Esther 3, 4
1 After these things King Artaxerxes honored Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and elevated him and set his seat above all his friends. 2 All those in the court bowed to him, for thus the king commanded, but Mordecai refused to bow to him. 3 Then those in the court said to Mordecai, “Mordecai, why do you ignore the king’s command?” 4 They said this to him daily, but he did not listen to them. And they informed Haman that Mordecai resisted the words of the king, and that Mordecai had revealed to them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman learned that Mordecai did not bow to him, he became exceedingly angry, 6 and he determined to destroy all the Jews of the kingdom of Artaxerxes. 7 And he made a decree in the twelfth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, and he cast lots to determine the precise day and month to destroy the race of Mordecai on a single day, and the lot fell on the fourteenth day of the month, which is the month of Adar.
8 Then Haman spoke to King Artaxerxes, saying, “There is a certain people scattered among the peoples throughout your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people, and they disregard the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. 9 If it pleases the king, let him make a decree to destroy them. If so, I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king’s treasury.” 10 So the king took off his signet ring and placed it into the hand of Haman in order to seal what was written against the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “Keep the silver, and deal with those people as you wish.”
12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and they wrote, as Haman commanded, to the commanders and the governors in the one hundred twenty-seven provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia, and to the rulers of the nations, in their own language. They wrote in the name of King Artaxerxes, 13 The letter was sent by couriers throughout the kingdom of Artaxerxes to utterly destroy the race of the Jews on a single day, in the twelfth month, which is Adar, and to plunder their possessions.
The Letter Sent to Destroy the Jews
13a The following is a copy of the letter:
The great King Artaxerxes, to the rulers in the hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia, and who hold authority under him, thus decrees: 13b Ruling over many nations, and having gained dominion over all the world, not motivated by the power of authority, but ever conducting myself in moderation and unceasing gentleness, I was desiring to make the lives of my subjects continually tranquil and to maintain the kingdom calm and safe to its furthest borders, and to restore the peace desired by all men. 13c But when I inquired of my counselors how this should be done, Haman, who excels in good sense among us, and has been shown unwavering in good will and unshakeable in fidelity, and has attained the second place in the kingdom, 13d made known to us that there is a race of people full of ill will who are mixed in with all the other races throughout the whole world, whose laws are contrary to all the other nations, and they continually disregard the ordinances of the kings. Thus the joint administration, blamelessly administered by us, cannot be performed.
13e Therefore, we have determined that this people alone is in opposition to every other person, entertaining a strange code of laws, and not disposed to our affairs and perpetrating the worst evils, and thus the kingdom is not able to experience stability. 13f Therefore, we have designated all those made known to you in the letters written by Haman, who is appointed over such matters and who is our second father, to root out and destroy all of them, with their wives and children, without any mercy, sparing no one, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month Adar of this present year— 13g that this race of people, both from before and until now hostile to us, violently going down to death in one day, may afterwards secure for us a time that is tranquil and an undisturbed state of affairs.
14 Copies of the letters were published throughout every province, and an order was given to all nations to be ready on that day. 15 The matter was quickly dispatched also in Susa. And the king and Haman were drinking, but the city was troubled.
Mordecai Enlists Esther’s Aid
1 But Mordecai, learning what had happened, tore his clothes and put on sackcloth, and sprinkled ashes on himself, and running through the square of the city he cried out with a loud voice, “A people who have done no wrong are about to be destroyed!” 2 He went as far as the king’s gate, and there he waited, for it was not allowed for him to enter the courtyard wearing sackcloth and covered in ashes. 3 And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 The queen’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and she was deeply distressed upon hearing of this situation. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them.
5 Then Esther called Hathach, her eunuch who attended to her, and sent him out to learn for herself the details from Mordecai. 7 Mordecai made known to him what had happened, and the offer Haman had made to the king to put ten thousand talents into the treasury to destroy the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the decree posted in Susa concerning their destruction to show it to Esther. He told him to instruct her to go in to the king and make supplication before him, and to plead before him for the people, remembering, said he, “the days of your low estate and how you were raised by my hand; because Haman, second to the king, spoke against us for our death. Call upon the Lord and speak to the king concerning us, and to deliver us from death!” 9 So Hathach came and told her all these words.
10 Then Esther said to Hathach, “Go to Mordecai and say, 11 ‘All the nations of the kingdom know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king who has not been summoned, there is no deliverance for him unless the king holds out his golden scepter to save that person. And I have not been called to go in to the king for thirty days.’ ” 12 So Hathach related all Esther’s words to Mordecai.
13 And Mordecai said to Hathach, “Go and say to Esther, ‘Do not say to yourself that you alone will be saved in the kingdom apart from all the other Jews. 14 For if you choose not to heed this request at this time, help and deliverance for the Jews will arise elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. Besides, who knows whether it is for this occasion you reign as queen?’ ” 15 Then Esther dispatched the one who came to her to Mordecai, saying, 16 “Go and assemble together the Jews in Susa. Fast for me; do not eat or drink for three full days and three full nights. I and my maids will also fast. Then I will go to the king, contrary to the law, even if I am to perish.” 17 So Mordecai went and did all that Esther commanded him.
