring back?
On the day God is angry and punishes, it is the wicked who are always spared.
There is no one to accuse the wicked or pay them back for all they have done.
When they are carried to the graveyard, to their well-guarded tombs,
thousands join the funeral procession, and even the earth lies gently on their bodies.
And you! You try to comfort me with nonsense! Every answer you give is a lie!
Jesus and his disciples arrived on the other side of Lake Galilee, in the territory of Gerasa.
As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, he was met by a man who came out of the burial caves there. This man had an evil spirit in him
and lived among the tombs. Nobody could keep him tied with chains any more;
many times his feet and his hands had been tied, but every time he broke the chains and smashed the irons on his feet. He was too strong for anyone to control him.
Day and night he wandered among the tombs and through the hills, screaming and cutting himself with stones.
He was some distance away when he saw Jesus; so he ran, fell on his knees before him,
and screamed in a loud voice, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? For God's sake, I beg you, don't punish me!"
(He said this because Jesus was saying, "Evil spirit, come out of this man!")
So Jesus asked him, "What is your name!" The man answered, "My name is 'Mob'---there are so many of us!"
And he kept begging Jesus not to send the evil spirits out of that region.
There was a large herd of pigs near by, feeding on a hillside.
So the spirits begged Jesus, "Send us to the pigs, and let us go into them."
He let them go, and the evil spirits went out of the man and entered the pigs. The whole herd---about two thousand pigs in all---rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned.
The men who had been taking care of the pigs ran away and spread the news in the town and among the farms. People went out to see what had happened,
and when they came to Jesus, they saw the man who used to have the mob of demons in him. He was sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; and they were all afraid.
Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the man with the demons, and about the pigs.
So they asked Jesus to leave their territory.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had had the demons begged him, "Let me go with you!"
But Jesus would not let him. Instead, he told him, "Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you."
So the man left and went all through the Ten Towns, telling what Jesus had done for him. And all who heard it were amazed.
Jesus went back across to the other side of the lake. There at the lakeside a large crowd gathered around him.
Jairus, an official of the local synagogue, arrived, and when he saw Jesus, he threw himself down at his feet
and begged him earnestly, "My little daughter is very sick. Please come and place your hands on her, so that she will get well and live!"
Then Jesus started off with him. So many people were going along with Jesus that they were crowding him from every side.
There was a woman who had suffered terribly from severe bleeding for twelve years,
even though she had been treated by many doctors. She had spent all her money, but instead of getting better she got worse all the time.
She had heard about Jesus, so she came in the crowd behind him,
saying to herself, "If I just touch his clothes, I will get well."
She touched his cloak, and her bleeding stopped at once; and she had the feeling inside herself that she was healed of her trouble.
At once Jesus knew that power had gone out of him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
His disciples answered, "You see how the people are crowding you; why do you ask who touched you?"
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
The woman realized what had happened to her, so she came, trembling with fear, knelt at his feet, and told him the whole truth.
Jesus said to her, "My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your trouble."
While Jesus was saying this, some messengers came from Jairus' house and told him, "Your daughter has died. Why bother the Teacher any longer?"
Jesus paid no attention to what they said, but told him, "Don't be afraid, only believe."
Then he did not let anyone else go on with him except Peter and James and his brother John.
They arrived at Jairus' house, where Jesus saw the confusion and heard all the loud crying and wailing.
He went in and said to them, "Why all this confusion? Why are you crying? The child is not dead---she is only sleeping!"
They started making fun of him, so he put them all out, took the child's father and mother and his three disciples, and went into the room where the child was lying.
He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha, koum," which means, "Little girl, I tell you to get up!"
She got up at once and started walking around. (She was twelve years old.) When this happened, they were completely amazed.
But Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone, and he said, "Give her something to eat."
Jesus left that place and went back to his hometown, followed by his disciples.
On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue. Many people were there; and when they heard him, they were all amazed. "Where did he get all this?" they asked. "What wisdom is this that has been given him? How does he perform miracles?
Isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren't his sisters living here?" And so they rejected him.
