1 And this was the text of the letter: “Artaxerxes, the great king from India all the way to Ethiopia, to the leaders and generals of the one hundred twenty-seven provinces, which are subject to his authority, greetings.
2 Although I have reigned over many nations and subjugated the whole world under my realm, I was by no means willing to abuse the greatness of this power, but to govern my subjects with clemency and leniency, so that they would settle into a quiet life, apart from any terror, and delight in peace, as all mortals would choose to do.
3 Yet, in asking my counselors how this might be able to be accomplished, one who excelled the others in wisdom and fidelity, and who was second after the king, named Haman,
4 explained to me that there was a people, scattered throughout the whole world, that used strange laws, and, acting against the customs of all peoples, despised the commandments of kings and violated the harmony of all nations with their dissension.
5 When we had learned this, seeing one nation rebellious against all mankind, having overthrown the usefulness of laws, and going against our orders, and disturbing the peace and harmony of the provinces subject to us,
6 we commanded that whomever Haman, who is chief over all the provinces, and second after the king, and whom we honor in the place of a father, whomever he would point out should be destroyed by their enemies, with their wives and children, and that no one may take pity on them, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month Adar of this present year,
7 so that these guilty men, all on one day, may go down to the underworld, restoring to our empire the peace that they had disturbed.”
8 And the effect of the letters was this: that all provinces would know and prepare for the prescribed day.
9 The couriers, who had been sent, hurried to complete the king’s command, but the edict was hung up in Susa immediately. And the king and Haman celebrated a feast, while all the Jews in the city were weeping.
1 When Mordecai had heard this, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth, strewing ashes on his head, and he cried out with a loud voice in the main street of the city, revealing the anguish of his soul.
2 And he continued with this lamenting, even up to the gate of the palace, for no one clothed with sackcloth is permitted to enter the king’s court.
3 Likewise, in all provinces, towns, and places where the king’s cruel decision arrived, there was extraordinary mourning among the Jews with fasting, wailing, and weeping, with many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed.
4 Then Esther’s maids and eunuchs went in and informed her. When she heard it, she was shocked, and she sent a garment to clothe him and to take away the sackcloth, but he would not accept it.
5 And she sent for Hathach the eunuch, whom the king had appointed to minister to her, and she instructed him to go to Mordecai and to discern from him why he was doing this.
6 And departing, Hathach went to Mordecai, who was standing in the street of the city, in front of the palace entrance.
7 He told him everything that had happened, how Haman had promised to transfer silver into the king’s treasury for the death of the Jews.
8 Also, he gave him a copy of the edict that was hanging up in Susa, so that he would show it to the queen and advise her to go in to the king and beg him on behalf of her people.
9 And Hathach returned and informed Esther of all that Mordecai had said.
10 Remember, he said, “the days of your lowliness, how you were nurtured as if in my hand, because Haman, who is second after the king, has spoken against us to death.
11 And you must call upon the Lord, and speak with the king on our behalf, and free us from death.”
12 She answered him, and ordered him say to Mordecai:
13 All the servants of the king and all the provinces that are under his realm understand that anyone, whether man or woman, who enters the king’s inner court, who has not been summoned, is immediately to be put to death without any delay, unless the king should happen to extend the golden scepter to him, as a sign of clemency, so that he will be able to live. How then can I go in to the king, when, for thirty days now, I have not been called to him?
14 And when Mordecai had heard this, he again sent word to Esther, saying, “Do not think that you will save so much as your own soul, just because you are in the king’s house and are above all the Jews.
15 For, if you remain silent now, the Jews will be delivered through some other opportunity, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for this reason, so that you would be prepared for such a time as this?”
16 And he entrusted her (there was no question but that it was Mordecai) to go in to the king, and to petition on behalf of her people and her native land.
17 And again Esther sent to Mordecai in these words:
18 Go and gather together all the Jews whom you will find in Susa, and pray for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days and three nights, and I will fast with my handmaids similarly, and then I will go in to the king, doing what is against the law, not having been called, and so expose myself to mortal danger.
19 And so Mordecai went, and he did everything that Esther had instructed him.
20 Now Mordecai beseeched the Lord, remembering all his works,
21 and he said, “O Lord, Lord, almighty King, truly all things are possible for you, and there is no one who is able to resist your will, if you would determine to save Israel.
22 You have created heaven and earth, and everything that is contained under the cycle of heaven.
23 You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist your majesty.
24 You know everything, and you know that it was not out of arrogance or indignation or some desire for glory that I did this, so that I refused to adore the very proud Haman.
