The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Monday August 20, 2018 (NIV)

Esther 8-10

A Happy Ending for the Jews

Before the end of the day, King Xerxes gave Esther everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So the king made Mordecai one of his highest officials and gave him the royal ring that Haman had worn. Then Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s property.

Once again Esther went to speak to the king. This time she fell down at his feet, crying and begging, “Please stop Haman’s evil plan to have the Jews killed!” King Xerxes held out the golden scepter to Esther, and she got up and said, “Your Majesty, I know that you will do the right thing and that you really love me. Please stop what Haman has planned. He has already sent letters demanding that the Jews in all your provinces be killed, and I can’t bear to see my people and my own relatives destroyed.”

King Xerxes then said to Esther and Mordecai, “I have already ordered Haman to be hanged and his house given to Esther, because of his evil plans to kill the Jews. I now give you permission to make a law that will save the lives of your people. You may use my ring to seal the law, so that it can never be changed.”

On the twenty-third day of Sivan,[a] the third month, the king’s secretaries wrote the law. They obeyed Mordecai and wrote to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the officials of all one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia.[b] The letters were written in every language used in the kingdom, including the Jewish language. 10 They were written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with his ring. Then they were taken by messengers who rode the king’s finest and fastest horses.

11-13 In these letters the king said:

On the thirteenth day of Adar,[c] the twelfth month, the Jews in every city and province will be allowed to get together and defend themselves. They may destroy any army that attacks them, and they may kill all of their enemies, including women and children. They may also take everything that belongs to their enemies.

A copy of this law is to be posted in every province and read by everyone.

14-15 Then the king ordered his messengers to take their fastest horses and deliver the law as quickly as possible to every province. When Mordecai left, he was wearing clothes fit for a king. He wore blue and white robes, a large gold crown, and a cape made of fine linen and purple cloth.

After the law was announced in Susa, everyone shouted and cheered, 16 and the Jews were no longer afraid. In fact, they were very happy and felt that they had won a victory.

17 In every province and city where the law was sent, the Jews had parties and celebrated. Many of the people in the provinces accepted the Jewish religion, because they were now afraid of the Jews.

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

The first law that the king had made was to be followed on the thirteenth day of Adar,[d] the twelfth month. This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to do away with them. But the Jews turned things around, and in the cities of every province they came together to attack their enemies. Everyone was afraid of the Jews, and no one could do anything to oppose them.

The leaders of the provinces, the rulers, the governors, and the court officials were afraid of Mordecai and took sides with the Jews. Everyone in the provinces knew that the king had promoted him and had given him a lot of power.

The Jews took their swords and did away with their enemies, without showing any mercy. 6-10 They killed five hundred people in Susa,[e] but they did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Haman had been one of the worst enemies of the Jews, and ten of his sons were among those who were killed. Their names were Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha.

11 Later that day, someone told the king how many people had been killed in Susa.[f] 12 Then he told Esther, “Five hundred people, including Haman’s ten sons, have been killed in Susa alone. If that many were killed here, what must have happened in the provinces? Is there anything else you want done? Just tell me, and it will be done.”

13 Esther answered, “Your Majesty, please let the Jews in Susa fight to defend themselves tomorrow, just as they did today. And order the bodies of Haman’s ten sons to be hanged in public.”

14 King Xerxes did what Esther had requested, and the bodies of Haman’s sons were hung in Susa. 15 Then on the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of the city got together and killed three hundred more people. But they still did not take anything that belonged to their enemies.

16-17 On the thirteenth day of Adar, the Jews in the provinces had come together to defend themselves. They killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies, but the Jews did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Then on the fourteenth day of the month the Jews celebrated with a feast.

18 On the fifteenth day of the month the Jews in Susa held a holiday and celebrated, after killing their enemies on the thirteenth and the fourteenth. 19 This is why the Jews in the villages now celebrate on the fourteenth day of the month. It is a joyful holiday that they celebrate by feasting and sending gifts of food to each other.

The Festival of Purim

20 Mordecai wrote down everything that had happened. Then he sent letters to the Jews everywhere in the provinces 21 and told them:

Each year you must celebrate on both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar, 22 the days when we Jews defeated our enemies. Remember this month as a time when our sorrow was turned to joy, and celebration took the place of crying. Celebrate by having parties and by giving to the poor and by sharing gifts of food with each other.

