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Esther 6-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

Mordecai’s Reward from the King. That night the king, unable to sleep, asked that the chronicle of notable events be brought in. While this was being read to him, the passage occurred in which Mordecai reported Bigthan and Teresh, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the entrance, for seeking to assassinate King Ahasuerus. The king asked, “What was done to honor and exalt Mordecai for this?” The king’s attendants replied, “Nothing was done for him.”

[a]“Who is in the court?” the king asked. Now Haman had entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest to the king that Mordecai should be impaled on the stake he had raised for him. The king’s attendants answered him, “Haman is waiting in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” When Haman entered, the king said to him, “What should be done for the man whom the king wishes to reward?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So he replied to the king: “For the man whom the king wishes to honor there should be brought the royal robe the king wore and the horse the king rode with the royal crest placed on its head. The robe and the horse should be given to one of the noblest of the king’s officials, who must clothe the man the king wishes to reward, have him ride on the horse in the public square of the city, and cry out before him, ‘This is what is done for the man whom the king wishes to honor!’” 10 Then the king said to Haman: “Hurry! Take the robe and horse as you have proposed, and do this for the Jew Mordecai, who is sitting at the royal gate. Do not omit anything you proposed.” 11 So Haman took the robe and horse, clothed Mordecai, had him ride in the public square of the city, and cried out before him, “This is what is done for the man whom the king wishes to honor!”

12 Mordecai then returned to the royal gate, while Haman hurried home grieving, with his head covered. 13 When he told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you are beginning to fall, is of Jewish ancestry, you will not prevail against him, but will surely be defeated by him.”

Esther’s Second Banquet. 14 While they were speaking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Chapter 7

So the king and Haman went to the banquet with Queen Esther. Again, on this second day, as they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “Whatever you ask, Queen Esther, shall be granted you. Whatever request you make, even for half the kingdom, shall be honored.” Queen Esther replied: “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, I ask that my life be spared, and I beg that you spare the lives of my people. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated. If we were only to be sold into slavery I would remain silent, for then our distress would not have been worth troubling the king.” King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who and where is the man who has dared to do this?” Esther replied, “The enemy oppressing us is this wicked Haman.” At this, Haman was seized with dread of the king and queen.

The king left the banquet in anger and went into the garden of the palace, but Haman stayed to beg Queen Esther for his life, since he saw that the king had decided on his doom. When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch on which Esther was reclining; and the king exclaimed, “Will he also violate the queen while she is with me in my own house!” Scarcely had the king spoken when the face of Haman was covered over.

Punishment of Haman. Harbona, one of the eunuchs who attended the king, said, “At the house of Haman stands a stake fifty cubits high. Haman made it for Mordecai, who gave the report that benefited the king.” The king answered, “Impale him on it.” 10 So they impaled Haman on the stake he had set up for Mordecai, and the anger of the king abated.

Chapter 8

That day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai was admitted to the king’s presence, for Esther had revealed his relationship to her. The king removed his signet ring that he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther put Mordecai in charge of the house of Haman.

VI. The Jewish Victory and the Feast of Purim

The Second Royal Decree. Esther again spoke to the king. She fell at his feet and tearfully implored him to revoke the harm done by Haman the Agagite and the plan he had devised against the Jews. The king stretched forth the golden scepter to Esther. So she rose and, standing before him, said: “If it seems good to the king and if I have found favor with him, if the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let a document be issued to revoke the letters that the schemer Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, wrote for the destruction of the Jews in all the royal provinces. For how can I witness the evil that is to befall my people, and how can I behold the destruction of my kindred?”

King Ahasuerus then said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai: “Now that I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have impaled him on the stake because he was going to attack the Jews, you in turn may write in the king’s name what you see fit concerning the Jews and seal the letter with the royal signet ring.” For a decree written in the name of the king and sealed with the royal signet ring cannot be revoked.[b]

At that time, on the twenty-third day of the third month, Sivan, the royal scribes were summoned. Exactly as Mordecai dictated, they wrote to the Jews and to the satraps, governors, and officials of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia: to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 These letters, which he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the royal signet ring, he sent by mounted couriers riding thoroughbred royal steeds. 11 In these letters the king authorized the Jews in each and every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every armed group of any nation or province that might attack them, along with their wives and children, and to seize their goods as spoil 12 on a single day throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar.