25 (For I was freely prepared, for the sake of the salvation of Israel, to have willingly kissed even the footsteps of his feet.)
26 But I feared, lest I should transfer the honor of my God to a man, and lest I should adore anyone except my God.
27 And now Lord, King, God of Abraham, may you have mercy on your people because our enemies want to destroy us and to erase your inheritance.
28 Do not despise your portion, which you have redeemed for yourself out of Egypt.
29 Listen to my supplication, and be gracious to your lot and your token, and change our sorrow into gladness, so that, in living, we may praise your name, Lord; and do not close the mouths of those who sing to you.”
30 Likewise, all Israel cried out to the Lord with the same intention and supplication because certain death was hanging over them.
1 In the second year of king Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came, by the hand of Haggai the prophet, to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jesus the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying:
2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: This people claims that the time has not yet arrived for building the house of the Lord.
3 But the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, saying:
4 Is it time for you to dwell in paneled houses, while this house is deserted?
5 And now, thus says the Lord of hosts: Set your hearts upon your ways.
6 You sowed much and have brought in little. You consumed and have not been satisfied. You drank and have not been inebriated. You covered yourselves and have not been warmed. And whoever gathered wages, has put them in a bag with holes.
7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Set your hearts upon your ways.
8 Ascend to the mountain, bring wood and build the house, and it shall be acceptable to me, and I shall be glorified, says the Lord.
9 You have looked for more, and behold, it became less, and you brought it home, and I blew it away. What is the cause of this, says the Lord of hosts? It is because my house is desolate, yet you have hurried, each one to his own house.
10 Because of this, the heavens over you have been prohibited from giving dew, and the earth has been prohibited from giving her sprouts.
11 And I called a drought over the land, and over the mountains, and over the wheat, and over the wine, and over the oil, and whatever the soil would bring forth, and over men, and over beasts of burden, and over all the labor of hands.
12 And Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jesus the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all the remnant of the people heeded the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, just as the Lord their God sent him to them. And the people were fearful before the face of the Lord.
13 And Haggai, a messenger of the Lord among messengers of the Lord, spoke to the people, saying: the Lord says, “I am with you.”
14 And the Lord stirred the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Jesus the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the remainder of all the people. And they entered and performed work in the house of the Lord of hosts their God,
1 I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; in the council of the just: and in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
3 His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
4 He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord:
5 He hath given food to them that fear him. He will be mindful for ever of his covenant:
6 He will shew forth to his people the power of his works.
7 That he may give them the inheritance of the Gentiles: the works of his hands are truth and judgment.
8 All his commandments are faithful: confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity.
9 He hath sent redemption to his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever. Holy and terrible is his name:
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.
1 Stand firm, and do not be willing to be again held by the yoke of servitude.
2 Behold, I, Paul, say to you, that if you have been circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
3 For I again testify, about every man circumcising himself, that he is obligated to act according to the entire law.
4 You are being emptied of Christ, you who are being justified by the law. You have fallen from grace.
5 For in spirit, by faith, we await the hope of justice.
6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision prevails over anything, but only faith which works through charity.
7 You have run well. So what has impeded you, that you would not obey the truth?
8 This kind of influence is not from him who is calling you.
9 A little leaven corrupts the whole mass.
10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will accept nothing of the kind. However, he who disturbs you shall bear the judgment, whomever he may be.
11 And as for me, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still suffering persecution? For then the scandal of the Cross would be made empty.
12 And I wish that those who disturb you would be torn away.
13 For you, brothers, have been called to liberty. Only you must not make liberty into an occasion for the flesh, but instead, serve one another through the charity of the Spirit.
14 For the entire law is fulfilled by one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you are not consumed by one another!
16 So then, I say: Walk in the spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
17 For the flesh desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. And since these are against one another, you may not do whatever you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest; they are: fornication, lust, homosexuality, self-indulgence,
20 the serving of idols, drug use, hostility, contentiousness, jealousy, wrath, quarrels, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, murder, inebriation, carousing, and similar things. About these things, I continue to preach to you, as I have preached to you: that those who act in this way shall not obtain the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance,
23 meekness, faith, modesty, abstinence, chastity. There is no law against such things.
24 For those who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh, along with its vices and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, we should also walk by the Spirit.
26 Let us not become desirous of empty glory, provoking one another, envying one another.