1 And so, after this had been carried out, and the indignation of king Artaxerxes had subsided, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what had happened to her.
2 And the servants of the king, and his ministers, said, “Let young women be sought for the king, virgins and beautiful,
3 and let investigators be sent throughout all the provinces for young women, beautiful and virgins. And let them bring them to the city of Susa, and deliver them to the house of the women under the hand of Hegai the eunuch, who is the overseer and keeper of the king’s women. And let them receive feminine ornaments, and other things necessary for their use.
4 And whoever among them all will please the king’s eyes, let her reign instead of Vashti.” The idea pleased the king, and so he ordered it to be done as they had suggested.
5 There was a Jewish man in the city of Susa, by the name of Mordecai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, of the house of Benjamin,
6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem at the time that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon carried away Jeconiah king of Judah,
7 who had raised his brother’s daughter Hadassah, who by another name was called Esther. And she had lost both her parents. She was very beautiful, with a graceful appearance. Since her father and mother had both died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter.
8 And when the king’s command became very well-known, in accordance with his command, many beautiful virgins were brought to Susa, and were delivered to Hegai the eunuch. Likewise, Esther, along with the other young women, was delivered to him, to be protected with the assembled women.
9 She was pleasing to him, and she found favor in his sight. And he commanded a eunuch to hasten the women’s ornaments, and to deliver her share to her, along with seven of the most beautiful young women of the king’s house, so as to both adorn and honor her and her handmaids.
10 She was not willing to reveal to him her people or her native land. For Mordecai had instructed her that she should keep silent about all these things.
11 He went for a walk every day, in the front courtyard of the house in which the chosen virgins were kept, having concern for Esther’s welfare and wanting to know what would happen to her.
12 But, when the time came for each in the line of young women to go in to the king, after everything had been completed concerning feminine grooming, the twelfth month had been reached, to the extent that for six months they were anointed with oil of myrrh, and for another six months they used certain types of makeup and perfumes.
13 And when they were going in to the king, whatever they requested to adorn themselves, they received, and when each was pleased with herself, having been prepared in the chamber of the women, she passed on to the king’s chamber.
14 And whoever entered at evening, departed in the morning, and then from there she was led to the second house, which was under the hand of Shaashgaz the eunuch, who presided over the king’s concubines. Nor did she have the power to return again to the king, unless the king desired it and had summoned her by name.
15 But, as the order continued to progress, the day arrived when Esther, the daughter of Abihail the brother of Mordecai, whom he had adopted as his daughter, was required to go in to the king. She did not seek feminine ornaments, except that whatever Hegai the eunuch and keeper of the virgins chose, he gave her to adorn her. For she was very attractive, and her incredible beauty made her appear gracious and amiable in the eyes of all.
16 And so she was led to the chamber of king Artaxerxes, in the tenth month, which is called Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 And the king loved her more than all the women, and she had favor and mercy in his eyes above all the women, and he set the royal crown on her head, and he made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 And he ordered a magnificent feast to be prepared for all the rulers, and for his servants, because of the union and wedding of Esther. And he gave a holiday to all the provinces, and he bestowed gifts befitting of princely generosity.
19 And when the virgins were sought for the second time and gathered together, Mordecai remained at the king’s gate.
20 Esther had not yet declared her native land and her people, according to his command. For whatever he instructed, Esther observed. And so she did all things as she had become accustomed in the time when he raised her from early childhood.
21 Therefore, at that time, when Mordecai was staying at the king’s gate, Bagatha and Thara, two of the king’s eunuchs, who were gatekeepers and who presided over the first entryway of the palace, were angry, and they decided to rise up against the king and kill him.
22 But Mordecai did not keep this secret, and immediately he reported it to queen Esther, and she reported it to the king in Mordecai’s name, who had brought the matter to her.
23 It was inquired into and discovered, and they were both hanged on a gallows. And it was committed to the histories and the chronicles which are delivered in the sight of the king.
1 After this, king Artaxerxes exalted Haman, the son of Hammedatha, who was of Agag lineage, and he set his throne above all the rulers whom he had.
2 And all the king’s servants, who passed by the doors of the palace, bent their knees and adored Haman, for so the ruler had instructed them. Only Mordecai did not bend his knee, nor adore him.
3 The king’s servants, who presided over the doors of the palace, said to him, “Why do you, more than the others, not observe the king’s command?”
4 And when they were saying this frequently, and he would not listen to them, they reported it to Haman, desiring to know whether he would continue in his resolution, for he had told them that he was a Jew.
