1 These events happened during the time of Xerxes,[a] when Xerxes was ruling over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Cush.[b] 2 King Xerxes was ruling on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel.[c]
3 In the third year of his reign[d] he gave a banquet[e] for all his officials and administrators, for the leaders of the army of Persia and Media, and for the nobles and officials of the provinces. 4 He displayed the glory and splendor of the riches of his kingdom, the grandeur of his majesty, for many days (one hundred eighty days in all).
5 When this was completed, the king gave a banquet for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the most important to the least significant. It lasted for seven days in the courtyard of the garden in the king’s palace.
6 There were white and blue linen hangings, attached to marble[f] pillars with white and purple cords and silver rings.[g] There were couches made of gold and silver, standing on a mosaic floor made of purple porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other precious stones. 7 Drinks were served in gold goblets. Each goblet was unique. The royal wine was plentiful, in keeping with the king’s extravagance. 8 No directions were given about the amount each person was to drink because the king had ordered all the waiters to serve the amount each man desired.
9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace of King Xerxes.
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Karkas, seven of the eunuchs who served him, 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti wearing the crown of the kingdom, in order to show the people and the officials her beauty. She was very good-looking.
12 Queen Vashti refused to come in response to the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. The king was infuriated and his anger burned within him.
13 So the king spoke to his advisors who understood the times. (It was the king’s custom to consult with those who were acquainted with law and legal principles.) 14 His close advisors were Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, seven officials of Persia and Media who were allowed to see the king’s face and were ranked first in the kingdom.
15 He asked, “According to the law, what should be done with Queen Vashti since she did not obey the command of the king delivered by the eunuchs?”
16 In the presence of the king and the officials, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has not only committed an offense against the king, but she has also committed an offense against all the officials and all the people in the provinces of King Xerxes, 17 because the action of the queen, when it is reported to all the women, will cause them to look upon their husbands with contempt. They will say, ‘King Xerxes said to bring Queen Vashti before him, but she did not come.’ 18 Today the noble ladies of Persia and Media, who have heard about the action of the queen, will be talking about it to their husbands, who are the officials of the king. There will be more than enough contempt and anger. 19 If the king agrees, he should issue a royal decree. It should be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it cannot be changed. Vashti shall not come into the presence of King Xerxes. The king will give her status as queen to a different person, one better than she is. 20 The decree of the king will be heard throughout all of his vast kingdom. Then all the women will give honor to their husbands, both the most important and the least significant.”
21 The advice seemed good to the king and the officials, so the king did as Memucan had said. 22 He sent letters to all the provinces of the kingdom—to each province in its own writing system and to each people in its own language. The letters stated that each man should be lord in his own house. The letters were addressed to every man in his own language.[h]
2 When King Xerxes was no longer so angry, he remembered what Vashti had done and what had been decreed about her.
2 The young men who served as attendants to the king said, “Search for good-looking, young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of the kingdom to do this. Gather all the good-looking, young virgins into the citadel at Susa, to the harem under the supervision of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, the overseer of the women. Give them beauty treatments. 4 The young woman who pleases the king should be queen instead of Vashti.” The king agreed and implemented the plan.
5 In the citadel at Susa there was a Jew named Mordecai, who was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish the Benjaminite. 6 Kish had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon with the other captives who were exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah.[i]
7 Mordecai had raised his cousin Hadassah (also called Esther) because she had no father or mother. She was shapely and good-looking. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his daughter.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, and many young women had been gathered into the citadel of Susa under the supervision of Hegai, Esther was taken to the king’s palace, to Hegai, who was in charge of the harem. 9 She pleased Hegai and gained his favor. He quickly provided her with beauty treatments and food. He assigned a good position in the harem to her and to the seven female attendants picked out for her from the king’s palace.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality or her family background because Mordecai had told her not to do so.
11 Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the harem, to learn about Esther’s well-being and about what was going to be done with her.
12 Every young woman received a turn to go to King Xerxes after she had received the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments. For six months they used oil of myrrh; for six months perfumes and other beauty treatments for women. 13 Then the young woman went to the king. Everything she desired was given to her when she went from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 She went to the king in the evening. In the morning she returned to the second harem, under the supervision of Sha’ashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She did not return to the king unless he was delighted with her and she was summoned by name.
15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, Mordecai’s uncle. Mordecai had adopted her.
When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, had advised. Esther won the approval of everyone watching her.
16 Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, during the seventh year[j] of his reign.
17 The king loved Esther more than he loved all the other women. She won his favor and approval more than all the other virgins did. He placed the crown of the kingdom on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 The king gave a great banquet in honor of Esther for all his officials and administrators. He declared a tax holiday for the provinces and gave gifts as only the king could give.
19 When the virgins were gathered together for a second time,[k] Mordecai was sitting in the gatehouse to the king’s palace. 20 (Esther had not revealed her family or her nationality because when Mordecai had been taking care of her, Mordecai had told her not to do so.)
21 When Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gatehouse, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who controlled access to the entrance to the palace, became very angry and plotted to kill King Xerxes. 22 When Mordecai learned about this, he told Queen Esther. She passed the report along to the king, crediting Mordecai by name. 23 The matter was investigated, and the charges were found to be true, and both of them were hanged.[l] This incident was recorded in the daily record book, in the presence of the king.
3 After these events King Xerxes honored Haman, son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. He promoted him and placed him over all the officials who served with him. 2 All the servants of the king who were at the king’s gate were bowing down and kneeling in Haman’s presence, because the king had commanded that this be done for him, but Mordecai did not bow down and did not kneel.
