4 When Mordecai became aware of everything that had happened, he ripped his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went out into the middle of the city, and let out a loud, bitter cry. 2 He went right up to the king’s gate, even though no one clothed with sackcloth was allowed to enter it.
3 In every single province that was reached by the proclamation of the king and where his decree was posted, there was great mourning, fasting, weeping, and lamenting among the Jews. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s female attendants and her eunuchs came and told her what had happened, the queen agonized over it. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them. 5 Esther summoned Hathak, who had been assigned from among the king’s eunuchs to attend to her. She ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why.
6 Hathak went out to Mordecai in the public square in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened and the exact amount of silver that Haman had said he would put into the treasuries of the king to destroy the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave Hathak a copy of the written decree which had been issued in Susa to destroy the Jews, so that he could show it to Esther. Hathak was to place the responsibility upon her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 So Hathak went and told Esther what Mordecai had said.
10 Esther spoke to Hathak and gave him directions to pass on to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that it is the law that any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned will be put to death, unless the king holds out the golden scepter to him. Then he will live. But I have not been called to go to the king for thirty days.”
12 They told Mordecai what Esther had said.
13 Mordecai responded, “Take this message to Esther: Do not imagine that of all the Jews, you alone will escape because you are part of the king’s household. 14 If at this time you keep totally silent, relief and deliverance for the Jews will spring up from somewhere, but you and the house of your father will perish. Who knows whether you have become queen for a time like this!”
15 Esther responded to Mordecai, 16 “Go. Gather all the Jews who are found in Susa. Fast on my behalf. Do not eat and drink for three days and nights. I and my young women also will fast in the same way. After that I will go to the king, contrary to the law. And then, if I perish, I perish!”
17 Mordecai went away and did everything Esther had ordered him to do.
5 On the third day Esther dressed in the queen’s royal clothing and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, opposite the quarters of the king. The king was sitting on the throne in the reception hall, opposite the entrance.
2 When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she pleased him. The king held out to Esther the golden scepter, which was in his hand. Esther approached and touched the head of the scepter.
3 The king said to her, “What concerns you, Queen Esther? Whatever you are seeking (up to half of the kingdom) will be given to you.”
4 Esther said, “If it is agreeable to the king, the king and Haman should come today to a banquet that I have made for him.”
5 The king said, “Hurry! Get Haman so that we can do what Esther has said.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
6 While the king was drinking wine, he said to Esther, “What is your request? It will be given to you. What are you seeking? Up to half of the kingdom—it’s yours.”
7 Esther answered, “This is my request. This is what I seek. 8 If I have found favor in the eyes of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, let the king and Haman come to a banquet, which I will make for them tomorrow. Then I will give the answers requested by the king.”
9 Haman went out that day full of joy, with a happy heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate, and Mordecai did not stand and tremble before him, Haman was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 But Haman restrained himself from any action.
He went to his house and called together his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Haman reviewed for them the glory of his wealth, the number of his sons, all the details about how the king had made him great, and how the king had elevated him over all the officials and the king’s administrators. 12 Haman said, “What’s more, Queen Esther did not invite anyone except me to come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. I have been invited again for her banquet with the king tomorrow. 13 But none of this means anything to me whenever I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
14 Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Make a gallows[a] seventy-five feet high. In the morning tell the king that Mordecai should be hanged[b] on it. Then go happily with the king to the banquet.” In Haman’s opinion this was good advice, so he had the gallows made.
6 That night the king could not sleep, so he ordered that the chronicles,[c] the record of the memorable events of his reign, be brought to him. These accounts were read to the king.
2 They found the account about the incident when Mordecai had reported Bigthan[d] and Teresh, the king’s two eunuchs who had controlled access to the entrance to the palace, who had tried to assassinate King Xerxes.
3 The king said, “What honor and recognition has been given to Mordecai for this?”
Then the servants of the king who were attending him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Just then Haman had come to the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
5 The king’s servants said to him, “Look, Haman is standing in the court.” The king said, “Have him come in.”
6 When Haman came in, the king said to him, “What should be done to honor the man with whom the king is pleased?”
Haman said in his heart, “Who could there be that the king would be more pleased to honor than me?”
7 Haman said to the king, “The man whom the king is pleased to honor 8 should be clothed with garments that the king has worn. He should be given a horse on which the king has ridden, and crowned with a crown that has been on the king’s head. 9 These clothes and this horse should be delivered by one of the highest ranking noblemen of the king. They should dress up the man whom the king is pleased to honor and let him ride on the horse in the public square of the city. Walking in front of him, they will proclaim, “This is what is done for the man whom the king is pleased to honor.”
10 The king said to Haman, “Hurry! Take the clothing and the horse just as you have said, and do this for Mordecai the Jew, who sits in the gatehouse of the king. Do not leave out a thing from whatever you have said.”
