Esther 3-5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
III. Haman’s Plot Against the Jews
Mordecai Refuses to Honor Haman. 1 After these events King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, to high rank, seating him above all his fellow officials. 2 All the king’s servants who were at the royal gate would kneel and bow down to Haman, for that is what the king had ordered in his regard. Mordecai, however, would not kneel and bow down.[a] 3 The king’s servants who were at the royal gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s order?” 4 When they had reminded him day after day and he would not listen to them, they informed Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s explanation would prevail, since he had told them that he was a Jew.
Haman’s Reprisal. 5 When Haman observed that Mordecai would not kneel and bow down to him, he was filled with anger. 6 But he thought it was beneath him to attack only Mordecai. Since they had told Haman of Mordecai’s nationality, he sought to destroy all the Jews, Mordecai’s people, throughout the realm of King Ahasuerus. 7 In the first month, Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, the pur, or lot,[b] was cast in Haman’s presence to determine the day and the month for the destruction of Mordecai’s people on a single day, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar.
Decree Against the Jews. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus: “Dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom, there is a certain people living apart. Their laws differ from those of every other people and they do not obey the laws of the king; so it is not proper for the king to tolerate them. 9 If it please the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them; and I will deliver to the procurators ten thousand silver talents for deposit in the royal treasury.” 10 The king took the signet ring[c] from his hand and gave it to Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, as well as the people, to do with as you please.”[d]
12 So the royal scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and they wrote, at the dictation of Haman, an order to the royal satraps, the governors of every province, and the officials of every people, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the royal signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the royal provinces, to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, including women and children in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, and to seize their goods as spoil.
1 This is a copy of the letter:
“The great King Ahasuerus writes to the satraps of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia, and the governors subordinate to them, as follows: 2 When I came to rule many peoples and to hold sway over the whole world, not being carried away by a sense of my own authority but always acting fairly and with mildness, I determined to provide for my subjects a life of lasting tranquility; and, by making my kingdom civilized and safe for travel to its farthest borders, to restore the peace desired by all people. 3 When I consulted my counselors as to how this might be accomplished, Haman, who excels among us in discretion, who is outstanding for constant good will and steadfast loyalty, and who has gained a place in the kingdom second only to me, 4 brought it to our attention that, mixed among all the nations throughout the world, there is one people of ill will, which by its laws is opposed to every other people and continually disregards the decrees of kings, so that the unity of empire blamelessly designed by us cannot be established.
5 “Having noted, therefore, that this nation, and it alone, is continually at variance with all people, lives by divergent and alien laws, is inimical to our government, and does all the harm it can to undermine the stability of the kingdom, 6 we hereby decree that all those who are indicated to you in the letters of Haman, who is in charge of the administration and is a second father to us, shall, together with their wives and children, be utterly destroyed by the swords of their enemies, without any pity or mercy, on the fourteenth day[e] of the twelfth month, Adar, of the current year; 7 so that when these people, whose present ill will is of long standing, have gone down into Hades by a violent death on a single day, they may leave our government completely stable and undisturbed for the future.”
14 A copy of the decree to be promulgated as law in every province was published to all the peoples, that they might be prepared for that day. 15 The couriers set out in haste at the king’s command; meanwhile, the decree was promulgated in the royal precinct of Susa. The king and Haman then sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.
IV. Esther and Mordecai Plead for Help
Mordecai Exhorts Esther. 1 When Mordecai learned all that was happening, he tore his garments, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city crying out loudly and bitterly, 2 till he came before the royal gate, which no one clothed in sackcloth might enter. 3 Likewise in each of the provinces, wherever the king’s decree and law reached, the Jews went into deep mourning, with fasting, weeping, and lament; most of them lay on sackcloth and ashes.
4 Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her. Overwhelmed with anguish, the queen sent garments for Mordecai to put on, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he refused. 5 Esther then summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had placed at her service, and commanded him to find out what this action of Mordecai meant and the reason for it. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the public square in front of the royal gate, 7 and Mordecai recounted all that had happened to him, as well as the exact amount of silver Haman had promised to pay to the royal treasury for the slaughter of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction that had been promulgated in Susa, to show and explain to Esther. Hathach was to instruct her to go to the king and to plead and intercede with him on behalf of her people.[f]
9 Hathach returned to Esther and told her what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther replied to Hathach and gave him this message for Mordecai: 11 “All the servants of the king and the people of his provinces know that any man or woman who goes to the king in the inner court without being summoned is subject to the same law—death. Only if the king extends the golden scepter will such a person live. Now as for me, I have not been summoned to the king for thirty days.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he had this reply brought to her: “Do not imagine that you are safe in the king’s palace, you alone of all the Jews. 14 Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source;[g] but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows—perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen?”