23 They followed Mordecai’s instructions and set aside these two days every year as a time of celebration.

The Reason for the Festival of Purim

24 Haman was the son of Hammedatha and a descendant of Agag. He hated the Jews so much that he planned to destroy them, but he wanted to find out the best time to do it. So he cast lots.[g]

25 Esther went to King Xerxes and asked him to save her people. Then the king gave written orders for Haman and his sons to be punished in the same terrible way that Haman had in mind for the Jews. So they were hanged. 26 Mordecai’s letter had said that the Jews must celebrate for two days because of what had happened to them. This time of celebration is called Purim,[h] which is the Hebrew word for the lots that were cast. 27 Now every year the Jews set aside these two days for having parties and celebrating, just as they were told to do. 28 From now on, all Jewish families must remember to celebrate Purim on these two days each year.

29 Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, wanted to give full authority to Mordecai’s letter about the Festival of Purim, and with his help she wrote a letter about the feast. 30 Copies of this letter were sent to Jews in the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of King Xerxes. In the letter they said:

We pray that all of you will live in peace and safety.

31 You and your descendants must always remember to celebrate Purim at the time and in the way that we have said. You must also follow the instructions that we have given you about mourning and going without eating.[i]

32 These laws about Purim are written by the authority of Queen Esther.

The Greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai

10 King Xerxes made everyone in his kingdom pay taxes, even those in lands across the sea. All the great and famous things that King Xerxes did are written in the record books of the kings of Media and Persia. These records also tell about the honors that the king gave to Mordecai. Next to the king himself, Mordecai was the highest official in the kingdom. He was a popular leader of the Jews, because he helped them in many ways and would even speak to the king for them.


  1. 8.9 Sivan: The third month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-May to mid-June.
  2. 8.9 Ethiopia: See the note at 1.1,2.
  3. 8.11-13; 9.1 Adar: See the note at 3.7.
  4. 8.11-13; 9.1 Adar: See the note at 3.7.
  5. 9.6-10,11 in Susa: Or “in the royal fortress in Susa.”
  6. 9.6-10,11 in Susa: Or “in the royal fortress in Susa.”
  7. 9.24 cast lots: See the note at 3.7.
  8. 9.26 Purim: The Jewish festival of Purim got its name from “purim,” which is the Babylonian name for the lots that Haman used. Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of Adar, which is about the first of March.
  9. 9.31 going without eating: See the note at 4.3.

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13

27 Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28 First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29 Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. 30 Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31 I want you to desire the best gifts.[a] So I will show you a much better way.


13 What if I could speak
all languages
of humans
and of angels?
If I did not love others,
I would be nothing more
than a noisy gong
or a clanging cymbal.
What if I could prophesy
and understand all secrets
and all knowledge?
And what if I had faith
that moved mountains?
I would be nothing,
unless I loved others.
What if I gave away all
that I owned
and let myself
be burned alive?[b]
I would gain nothing,
unless I loved others.
Love is kind and patient,
never jealous, boastful,
proud, or rude.
Love isn’t selfish
or quick tempered.
It doesn’t keep a record
of wrongs that others do.
Love rejoices in the truth,
but not in evil.
Love is always supportive,
loyal, hopeful,
and trusting.
Love never fails!

Everyone who prophesies
will stop,
and unknown languages
will no longer
be spoken.
All that we know
will be forgotten.
We don’t know everything,
and our prophecies
are not complete.
10 But what is perfect
will someday appear,
and what isn’t perfect
will then disappear.

11 When we were children,
we thought and reasoned
as children do.
But when we grew up,
we quit our childish ways.
12 Now all we can see of God
is like a cloudy picture
in a mirror.
Later we will see him
face to face.
We don’t know everything,
but then we will,
just as God completely
understands us.
13 For now there are faith,
hope, and love.
But of these three,
the greatest is love.


  1. 12.31 I want you to desire the best gifts: Or “You desire the best gifts.”
  2. 13.3 and let myself be burned alive: Some manuscripts have “so that I could brag.”

Psalm 37:1-11

(By David.)

Trust the Lord

37 Don’t be annoyed by anyone
who does wrong,
and don’t envy them.
They will soon disappear
like grass without rain.

Trust the Lord and live right!
The land will be yours,
and you will be safe.
Do what the Lord wants,
and he will give you
your heart’s desire.

Let the Lord lead you
and trust him to help.
Then it will be as clear
as the noonday sun
that you were right.

Be patient and trust the Lord.
Don’t let it bother you
when all goes well for those
who do sinful things.
Don’t be angry or furious.
Anger can lead to sin.
All sinners will disappear,
but if you trust the Lord,
the land will be yours.

10 Sinners will soon disappear,
never to be found,
11 but the poor will take the land
and enjoy a big harvest.

Proverbs 21:23-24

23 Watching what you say
can save you
a lot of trouble.
24 If you are proud and conceited,
everyone will say,
“You’re a snob!”