Chapter E

The following is a copy of the letter:

“The great King Ahasuerus to the governors of the provinces in the hundred and twenty-seven satrapies from India to Ethiopia, and to those who are loyal to our government: Greetings!

“Many have become more ambitious the more they were showered with honors through the bountiful generosity of their patrons. Not only do they seek to do harm to our subjects but, incapable of dealing with such greatness, they even begin plotting against their own benefactors. Not only do they drive out gratitude from among humankind but, with the arrogant boastfulness of those to whom goodness has no meaning, they suppose they will escape the stern judgment of the all-seeing God.

“Often, too, the fair speech of friends entrusted with the administration of affairs has induced many placed in authority to become accomplices in the shedding of innocent blood, and has involved them in irreparable calamities by deceiving with malicious slander the sincere good will of rulers. This can be verified in the ancient stories that have been handed down to us, but more fully when you consider the wicked deeds perpetrated in your midst by the pestilential influence of those undeserving of authority. We must provide for the future, so as to render the kingdom undisturbed and peaceful for all people, taking advantage of changing conditions and always deciding matters coming to our attention with equitable treatment.

10 “For instance, Haman, son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian,[c] certainly not of Persian blood, and very different from us in generosity, was hospitably received by us. 11 He benefited so much from the good will we have toward all peoples that he was proclaimed ‘our father,’ before whom everyone was to bow down; and he attained a position second only to the royal throne. 12 But, unable to control his arrogance, he strove to deprive us of kingdom and of life, 13 and by weaving intricate webs of deceit he demanded the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and constant benefactor, and of Esther, our blameless royal consort, together with their whole nation. 14 For by such measures he hoped to catch us defenseless and to transfer the rule of the Persians to the Macedonians. 15 But we find that the Jews, who were doomed to extinction by this archcriminal, are not evildoers, but rather are governed by very just laws 16 and are the children of the Most High, the living God of majesty, who has maintained the kingdom in a flourishing condition for us and for our forebears.

17 “You will do well, then, to ignore the letter sent by Haman, son of Hammedatha, 18 for he who composed it has been impaled, together with his entire household, before the gates of Susa. Thus swiftly has God, who governs all, brought just punishment upon him.

19 “You shall exhibit a copy of this letter publicly in every place to certify that the Jews may follow their own laws 20 and that you may help them on the day set for their ruin, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, to defend themselves against those who attack them. 21 For God, the ruler of all, has turned that day from one of destruction of the chosen people into one of joy for them. 22 Therefore, you too must celebrate this memorable day among your designated feasts with all rejoicing, 23 so that both now and in the future it may be a celebration of deliverance for us and for Persians of good will, but for those who plot against us a reminder of destruction.

24 “Every city and province without exception that does not observe this decree shall be ruthlessly destroyed with fire and sword, so that it will be left not merely untrodden by people, but even shunned by wild beasts and birds forever.”

(Chapter 8)

13 A copy of the letter to be promulgated as law in each and every province was published among all the peoples, so that the Jews might be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 Couriers mounted on royal steeds sped forth in haste at the king’s order, and the decree was promulgated in the royal precinct of Susa.

15 Mordecai left the king’s presence clothed in a royal robe of violet and of white cotton, with a large crown of gold and a mantle of fine crimson linen. The city of Susa shouted with joy, 16 and for the Jews there was splendor and gladness, joy and triumph. 17 In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s order arrived, there was merriment and joy, banqueting and feasting for the Jews. And many of the peoples of the land identified themselves as Jews, for fear of the Jews fell upon them.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:4–13 Haman’s presumption that the king wants to honor him creates the irony that Haman himself prescribes and fulfills the elaborate terms of Mordecai’s reward. This comic reversal mirrors the fatal reversal to come: Haman and those who hate the Jews find that their plot to destroy them recoils on their own head.
  2. 8:8 A decree written…cannot be revoked: the king cannot directly grant Esther’s request (v. 5) to revoke the previous decree against the Jews because of the irrevocable character of the laws of the Medes and Persians (see 1:19 and note). He can, however, empower Esther to issue another decree in his name to counteract the earlier one. The second decree authorizes the Jews to defend themselves against those who would kill them, which is what they do in 9:2. This is why the outcome of the two decrees is that the attackers are killed instead of the Jews, rather than a simple cancellation of all hostilities.
  3. E:10 Macedonian: throughout the book Haman is identified with terms of contempt—in the Hebrew text as an Agagite (3:1, 10; 8:3, 5; 9:24; cf. note on A:17), thus making him a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites, a group hated by the Israelites; in the Greek additions Haman is identified as a Macedonian, reflecting the enmity between the Persians and the Macedonians after Macedonia’s conquest of Persia in the fourth century B.C.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ecclesiastes 6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

