Module 4: Religion

Hebrew Bible


The Jewish Publication Society of America Version (JPS) of the Tanakh (also known as the Hebrew Bible) was the first Bible translation published by the Jewish Publication Society of America and the first ever translation of the Tanakh into English by a committee of Jews (though there had been earlier solo attempts such as that of Isaac Leeser). The full publication title is The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text: A New Translation with the Aid of Previous Versions and with Constant Consultation of Jewish Authorities. [1].


Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,For Thou art with me;Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Psalm 24 Entrance to the Temple

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein.
2For He hath founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the floods.
3Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord?
And who shall stand in His holy place?
4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
Who hath not taken My name in vain,
And hath not sworn deceitfully
5He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6Such is the generation of them that seek after Him,
That seek Thy face, even Jacob.
7Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
That the King of glory may come in.
8‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.’
9Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
Yea, lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
That the King of glory may come in.
10‘Who then is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord of hosts;
He is the King of glory.

Psalm 138 Thanksgiving and Praise

1 I will give Thee thanks with my whole heart,
In the presence of the mighty will I sing praises unto Thee.
2 I will bow down toward Thy holy temple,
And give thanks unto Thy name for Thy mercy and for Thy truth;
For Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.
3 In the day that I called, Thou didst answer me;
Thou didst encourage me in my soul with strength.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give Thee thanks, O Lord,
For they have heard the words of Thy mouth.
5 Yea, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord;
For great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord be high, yet regardeth He the lowly,
And the haughty He knoweth from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou quickenest me;
Thou stretchest forth Thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies,
And Thy right hand doth save me.
8 The Lord will accomplish that which concerneth me;
Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever;
Forsake not the work of Thine own hands.

Psalm 145 The Greatness and the Goodness of God

I will extol Thee, my God, O King; And I will bless Thy for name ever and ever.ב2Every day will I bless Thee;And I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.ג3Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.ד4One generation shall laud Thy works to another, And shall declare Thy mighty acts.ה5The glorious splendour of Thy majesty, And Thy wondrous works, will I rehearse.ו6And men shall speak of the might of Thy tremendous acts; And I will tell of Thy greatness.ז7They shall utter the fame of Thy great goodness, And shall sing of Thy righteousness.ח8The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; Slow to anger, and of great mercy.ט9The Lord is good to all; And His tender mercies are over all His works.י10All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord;And Thy saints shall bless Thee.כ11They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom,And talk of Thy might;ל 12To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glory of the majesty of His kingdom. מ13Thy kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, And Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.ס 14The Lord upholdeth all that fall, And raiseth up all those that are bowed down.ע 15The eyes of all wait for Thee, And Thou givest them their food in due season. פ16Thou openest Thy hand, And satisfiest every living thing with favour.צ 17The Lord is righteous in all His ways, And gracious in all His works.ק 18The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, To all that call upon Him in truth.ר 19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them.ש 20The Lord preserveth all them that love Him; But all the wicked will He destroy.ת 21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; And let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.

Psalm 146 Praise for God’s Help

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises unto my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his dust;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that in them is;
Who keepeth truth for ever;
7 Who executeth justice for the oppressed;
Who giveth bread to the hungry.
The Lord looseth the prisoners;
8 The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raiseth up them that are bowed down;
The Lord loveth the righteous;
9 The Lord preserveth the strangers;
He upholdeth the fatherless and the widow;
But the way of the wicked He maketh crooked.
10 The Lord will reign for ever,
Thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.

Psalm 147

For it is good to sing praises unto our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is comely.
2 The Lord doth build up Jerusalem,
He gathereth together the dispersed of Israel;
3 Who healeth the broken in heart,
And bindeth up their wounds.
4 He counteth the number of the stars;
He giveth them all their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
6The Lord upholdeth the humble;
He bringeth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving,
Sing praises upon the harp unto our God;
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds,
Who prepareth rain for the earth,
Who maketh the mountains to spring with grass.
9 He giveth to the beast his food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse;
He taketh no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him,
In those that wait for His mercy.
12 Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem;
Praise thy God, O Zion.
13 For He hath made strong the bars of thy gates;
He hath blessed thy children within thee.
14 He maketh thy borders peace;
He giveth thee in plenty the fat of wheat.
15 He sendeth out His commandment upon earth;
His word runneth very swiftly.
16 He giveth snow like wool;
He scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes.
17 He casteth forth His ice like crumbs;
Who can stand before His cold?
18 He sendeth forth His word, and melteth them;
He causeth His wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He declareth His word unto Jacob,
His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation;
And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.

Ecclesiastes 2. The Futility of Self-Indulgence

I said in my heart: ‘Come now, I will try thee with mirth, and enjoy pleasure’; and, behold, this also was vanity. 2I said of laughter: ‘It is mad’; and of mirth: ‘What doth it accomplish?’ 3I searched in my heart how to pamper my flesh with wine, and, my heart conducting itself with wisdom, how yet to lay hold on folly, till I might see which it was best for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven the few days of their life. 4I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; 5I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit; 6I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the wood springing up with trees; 7I acquired men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem; 8I gathered me also silver and gold, and treasure such as kings and the provinces have as their own; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, women very many. 9So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom stood me in stead. 10And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart had joy of all my labour; and this was my portion from all my labour. 11Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.

12And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. 13Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14The wise man, his eyes are in his head;
But the fool walketh in darkness.

And I also perceived that one event happeneth to them all. 15Then said I in my heart: ‘As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise?’ Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. 16For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will long ago have been forgotten. And how must the wise man die even as the fool! 17So I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

18And I hated all my labour wherein I laboured under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun. 21For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22For what hath a man of all his labour, and of the striving of his heart, wherein he laboureth under the sun? 23For all his days are pains, and his occupation vexation; yea, even in the night his heart taketh not rest. This also is vanity.

24There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy pleasure for his labour. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God. 25For who will eat, or who will enjoy, if not I? 26For to the man that is good in His sight He giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He giveth the task, to gather and to heap up, that he may leave to him that is good in the sight of God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.


Ecclesiastes 3 Everything Has Its Time

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.

9What profit hath he that worketh in that he laboureth? 10I have seen the task which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. 11He hath made every thing beautiful in its time; also He hath set the world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to get pleasure so long as they live. 13But also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy pleasure for all his labour, is the gift of God. 14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God hath so made it, that men should fear before Him. 15That which is hath been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God seeketh that which is pursued.

16And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. 17I said in my heart: ‘The righteous and the wicked God will judge; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.’ 18I said in my heart: ‘It is because of the sons of men, that God may sift them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.’ 19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that man hath no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity. 20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all return to dust. 21Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth? 22Wherefore I perceived that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion; for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?


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