Esther 9–10

1 Now in the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar), on the thirteenth day, when the king’s edict and his decree were to be carried out on the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to have power over them, things were turned around. The Jews gained power over those who hated them. 2 The Jews had assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus in order to forcibly assault those seeking their injury. No man could stand before them because the dread of them had fallen on all people. 3 All the rulers of the provinces, and the satraps, and the governors, and all those doing the work of the king were helping the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai had become great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces because Mordecai grew more powerful.

5 So the Jews struck all their enemies by sword, slaughtering and destroying them, and doing to those who hated them as they pleased. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, 7 along with Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 10 These were the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, whom they killed, but on their plunder none of the Jews attempted to take it.

11 On that day the number of those who were killed in the citadel of Susa was reported before the king. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in the citadel of Susa and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted you! What is your request further? It shall be done!”

13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews in Susa to do again tomorrow according to this day’s decree. Let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.”

14 So the king commanded that it be so done, and the decree was given at Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman.

15 The Jews in Susa assembled again on the fourteenth day of the month Adar and killed three hundred more there, but on the plunder no one attempted to take it.

16 But the rest of the Jews in the king’s provinces assembled to defend their lives. Some had rest from their enemies, while others killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them, but no one took from the plunder. 17 Because this occurred on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, they rested on the fourteenth day and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.

18 Because the Jews in Susa had assembled on the thirteenth day and the fourteenth day of Adar, then on the fifteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.

19 Therefore, the Jews of the rural areas, who were living in the villages, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of rejoicing and feasting and a special day for sending portions of food to one another.

20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 in order to institute for them the celebration for the fourteenth day and the fifteenth day of the month of Adar, each and every year, 22 like the days when the Jews had rest from their enemies, and like the month when things turned around for them—changing from sorrow to joy and from mourning into a favorable day—so that they could celebrate a season of feasting and rejoicing and sending food portions to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted what had begun as tradition as Mordecai had written to them. 24 Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and destroy them. 25 But when Esther came before the king, he ordered by letter that the wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should come upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore, they call these days Purim on the basis of the name Pur. Furthermore, based on all the information of this letter, along with what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews instituted and accepted as tradition for themselves, for their descendants, and for all joining with them not to fail in observing the celebration of these two days as prescribed and as specified in each and every year. 28 These days should be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim will not lose their significance among the Jews, and the commemoration of these days will not cease among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 He sent the letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with instructions for peace and truth 31 in order to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had instituted for themselves and for their offspring, with the instructions for their times of fasting and their lamenting. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these traditions of Purim, and it was written in the book.

Chapter 10

1 Then King Ahasuerus charged a tribute on the land and on the coastal lands of the sea. 2 All the deeds of his power and of his might, and the detailed record of the greatness of Mordecai, after the king promoted him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Indeed, Mordecai the Jew was second in power to King Ahasuerus. He was great among the Jews and popular with many of his countrymen, for he sought favor for his people, and spoke of peace and prosperity for all of his posterity.

Acts 7:1–22

1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”

2 He said, “Brothers and fathers, listen! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran, 3 and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the land which I will show you.’

4 “Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Harran. When his father died, He removed him from there to this land in which you now live. 5 He gave him no inheritance in it, nor a foothold, and promised to give it to him as a possession and to his descendants after him while he had no child. 6 God spoke in this way, ‘Your descendants shall be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who will enslave them and mistreat them four hundred years. 7 And I will judge the nation to whom they will be enslaved,’ said God. ‘After that they shall come out and worship Me in this place.’ 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. And Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

9 “The patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him, 10 and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11 “Then a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan with great affliction, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. 13 During the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and called for his father Jacob and all his kindred, seventy-five souls. 15 Then Jacob went down into Egypt. And he and our fathers died, 16 and were carried to Shechem and put in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a price of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

17 “When the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 until another king rose up who did not know Joseph. 19 He dealt deceitfully with our people and mistreated our fathers, forcing them to put out their young children, that they might not live.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and was fair in the sight of God. And he was reared for three months in his father’s house. 21 When he was put out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up and reared him as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in words and in deeds.”