3 So the servants of the king who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you going against the king’s command?” 4 Even though they spoke to him every day, he did not listen to them. They reported this to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s actions would be tolerated. Mordecai had informed them that he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing down and kneeling in his presence, Haman was enraged. 6 Because the king’s servants had made Haman aware of Mordecai’s nationality, Haman was not satisfied with laying hands only on Mordecai. Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
7 During the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ reign, during the first month, the month of Nisan, a pur (which means “a lot”) was cast before Haman for every day and every month of the year, until Adar, the twelfth month, was chosen.
8 Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a group of people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of all the other people. They do not keep the laws of the king. It is not good for the king to allow them to get away with this. 9 If the king agrees, a directive should be written to destroy them. I will weigh out ten thousand talents[m] of silver to the treasury of the king for those who carry out this work.”
10 The king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the man opposing the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver will be given to you,[n] as well as the people. Do with them whatever seems good to you.”
12 In the first month, on the thirteenth day, the king’s scribes were summoned. A decree based on everything Haman commanded was written to the king’s satraps,[o] to the governors over each province, and to the officials of every people. The decree was sent to each province in its own writing system and to each people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring.
13 The letters were sent by courier to all the provinces of the king to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, including children and women, and to plunder their goods in one day, on the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month. 14 A copy of the decree was to be proclaimed as a law to all the peoples in every province, so that they could be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the word of the king. The law was issued in Susa, the citadel. The king and Haman sat down to drink. The city of Susa was perplexed and confused.
- Esther 1:1 Also known as Ahasuerus
- Esther 1:1 Cush was located in the present-day country of Sudan, south of Egypt.
- Esther 1:2 Or fortress. The term designates cities as royal cities of the Persian Empire, but at times it refers only to the palace complex of such a city.
- Esther 1:3 That is, 483 bc
- Esther 1:3 The word translated banquet refers more to drinking than to eating.
- Esther 1:6 Or alabaster
- Esther 1:6 Or rods
- Esther 1:22 Or the letters stated that he should be lord in his own house, speaking the language of his own people. This sentence is not in the Greek Old Testament.
- Esther 2:6 This occurred in 597 bc. Jeconiah was also called Jehoiachin.
- Esther 2:16 About 479 bc
- Esther 2:19 Or had been moved to the second harem
- Esther 2:23 Or impaled on a pole
- Esther 3:9 A huge amount, estimated to be more than half the annual income of the empire
- Esther 3:11 This may mean either Keep your money or It’s your money. I’ll take it if you are offering.
- Esther 3:12 Satraps were the rulers of large provinces or groups of smaller provinces within the Persian Empire.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
A Sinful Practice at the Lord’s Supper Needs to Be Eliminated
17 Now in giving you this next command, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For in the first place, I hear that when you come together in an assembly, there are divisions among you. And to some extent I believe it, 19 for there also have to be factions among you so that those who are approved may become evident among you. 20 So when you come together in the same place, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat. 21 For when you eat, each one goes ahead and takes his own supper, and so one person goes hungry while another is drunk. 22 What, don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise God’s church and humiliate those who have nothing? What am I to say to you? Shall I praise you? In this matter I do not praise you!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,[a] “This is my body, which is[b] for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after the meal, he also took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new testament[c] in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Lord’s body and blood. 28 Instead, let a person examine himself and after doing so, let him eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For if anyone eats and drinks in an unworthy way[d] because he does not recognize[e] the Lord’s[f] body, he eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 Because of this, many among you are weak and sick, and quite a few have fallen asleep.[g] 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be undergoing judgment. 32 However, when we undergo judgment, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.[h] 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home so that your coming together may not result in judgment. The rest of my instructions I will give when I come.
- 1 Corinthians 11:24 Some witnesses to the text add “Take, eat.
- 1 Corinthians 11:24 Some witnesses to the text add broken.
- 1 Corinthians 11:25 As in last will and testament. See Galatians 3:15.
- 1 Corinthians 11:29 A few witnesses to the text omit in an unworthy way.
- 1 Corinthians 11:29 Or discern
- 1 Corinthians 11:29 Some witnesses to the text omit Lord’s.
- 1 Corinthians 11:30 Or have died
- 1 Corinthians 11:33 Or receive one another courteously
17 Lord, how long will you look on?
Restore my life from their devastating attacks,
my precious life from these young lions.
18 I will give thanks to you in the great assembly.
In a large crowd I will praise you.
19 Do not let them rejoice over me—
those who are my enemies without cause.
Do not let those who hate me without reason mock me.[a]
20 For they do not speak for peace,
but they devise false accusations
against those who live quietly in the land.
21 They also open their mouths wide against me.
They say, “Ha! Ha! We see with our own eyes.”
22 Lord, you have seen all this.
Do not be silent.
Lord, do not be far from me.
23 Wake up and rise up to my defense!
My God and Lord, rise to my cause.
24 Judge me according to your righteousness,
O Lord, my God.
Do not let them rejoice over me.
25 Do not let them say in their hearts,
“Aha! Just what we wanted!”
Do not let them say,
“We have swallowed him.”
26 May those who rejoice over my trouble
be put to shame and disgrace.
May those who exalt themselves over me
be clothed with shame and contempt.
27 May those who are pleased by my acquittal
shout for joy and be glad.
May they always say, “The Lord is great.
He takes delight in the peace of his servant.”
28 My tongue will report your righteousness
and your praise all day long.
- Psalm 35:19 Literally wink the eye. It is not certain what this body language means in this context.
19 Better to live in an arid region
than with a nagging, ill-tempered wife.
20 Good food and olive oil are stored up in the dwellings of the wise,
but a foolish person devours everything he has.