12a The following is a copy of the letter:
12b The great King Artaxerxes, to the governors of the provinces in the hundred twenty-seven satrapies, from India to Ethiopia, and to the faithful to our interests: Greetings!
12c Many of those who have been frequently honored in the great kindness of their benefactors have become high-minded; not only do they seek to do harm to our subjects, but being unable to bear such a measure, they undertake to plot against their own benefactors. 12d Not only do they drive out gratitude from among men, but also being puffed up by those who are unacquainted with goodness, they suppose they will escape the vengeance of the all-seeing God. 12e And often, many of those who have been appointed to positions of authority, being entrusted to manage the affairs of friends and having been given a position of authority as an encouragement, have become accessories to the shedding of innocent blood; 12f and they have involved them in circumstances without remedy by deceiving with false arguments the benign kindness of the rulers. 12g And it is possible to observe this, not so much from examining the ancient traditions, as by your learning from the wicked deeds accomplished in your midst by the pestilential influence of those unworthy of holding power. 12h We must be on guard for the future, that we may maintain the kingdom undisturbed and peaceful for all the people, 12i making the most of changes, and always judging fairly in the matters coming to our attention.
12j Thus Haman, the son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian, certainly not of Persian blood, but differing greatly from our kindness, and having been hospitably received by us, 12k received such a large share of the benevolence which we have for all peoples that he was even publicly proclaimed to be our father, reverenced by all; he attained the rank of second to the royal throne. 12l But unable to bear his dignity, he endeavored to deprive us of our kingdom and our life. 12m And by very twisted methods of deception, he demanded the destruction of our deliverer and constant benefactor, Mordecai, and Esther, the blameless consort of our kingdom, together with their whole race. 12n For through these ways, he expected to catch the nation of the Persians undefended, and to guide the Macedonians to victory. 12o However, we find that the Jews, who have been consigned to destruction by this terribly wicked man, are not criminals, but live by most just laws. 12p We find them to be children of the Most High, Most Mighty, Living God, who has guided the kingdom both for us and our forefathers in the most excellent manner.
12q Therefore, you will do well to disregard the letters sent by Haman the son of Hammedatha, because he who has produced these has been hanged at the gates of Susa, along with his whole household. For God Almighty, who rules over all things, swiftly rendered a just judgment on him.
12r Therefore, post a copy of this document publicly in every place, making it known that the Jews are to follow their own customs; and join in supporting them, so that on the day set for their destruction, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month Adar, they may defend themselves against those who would attack them. 12s For God, who holds power over all things, has made this a day of gladness for them instead of a day of the destruction of a chosen race. 12t Therefore, celebrate this outstanding day among your named feasts with all rejoicing, so that both now and in the future it may be deliverance for us and for the well-inclined Persians; and for those who plot destruction against us, a remembrance of destruction. 12u And every city or province whatsoever which shall not act in accordance with these things shall be mercilessly destroyed with spear and fire; it shall be made impassable not only to men, but even to wild animals and birds forever. 13 Let copies of the decree be posted conspicuously throughout the kingdom, and let all the Jews be ready on that day to fight against those who oppose them.
The Posting of the New Decree
14 So horsemen were sent out quickly to carry out the king’s commands, and the decree was also posted in Susa.
15 Then Mordecai went out robed in royal raiment, having a gold crown and a diadem of fine purple linen; and seeing him, the people of Susa rejoiced. 16 And there was light and gladness for the Jews. 17 In every city and province where the decree was published, where the proclamation was posted, there was joy and gladness among the Jews—feasting and good cheer. And many of the Gentiles were circumcised and lived in the Jewish way, because of fear of the Jews.
The Jews Defeat Their Enemies
1 Now in the twelfth month, on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, the decree written by the king arrived. 2 On that day those in opposition were destroyed by the Jews, for fearing them, no one resisted. 3 For the leaders of the satraps, the sovereigns, and the royal scribes honored the Jews, and the fear of Mordecai weighed on them, 4 for the order of the king had come down that Mordecai should be acknowledged throughout the kingdom. 5 And in the city of Susa, the Jews killed five hundred men. 6 These included Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 7 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 8 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha— 9 the ten sons of Haman, son of Hamadatha, the enemy of the Jews. They ravaged them. 10 On that day, the number of those killed in Susa was reported to the king.
11 Then the king said to Esther, “The Jews have killed five hundred men in the city of Susa. How do you think they have made out in the surrounding lands? What more do you yet desire, so that it will be done for you?” 12 Esther said to the king, “Let the Jews be granted the opportunity to do the same tomorrow in order to hang the sons of Haman.” 13 And he permitted this to be done, and he set out for the Jews of the city the bodies of the sons of Haman to hang. 14 Then the Jews gathered together in Susa on the fourteenth of Adar and killed three hundred men, but they plundered nothing.
15 The rest of the Jews throughout the kingdom assembled and came to the aid of one another, and they had rest from their enemies, for they killed fifteen thousand of them on the thirteenth of Adar, but they plundered nothing. 16 Then they rested on the fourteenth of that month, and observed it as a day of rest with joy and gladness.
