Haman Plots Against the Jews
3 After these things King Ahasuerus qpromoted Haman rthe Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, sand advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. tBut Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. 3 Then the king's servants who were uat the king's gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress vthe king's command?” 4 And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai's words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that tMordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was wfilled with fury. 6 But he disdained1 to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy2 all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, xthey cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is ythe month of Adar. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. zTheir laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not to the king's profit to tolerate them. 9 If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents3 of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king's business, that they may put it into the king's treasuries.” 10 aSo the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman bthe Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, cthe enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.”
12 dThen the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's esatraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, fto every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written gin the name of King Ahasuerus hand sealed with the king's signet ring. 13 Letters were sent iby couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction jto destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, kin one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, land to plunder their goods. 14 mA copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. 15 iThe couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, nbut the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.
Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
4 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes oand put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, pwith fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them qlay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6 Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, 7 and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, rand the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave him sa copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction,4 that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him5 on behalf of her people. 9 And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside tthe inner court without being called, uthere is but one law—to be put to death, except the one vto whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for wthree days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, xand if I perish, I perish.”6 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
Esther Prepares a Banquet
5 yOn the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in zthe inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, ashe won favor in his sight, band he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. 3 And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even cto the half of my kingdom.” 4 And Esther said, “If it please the king,7 let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. 6 dAnd as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, e“What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? cEven to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”8 7 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: 8 fIf I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king9 to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to gthe feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
Haman Plans to Hang Mordecai
9 And Haman went out that day hjoyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai iin the king's gate, jthat he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and khis wife Zeresh. 11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, lthe number of his sons, all the promotions with which mthe king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting iat the king's gate.” 14 Then khis wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, n“Let a gallows10 fifty cubits11 high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.
32 r“Fear not, little sflock, for tit is your Father's good pleasure to give you uthe kingdom. 33 vSell your possessions, and wgive to the needy. xProvide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with ya treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 zFor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You Must Be Ready
35 a“Stay dressed for action1 and bkeep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are cwaiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and dknocks. 37 eBlessed are those servants2 whom the master finds eawake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, fhe will dress himself for service and ghave them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 hBut know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour ithe thief was coming, he3 would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be jready, for kthe Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Peter said, “Lord, lare you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is mthe faithful and mwise nmanager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 oBlessed is that servant4 whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, phe will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master qis delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and rget drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come son a day when he does not expect him and sat an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 tAnd that servant who uknew his master's will but vdid not get ready uor act according to his will, will receive a wsevere beating. 48 xBut the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, ywill receive a light beating. zEveryone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Not Peace, but Division
49 a“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 bI have a baptism to be baptized with, and how cgreat is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 dDo you think that I have come to give peace on earth? eNo, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, ffather against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds, g“When you see ha cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And gwhen you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be iscorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! jYou know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Settle with Your Accuser
57 “And why kdo you not judge lfor yourselves what is right? 58 mAs you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, nyou will never get out until you have paid the very last openny.”5