Day 188 – Esther 5:1-8:12; Psalm 8; Proverbs 1:25–29; Acts 14

Esther 5:1-8:12

1 And it happened on the third day, when she ceased praying, she took off the garments of the solemnity, and put on her glorious apparel. 2 And having become resplendent, appealing to the all-seeing God and Savior, she took with her two of her favorite maids. Upon the one she leaned as an elegant woman and the other maid followed behind her, bearing her train. 3 She was aglow in the perfection of her beauty. Her face was as radiant as it was lovely, but her heart shrank with fear. 4 And having entered through all the doors, she stood face to face with the king. He was sitting on his royal throne, clothed in all his glorious apparel, covered with gold and precious stones. He was awesome. 5 And as he looked up, resplendent in his glory, at the very edge of anger, the queen collapsed, her complexion paled, and she slumped against the head of the maid who went before her. 6 But God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness. And full of great concern, he leapt from his throne and held her in his arms until she recovered. He comforted her with calming words and said to her, 7 “Esther, what is it? I am your brother. Be of good cheer! You are not going to die because of this usual ordinance. Come near!” 8 And lifting his golden scepter, he laid it upon her neck, and he embraced her and said, “Speak to me.”

9 And she said to him, “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was troubled for fear of your majesty, for you, my lord, are awesome, and your face is full of kindness.” 10 But while she was speaking to him, she fainted. And the king was troubled, and all his servants comforted her.

11 And the king said, “What do you want, Esther? What is your request? It shall be granted to you, even up to half my kingdom.” 12 Then Esther said, “Today is my special day. If, therefore, it pleases the king, let both you and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for today.” 13 And the king said, “Have Haman hasten here that we may do what Esther asks.” They both came to the banquet of which Esther spoke.

  Esther’s First Banquet

14 So at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is it, Queen Esther? Whatever you desire will be granted to you.” 15 And she said, “My request and my petition is this: 16 If I find favor in the sight of the king, let the king and Haman also come tomorrow to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do the same.”

17 So Haman went out from the king overjoyed and cheerful, but when Haman saw Mordecai the Jew in the court, he was enraged. 18 And having entered his own home, he called his friends and his wife, Zeresh. 19 And he showed them his wealth and the honor the king had bestowed upon him, how he made him to be first and chief in the kingdom. 20 Haman added, “The queen invited no one else to be with the king at the banquet except me, and I am also invited tomorrow. 21 But these things do not please me when I see Mordecai the Jew in the courtyard.”

22 Then Zeresh his wife and friends said to him, “Have a tree cut down, fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king and let Mordecai be hanged on the tree. But go with the king to the banquet and be merry.” Haman liked what they said, and the tree was made ready.

The King’s Sleepless Night

1 But the Lord made it difficult for the king to sleep that night, and the king commanded his servant to bring in the written records of notable events. 2 And he found the written records about Mordecai, how he had told the king about the two eunuchs of the king when they were keeping guard and sought to lay hands on Artaxerxes. 3 Then the king said, “Has any honor or favor been granted Mordecai?” And the king’s servants said, “Nothing was done for him.”

4 And at the same time the king asked about the good will of Mordecai, behold, Haman entered the courtyard. The king said, “Who is in the courtyard?” Haman had come in to talk to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows he had prepared. 5 And the king’s servants said, “Behold, Haman is standing in the courtyard.” And the king said, “Let him come in.”

The King Honors Mordecai

6 The king said to Haman, “What should I do for a man whom I wish to honor?” And Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor but me?” 7 So Haman said to the king, 8 “As for the man whom the king wishes to honor, have the king’s servant bring the royal robe the king wears, along with the horse he rides, 9 and let these be given to one of the king’s honored friends, and let him clothe the man whom the king loves and then mount him upon the horse. And let it be proclaimed in the city square, saying, ‘Thus it shall be done for every man whom the king honors!’ ” 10 Then the king said to Haman, “You have spoken well; thus you shall do to Mordecai the Jew, the one serving in the courtyard, and let no word you have spoken be overlooked.” 11 So Haman took the robe and the horse and arrayed Mordecai with the robe, and mounted him on the horse; and he went throughout the city square, and proclaimed, saying, “Thus shall it be done to every man whom the king honors.”

