Esther 7–8; Proverbs 8

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 dared1 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 gallows2 that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, mwhose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits3 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,4 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 crown5 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.


The Blessings of Wisdom

Does not lwisdom call?

Does not munderstanding raise her voice?

On nthe heights beside the way,

at the crossroads she takes her stand;

beside othe gates in front of pthe town,

at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

To you, O qmen, I call,

and my cry is to qthe children of man.

O rsimple ones, learn sprudence;

O tfools, learn sense.

Hear, for I will speak unoble things,

and from my lips will come vwhat is right,

for my wmouth will utter truth;

wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are righteous;

there is nothing xtwisted or crooked in them.

They are all ystraight to him who understands,

and right to those who find knowledge.

10  zTake my instruction instead of silver,

and knowledge rather than choice gold,

11  afor wisdom is better than jewels,

and ball that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12  I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,

and I find knowledge and cdiscretion.

13  dThe fear of the Lord is ehatred of evil.

fPride and arrogance and the way of evil

and gperverted speech I hate.

14  I have hcounsel and isound wisdom;

I have insight; jI have strength.

15  By me kkings reign,

and rulers decree what is just;

16  by me princes rule,

and nobles, all who govern justly.1

17  lI love those who love me,

and mthose who seek me diligently find me.

18  nRiches and honor are with me,

oenduring wealth and orighteousness.

19  My fruit is pbetter than qgold, even fine gold,

and my yield than rchoice silver.

20  I walk in the way of righteousness,

in the paths of justice,

21  granting an inheritance to those who love me,

and filling their treasuries.

22  sThe Lord tpossessed2 me at the beginning of his work,3

the first of his acts uof old.

23  Ages ago I was vset up,

at the first, wbefore the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no xdepths I was ybrought forth,

when there were no springs abounding with water.

25  Before the mountains zhad been shaped,

abefore the hills, I was brought forth,

26  before he had made the earth with its fields,

or the first of the dust of the world.

27  When he bestablished the heavens, I was there;

when he drew ca circle on the face of the deep,

28  when he dmade firm the skies above,

when he established4 the fountains of the deep,

29  when he eassigned to the sea its flimit,

so that the waters might not transgress his command,

when he marked out gthe foundations of the earth,

30  then hI was beside him, like a master workman,

and I was daily his5 idelight,

rejoicing before him always,

31  jrejoicing in his kinhabited world

and delighting in the children of man.

32  And now, lO sons, listen to me:

mblessed are those who keep my ways.

33  nHear instruction and be wise,

and do not neglect it.

34  oBlessed is the one who listens to me,

watching daily at my gates,

waiting beside my doors.

35  For pwhoever finds me qfinds life

and robtains favor from the Lord,

36  but he who fails to find me sinjures himself;

all who thate me ulove death.