Mordecai Asks for Esther’s Help
4 When Mordecai heard about the letter, he tore his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he covered his head with ashes and went through the city, crying and weeping. 2 But he could go only as far as the palace gate, because no one wearing sackcloth was allowed inside the palace. 3 In every province where the king’s orders were read, the Jews cried and mourned, and they went without eating.[a] Many of them even put on sackcloth and sat in ashes.
4 When Esther’s servant girls and her other servants told her what Mordecai was doing, she became very upset and sent Mordecai some clothes to wear in place of the sackcloth. But he refused to take them.
5 Esther had a servant named Hathach, who had been given to her by the king. So she called him in and said, “Find out what’s wrong with Mordecai and why he’s acting this way.”
6 Hathach went to Mordecai in the city square in front of the palace gate, 7 and Mordecai told him everything that had happened. He also told him how much money Haman had promised to add to the king’s treasury, if all the Jews were killed.
8 Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the orders for the murder of the Jews and told him that these had been read in Susa. He said, “Show this to Esther and explain what it means. Ask her to go to the king and beg him to have pity on her people, the Jews!”
9 Hathach went back to Esther and told her what Mordecai had said. 10 She answered, “Tell Mordecai 11 there is a law about going in to see the king, and all his officials and his people know about this law. Anyone who goes in to see the king without being invited by him will be put to death. The only way that anyone can be saved is for the king to hold out the gold scepter to that person. And it’s been thirty days since he has asked for me.”
12 When Mordecai was told what Esther had said, 13 he sent back this reply, “Don’t think that you will escape being killed with the rest of the Jews, just because you live in the king’s palace. 14 If you don’t speak up now, we will somehow get help, but you and your family will be killed. It could be that you were made queen for a time like this!”
15 Esther sent a message to Mordecai, saying, 16 “Bring together all the Jews in Susa and tell them to go without eating for my sake! Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. My servant girls and I will do the same. Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.”
17 Mordecai did everything Esther told him to do.
Esther Invites the King and Haman to a Dinner
5 Three days later, Esther dressed in her royal robes and went to the inner court of the palace in front of the throne. The king was sitting there, facing the open doorway. 2 He was happy to see Esther, and he held out the gold scepter to her.
When Esther came up and touched the tip of the scepter, 3 the king said, “Esther, what brings you here? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.”
4 Esther answered, “Your Majesty, please come with Haman to a dinner I will prepare for you later today.”
5 The king said to his servants, “Hurry and get Haman, so we can accept Esther’s invitation.”
The king and Haman went to Esther’s dinner, 6 and while they were drinking wine, the king asked her, “What can I do for you? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.”
7-8 Esther replied, “Your Majesty, if you really care for me and are willing to do what I want, please come again tomorrow with Haman to the dinner I will prepare for you. At that time I will answer Your Majesty’s question.”
Haman Plans To Kill Mordecai
9 Haman was feeling great as he left. But when he saw Mordecai at the palace gate, he noticed that Mordecai did not stand up or show him any respect. This made Haman really angry, 10 but he did not say a thing.
When Haman got home, he called together his friends and his wife Zeresh 11 and started bragging about his great wealth and all his sons. He told them the many ways that the king had honored him and how all the other officials and leaders had to respect him. 12 Haman added, “That’s not all! Besides the king himself, I’m the only person Queen Esther invited for dinner. She has also invited the king and me to dinner tomorrow. 13 But none of this makes me happy, as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the palace gate.”
14 Haman’s wife and friends said to him, “Have a tower built about seventy-five feet high, and tomorrow morning ask the king to hang Mordecai there. Then later, you can have dinner with the king and enjoy yourself.”
This seemed like a good idea to Haman, and he had the tower built.
The King Honors Mordecai
6 That night the king could not sleep, and he had a servant read him the records of what had happened since he had been king. 2 When the servant read how Mordecai had kept Bigthana and Teresh from killing the king, 3 the king asked, “What has been done to reward Mordecai for this?”
“Nothing, Your Majesty!” the king’s servants replied.
4 About this time, Haman came in to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on the tower he had built. The king saw him and asked, “Who is that man waiting in front of the throne room?”
5 The king’s servants answered, “Your Majesty, it is Haman.”
“Have him come in,” the king commanded.
