8 On that day King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) gave the [a]house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai came before the king, because Esther had disclosed what [[b]relation] he was to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther put Mordecai in charge of the house of Haman.
3 Then Esther spoke again to the king and fell down at his feet and wept and implored him to avert the evil plot of Haman the Agagite and his plan which he had devised against the Jews [because the decree to annihilate the Jews was still in effect]. 4 Then the king held out to Esther the golden scepter. So Esther arose and stood before the king. 5 Then she said, “If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter is proper in the king’s view and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, which he wrote [in order] to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure to see the tragedy that will happen to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?” 7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he stretched out his hand against the Jews.
The King’s Decree Avenges the Jews
8 Also, concerning the Jews, write as you see fit, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for a decree which is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.”
9 So the king’s scribes were called at that time in the third month (that is, the month of Sivan) on the twenty-third day; and it was written in accordance with everything that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, to the chief rulers (satraps), and the governors and officials of the provinces which extended from India to Ethiopia (Cush), 127 provinces, to every province in its own script (writing), and to every people in their own language and to the Jews according to their script and their language. 10 He wrote [a decree] in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on the royal [mail] relay horses, the offspring of the racing mares. 11 In it the king granted the Jews who were in every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives; to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force that might attack them, their little children, and women; and to take the enemies’ goods as plunder, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar). 13 A copy of the edict was to be issued as a law in every province and as a proclamation to all peoples, so that the Jews would be ready on that day, to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, who were mounted on the royal relay horses, left quickly, urged on by the king’s command; and the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa [the capital].
15 Then Mordecai departed from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a large crown of gold and with a robe of fine linen and purple wool; and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 For [at this time] the Jews had light [a dawn of new hope] and gladness and joy and honor. 17 In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s command and his decree arrived, the Jews celebrated with gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday. And many among the peoples of the land [c]became Jews, for the fear of the Jews [and their God] had fallen on them.
The Jews Destroy Their Enemies
9 Now in the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar) on the thirteenth day when the king’s command and edict were about to be executed, on the [very] day when the enemies of the Jews had hoped to gain power over them [and slaughter them], it happened the other way around so that the Jews themselves gained power over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) to apprehend those who wanted to do them harm; and no one could stand before them, for the fear of them [and their God] had fallen on all the peoples. 3 Even all the officials of the provinces and the chief rulers (satraps) and the governors and those who attended to the king’s business supported the Jews [in defeating their enemies], because the fear of Mordecai [and his God’s power] had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai was great and respected in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater. 5 So the Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them; and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 At the citadel in Susa the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, 7 and [they killed] Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
11 On that day the number of those who were killed at the citadel in Susa was reported to the king. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman at the citadel in Susa. What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. What is your further request? It shall also be done.” 13 Esther replied, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Susa to act tomorrow also in accordance with the decree of today; and let [the dead bodies of] Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”(A) 14 So the king commanded it to be done; the decree was given in Susa, and they hanged [the bodies of] Haman’s ten sons. 15 The Jews who were in Susa also gathered together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces assembled, to defend their lives and rid themselves of their enemies, and kill 75,000 of those who hated them; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This was done on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.
18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth of the same month, and on the fifteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural [unwalled] towns, make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar a holiday for rejoicing and feasting and sending choice portions of food to one another.
The Feast of Purim Instituted
20 Now Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who lived in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, 22 because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and as the month which was turned for them from grief to joy and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending choice portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews undertook what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, [to find the right time] to disturb and destroy them. 25 But when it came before the king, he commanded in writing that Haman’s wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews was to return on his own head, and that he and his sons should [endure what he planned for the Jews and] be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name Pur (lot). And because of all the instructions in this letter, and what they had faced in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and made it a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all who joined them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days as it was written and at the appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to cease from among the Jews, nor their memory fade from their descendants.
29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full power and authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, 31 to establish these days of Purim [to be observed] at their appointed times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established for them, and as they had established for themselves and for their descendants with instructions regarding their times of fasting and their lamentations (expressions of needing help). 32 The command of Esther established these customs for Purim, and it was written in the book [of the royal archives].
10 King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) imposed a tax on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. 2 And all the accomplishments of his authority and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king had raised him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many fellow people, for he worked for the good of his people and spoke for the welfare and peace of his whole nation.
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
27 Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually [you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function]. 28 So God has appointed and placed in the church [for His own use]: first apostles [chosen by Christ], second prophets [those who foretell the future, those who speak a new message from God to the people], third teachers, then those who work miracles, then those with the gifts of healings, the helpers, the administrators, and speakers in various kinds of [unknown] tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire and strive for the greater gifts [if acquiring them is going to be your goal].
And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love].
The Excellence of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [a]love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. 3 If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. 10 But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. 13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.
Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord, and Insecurity of the Wicked.
A Psalm of David.
37 [a]Do not worry because of evildoers,
Nor be envious toward wrongdoers;
For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And fade like the green herb.
Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him also and He will do it.
He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light,
And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun].
Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him;
Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and abandon wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evil.
For those who do evil will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.(A)
For yet a little while and the wicked one will be gone [forever];
Though you look carefully where he used to be, he will not be [found].(B)
But the humble will [at last] inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity and peace.(C)
- Psalm 37:1 One of the longer psalms, Ps 37 also has the distinction of having every other verse (sometimes succeeding verses) begin with a letter of the Hebrew in alphabetical order. This technique served as a memory aid.