Limited Worth of Enjoyment. There is another evil I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon humankind: There is one to whom God gives riches and property and honor, and who lacks nothing the heart could desire; yet God does not grant the power to partake of them, but a stranger devours them. This is vanity and a dire plague. Should one have a hundred children and live many years, no matter to what great age, still if one has not the full benefit of those goods, I proclaim that the child born dead, even if left unburied, is more fortunate.[a] Though it came in vain and goes into darkness and its name is enveloped in darkness, though it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet the dead child has more peace. Should such a one live twice a thousand years and not enjoy those goods, do not both go to the same place?[b]

All human toil is for the mouth,[c] yet the appetite is never satisfied. What profit have the wise compared to fools, or what profit have the lowly in knowing how to conduct themselves in life? “What the eyes see is better than what the desires wander after.”[d] This also is vanity and a chase after wind.

II. Qoheleth’s Conclusions

10 Whatever is, was long ago given its name, and human nature is known; mortals cannot contend in judgment with One who is stronger.[e] 11 For the more words, the more vanity; what profit is there for anyone? 12 For who knows what is good for mortals in life, the limited days of their vain life, spent like a shadow? Because who can tell them what will come afterward under the sun?

Footnotes:

  1. 6:3 Even a large family and exceptionally long life cannot compensate for the absence of good things and the joy which they bring.
  2. 6:6 Same place: the grave; cf. 3:20; 12:7.
  3. 6:7 The mouth: symbolic of human desires.
  4. 6:9 Compare the English proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” However, it could also mean, “The seeing of the eyes is better than the wandering of the desire,” with the emphasis on the actions of seeing and desiring. Seeing is a way of possessing whereas desire, by definition, can remain frustrated and unfulfilled.
  5. 6:10–11 One who is stronger is, of course, God. The more vanity: contending with God is futile.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 4:31-44 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Cure of a Demoniac. 31 [a]Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?[b] I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. 36 They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law. 38 After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.[c] Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. 39 He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.

Other Healings. 40 At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41 [d]And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Leaves Capernaum. 42 [e]At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.[f]

Footnotes:

  1. 4:31–44 The next several incidents in Jesus’ ministry take place in Capernaum and are based on Luke’s source, Mk 1:21–39. To the previous portrait of Jesus as prophet (Lk 4:16–30) they now add a presentation of him as teacher (Lk 4:31–32), exorcist (Lk 4:32–37, 41), healer (Lk 4:38–40), and proclaimer of God’s kingdom (Lk 4:43).
  2. 4:34 What have you to do with us?: see note on Jn 2:4. Have you come to destroy us?: the question reflects the current belief that before the day of the Lord control over humanity would be wrested from the evil spirits, evil destroyed, and God’s authority over humanity reestablished. The synoptic gospel tradition presents Jesus carrying out this task.
  3. 4:38 The house of Simon: because of Luke’s arrangement of material, the reader has not yet been introduced to Simon (cf. Mk 1:16–18, 29–31). Situated as it is before the call of Simon (Lk 5:1–11), it helps the reader to understand Simon’s eagerness to do what Jesus says (Lk 5:5) and to follow him (Lk 5:11).
  4. 4:41 They knew that he was the Messiah: that is, the Christ (see note on Lk 2:11).
  5. 4:42 They tried to prevent him from leaving them: the reaction of these strangers in Capernaum is presented in contrast to the reactions of those in his hometown who rejected him (Lk 4:28–30).
  6. 4:44 In the synagogues of Judea: instead of Judea, which is the best reading of the manuscript tradition, the Byzantine text tradition and other manuscripts read “Galilee,” a reading that harmonizes Luke with Mt 4:23 and Mk 1:39. Up to this point Luke has spoken only of a ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Luke may be using Judea to refer to the land of Israel, the territory of the Jews, and not to a specific portion of it.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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