My tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all day long. Psalm 35:28

Esther 2-4

Esther 2

Seeking Vashti’s Successor

1 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then the king’s servants who were serving him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. 3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, to the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, keeper of the harem. Let beauty treatments be given to them, 4 and let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.”

This pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

5 There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6 who had been taken captive from Jerusalem with the other captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had taken.

7 He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Esther Finds Favor

8 So, when the king’s command and decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to the custody of Hegai, Esther was taken into the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the harem.

9 The maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her beauty products and portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given to her from the king’s house. He moved her and her maidens to the best place in the harem.

10 Esther had not made known her people nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make it known. 11 Mordecai walked every day in front of the court of the harem, to find out how Esther was doing and what would become of her.

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying women). 13 The young woman then came to the king like this: whatever she desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s house. 14 In the evening she went, and the next day she returned into the second harem, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who kept the concubines. She would not return to the king unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.

15 Now when the turn came for Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the keeper of the harem, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her.

16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

Esther Becomes Queen

17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

18 Then the king gave a great feast for all his princes and his servants, Esther’s feast, and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty.

19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet made known her relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him.

Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy

21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and sought to assassinate King Ahasuerus. 22 This became known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 When this matter was investigated, and it was found to be true, they were both hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king’s presence.

Esther 3

Haman Plots against the Jews

1 After these events King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay him homage.

3 Then the king’s servants, who were in the king’s gate, said to Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s commandment?”

4 Now it came to pass, though they spoke to Mordecai daily, he would not listen to them, so they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would be acceptable, for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down, nor pay him homage, Haman was full of rage. 6 But he loathed the thought of punishing Mordecai alone, for they had made known to Haman, Mordecai’s ethnicity. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, all Mordecai’s people.

7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, and chose the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different from other people’s. They do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not beneficial to the king to allow them to remain. 9 If it pleases the king, let it be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who are in charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”

10 The king took his ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.

11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.”

12 Then the king’s scribes were called in on the thirteenth day of the first month; and all that Haman commanded was written to the king’s local governors, and to the governors who were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every province according to its writing, and to every people in their language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with the king’s ring.

13 Letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, kill, and to annihilate, all Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder their possessions.

14 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out in haste by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was in confusion.

Esther 4

Mordecai Requests Esther’s Help

1 Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, he tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and wailed loudly and bitterly. 2 He came before the king’s gate, for no one is allowed inside the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 In every province, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4 Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her this, and the queen was exceedingly grieved. She sent clothing to Mordecai to replace his sackcloth, but he did not receive it. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai to find out what this was about and why it was happening.

6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai, to the city square which was before the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him of all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in Susa to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to explain it to her, and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to plead before him, for her people.

9 Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner court without being called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except those to whom the king might hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. I have not been called to come in to the king these 30 days.”

12 They told Esther’s words to Mordecai. 13 Then Mordecai asked them to return this answer to Esther: “Don’t think to yourself that you will escape in the king’s house any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

15 Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Susa, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. I and my maidens will also fast the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Observing the Lord’s Supper

17 But in these instructions I am giving you, I cannot praise you. You come together, not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be divisions among you, so that those who are approved may be revealed among you. 20 When therefore you assemble together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat, 21 for in your dining each one takes his own supper first. One is hungry, and another is drunk. 22 What, do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the assembly of God and put those to shame who do not have enough? What shall I tell you? Shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you.

23 For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. 24 When he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25 In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not discern the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. 31 For if we discerned ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come.

Psalm 35:13-28

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth.
I afflicted my soul with fasting.
My prayer returned into my own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though it had been my friend or my brother.
I bowed down in mourning, as one who mourns his mother.

15 But in my adversity, they rejoiced, and gathered together.
The attackers gathered together against me, and I did not know it.
They tore at me, and did not cease.
16 Like the profane mockers in feasts,
they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 Lord, how long will you look on?
Rescue me from their destruction,
my precious life from the lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly.
I will praise you among many people.
19 Do not let those who are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me,
neither let those who hate me without cause wink their eyes.
20 For they do not speak peace,
but they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
21 Yes, they opened their mouth wide against me.
They said, “Aha! Aha! Our eyes have seen it!”

22 You have seen it, Lord. Do not keep silent.
Lord, do not be far from me.
23 Wake up! Rise up to defend me,
My God and my Lord, defend me and my cause!
24 Vindicate me, Lord my God, according to your righteousness.
Do not let them gloat over me.
25 Do not let them say in their heart,
“Aha! That’s the way we wanted it!”
Do not let them say, “We have devoured him!”

26 Let them be disappointed and confounded together who rejoice at my calamity.
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me.
27 Let those who favor my righteous cause
shout for joy and be glad.
Yes, let them say continually, “May the Lord be magnified,
who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant!”

28 My tongue shall talk of your righteousness
and of your praise all day long.

Proverbs 21:19-20

19 It is better to dwell in a desert land,
than with a contentious and fretful woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise;
but a foolish man swallows it up.

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