6 When Haman entered the room, the king asked him, “What should I do for a man I want to honor?”
Haman was sure that he was the one the king wanted to honor. 7 So he replied, “Your Majesty, if you wish to honor a man, 8 have someone bring him one of your own robes and one of your own horses with a fancy headdress. 9 Have one of your highest officials place your robe on this man and lead him through the streets on your horse, while someone shouts, ‘This is how the king honors a man!’”
10 The king replied, “Hurry and do just what you have said! Don’t forget a thing. Get the robe and the horse for Mordecai the Jew, who is on duty at the palace gate!”
11 Haman got the king’s robe and put it on Mordecai. He led him through the city on the horse and shouted as he went, “This is how the king honors a man!”
12 Afterwards, Mordecai returned to his duties at the palace gate, and Haman hurried home, hiding his face in shame. 13 Haman told his wife and friends what had happened. Then his wife and his advisors said, “If Mordecai is a Jew, this is just the beginning of your troubles! You will end up a ruined man.” 14 They were still talking, when the king’s servants came and quickly took Haman to the dinner that Esther had prepared.
Haman Is Punished
7 The king and Haman were dining with Esther 2 and drinking wine during the second dinner, when the king again said, “Esther, what can I do for you? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom!”
3 Esther answered, “Your Majesty, if you really care for me and are willing to help, you can save me and my people. That’s what I really want, 4 because a reward has been promised to anyone who kills my people. Your Majesty, if we were merely going to be sold as slaves, I would not have bothered you.”[b]
5 “Who would dare to do such a thing?” the king asked.
6 Esther replied, “That evil Haman is the one out to get us!”
Haman was terrified, as he looked at the king and the queen.
7 The king was so angry that he got up, left his wine, and went out into the palace garden.
Haman realized that the king had already decided what to do with him, and he stayed and begged Esther to save his life.
8 Just as the king came back into the room, Haman got down on his knees beside Esther, who was lying on the couch. The king shouted, “Now you’re even trying to rape my queen here in my own palace!”
As soon as the king said this, his servants covered Haman’s head. 9 Then Harbona, one of the king’s personal servants, said, “Your Majesty, Haman built a tower seventy-five feet high beside his house, so he could hang Mordecai on it. And Mordecai is the very one who spoke up and saved your life.”
“Hang Haman from his own tower!” the king commanded. 10 Right away, Haman was hanged on the tower he had built to hang Mordecai, and the king calmed down.
1 Corinthians 12:1-26
12 My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2 I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3 Now I want you to know that if you are led by God’s Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5 There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6 and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.
7 The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8 Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9 To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10 or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present.[a] Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11 But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.
One Body with Many Parts
12 The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13 Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.[b]
14 Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. 15 Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the foot still belong to the body? 16 Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the ear still belong to the body? 17 If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn’t hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn’t smell a thing. 18 But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.
19 A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20 It takes many parts to make a single body. 21 That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet. 22 In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23 We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24 but we don’t have to be modest about other parts.
God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25 He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26 If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.
- 12.10 and some of us. . . present: Or “and some of us recognize the difference between God’s Spirit and other spirits.”
- 12.13 Some of us are Jews. . . that same Spirit: Verse 13 may also be translated, “God’s Spirit is inside each of us, and all around us as well. So it doesn’t matter that some of us are Jews and others are Gentiles and that some are slaves and others are free. Together we are one body.”
(For the music leader by David, the Lord’s servant.)
Human Sin and God’s Goodness
36 Sinners don’t respect God;
sin is all they think about.
2 They like themselves too much
to hate their own sins
or even to see them.
3 They tell deceitful lies,
and they don’t have the sense
to live right.
4 Those people stay awake,
thinking up mischief,
and they follow the wrong road,
refusing to turn from sin.
5 Your love is faithful, Lord,
and even the clouds in the sky
can depend on you.
6 Your decisions are always fair.
They are firm like mountains,
deep like the sea,
and all people and animals
are under your care.
7 Your love is a treasure,
and everyone finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You give your guests a feast
in your house,
and you serve a tasty drink
that flows like a river.
9 The life-giving fountain
belongs to you,
and your light gives light
to each of us.
10 Our Lord, keep showing love
to everyone who knows you,
and use your power to save
all whose thoughts please you.
11 Don’t let those proud
and merciless people
kick me around
or chase me away.
12 Look at those wicked people!
They are knocked down,
never to get up again.
21 If you try to be kind and good,
you will be blessed with life
and goodness and honor.
22 One wise person can defeat
a city full of soldiers
and capture their fortress.