Three things will last: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Esther 8-10

Esther 8

Mordecai is Advanced

1 On that day, King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the Jews’ enemy, to Esther the queen. Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. 2 The king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

3 Esther spoke yet again before the king and fell down at his feet and begged him with tears to stop the mischief of Haman the Agagite and his plan that he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king held out to Esther the golden scepter. So Esther arose and stood before the king. 5 She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and this seems right to the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure seeing the disaster that would come to my people? How can I endure seeing the destruction of my relatives?”

Xerxes’ Decree

7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he laid his hand on the Jews. 8 Write also to the Jews, as it pleases you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring, for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may not be reversed by any man.”

9 Then the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month Sivan, on the the 23rd day of the month, and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews, and to the local governors, and the governors and princes of the provinces which are from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to every province according to its writing, and to every people in their language, and to the Jews in their writing and in their language.

10 He wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s ring and sent letters by courier on horseback, riding on royal horses that were bred from swift steeds. 11 In those letters, the king granted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and to defend their life, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their women and children, and to plunder their possessions, 12 in one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

13 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that the Jews should be ready for that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 So the couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. The decree was given out in the citadel of Susa.

15 Mordecai went from the presence of the king in royal clothing of blue and white and with a great crown of gold and with a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and was glad. 16 The Jews had light, gladness, joy, and honor. 17 In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had gladness, joy, a feast, and a good day. Many from among the peoples of the land became Jews, for the fear of the Jews was fallen on them.

Esther 9

The Jews Destroy their Enemies

1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the month, when the king’s commandment and his decree was about to be executed, on the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to conquer them, (but as it turned out, the opposite happened, and the Jews conquered those who hated them), 2 the Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, to lay hands on those who wanted to harm them. No one could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen on all the people.

3 All the leaders of the provinces, the local governors, the governors, and those who did the king’s business helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces, for the man, Mordecai, grew greater and greater.

5 The Jews struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword and with slaughter and destruction and did what they wanted to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men. 7 They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy, but they did not lay their hand on the plunder.

11 On that day, the number of those who were slain in the citadel of Susa was brought before the king.

Haman’s Sons Hanged

12 The king said to Esther the queen, “The Jews have slain and destroyed 500 men in the citadel of Susa, including the ten sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your further request? It shall be done.”

13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Susa to do tomorrow also according to today’s decree and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”

14 The king commanded this to be done. A decree was given out in Susa, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. 15 The Jews who were in Susa gathered together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar and killed 300 men in Susa, but they did not lay their hand on the plunder. 16 The other Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered together, defended their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they did not lay their hand on the plunder.

17 This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

The Feast of Purim Instituted

18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled together on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth days of the month, and on the fifteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, a good day and a day of sending presents of food to one another.

20 Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month Adar yearly, 22 as the days in which the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned to them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day, that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy.

23 The Jews accepted the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, 24 because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast “Pur”, that is the lot, to consume them and destroy them, 25 but when this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked plan, which he had planned against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 Therefore they called these days “Purim” from the word “Pur.”

Therefore because of all the words of this letter and of that which they had seen concerning this matter and that which had come to them, 27 the Jews established and imposed on themselves, and on their descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it should not fail that they would keep these two days according to what was written and according to its appointed time every year, 28 and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their memory perish from their offspring,

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed and as they had imposed upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fasting and their cry.

32 The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.

Esther 10

Tribute to Xerxes and Mordecai

1 King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 All the acts of his power and of his might, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus and great among the Jews and accepted by the multitude of his brothers, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his descendants.

1 Corinthians 13

What Love Is

1 If I speak in the languages of men and angels, but do not have love, I am but a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and have all knowledge, and if I have faith so great as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all of my possessions away to feed the poor, and if I martyr myself in glory, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love suffers patiently.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
It does not brag.
It is not proud.
5 It is not rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not easily provoked.
Of wrongs, it keeps no records.

6 Love finds no joy in injustice: it rejoices in truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. Prophecies will pass. Tongues will cease. Knowledge will vanish. 9 Our knowledge—it’s incomplete. Our prophesies are incomplete. 10 But when what is perfect does come, then what is partial will pass away.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child.
I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. As I grew into adulthood, I put aside childish ways.

12 Our view right now is obscure, as if through a mirror, but when perfection comes, we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I am fully known.

13 Three things will last: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.

Psalm 37:1-19

Do Not Fret because of Evildoers

By David.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
nor be envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Dwell in the land, and you shall indeed be fed.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord.
Trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass:
6 he will make your righteousness shine out like the dawn
and your justice like the noonday sun.
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath.
Do not fret, which only leads to harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait on the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall be no more.
Indeed, though you search for his place, he shall not be there.
11 But the humble shall inherit the earth
and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plot against the just
and gnash at him with their teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at them,
for he sees that their day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn their sword
and have bent their bow,
to cast down the poor and needy,
to slay those who are upright in conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart.
Their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is a little that the righteous have,
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord watches over the upright, every day of their life.
Their inheritance shall endure forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in times of adversity.
In the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

Proverbs 21:23-24

23 Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue
keeps his soul from troubles.
24 The proud and arrogant man—“Scoffer” is his name—
he works in the arrogance of pride.

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