Esther 6–8

1 During that night the king could not sleep, so he ordered that the book of memorable acts (the chronicles) be brought, and they were read before the king. 2 It was found written that Mordecai had informed on Bigthana and Teresh, the two eunuchs of the king serving as the keepers of the door, who had sought to assault King Ahasuerus.

3 So the king said, “What honor or dignity has been done for Mordecai as a result of this?”

Then the king’s servants attending him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

4 So the king said, “Who is out in the courtyard?” Now Haman had just then entered from across the palace courtyard in order to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

5 The king’s attendants said to him, “Haman is waiting in the court.”

So the king said, “Let him enter.”

6 And Haman entered. Now the king said to him, “What should be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?”

Haman thought in his heart, “Who more than me would the king desire to honor?” 7 So Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal apparel be brought that the king himself has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal insignia on its head. 9 Let the apparel and horse for this man be handled by one of the king’s noble officials in order to dress the man whom the king delights to honor, as well as to lead him on horseback throughout the city. Finally, let him proclaim before him, ‘Like this it shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor.’”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do so for Mordecai, the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. Of everything you have spoken, do not fall short of any of it.”

11 So Haman took the apparel and the horse, arrayed Mordecai, led him on horseback throughout the city, and proclaimed before him, “Like this it shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor.”

12 As Mordecai returned again to the king’s gate, Haman hurried to his house, mourning with his head covered. 13 Haman recounted to his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him.

Then his wise friends and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish lineage, then you will not be victorious over him. Rather, you will surely fall before him.” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and rushed Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Chapter 7

1 So the king and Haman entered to feast and drink with Queen Esther. 2 The king repeated to Esther what he had said on the previous day while drinking wine, “For what are you asking, Queen Esther? It shall be granted to you. Now, what is your request? Even if it is half of the kingdom, it will be done!”

3 Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, at my petition, let my life be given me, and my people at my request. 4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. If only we had been sold as male and female slaves, I could have kept quiet, for that distress would not be sufficient to trouble the king.”

5 Then King Ahasuerus answered and demanded of Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do so?”

6 Esther said, “This wicked Haman is the adversary and enemy!”

Then Haman was seized with terror before the king and the queen. 7 And the king arose from the banquet of wine in his wrath and went into the palace garden. But Haman remained to plead for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king.

8 Now the king returned from the palace garden back to the hall of the banquet as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was.

Then the king said, “Will he also violate the queen while I am in the room?”

As the shout erupted from the king’s mouth, they covered the face of Haman. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in the king’s presence, said, “The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman had constructed for Mordecai (who had spoken good on behalf of the king), stands at the house of Haman.”

10 Then the king said, “Hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath was pacified.

Chapter 8

1 On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai came before the king because Esther disclosed who he was to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.

3 Then Esther spoke again to the king and fell down at his feet and begged him with tears to avert the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme that he had devised against the Jews. 4 When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, she rose and stood before the king, 5 and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the idea seems right before the king, and I have his approval, then let it be written to reverse the letters, devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how am I able to watch the evil that will unfold against my people? How can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?”

7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he threatened violence against the Jews. 8 Now, as it suits you, write in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews and seal it with the king’s signet ring, because a document written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring cannot be repealed.”

9 The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and everything was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, to the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their script and language. 10 He wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding steeds bred from mares from the royal stables.

11 What the king granted to the Jews in each and every city was the right to assemble and to defend their lives by annihilating, slaying, and destroying any army of any people or any province that would assault them, the little children and women included, and to plunder their possessions. 12 This would happen on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, namely, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (which is the month Adar). 13 A copy of the edict being issued as law in each and every province was published to all people, so that the Jews could be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

14 So the couriers riding on royal steeds went out with haste and urgency by the king’s edict. The decree was given at the citadel of Susa.

15 Mordecai went out from the king’s presence in royal apparel of blue and white, with a large crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple. The city of Susa erupted with shouts of rejoicing. 16 To the Jews belonged light, gladness, joy, and honor. 17 In each and every province as well as in each and every city, wherever the king’s edict and his decree reached, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast, and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the people of the land professed to be Jews because the dread of the Jews fell on them.

Acts 6

1 Now in those days, as the disciples were multiplied, there was murmuring among the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 So the twelve called the multitude of disciples together and said, “It is not reasonable for us to leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Brothers, look among yourselves for seven men who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint over this duty. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

5 And what was said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, who was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Procorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they presented before the apostles. And when they had prayed, they placed their hands on them.

7 So the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples grew rapidly in Jerusalem, and a great number of the priests were obedient to the faith.

8 Now Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then some men rose up from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and of Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 But they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and came upon him and seized him and led him to the Sanhedrin, 13 and set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who sat in the Sanhedrin, gazing at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.