The Prayer of Mordecai
17a He then beseeched the Lord, remembering all the works of the Lord, and said, 17b “O Lord, Lord, almighty King, all things are under Your power, and there is no one to oppose You in Your desire to save Israel. 17c For You have made heaven and the earth, and every wondrous thing under heaven, and You are the Lord of all, and there is no one who shall resist You, Lord. 17d You know all things: You know, O Lord, that it is not out of disrespect or arrogance or love of honor that I did this, to refuse to bow down to the haughty Haman, for I would have been happy to kiss the soles of his feet for the salvation of Israel. 17e For I did this in order that I not place the glory of man above the glory of God. I will not bow down to anyone but You, my Lord, and I will not do these things out of arrogance.
17f “And now, O Lord God, King, God of Abraham, save Your people, for they look upon us for our destruction, and they desire to destroy Your inheritance from the beginning. 17g Do not disregard Your portion which You redeemed for Yourself out of the land of Egypt. 17h Hear my prayer and be merciful to Your inheritance. Turn our mourning into feasting so we may live and hymn Your name, O Lord. Do not destroy the mouth of those who praise You.”
17i Then all Israel cried out with all their might, for their death was before their eyes.
The Prayer of Esther
17j And Queen Esther, seized with the agony of death, fled to the Lord for refuge. And removing her royal garments, she put on the garments of distress and mourning. Instead of the magnificent perfumes, she covered her head with ashes and dirt. She humbled her body exceedingly. She set aside everything of her worldly joy, and her hair was unkempt. She implored the Lord God of Israel, and said:
17k “O My Lord, You alone are our King. Help me, who am alone and have no help but You! For my risk of danger is in my hand. 17l I have heard from my birth in the tribe of my family that You, O Lord, chose Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers out of all their ancestors, for an everlasting inheritance, and do for them whatever You have spoken. 17m Now we sinned before You, and You have delivered us into the hands of our enemies because we have worshiped their gods. O Lord, You are righteous. 17n But now they are not satisfied with the bitter state of our bondage, but they have pledged to their idols to abolish the decree You have spoken and to destroy Your inheritance, to close the mouths of those who praise You, and to extinguish the glory of Your temple and Your altar, 17o and to open the mouths of the heathen to proclaim the virtues of their false gods, and to extol a human king forever.
17p “O Lord, do not give Your scepter over to those who are not. Do not let them laugh at our fall, but turn their counsel against themselves, and make an example of the one who rules against us. 17q Remember us, O Lord. Manifest Yourself in the time of our affliction, and encourage me, O King of gods and ruler over every power. 17r Grant to my mouth proper words in the presence of the lion, to turn his heart to a hatred of our enemy, so that he and those agreeing with him may perish. 17s Save us by Your hand, and help me who am alone and have no one but You, O Lord.
17t “You know all things, and You know I hate the glory of the lawless and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of every foreigner. 17u You know my necessity, for I abhor the symbol of my proud station which is upon my head on the days when I appear in public, as if it were a menstrual rag, and I do not wear it on the days I am alone. 17v Your handmaid has not eaten at the table of Haman, nor have I honored the banquet of the king, nor drunk the wine of libations. 17w Neither has Your handmaid rejoiced since the day of her elevation, except in You, O Lord, God of Abraham. 17x O God, who have power over all, hear the voice of us in despair, and deliver us from the hand of those acting wickedly, and deliver me from my fear.”
1 A psalm by David, which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, the son of Benjamin.
2 O Lord my God, in You I hope; Save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me,
3 Lest like a lion he snatch away my soul While there is none to redeem or save.
4 O Lord my God, if I have done this, If there is wrongdoing in my hands,
5 If I dealt back evil to those dealing evil to me, Then may I fall empty because of my enemies,
6 Then may the enemy pursue and overtake my soul, And trample down my life to the ground, And make my glory settle in the dust. (Pause)
7 Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; Be exalted to the very boundaries of my enemies; Awaken, O Lord my God, in the ordinance You commanded,
8 So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You, And because of this, return on high.
9 The Lord shall judge the people; Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, And according to the innocence within me.
10 Bring an end to the wickedness of sinners, And keep straight the righteous; For God examines hearts and reins.
11 My righteous help is from God, Who saves the upright in heart.
12 God is a righteous, strong, and patient judge, Not bringing down wrath every single day.
13 If You do not return, he will polish his sword; He stretched his bow and readied it,
14 And he readied his instruments of death And prepared his arrows to kindle a fire.
15 Behold, he suffered the pains of childbirth in unrighteousness; He conceived pain and brought forth lawlessness;
16 He opened up a pit and dug it out, And he will fall into the hole he made.
17 The pain shall return on his own head, And his wrongdoing shall come down on his crown.
18 I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness And will sing to the name of the Lord Most High.
Proverbs of Solomon 1
Wisdom Speaks Out
20 Wisdom sings in the streets; She moves boldly in the squares.
21 She preaches on high city walls And sits at the gates of lords. At the gates of a city she boldly says,
22 “So long a time as the simple hold fast to righteousness, They shall not be ashamed;
23 But those without discernment, since they are desirous of arrogance, And are become ungodly, they hate perception, And are become subject to reproofs.
24 Behold, I shall bring forth upon you the utterance of my breath, And I shall teach you my word.
26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.
27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.
29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
30 But God raised Him from the dead.
31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.
33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’
34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’
35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
41 ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’ ”
42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Apostles to the Gentiles
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.
50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.
52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
2 Replies to “Day 187 – July 6, 2022”
Good morning Father,
CHRIST truly is in our midst! Thank you so much for this morning’s readings. Have a blessed and happy day and weekend.
Yours in CHRIST,
Thank God. Blessings for us all. Thank you, Louise.