5 Now when Haman had heard this, and had proved by a test that Mordecai did not bend his knee to him, nor adore him, he was very angry.
6 And he considered it pointless to lay his hands on Mordecai alone, for he had heard that he was part of the Jewish people. And so he wanted more: to destroy the entire nation of the Jews, who were in the kingdom of Artaxerxes.
7 In the first month, which is called Nisan, in the twelfth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, the lot was cast into an urn, which in Hebrew is called Pur, in the presence of Haman, to determine on what day and in which month the Jewish people should be destroyed. And it turned out to be the twelfth month, which is called Adar.
8 And Haman said to king Artaxerxes, “There is a people dispersed throughout all the provinces of your kingdom and separated one from another, who make use of unusual laws and ceremonies, and who, in addition, show contempt for the king’s ordinances. And you know very well that it is not expedient for your kingdom that they should become insolent through independence.
9 If it pleases you, declare that they may be destroyed, and I will weigh out ten thousand talents to the keepers of your treasury.”
10 And so the king took the ring that he used, from his own hand, and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha, of Agag lineage, enemy of the Jews.
11 And he said to him, “Let the silver, which you promise, be for yourself. As for the people, do with them as it pleases you.”
12 And the scribes of the king were summoned, in the first month Nisan, on the thirteenth day of the same month. And it was written, as Haman had commanded, to all the king’s governors, and to the judges of the provinces, and to various peoples, so that each people could read and hear according to their various languages, in the name of king Artaxerxes. And the letters were sealed with his ring.
13 These were sent by the king’s messengers to all the provinces, so as to kill and destroy all the Jews, from children all the way to the elderly, even little children and women, on one day, that is, on the thirteenth of the twelfth month, which is called Adar, and to plunder their goods, even their necessities.
1 Assemble, be gathered together, O people not worthy to be loved.
2 Until the decree settles accounts, the day like dust is passing away, before which the wrath of the fury of the Lord may overcome you, before which the day of the anger of the Lord may overcome you.
3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth; you who have been working are his judgment. Seek the just, seek the meek. So then, in some way, you might be hidden in the day of the fury of the Lord.
4 For Gaza will be destroyed, and Ashkelon will be in the desert; they will expel Ashdod at midday, and Ekron will be eradicated.
5 Woe to you who inhabit the coast of the sea, you people of perdition. The word of the Lord is over you, Canaan, the land of the Philistines, and I will disperse you, so that not one inhabitant will be left.
6 And the coastline of the sea will be a resting place for shepherds and a fence line for cattle.
7 And it will be the line of him who will remain from the house of Judah. There they will pasture. In the houses of Ashkelon, they will rest towards evening. For the Lord their God will visit them, and he will turn away their captivity.
8 I have heard about the disgrace of Moab and the blasphemies of the sons of Ammon, by which they have defamed my people and have been magnified beyond their borders.
9 Because of this, as I live, says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Moab will be like Sodom, and the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah, like the dryness of thorns, and piles of salt, and a desert, all the way to eternity. The remnant of my people will despoil them, and the residue of my nation will possess them.
10 This will come upon them for their arrogance, because they have blasphemed and have been magnified over the people of the Lord of hosts.
11 The Lord will be a horror over them, and he will reduce all the gods of the earth. And they will adore him, each man from his own place, all the islands of the Gentiles.
12 Even so, you Ethiopians, you will be executed by my sword.
13 And he will extend his hand over the North, and he will destroy Assur. And he will set the Beautiful in the wilderness, and in an impassable place, and like a desert.
14 And flocks will lie down in its midst, all the beasts of the Gentiles. And the pelican and the hedgehog will stay at its threshold; the voice of the singing bird will be at the window, with the crow above its threshold, for I will diminish her strength.
15 This is the glorious city, dwelling in trust, which said in her heart, “I am and there is no one other than me.” How has she become a lair for beasts in the desert? All who pass through her will hiss and wag their hand.
1 Woe to the provocatrix and the redeemed city, the dove.
2 She has not heeded the voice, nor has she accepted discipline. She has not trusted in the Lord; she did not draw near to her God.
3 Her leaders are in her midst like roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves; they leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are crazed; men without faith. Her priests have polluted what is holy; they have acted unjustly against the law.
5 The just Lord is in their midst; he will not do iniquity. In the morning, in the morning, he will bring his judgment into the light, and it will not be hidden. But the impious one has not known shame.
6 I have dispersed the nations, and their towers have been torn down. I have made their ways deserts, until there were none who passed through. Their cities have become desolate, with no man remaining, nor any inhabitant.
