The Authority of Jesus Challenged
20 hOne day, ias Jesus1 was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, jthe chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up 2 and said to him, “Tell us kby what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” 3 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, 4 was the baptism of John lfrom heaven or from man?” 5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, m‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was na prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
9 But oavoid foolish pcontroversies, qgenealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for rthey are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, safter warning him once and then twice, thave nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Final Instructions and Greetings
12 When I send Artemas or uTychicus to you, do your best to come to me vat Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and wApollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn xto devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not ybe unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
zGrace be with you all.
17 The highway of the upright lturns aside from evil;
whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18 mPride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 nIt is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to odivide the spoil with the proud.
and blessed is he qwho trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech rincreases persuasiveness.
22 Good sense is sa fountain of life to him who has it,
but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 tThe heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
sweetness to the soul and whealth to the body.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.2
26 A worker’s appetite works for him;
his xmouth urges him on.
27 yA worthless man plots evil,
28 aA dishonest man spreads strife,
29 A man of violence dentices his neighbor
and leads him in a way that is not good.
he who fpurses his lips brings evil to pass.
it iis gained in a righteous life.
32 jWhoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 kThe lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is lfrom the Lord.
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,1 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.”2 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 king3 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 gallows4 fifty cubits5 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.
The King Honors Mordecai
6 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. 2 And it was found written how pMordecai had told about qBigthana6 and rTeresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3 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.” 4 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 gallows7 that he had prepared for him. 5 And the king’s young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” 6 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?” 7 And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, vand the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head wa royal crown8 is set. 9 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.