1 Queen Esther also, fearing the danger that was imminent, fled to the Lord.
2 And when she had put aside her royal apparel, she took up garments suitable for weeping and mourning, and instead of various ointments, she covered her head with ashes from burnt dung, and she humbled her body with fasting, and all the aspects of her beauty, she covered with her torn hair.
3 And she begged the Lord God of Israel, saying, “My Lord, who alone is our King, help me, a solitary woman, for there is no other helper but you.
4 My peril is close at hand.
5 I have heard from my father that you, Lord, chose Israel from among all nations and our fathers from among all their former ancestors, to possess them as an everlasting inheritance, and you have done for them just as you said.
6 We have sinned in your sight, and therefore you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies,
7 for we have worshipped their gods. You are just, O Lord.
8 And now they are not content to oppress us with a very difficult servitude, but attributing the strength of their hands to the power of their idols,
9 they want to alter your promises, and erase your inheritance, and close the mouths of those who praise you, and extinguish the glory of your temple and your altar,
10 so that they may open the mouths of the nations, and praise the strength of idols, and proclaim a worldly king in perpetuity.
11 Lord, do not hand over your scepter to that which does not exist, lest they laugh at our ruin, but turn their counsel upon themselves and destroy him who has begun to rage against us.
12 Be mindful, Lord, and show yourself to us in the time of our tribulation, and give me faith, Lord, King of gods and of every power.
13 Grant fitting words to my mouth in the sight of the lion, and transform his heart to hate our enemy, so that both he, and the others who conspire with him, may perish.
14 But free us by your hand, and help me, who has no other helper but you, Lord, who holds the knowledge of all things.
15 And you know that I hate the glory of the wicked, and I detest the bed of the uncircumcised, and of all outsiders.
16 You know my necessity, that I loathe the sign of my exaltation and glory, which is on my head in the days of my exhibition, and that I detest it like a menstruous rag and do not wear it in the days of my silence,
17 and that I have not eaten at Haman’s table, nor has the king’s feasts pleased me, and that I have not drunk the wine of his libations,
18 and that your handmaid has never rejoiced, from the time that I was carried here until this very day, except in you, Lord, God of Abraham.
19 O God, whose strength is above all things, heed the voice of those who have no other hope, and free us from the hand of the wicked, and rescue me from my fear.”
1 So, on the third day, she put away her ornate apparel, and surrounded herself with glory.
2 And when she was shining in a royal manner, and had called upon God, the Guide and Savior of all, she took two maids with her.
3 And she was leaning upon one of them, as if, out of delicateness and great tenderness, she were not able to bear carrying her own body.
4 And the other maid followed her lady, carrying her garment flowing on the ground.
5 Yet she had a rosy color pouring over her face, for, with gracious and bright eyes, she restrained a sorrowful soul and very great fear.
6 And so, entering hesitantly through a series of doors, she stood opposite the king, where he sat upon his royal throne, clothed in royal robes, and shining with gold and precious stones. And he was terrible to behold.
7 And when he had lifted up his face, and with burning eyes had shown the fury of his heart, the queen collapsed, and her color turned pale, and she rested her exhausted head upon her handmaid.
8 And God changed the king’s spirit into gentleness; quickly and apprehensively, he leapt from his throne, and lifting her up in his arms until she came to herself, he coaxed her with these words:
9 What is the matter, Esther? I am your brother, do not be afraid.
10 You will not die. For this law has not been established for you, but for all others.
11 So approach and touch the scepter.”
12 And since she remained silent, he took the golden scepter and placed it on her neck, and he kissed her and said, “Why do you not speak to me?”
13 She answered, “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was disturbed for fear of your glory.
14 For you, my lord, are great and wonderful, and your face is full of grace.”
15 And while she was speaking, she collapsed again, because she was out of breath.
16 But the king was troubled, and all his servants consoled her.
17 And so, on the third day, Esther had put on her royal apparel and was standing in the atrium of the king’s house, which was inside, opposite the king’s hall, while he was sitting on his throne in the council room of the palace, opposite the entrance of the house.
18 And when he saw Esther the queen standing there, she pleased his eyes, and he extended toward her the golden scepter, which he held in his hand, and she approached and kissed the top of his scepter.
19 And the king said to her, “What do you wish, queen Esther? What is your request? Even if you ask for half of the kingdom, it will be given to you.”
20 But she responded, “If it pleases the king, I beg you to come with me today, and Haman with you, to the feast that I have prepared.”
21 And immediately the king said, “Call Haman quickly, so that he may obey Esther’s will. And so the king and Haman came to the feast, which the queen had prepared for them.
22 And the king said to her, after he had drunk wine abundantly, “What are you asking for that should be given to you? And which things do you require? Even if you request half of my kingdom, you will obtain it.”
23 Esther answered him, “My petition and prayer is this:
24 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to give me what I ask, and to fulfill my petition, let the king and Haman come to the feast which I have prepared for them, and tomorrow I will open my mind to the king.”
