Esther 6–8; Acts 6

The King Honors Mordecai

On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring othe book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how pMordecai had told about qBigthana1 and rTeresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this? The king's young men who attended him said, Nothing has been done for him. And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman had just entered sthe outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on tthe gallows2 that he had prepared for him. And the king's young men told him, Haman is there, standing in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. So Haman came in, and the king said to him, What should be done to the man uwhom the king delights to honor? And Haman said to himself, Whom would the king delight to honor more than me? And Haman said to the king, For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, vand the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head wa royal crown3 is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, xproclaiming before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor. 10 Then the king said to Haman, Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits yat the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned. 11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.

12 Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning zand with his head covered. 13 And Haman told ahis wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.

Esther Reveals Haman's Plot

14 While they were yet talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman bto the feast that Esther had prepared.

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, cWhat is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? dEven to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled. Then Queen Esther answered, eIf I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. fFor we have been sold, I and my people, gto be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king. Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, Who is he, and where is he, who has dared4 to do this? And Esther said, hA foe and enemy! This wicked Haman! Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Haman Is Hanged

And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into ithe palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from ithe palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on jthe couch where Esther was. And the king said, Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house? As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face. Then kHarbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, Moreover, lthe gallows5 that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, mwhose word saved the king, is standing at Haman's house, fifty cubits6 high. And the king said, Hang him on that. 10 nSo they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. oThen the wrath of the king abated.

Esther Saves the Jews

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, hthe enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told pwhat he was to her. qAnd the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman rthe Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. sWhen the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, If it please the king, tand if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke uthe letters devised by Haman rthe Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear vto see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred? Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, wI have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows,7 because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, xand seal it with the king's ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring ycannot be revoked.

zThe king's scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to athe satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces bfrom India to Ethiopia, b127 provinces, cto each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. 10 dAnd he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus eand sealed it with the king's signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on fswift horses that were used in the king's service, bred from the royal stud, 11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city gto gather and defend their lives, hto destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, iand to plunder their goods, 12 jon one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 kA copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, mounted on their fswift horses that were used in the king's service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king's command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.

15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king lin royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown8 and ma robe of fine linen and purple, nand the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 The Jews had olight and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and pa holiday. qAnd many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, rfor fear of the Jews had fallen on them.


Seven Chosen to Serve

Now in these days kwhen the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists1 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in lthe daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. mTherefore, brothers,2 pick out from among you seven men nof good repute, ofull of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But pwe will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, qa man full of faith and rof the Holy Spirit, and sPhilip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, ta proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and uthey prayed and vlaid their hands on them.

And wthe word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests xbecame obedient to ythe faith.

Stephen Is Seized

And Stephen, full of grace and zpower, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But athey could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then bthey secretly instigated men who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they cset up false dwitnesses who said, This man never ceases to speak words against ethis holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth fwill destroy this place and will gchange hthe customs that Moses delivered to us. 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face iwas like the face of an angel.