11 Haman took the clothing and the horse, clothed Mordecai, had him ride through the public square of the city, and proclaimed before him, “This is what is done for the man whom the king is pleased to honor.”
12 Mordecai returned to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his home, mourning, with his head covered. 13 Haman reported all this to Zeresh his wife and to all his friends.
His advisors and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent,[e] you will not overcome him. Instead, you will surely fall before him.”
14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and rushed Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
7 So the king and Haman went to the feast with Queen Esther.
2 On the second day, when they were again drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “What is your request, Queen Esther? It will be given to you. What are you seeking? Up to half of the kingdom—it’s yours.”
3 Queen Esther responded, “My King, if I have found favor in your eyes, and if it pleases the king, I am asking that my life be spared, and I am seeking the lives of my people, 4 because I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we were merely being sold to be male and female slaves, I would have remained silent, because that would not have been bad enough to be a reason to bother the king.”
5 King Xerxes spoke up. He said to Queen Esther, “Who is this, and where is this person who has the audacity to do this?”
6 Esther said, “This hateful enemy is this evil Haman!” Haman was terrified in the presence of the king and the queen.
7 The king rose angrily from the place where they were drinking wine[f] and went to the palace garden. But Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, because he saw the king had evil plans for him.
8 Just as the king was returning from the palace garden to the hall where they had been drinking wine, Haman was falling onto the couch on which Esther was lying. The king said, “Will he even assault the queen when I am in the building?” As soon as the words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.[g]
9 In addition, Harbona, one of the eunuchs present with the king, said, “You know, there is a gallows seventy-five feet high standing by the house of Haman, which he made for Mordecai, the person who spoke up for the benefit of the king.” The king said, “Hang[h] him on it.”
10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
- Esther 5:14 Or sharpened pole
- Esther 5:14 Or impaled
- Esther 6:1 Or annals
- Esther 6:2 Here spelled Bigthana in Hebrew. Such spelling variants are common in the biblical books.
- Esther 6:13 Literally of the seed of the Jews
- Esther 7:7 The word mishteh, which is often translated banquet, refers primarily to drinking rather than eating. Here that connotation is made explicit by the addition of the word wine.
- Esther 7:8 Apparently, to mark him as a condemned man
- Esther 7:9 Or impale
1 Corinthians 12:1-26
All the Gifts of the Spirit Are Beneficial
12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were deceived and somehow led away to mute idols. 3 Therefore I am informing you that no one speaking by God’s Spirit says, “A curse be upon Jesus,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of ministries, and yet the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of activity, but the same God, who produces all of them in everyone.
7 Each person is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one person a message of wisdom is given by the Spirit; to another, a message of knowledge, as the same Spirit provides it; 9 by the same Spirit, faith is given to someone else; and to another, the same[a] Spirit gives healing gifts. 10 Another is given powers to do miracles; another, the gift of prophecy; another, the evaluating of spirits; someone else, different kinds of tongues;[b] and another, the interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them to each one individually as he desires.
The Diversity of the Gifts Enhances the Unity of the Body of Christ
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by[c] one Spirit we all were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free people, and we were all caused to drink one Spirit. 14 Furthermore, the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it does not on that account cease to be part of the body. 16 If the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not part of the body,” it does not on that account cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has arranged the members in the body, each and every one of them, as he desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But as it is, there are many members, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need for you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need for you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are much more necessary. 23 As for the parts of the body we consider less honorable, these we provide with more honor. We treat our unpresentable parts with more modesty, 24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God put the body together in a way that gave more honor to the parts that lack it. 25 He did it so that there might not be any division in the body, but that the members might all have the same concern for one another. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Concerning the Rebelliousness of the Wicked
For the choir director. By the servant of the Lord. By David.
1 A declaration about the rebellion of the wicked is deep in my heart.[a]
The Arrogance of the Wicked
There is no dread of God before his eyes,
2 because he flatters himself in his own eyes
too much to notice his guilt and to hate it.
3 The words from his mouth are deception and deceit.
He has given up being wise and doing good.
4 He plots deception even on his bed.
He sets out on a path that is not good.
He does not reject wrong.
The Goodness of God
5 Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens.
Your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is as high as the mountains of God.
Your justice is as deep as the ocean.
You save both man and animal, O Lord.
7 How precious is your mercy, O God!
So all people[b] find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They are satisfied by the rich food of your house.
You let them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life.
In your light we see light.
10 Stretch out your mercy over those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Do not let the foot of the proud trample me.
Do not let the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers have fallen.
They have been thrown down.
They are not able to rise!
21 A person who pursues righteousness and mercy
will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man can climb up to a city full of warriors
and pull down the strong defenses in which they trust.