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Esther 6; Esther 7; Esther 8; Acts 6

1 That night sleep escaped the king, so he ordered the book recording daily events to be brought and read to the king. 2 They found the written report of how Mordecai had informed on Bigthana and Teresh, two eunuchs who guarded the [king's] entrance, when they planned to assassinate King Ahasuerus. 3 The king inquired, "What honor and special recognition have been given to Mordecai for this [act]?" The king's personal attendants replied, "Nothing has been done for him." 4 The king asked, "Who's in the court?" Now Haman was just entering the outer court of the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows he had prepared for him. 5 The king's attendants answered him, "See, Haman is standing in the court." "Have him enter," the king ordered. 6 Haman entered, and the king asked him, "What should be done for the man the king wants to honor?" Haman thought to himself, "Who is it the king would want to honor more than me?" 7 Haman told the king, "For the man the king wants to honor: 8 Have them bring a royal garment that the king himself has worn and a horse the king himself has ridden, which has a royal diadem on its head. 9 Put the garment and the horse under the charge of one of the king's most noble officials. Have them clothe the man the king wants to honor, parade him on the horse through the city square, and proclaim before him, 'This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.' " 10 The king told Haman, "Hurry, and do just as you proposed. Take a garment and a horse for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the King's Gate. Do not leave out anything you have suggested." 11 So Haman took the garment and the horse. He clothed Mordecai and paraded him through the city square, crying out before him, "This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor." 12 Then Mordecai returned to the King's Gate, but Haman, overwhelmed, hurried off for home with his head covered. 13 Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, "If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is Jewish, you won't overcome him, because your downfall is certain." 14 While they were still speaking with him, the eunuchs of the king arrived and rushed Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.
1 The king and Haman came to feast with Esther the queen. 2 Once again, on the second day while drinking wine, the king asked Esther, "Queen Esther, whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek, even to half the kingdom, will be done." 3 Queen Esther answered, "If I have obtained your approval, my king, and if the king is pleased, spare my life-[this is] my request; and [spare] my people-[this is] my desire. 4 For my people and I have been sold out to destruction, death, and extermination. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. Indeed, the trouble wouldn't be worth burdening the king." 5 King Ahasuerus spoke up and asked Queen Esther, "Who is this, and where is the one who would devise such a scheme?" 6 Esther answered, "The adversary and enemy is this evil Haman." Haman stood terrified before the king and queen. 7 Angered by this, the king arose from where they were drinking wine and [went to] the palace garden. Haman remained to beg Queen Esther for his life because he realized the king was planning something terrible for him. 8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the house of wine drinking, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, "Would he actually violate the queen while I am in the palace?" As soon as the statement left the king's mouth, Haman's face was covered. 9 Harbona, one of the royal eunuchs, said: "There is a gallows 75 feet tall at Haman's house that he made for Mordecai, who [gave] the report that saved the king." The king commanded, "Hang him on it." 10 They hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's anger subsided.
1 That same day King Ahasuerus awarded Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai entered the king's presence because Esther had revealed her relationship to Mordecai. 2 The king removed his signet ring he had recovered from Haman and gave it to Mordecai, and Esther put him in charge of Haman's estate. 3 Then Esther addressed the king again. She fell at his feet, wept, and begged him to revoke the evil of Haman the Agagite, and his plot he had devised against the Jews. 4 The king extended the golden scepter toward Esther, so she got up and stood before the king. 5 She said, "If it pleases the king, and I have found approval before him, if the matter seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let [a royal edict] be written. Let it revoke the documents the scheming Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, wrote to destroy the Jews who [reside] in all the king's provinces. 6 For how could I bear to see the evil that would come on my people? How could I bear to see the destruction of my relatives?" 7 King Ahasuerus said to Esther the Queen and to Mordecai the Jew, "Look, I have given Haman's estate to Esther, and he was hanged on the gallows because he attacked the Jews. 8 You may write in the king's name whatever pleases you concerning the Jews, and seal it with the royal signet ring. A document written in the king's name and sealed with the royal signet ring cannot be revoked." 9 On the twenty-third day of the third month (that is, the month Sivan), the royal scribes were summoned. Everything was written exactly as Mordecai ordered for the Jews, to the satraps, the governors, and the officials of the 127 provinces from India to Cush. [The edict was written] for each province in its own script, for each ethnic group in its own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in King Ahasuerus' name and sealed [the edicts] with the royal signet ring. He sent the documents by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses bred from the royal racing mares. 11 The king's edict gave the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every ethnic and provincial army hostile to them, including women and children, and to take their possessions as spoils of war. 12 [This would take place] on a single day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province. It was to be published for every ethnic group so the Jews could be ready to avenge themselves against their enemies on that day. 14 On their royal horses, the couriers rode out in haste, at the king's urgent command. The law was also issued in the fortress of Susa. 15 Mordecai went out from the king's presence clothed in royal purple and white, with a great golden crown and a purple robe of fine linen. The city of Susa shouted and rejoiced, 16 and the Jews celebrated with gladness, joy and honor. 17 In every province and every city, wherever the king's command and his law reached, rejoicing and jubilation took place among the Jews. There was a celebration and a holiday.And, many of the ethnic groups of the land professed themselves to be Jews because fear of the Jews had overcome them.
1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, "It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry." 5 The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. 8 Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some from what is called the Freedmen's Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they were unable to stand up against the wisdom and the Spirit by whom he spoke. 11 Then they induced men to say, "We heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God!" 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; so they came up, dragged him off, and took him to the Sanhedrin. 13 They also presented false witnesses who said, "This man does not stop speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. 14 For we heard him say that Jesus, this Nazarene, will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us." 15 And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
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