1I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers.2But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.3And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”4They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”5If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.6They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.7Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.8Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified.9For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.10The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.11But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.13At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.14The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,17saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.18The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”19Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.
1This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush :2At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa,3and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.4For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.5When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa.6The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones.7Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality.8By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.9Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.10On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas—11to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.12But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.13Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times14and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.15“According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”16Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes.17For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’18This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.19“Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.20Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”21The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed.22He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.
1Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.2Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.3Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.4Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.5Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,6you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.7He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.8He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,9the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.10He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:11“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”12When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it,13they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.14He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:15“Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”16He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food;17and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave.18They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons,19till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.20The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free.21He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed,22to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.23Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.24The LORD made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes,25whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.