25 And so Haman went out that day joyful and cheerful. And when he saw that Mordecai was sitting in front of the gate of the palace, and that he alone did not get up for him, but did not so much as move from the place where he sat, he was very indignant.
26 But, concealing his anger and returning into his house, he gathered to him his friends and Zeresh, his wife.
27 And he explained to them the greatness of his riches, and the influence of his sons, and how, with such glory, the king had elevated him above all his rulers and servants.
28 And after this, he said, “Also, queen Esther has called no one else to the feast with the king, except me. And I will be dining with the king again tomorrow.
29 And though I have all these things, I consider that I have nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting in front of the king’s gate.”
30 And Zeresh his wife and his other friends answered him, “Order a great beam to be prepared, having a height of fifty cubits, and in the morning speak to the king, so that Mordecai may be hanged from it, and so you will go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This advice pleased him, and so he ordered a high cross to be prepared.
1 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of king Darius.
2 And in the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came, by the hand of Haggai the prophet, saying:
3 Speak to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Jesus the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remainder of the people, saying:
4 Who is left among you, who saw this house in its first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not, in comparison to that, as nothing in your eyes?
5 And now be strengthened, Zerubbabel, says the Lord. And be strengthened, Jesus the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And be strengthened, all people of the land, says the Lord of hosts. For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts.
6 And act according to the word that I planted with you when you departed from the land of Egypt. And my Spirit will be in your midst. Do not be afraid.
7 For thus says the Lord of hosts: There is yet one brief time, and I will move heaven and earth, and the sea and the dry land.
8 And I will move all nations. And the Desired of all nations will arrive. And I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.
9 Mine is the silver, and mine is the gold, says the Lord of hosts.
10 Great shall be the glory of this house, the last more than the first, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place, I will bestow peace, says the Lord of hosts.
11 On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, in the second year of king Darius, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying:
12 Thus says the Lord of hosts: the priests question the law, saying:
13 If a man will have carried sanctified flesh in the pocket of his garment, and the top of it touches his bread, or appetizer, or wine, or oil, or any food, shall it be sanctified? But the priests responded by saying, “No.”
14 And Haggai said, “If the polluted in soul will have touched any of all these things, shall it be contaminated?” And the priests responded and said, “It shall be contaminated.”
15 And Haggai answered and he said: Such is this people, and such is this nation before my face, says the Lord, and such is all the work of their hands. And so all that they have offered there has been contaminated.
16 And now, consider in your hearts, from this day and beyond, before stone may be placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord:
17 when you approached a pile of twenty measures, and they became ten, and you entered to the press, to press out fifty bottles, and they became twenty,
18 how I struck you with a burning wind, and a mildew, and a hailstorm, all the works of your hand, yet there was no one among you who returned to me, says the Lord.
19 Set your hearts from this day and into the future, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundations of the temple of the Lord have been uttered, and place it upon your heart.
20 Has the seed been germinated yet? And has the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree still not flourished? From this day on, I will bless you.
21 And the word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai, on the twenty-fourth of the month, saying:
22 Speak to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, saying: I will move both heaven and earth.
23 And I will overturn the throne of kingdoms, and I will crush the strength of the kingdom of the Gentiles. And I will overturn the four-horse chariot, and its rider; and the horses and their riders shall be brought down, a man by the sword of his brother.
24 In that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, my servant, says the Lord, and will set you like a seal, for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.
1 Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.
2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
3 Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
4 To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate and just.
5 Acceptable is the man that sheweth mercy and lendeth: he shall order his words with judgment:
6 Because he shall not be moved for ever.
1 And, brothers, if a man has been overtaken by any offense, you who are spiritual should instruct someone like this with a spirit of leniency, considering that you yourselves might also be tempted.
2 Carry one another’s burdens, and so shall you fulfill the law of Christ.
3 For if anyone considers himself to be something, though he may be nothing, he deceives himself.
4 So let each one prove his own work. And in this way, he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another.
5 For each one shall carry his own burden.
6 And let him who is being taught the Word discuss it with him who is teaching it to him, in every good way.
7 Do not choose to wander astray. God is not to be ridiculed.
8 For whatever a man will have sown, that also shall he reap. For whoever sows in his flesh, from the flesh he shall also reap corruption. But whoever sows in the Spirit, from the Spirit he shall reap eternal life.
9 And so, let us not be deficient in doing good. For in due time, we shall reap without fail.
10 Therefore, while we have time, we should do good works toward everyone, and most of all toward those who are of the household of the faith.
11 Consider what kind of letters I have written to you with my own hand.
12 For as many of you as they desire to please in the flesh, they compel to be circumcised, but only so that they might not suffer the persecution of the cross of Christ.
13 And yet, neither do they themselves, who are circumcised, keep the law. Instead, they want you to be circumcised, so that they may glory in your flesh.
14 But far be it from me to glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision prevails in any way, but instead there is a new creature.
16 And whoever follows this rule: may peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 Concerning other matters, let no one trouble me. For I carry the stigmata of the Lord Jesus in my body.
18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.