15 Esther sent back to Mordecai the response: 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who are in Susa; fast on my behalf, all of you, not eating or drinking night or day for three days. I and my maids will also fast in the same way. Thus prepared, I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If I perish, I perish!” 17 Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had commanded.
Prayer of Mordecai. 1 Recalling all that the Lord had done, Mordecai prayed to the Lord 2 and said: “Lord, Lord, King and Ruler of all, everything is in your power, and there is no one to oppose you when it is your will to save Israel. 3 You made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven. 4 You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, the Lord. 5 You know all things. You know, Lord, that it was not out of insolence or arrogance or desire for glory that I acted thus in not bowing down to the arrogant Haman. 6 I would have gladly kissed the soles of his feet for the salvation of Israel. 7 But I acted as I did so as not to place the honor of a mortal above that of God. I will not bow down to anyone but you, my Lord. It is not out of arrogance that I am acting thus. 8 And now, Lord God, King, God of Abraham, spare your people, for our enemies regard us with deadly envy and are bent upon destroying the inheritance that was yours from the beginning. 9 Do not spurn your portion, which you redeemed for yourself out of the land of Egypt. 10 Hear my prayer; have pity on your inheritance and turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live to sing praise to your name, Lord. Do not silence the mouths of those who praise you.”
11 All Israel, too, cried out with all their strength, for death was staring them in the face.
Prayer of Esther. 12 Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, fled to the Lord for refuge. 13 Taking off her splendid garments, she put on garments of distress and mourning. In place of her precious ointments she covered her head with dung and ashes. She afflicted her body severely and in place of her festive adornments, her tangled hair covered her.
14 Then she prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: “My Lord, you alone are our King. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, 15 for I am taking my life in my hand. 16 From birth, I have heard among my people that you, Lord, chose Israel from among all nations, and our ancestors from among all their forebears, as a lasting inheritance, and that you fulfilled all your promises to them. 17 But now we have sinned in your sight, and you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies, 18 because we worshiped their gods. You are just, O Lord. 19 But now they are not satisfied with our bitter servitude, but have sworn an oath to their idols 20 to do away with the decree you have pronounced, to destroy your inheritance, to close the mouths of those who praise you, to extinguish the glory of your house and your altar, 21 to open the mouths of the nations to acclaim their worthless gods, and to extol a mortal king forever.
22 “Lord, do not relinquish your scepter to those who are nothing. Do not let our foes gloat over our ruin, but turn their own counsel against them and make an example of the one who began this against us. 23 Be mindful of us, Lord. Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power. 24 Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and his co-conspirators may perish. 25 Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.
26 “You know all things. You know that I hate the pomp of the lawless, and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised or of any foreigner. 27 You know that I am under constraint, that I abhor the sign of grandeur that rests on my head when I appear in public. I abhor it like a polluted rag, and do not wear it in private. 28 I, your servant, have never eaten at the table of Haman, nor have I graced the banquet of the king or drunk the wine of libations.[h] 29 From the day I was brought here till now, your servant has had no joy except in you, Lord, God of Abraham. 30 O God, whose power is over all, hear the voice of those in despair. Save us from the power of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear.”
Esther Goes to Ahasuerus.[i] 1 On the third day, ending her prayers, she took off her prayer garments and arrayed herself in her splendid attire. 2 In making her appearance, after invoking the all-seeing God and savior, she took with her two maids; 3 on the one she leaned gently for support, 4 while the other followed her, bearing her train. 5 She glowed with perfect beauty and her face was as joyous as it was lovely, though her heart was pounding with fear. 6 She passed through all the portals till she stood before the king, who was seated on his royal throne, clothed in full robes of state, and covered with gold and precious stones, so that he inspired great awe. 7 As he looked up in extreme anger, his features fiery and majestic, the queen staggered, turned pale and fainted, collapsing against the maid in front of her. 8 But God changed the king’s anger to gentleness. In great anxiety he sprang from his throne, held her in his arms until she recovered, and comforted her with reassuring words. 9 “What is it, Esther?” he said to her. “I am your brother.[j] Take courage! 10 You shall not die; this order of ours applies only to our subjects. 11 Come near!” 12 Raising the golden scepter, he touched her neck with it, embraced her, and said, “Speak to me.”
