Esther 3; Esther 4; Esther 5; Acts 5:22-42

1 After these things, king Assuerus advanced Aman, the son of Amadathi, who was of the race of Agag: and he set his throne above all the princes that were with him. 2 And all the king’s servants, that were at the doors of the palace, bent their knees, and worshipped Aman: for so the emperor had commanded them, only Mardochai did not bend his knee, nor worship him. 3 And the king’s servants that were chief at the doors of the palace, said to him: Why dost thou alone not observe the king’s commandment? 4 And when they were saying this often, and he would not hearken to them, they told Aman, desirous to know whether he would continue in his resolution: for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 Now when Aman had heard this, and had proved by experience that Mardochai did not bend his knee to him, nor worship him, he was exceeding angry. 6 And he counted it nothing to lay his hands upon Mardochai alone: for he had heard that he was of the nation of the Jews, and he chose rather to destroy all the nation of the Jews that were in the kingdom of Assuerus. 7 In the first month (which is called Nisan) in the twelfth year of the reign of Assuerus, the lot was cast into an urn, which in Hebrew is called Phur, before Aman, on what day and what month the nation of the Jews should be destroyed: and there came out the twelfth month, which is called Adar. 8 And Aman said to king Assuerus: There is a people scattered through all the provinces of thy kingdom, and separated one from another, that use new laws and ceremonies, and moreover despise the king’s ordinances: and thou knowest very well that it is not expedient for thy kingdom that they should grow insolent by impunity. 9 If it please thee, decree that they may be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents to thy treasurers. 10 And the king took the ring that he used, from his own hand, and gave it to Aman, the son of Amadathi of the race of Agag, the enemy of the Jews, 11 And he said to him: As to the money which thou promisest, keep it for thyself: and as to the people, do with them as seemeth good to thee. 12 And the king’s scribes were called in the first month Nisan, on the thirteenth day of the same mouth: and they wrote, as Aman had commanded, to all the king’s lieutenants, and to the judges of the provinces, and of divers nations, as every nation could read, and hear according to their different languages, in the name of king Assuerus: and the letters, sealed with his ring,\par 13 Were sent by the king’s messengers to all provinces, to kill and destroy all the Jews, both young and old, little children, and women, in one day, that is, on the thirteenth of the twelfth month, which is called Adar, and to make a spoil of their goods. 14 And the contents of the letters were to this effect, that all provinces might know and be ready against that day. 15 The couriers that were sent made haste to fulfil the king’s commandment. And immediately the edict was hung up in Susan, the king and Aman feasting together, and all the Jews that were in the city weeping.
1 Now when Mardochai had heard these things, he rent his garments, and put on sackcloth, strewing ashes on his head and he cried with a loud voice in the street in the midst of the city, shewing the anguish of his mind. 2 And he came lamenting in this manner even to the gate of the palace: for no one clothed with sackcloth might enter the king’s court. 3 And in all provinces, towns, and places, to which the king’s cruel edict was come, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, wailing, and weeping, many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed. 4 Then Esther’s maids and her eunuchs went in, and told her. And when she heard it she was in a consternation and she sent a garment, to clothe him, and to take away the sackcloth: but he would not receive it. 5 And she called for Athach the eunuch, whom the king had appointed to attend upon her, and she commanded him to go to Mardochai, and learn of him why he did this. 6 And Athach going out went to Mardochai, who was standing in the street of the city, before the palace gate: 7 And Mardochai told him all that had happened, how Aman had promised to pay money into the king’s treasures, to have the Jews destroyed. 8 He gave him also a copy of the edict which was hanging up in Susan, that he should shew it to the queen, and admonish her to go in to the king, and to entreat him for her people. 9 And Athach went back and told Esther all that Mardochai had said. 10 She answered him, and bade him say to Mardochai: 11 All the king’s servants, and all the provinces that are under his dominion, know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, cometh into the king’s inner court, who is not called for, is immediately to be put to death without any delay: except the king shall hold out the golden sceptre to him, in token of clemency, that so he may live. How then can I go in to the king, who for these thirty days now have not been called unto him? 12 And when Mardochai had heard this, 13 He sent word to Esther again, saying: Think not that thou mayst save thy life only, because thou art in the king’s house, more than all the Jews: 14 For if thou wilt now hold thy peace, the Jews shall be delivered by some other occasion: and thou, and thy father’s house shall perish. And who knoweth whether thou art not therefore come to the kingdom, that thou mightest be ready in such a time as this? 15 And again Esther sent to Mardochai in these words: 16 Go, and gather together all the Jews whom thou shalt find in Susan, and pray ye for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days and three nights: and I with my handmaids will fast in like manner, and then I will go in to the king, against the law, not being called, and expose myself to death and to danger. 17 So Mardochai went, and did all that Esther had commanded him.
1 And on the third day Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s hall: now he sat upon his throne in the hall of the palace, over against the door of the house. 2 And when he saw Esther the queen standing, she pleased his eyes, and he held out toward her the golden sceptre, which he held in his hand and she drew near, and kissed the top of his sceptre. 3 And the king said to her: What wilt thou, queen Esther? what is thy request? if thou shouldst even ask one half of the kingdom, it shall be given to thee. 4 But she answered: If it please the king, I beseech thee to come to me this day, and Aman with thee to the banquet which I have prepared. 5 And the king said forthwith: Call ye Aman quickly, that he may obey Esther’s will. So the king and Aman came to the banquet which the queen had prepared for them. 6 And the king said to her, after he had drunk wine plentifully: What dost thou desire should be given thee? and for what thing askest thou? although thou shouldst ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it. 7 And Esther answered: My petition and request is this: 8 If I have found favour in the king’s sight, and if it please the king to give me what I ask, and to fulfil my petition: let the king and Aman come to the banquet which I have prepared them, and to morrow I will open my mind to the king. 9 So Aman went out that day joyful and merry. And when he saw Mardochai sitting before the gate of the palace, and that he not only did not rise up to honour him, but did not so much as move from the place where he sat, he was exceedingly angry: 10 But dissembling his anger, and returning into his house, he called together to him his friends, and Zares his wife: 11 And he declared to them the greatness of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and with how great glory the king had advanced him above all his princes and servants. 12 And after this he said: Queen Esther also hath invited no other to the banquet with the king, but me: and with her I am also to dine to morrow with the king: 13 And whereas I have all these things, I think I have nothing, so long as I see Mardochai the Jew sitting before the king’s gate. 14 Then Zares his wife, and the rest of his friends answered him: Order a great beam to be prepared, fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king, that Mardochai may be hanged upon it, and so thou shalt go full of joy with the king to the banquet. The counsel pleased him, and he commanded a high gibbet to be prepared.
22 But when the ministers came and opening the prison found them not there, they returned and told, 23 Saying: The prison indeed we found shut with all diligence, and the keepers standing before the door: but opening it, we found no man within. 24 Now when the officer of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were in doubt concerning them, what would come to pass. 25 But one came and told them: Behold, the men whom you put in prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people. 26 Then went the officer with the ministers and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 Saying: Commanding, we commanded you that you should not teach in this name. And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine: and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour. to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things: and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 33 When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart: and they thought to put them to death. 34 But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while. 35 And he said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theodas, affirming himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves. Who was slain: and all that believed him were scattered and brought to nothing. 37 After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the enrolling, and drew away the people after him. He also perished: and all, even as many as consented to him, were dispersed. 38 And now, therefore, I say to you: Refrain from these men and let them alone. For if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. And they consented to him. 40 And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus. And they dismissed them. 41 And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day they ceased not, in the temple and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus.
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