12 Mordecai returned to the courtyard, but Haman returned to his own quarters grieving, with his head down. 13 And Haman related these events to his wife Zeresh and his friends. Then his friends and wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you are beginning to fall, is of the Jewish race, you will not be able to defend against him, for the living God is with him.” 14 While they were still speaking, the king’s eunuchs came to hasten Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

  Esther’s Second Banquet

1 So the king and Haman came to the banquet to drink together with the queen. 2 And the king said to Esther on this second day of the banquet, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? What is your petition? Let it be granted to you, even up to half my kingdom.” 3 She said in reply, “If I have found favor in the sight of the king, let my life be given to me at my request, and my people at my petition. 4 For both I and my people are sold into destruction, pillage, and bondage. We and our descendants have already been enslaved as male and female slaves, and I refuse to listen to this, for the accuser of my people is not worthy of the king’s court.” 5 Then the king said, “Who is this who dared to do this thing?” 6 And Esther said, “The enemy is this wicked man, Haman.” Then Haman was troubled before the king and the queen.

Haman Is Hanged

7 The king arose from the banquet and went into the garden, but Haman was pleading with the queen, for he realized that he was in desperate circumstances. 8 The king returned from the garden, and Haman, while entreating the queen, had fallen upon the couch. And the king said, “So! Will you force yourself upon my wife in my own house?” And hearing this, Haman changed in his countenance. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! Haman has prepared a gallows for Mordecai, the one who spoke for the benefit of the king. A gallows fifty cubits high has been set up at Haman’s place.” Then the king said, “Hang him on it!” 10 And Haman was hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king was appeased.

Haman’s Plot Is Thwarted

1 On that day, King Artaxerxes gave Esther everything belonging to Haman the accuser. And Mordecai was summoned before the king, because Esther made known his relationship to her. 2 The king then took the signet ring he had taken from Haman and gave it to Mordecai. Then Esther appointed Mordecai over everything that belonged to Haman.

3 Again she fell down at the feet of the king, and she implored him to remove all the evils Haman had done to the Jews. 4 Then the king held out his golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood beside the king and said, 5 “If it seems good to you, and I have found favor, let a letter be sent out to revoke the letters sent out by Haman, which were written to annihilate all the Jews in your kingdom. 6 For how can I be able to look upon the oppression of my people? How will I endure the destruction of my countrymen?”

7 Then the king said to Esther, “Since I granted you everything that belonged to Haman, and hung him from the gallows because he laid hands on the Jews, what else do you want? 8 Write it yourselves in my name, as it seems good to you, and seal it with my ring; for whatever is written by command of the king and sealed with my ring cannot be revoked.”

9 So the scribes were summoned in the first month, which is Nisan, on the twenty-third day of that same year. For whatever was ordered was written to the Jews, to the local governors, and to the chiefs of the satraps from India as far as Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, to every place according to their own language. 10 So it was written by the authority of the king and sealed with his ring, and the letters were dispatched by couriers. 11 As he commanded by these letters, the Jews were to exercise their own laws in every city, to be of help to each other, and to treat their adversaries and those opposing them as they wished. 12 This was to take effect beginning on one day throughout all the kingdom of Artaxerxes—the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar.

Psalm 8

1 For the End; concerning the winepresses; a psalm by David. 

2 O Lord, our Lord, how wondrous is Your name in all the earth, For Your splendor is exalted far beyond the heavens. 

3 From the mouths of babies and nursing infants You prepared praise because of Your enemies, That You may destroy the enemy and avenger. 

4 For I shall look at the heavens, the works of Your fingers, The moon and stars You established. 

5 What is man that You remember him, Or the son of man that You visit him? 

6 You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor. 

7 You set him over the works of Your hands; You subjected all things under his feet,

8 All sheep and oxen, And besides these, also the animals of the field, 

9 The birds of heaven and the fish of the sea, And the things passing through the paths of the seas. 

10 O Lord, our Lord, how wondrous is Your name in all the earth.

Proverbs of Solomon 1

25 Since I called, but you did not obey, And spoke at length, but you paid no attention, 

26 But made my counsels invalid, And were not persuaded by my reproofs; 

27 Consequently, I will laugh at your annihilation, And will exult when ruin comes to you, 

28 And when confusion reaches you unawares, And overthrow comes like a whirlwind, 

29 And when tribulation and anguish come to you, And when destruction comes to you.

Acts 14

The Church in Iconium, Galatia

1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.

3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,

6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

7 And they were preaching the gospel there.

In Lystra and Derbe, Galatia

8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.

9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,

10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out

15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,

16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.

17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Return Visit

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

Report Back to Antioch

26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

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