13 She replied: “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was shaken by fear of your majesty. 14 For you are awesome, my lord, though your countenance is full of mercy.” 15 As she said this, she fainted. 16 The king was shaken and all his attendants tried to revive her.
1 [k][Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal garments and stood in the inner courtyard, looking toward the royal palace, while the king was seated on his royal throne in the audience chamber, facing the palace doorway. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his favor and he extended toward her the golden scepter he held. She came up to him, and touched the top of the scepter.]
3 Then the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even if it is half of my kingdom, it shall be granted you.” 4 Esther replied, “If it please your majesty, come today with Haman to a banquet I have prepared.” 5 The king ordered, “Have Haman make haste to fulfill the wish of Esther.”
V. Haman’s Downfall
First Banquet of Esther. So the king went with Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 During the drinking of the wine, the king said to Esther, “Whatever you ask for shall be granted, and whatever request you make shall be honored, even if it is for half my kingdom.” 7 Esther replied: “This is my petition and request: 8 if I have found favor with the king and if it pleases your majesty to grant my petition and honor my request, let the king come with Haman tomorrow to a banquet I will prepare; and tomorrow I will do as the king asks.”
Haman’s Plot Against Mordecai. 9 That day Haman left happy and in good spirits. But when he saw that Mordecai at the royal gate did not rise, and showed no fear of him, he was filled with anger toward him. 10 Haman restrained himself, however, and went home, where he summoned his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 He recounted the greatness of his riches, the large number of his sons, and how the king had promoted him and placed him above the officials and royal servants. 12 “Moreover,” Haman added, “Queen Esther invited no one but me to come with the king to the banquet she prepared; again tomorrow I am to be her guest with the king. 13 Yet none of this satisfies me as long as I continue to see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the royal gate.” 14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a stake set up, fifty cubits in height, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go to the banquet with the king in good spirits.” This suggestion pleased Haman, and he had the stake erected.
Ecclesiastes 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
1 [a]Be not hasty in your utterance and let not your heart be quick to utter a promise in God’s presence. God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few.
2 As dreams come along with many cares,
3 When you make a vow to God, delay not its fulfillment. For God has no pleasure in fools; fulfill what you have vowed. 4 It is better not to make a vow than make it and not fulfill it. 5 Let not your utterances make you guilty, and say not before his representative, “It was a mistake.” Why should God be angered by your words and destroy the works of your hands? 6 Despite many dreams, futilities, and a multitude of words, fear God!
Gain and Loss of Goods. 7 If you see oppression of the poor, and violation of rights and justice in the realm, do not be astonished by the fact, for the high official has another higher than he watching him and above these are others higher still—. 8 But profitable for a land in such circumstances is a king concerned about cultivation.[b]
9 The covetous are never satisfied with money, nor lovers of wealth with their gain; so this too is vanity. 10 Where there are great riches, there are also many to devour them. Of what use are they to the owner except as a feast for the eyes alone? 11 Sleep is sweet to the laborer, whether there is little or much to eat; but the abundance of the rich allows them no sleep.
12 This is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches hoarded by their owners to their own hurt. 13 Should the riches be lost through some misfortune, they may have offspring when they have no means. 14 As they came forth from their mother’s womb, so again shall they return, naked as they came, having nothing from their toil to bring with them. 15 This too is a grievous evil, that they go just as they came. What then does it profit them to toil for the wind? 16 All their days they eat in gloom with great vexation, sickness and resentment.
17 Here is what I see as good: It is appropriate to eat and drink and prosper from all the toil one toils at under the sun during the limited days of life God gives us; for this is our lot. 18 Those to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that they receive their lot and find joy in the fruits of their toil: This is a gift from God. 19 For they will hardly dwell on the shortness of life, because God lets them busy themselves with the joy of their heart.[c]
Luke 4:1-30 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
The Temptation of Jesus.[a] 1 Filled with the holy Spirit,[b] Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert 2 for forty days,[c] to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” 5 Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. 6 The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. 7 All this will be yours, if you worship me.” 8 Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written:
‘You shall worship the Lord, your God,
9 [d]Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
‘With their hands they will support you,
12 Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” 13 [e]When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
IV. The Ministry in Galilee
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry. 14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread[f] throughout the whole region. 15 He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
The Rejection at Nazareth.[g] 16 He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom[h] into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read 17 and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,[i]
20 Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 21 He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”[j] 22 And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” 23 He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”[k] 24 And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. 25 [l]Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. 26 [m]It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. 29 They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went away.