7 I said: Nevertheless, you will fear me; you will accept discipline. And her dwelling place will not perish, despite all the things about which I have visited her. Yet truly, they arose with the dawn and corrupted all their thoughts.
8 Because of this, expect me, says the Lord, in the day of my resurrection in the future, for my judgment is to gather together the Gentiles, and to collect the kingdoms, and to pour out over them my indignation, all the fury of my anger. For by the fire of my zeal, all the earth will be devoured.
9 For then I will restore to the people a chosen lip, so that all may invoke the name of the Lord and may serve him with one shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my supplicants, the sons of my diaspora, will carry a gift to me.
11 In that day, you will not be ashamed over all of your inventions, by which you have transgressed against me. For then I will take away from your midst your arrogant boasters, and you will no longer be exalted on my holy mountain.
12 And I will bequeath into your midst a poor and needy people, and they will hope in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel will not do iniquity, nor speak lies, and a deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouth. For they will pasture and will recline, and there will be no one to strike them with terror.
14 Give praise, daughter of Zion. Shout joyfully, Israel. Rejoice and exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem.
15 The Lord has taken away your judgment; he has turned aside your foes. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall no longer fear evil.
16 In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, “Do not be afraid,” and to Zion, “Do not let your hands be weakened.”
17 The Lord your God is the strength in your midst; he will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. In his love, he will be silent. He will exult over you with praise.
18 The triflers who withdrew from the law, I will gather together, because they were from you, so that you may no longer suffer disgrace over them.
19 Behold, I will execute all who have afflicted you in that time, and I will save those who are lame, and I will gather together her who had been cast out. And I will place them in praise and in renown, in all the land where they had been put to shame,
20 in that time, when I will lead to you, and in the time when I will gather for you. For I will deliver you into renown and into praise, among all the peoples of the earth, when I will have converted your captivity before your very eyes, says the Lord.
1 The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
2 The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
3 With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.
4 The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.
5 The Lord at thy right hand hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He shall judge among nations, he shall fill ruins: he shall crush the heads in the land of the many.
7 He shall drink of the torrent in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
1 But I say that, during the time an heir is a child, he is no different from a servant, even though he is the owner of everything.
2 For he is under tutors and caretakers, until the time which was predetermined by the father.
3 So also we, when we were children, were subservient to the influences of the world.
4 But when the fullness of time arrived, God sent his Son, formed from a woman, formed under the law,
5 so that he might redeem those who were under the law, in order that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 Therefore, because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying out: “Abba, Father.”
7 And so now he is not a servant, but a son. But if he is a son, then he is also an heir, through God.
8 But then, certainly, while ignorant of God, you served those who, by nature, are not gods.
9 But now, since you have known God, or rather, since you have been known by God: how can you turn away again, to weak and destitute influences, which you desire to serve anew?
10 You serve the days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest perhaps I may have labored in vain among you.
12 Brothers, I beg you. Be as I am. For I, too, am like you. You have not injured me at all.
13 But you know that, in the weakness of the flesh, I have preached the Gospel to you for a long time, and that your trials are in my flesh.
14 You did not despise or reject me. But instead, you accepted me like an Angel of God, even like Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore, where is your happiness? For I offer to you testimony that, if it could be done, you would have plucked out your own eyes and would have given them to me.
16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 They are not imitating you well. And they are willing to exclude you, so that you might imitate them.
18 But be imitators of what is good, always in a good way, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little sons, I am giving birth to you again, until Christ is formed in you.
20 And I would willingly be present with you, even now. But I would alter my voice: for I am ashamed of you.
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, have you not read the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: one by a servant woman, and one by a free woman.
23 And he who was of the servant was born according to the flesh. But he who was of the free woman was born by the promise.
24 These things are said through an allegory. For these represent the two testaments. Certainly the one, on Mount Sinai, gives birth unto servitude, which is Hagar.
25 For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, which is related to the Jerusalem of the present time, and it serves with her sons.
26 But that Jerusalem which is above is free; the same is our mother.
27 For it was written: “Rejoice, O barren one, though you do not conceive. Burst forth and cry out, though you do not give birth. For many are the children of the desolate, even more than of her who has a husband.”
28 Now we, brothers, like Isaac, are sons of the promise.
29 But just as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
30 And what does Scripture say? “Cast out the woman servant and her son. For the son of a servant women shall not be an heir with the son of a free woman.”
31 And so, brothers, we are not the sons of the servant woman, but rather of the free woman. And this is the freedom with which Christ has set us free.