Esther 9; Esther 10; Acts 7:1-21

1 The king's command and law went into effect on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar. On the day when the Jews' enemies had hoped to overpower them, just the opposite happened. The Jews overpowered those who hated them. 2 In each of King Ahasuerus' provinces the Jews assembled in their cities to attack those who intended to harm them. Not a single person could withstand them; terror of them fell on every nationality. 3 All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the royal civil administrators aided the Jews because they were afraid of Mordecai. 4 For Mordecai [exercised] great power in the palace, and his fame spread throughout the provinces as he became more and more powerful. 5 The Jews put all their enemies to the sword, killing and destroying them. They did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the fortress of Susa the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, 7 including Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 10 They killed these 10 sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. However, they did not seize any plunder. 11 On that day the number of people killed in the fortress of Susa was reported to the king. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, "In the fortress of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men, including Haman's 10 sons. What have they done in the rest of the royal provinces? Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek will also be done." 13 Esther answered, "If it pleases the king, may the Jews who are in Susa also have tomorrow to carry out today's law, and may [the bodies of] Haman's 10 sons be hung on the gallows." 14 The king gave the orders for this to be done, so a law was announced in Susa, and they hung [the bodies of] Haman's 10 sons. 15 The Jews in Susa assembled again on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed 300 men in Susa, but they did not seize any plunder. 16 The rest of the Jews in the royal provinces assembled, defended themselves, and got rid of their enemies. They killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they did not seize any plunder. 17 [They fought] on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar and rested on the fourteenth, and it became a day of feasting and rejoicing. 18 But the Jews in Susa had assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth days of the month. They rested on the fifteenth day of the month, and it became a day of feasting and rejoicing. 19 This explains why the rural Jews who live in villages observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as [a time of] rejoicing and feasting. It is a holiday when they send gifts to one another. 20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all of King Ahasuerus' provinces, both near and far. 21 [He ordered] them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month Adar every year 22 because during those days the Jews got rid of their enemies. That was the month when their sorrow was turned into rejoicing and their mourning into a holiday. They were to be days of feasting, rejoicing, and of sending gifts to one another and the poor. 23 So the Jews agreed to continue the practice they had begun, as Mordecai had written them to do. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. He cast the Pur (that is, the lot) to crush and destroy them. 25 But when the matter was brought before the king, he commanded by letter that the evil plan Haman had devised against the Jews return on his own head and that he should be hanged with his sons on the gallows. 26 For this reason these days are called Purim, from the word Pur. Because of all the instructions in this letter as well as what they had witnessed and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews bound themselves, their descendants, and all who joined with them [to a commitment] that they would not fail to celebrate these two days each and every year according to the written instructions and according to the time appointed. 28 These days are remembered and celebrated by every generation, family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim will not lose their significance in Jewish life and their memory will not fade from their descendants. 29 Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote this second letter with full authority to confirm the letter about Purim. 30 He sent letters with messages of peace and faithfulness to all the Jews who were in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, 31 in order to confirm these days of Purim at their proper time just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established them and just as they had committed themselves and their descendants to the practices of fasting and lamentation. 32 So Esther's command confirmed these customs of Purim, which were then written into the record.
1 King Ahasuerus imposed a tax throughout the land even to the farthest shores. 2 All of his powerful and magnificent accomplishments and the detailed account of Mordecai's great rank to which the king had promoted him, have they not been written in the court record of daily events of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, famous among the Jews, and highly popular with many of his relatives. He continued to seek good for his people and to speak for the welfare of all his kindred.
1 "Is this true?" the high priest asked. 2 "Brothers and fathers," he said, "listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 3 and said to him: Get out of your country and away from your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you. 4 "Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God had him move to this land in which you now live. 5 He didn't give him an inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, but He promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless. 6 God spoke in this way: His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and they would enslave and oppress them for 400 years. 7 I will judge the nation that they will serve as slaves, God said. After this, they will come out and worship Me in this place. 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision. This being so, he fathered Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the 12 patriarchs. 9 "The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him governor over Egypt and over his whole household. 11 Then a famine came over all of Egypt and Canaan, with great suffering, and our forefathers could find no food. 12 When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers the first time. 13 The second time, Joseph was revealed to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Joseph then invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, 75 people in all, 15 and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our forefathers died there, 16 were carried back to Shechem, and were placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17 "As the time was drawing near to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt 18 until a different king ruled over Egypt who did not know Joseph. 19 He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our forefathers by making them leave their infants outside so they wouldn't survive. 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. He was nursed in his father's home three months, 21 and when he was left outside, Pharaoh's daughter adopted and raised him as her own son.
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