17 And the Jews in the city of Susa also gathered together on the fourteenth, but did not rest from their enemies, but they observed the fifteenth with joy and gladness. 18 This is why the Jews scattered in every foreign land observe the fourteenth of Adar with gladness as a holiday, sending parcels to their neighbors. But those living in the major cities keep the fifteenth of Adar as a holiday, sending parcels to their neighbors.
The Feast of Purim
19 Mordecai wrote these things in a book and sent it to all the Jews in the kingdom of Artaxerxes, to those both near and far, 20 to establish these days as holidays, and to observe both the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Adar— 21 for on these days the Jews had rest from their enemies. Thus Adar is the month which was turned from mourning into joy, and from grief into a holiday; to celebrate the whole time with feasting and gladness, sending parcels to friends and to the poor.
22 The Jews accepted everything just as Mordecai wrote to them: 23 how Haman the son of Hamadatha, the Macedonian, warred against them; how he had made a decree and cast lots to exterminate them; 24 how he had gone to the king telling him to hang Mordecai; and how all the evils he plotted against the Jews came upon himself, and how he was hanged, he and his children. 25 Therefore these days were called Purim—on account of the lots (because in their language they are called pur), because of the words of this letter, and because of all they had suffered on account of these things and all that had happened to them.
26 Mordecai established it, and the Jews took it upon themselves, their descendants, and upon those joining with them not to do otherwise. And these days are to be a memorial throughout every generation, and city, and family, and province. 27 Thus these days of Purim shall be observed forever, and their remembrance shall not cease in any generation. 28 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew wrote down the many things they had done and the truthfulness of the command of Purim. 29 And Mordecai and Queen Esther established it for themselves, establishing it at that time according to their soundness of mind and their purpose. 30 Esther established it by a command forever, and it was written for a memorial.
1 And the king levied tribute upon his kingdom both by land and sea. 2 And his power and valor, the riches and the glory of his kingdom, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Persia and Media for a memorial. 3 And Mordecai was next to King Artaxerxes, and he was great in the kingdom and honored by the Jews; and being beloved, he set forth in detail the way of life to all his people.
3a And Mordecai said, “These things were from my God. 3b For I recall the dream which I had concerning these things, and not one detail of them has failed.
3c “There was a small spring that became a river; there was light and the sun and much water. The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen. 3d The two serpents are Haman and I. 3e The nations are the Gentiles gathering together to destroy the name of the Jews. 3f And my nation, which cried out to God and was delivered, is Israel. For the Lord has saved His people, and the Lord has rescued us from all these evils. And God performed signs and great wonders, which have not happened among the Gentiles.
3g “On account of this, He made two lots, one for the people of God and one for the Gentiles. 3h And these two lots came in the hour, and in the time, and in the day of judgment before God and among all the Gentiles. 3i And God remembered His people and vindicated His inheritance. 3j And they shall observe these days in the month of Adar, the fourteenth and fifteenth day of that month. They shall gather together with joy and gladness before God throughout all generations forever among His people Israel.”
3k In the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who said he was a priest and a Levite, and Ptolemy his son brought in the letter of Purim, which they declared existed, and that Lysimachus, the son of Ptolemy, who was in Jerusalem, had translated it.
1 For the End; concerning the hidden things of the Son; a psalm of David.
2 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your wondrous things;
3 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
4 When my enemy turns backward, They shall be feeble and perish before Your face.
5 For You maintain my judgment and my right; You sit upon the throne, judging in righteousness.
6 You rebuke the nations, and the ungodly man destroys himself; You blotted out their name, in their lifetime and unto ages of ages;
7 The swords of the enemy are completely forsaken, And You pulled down their cities; Their memory was destroyed with a noise.
8 But the Lord abides forever; He prepared His throne in judgment,
9 And He shall judge the world in righteousness; He shall judge the peoples in uprightness.
10 The Lord is also a refuge for the poor man, A helper in seasons of affliction;
11 And let those who know Your name put their hope in You; For You, O Lord, do not forsake those who seek You.
12 Sing to the Lord who dwells in Zion. Proclaim His dealings among the nations,
13 For He who avenges blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the poor.
14 Have mercy on me, O Lord, and see how my enemies have humbled me, You who raise me up from the gates of death,
15 That I may proclaim all Your praises In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.
16 The nations are trapped in the destruction they caused; Their foot is caught in the trap they hid.
17 The Lord is known in the judgments He makes; The sinner is caught in the works of his hands. (Pause)
Proverbs of Solomon 1
30 For it shall be, when you shall call upon me, I will not listen to you;
31 Evil men will seek me, but not find me, For they hate wisdom, and choose not the fear of the Lord.
32 Neither do they wish to follow my counsels, But despise my reproofs.
33 Therefore, they shall eat the fruits of their own way And be filled with their own ungodliness.
34 For since they wrong the simple, they shall be killed, And a close examination shall destroy the ungodly.
35 But he who obeys me shall dwell in hope, And shall be at rest without fear from every evil.”
Circumcision in Antioch
1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.
4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
The Council in Jerusalem
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,
9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.
13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me:
14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.
15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.’
18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.
19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”