Jesus said to them, "Prophets are respected everywhere except in their own hometown and by their relatives and their family."
He was not able to perform any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith. Then Jesus went to the villages around there, teaching the people.
He called the twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two. He gave them authority over the evil spirits
and ordered them, "Don't take anything with you on the trip except a walking stick---no bread, no beggar's bag, no money in your pockets.
Wear sandals, but don't carry an extra shirt."
He also told them, "Wherever you are welcomed, stay in the same house until you leave that place.
If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a warning to them!"
So they went out and preached that people should turn away from their sins.
They drove out many demons, and rubbed olive oil on many sick people and healed them.
Now King Herod heard about all this, because Jesus' reputation had spread everywhere. Some people were saying, "John the Baptist has come back to life! That is why he has this power to perform miracles."
Others, however, said, "He is Elijah." Others said, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago."
When Herod heard it, he said, "He is John the Baptist! I had his head cut off, but he has come back to life!"
Herod himself had ordered John's arrest, and he had him tied up and put in prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, whom he had married, even though she was the wife of his brother Philip.
John the Baptist kept telling Herod, "It isn't right for you to marry your brother's wife!"
So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because of Herod.
Herod was afraid of John because he knew that John was a good and holy man, and so he kept him safe. He liked to listen to him, even though he became greatly disturbed every time he heard him.
Finally Herodias got her chance. It was on Herod's birthday, when he gave a feast for all the top government officials, the military chiefs, and the leading citizens of Galilee.
The daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and pleased Herod and his guests. So the king said to the girl, "What would you like to have? I will give you anything you want."
With many vows he said to her, "I swear that I will give you anything you ask for, even as much as half my kingdom!"
So the girl went out and asked her mother, "What shall I ask for?" "The head of John the Baptist," she answered.
The girl hurried back at once to the king and demanded, "I want you to give me here and now the head of John the Baptist on a plate!"
This made the king very sad, but he could not refuse her because of the vows he had made in front of all his guests.
So he sent off a guard at once with orders to bring John's head. The guard left, went to the prison, and cut John's head off;
then he brought it on a plate and gave it to the girl, who gave it to her mother.
When John's disciples heard about this, they came and got his body, and buried it.
The apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught.
There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn't even have time to eat. So he said to them, "Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while."
So they started out in a boat by themselves to a lonely place.
Many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples.
When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.
When it was getting late, his disciples came to him and said, "It is already very late, and this is a lonely place.
Send the people away, and let them go to the nearby farms and villages in order to buy themselves something to eat."
"You yourselves give them something to eat," Jesus answered. They asked, "Do you want us to go and spend two hundred silver coins on bread in order to feed them?"
So Jesus asked them, "How much bread do you have? Go and see." When they found out, they told him, "Five loaves and also two fish."
Jesus then told his disciples to make all the people divide into groups and sit down on the green grass.
So the people sat down in rows, in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.
Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
Everyone ate and had enough.
Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left of the bread and the fish.
The number of men who were fed was five thousand.
At once Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida, on the other side of the lake, while he sent the crowd away.
After saying good-bye to the people, he went away to a hill to pray.
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, while Jesus was alone on land.
He saw that his disciples were straining at the oars, because they were rowing against the wind; so sometime between three and six o'clock in the morning, he came to them, walking on the water. He was going to pass them by,
but they saw him walking on the water. "It's a ghost!" they thought, and screamed.
They were all terrified when they saw him. Jesus spoke to them at once, "Courage!" he said. "It is I. Don't be afraid!"
Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely amazed,
because they had not understood the real meaning of the feeding of the five thousand; their minds could not grasp it.
They crossed the lake and came to land at Gennesaret, where they tied up the boat.
As they left the boat, people recognized Jesus at once.
So they ran throughout the whole region; and wherever they heard he was, they brought to him the sick lying on their mats.
And everywhere Jesus went, to villages, towns, or farms, people would take their sick to the marketplaces and beg him to let the sick at least touch the edge of his cloak. And all who touched it were made well.