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Esther 9-10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9

The Massacre Reversed. When the day arrived on which the order decreed by the king was to be carried out, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to overpower them, the situation was reversed: the Jews overpowered those who hated them. The Jews mustered in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus to attack those who sought to do them harm, and no one could withstand them, for fear of them fell upon all the peoples. Moreover, all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, governors, and royal procurators supported the Jews out of fear of Mordecai; for Mordecai was powerful in the royal palace, and the report was spreading through all the provinces that he was continually growing in power.

The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them; they did to those who hated them as they pleased. In the royal precinct of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred people. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman, son of Hammedatha, the foe of the Jews. However, they did not engage in plundering.

11 On the same day, when the number of those killed in the royal precinct of Susa was reported to the king, 12 he said to Queen Esther: “In the royal precinct of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred people, as well as the ten sons of Haman. What must they have done in the other royal provinces! You shall again be granted whatever you ask, and whatever you request shall be honored.” 13 So Esther said, “If it pleases your majesty, let the Jews in Susa be permitted again tomorrow to act according to today’s decree, and let the ten sons of Haman be impaled on stakes.” 14 The king then gave an order that this be done, and the decree was published in Susa. So the ten sons of Haman were impaled, 15 and the Jews in Susa mustered again on the fourteenth of the month of Adar and killed three hundred people in Susa. However, they did not engage in plundering.

16 The other Jews, who dwelt in the royal provinces, also mustered and defended themselves, and obtained rest from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them, but they did not engage in plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar.

The Feast of Purim.[a] On the fourteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.

18 The Jews in Susa, however, mustered on the thirteenth and fourteenth of the month. But on the fifteenth they rested, and made it a day of joyful banqueting. 19 That is why the rural Jews, who dwell in villages, celebrate the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joyful banqueting, a holiday on which they send food to one another.

20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews, both near and far, in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 21 [b]He ordered them to celebrate every year both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of the month of Adar 22 as the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and as the month which was turned for them from sorrow into joy, from mourning into celebration. They were to observe these days with joyful banqueting, sending food to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 [c]The Jews adopted as a custom what they had begun doing and what Mordecai had written to them.

VII. Epilogue: The Rise of Mordecai

Summary of the Story. 24 Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the foe of all the Jews, had planned to destroy them and had cast the pur, or lot, for the time of their defeat and destruction. 25 Yet, when the plot became known to the king, the king ordered in writing that the wicked plan Haman had devised against the Jews should instead be turned against Haman and that he and his sons should be impaled on stakes. 26 And so these days have been named Purim after the word pur.

Thus, because of all that was contained in this letter, and because of what they had witnessed and experienced in this event, 27 the Jews established and adopted as a custom for themselves, their descendants, and all who should join them, the perpetual obligation of celebrating these two days every year in the manner prescribed by this letter, and at the time appointed. 28 These days were to be commemorated and kept in every generation, by every clan, in every province, and in every city. These days of Purim were never to be neglected among the Jews, nor forgotten by their descendants.

Esther and Mordecai Act in Concert.[d] 29 Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote to confirm with full authority this second letter about Purim, 30 and Mordecai sent documents concerning peace and security to all the Jews in the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of Ahasuerus’ kingdom. 31 Thus were established, for their appointed time, these days of Purim which Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had designated for the Jews, just as they had previously enjoined upon themselves and upon their descendants the duty of fasting and supplication. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these prescriptions for Purim and was recorded in the book.

Chapter 10

The Rise of Mordecai Completed. King Ahasuerus levied a tax on the land and on the islands of the sea. All the acts of his power and valor, as well as a detailed account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king promoted, are recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia. The Jew Mordecai was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, in high standing among the Jews, popular with many of his kindred, seeking the good of his people and speaking out on behalf of the welfare of all its descendants.

Chapter F

Mordecai’s Dream Fulfilled. Then Mordecai said: “This is the work of God. I recall the dream I had about these very things, and not a single detail has been left unfulfilled— the tiny spring that grew into a river, and there was light, and sun, and many waters. The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen. The two dragons are myself and Haman. The nations are those who assembled to destroy the name of the Jews, but my people is Israel, who cried to God and was saved.

“The Lord saved his people and delivered us from all these evils. God worked signs and great wonders, such as have not occurred among the nations. For this purpose he arranged two lots:[e] one for the people of God, the second for all the other nations. These two lots were fulfilled in the hour, the time, and the day of judgment before God and among all the nations. God remembered his people and rendered justice to his inheritance.

10 “Gathering together with joy and happiness before God, they shall celebrate these days on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month Adar throughout all future generations of his people Israel.”

Colophon.[f] 11 In the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who said he was a priest and Levite, and his son Ptolemy brought the present letter of Purim, saying that it was genuine and that Lysimachus, son of Ptolemy, of the community of Jerusalem, had translated it.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:17–19 According to Esther, Jewish feasting on the day after the defeat of their enemies establishes the date of the holiday. Since in Susa the fighting lasts for two days, the Jews of that community initially celebrate Purim a day later than Jews elsewhere.
  2. 9:21 Mordecai creates a compromise among the Jews by making Purim a two-day festival.
  3. 9:23 According to the story, the two-day celebration has its roots in popular observance, which Mordecai’s leadership reinforces and regularizes.
  4. 9:29–32 In attempting to give the impression of concerted action between Esther and Mordecai, the Hebrew text here presents several unresolved difficulties. Verse 29 makes Mordecai and Esther joint authors of a letter that is ascribed in v. 32 to Esther alone. Verse 31 makes Mordecai and Esther joint authors of a letter that is ascribed in vv. 20–22 to Mordecai alone. Finally, it is difficult to see the purpose of confirming a second letter in the second letter itself.
  5. F:7 Two lots: this passage of the Greek text gives an additional interpretation of the feast. The two lots are drawn by God to determine, respectively, the destiny of Israel and that of the nations; contrast with 3:7 of the Hebrew text.
  6. F:11 Several “Ptolemies” (Greek kings reigning in Egypt) had wives named Cleopatra. This postscript dates the Greek version somewhere between 116 B.C. and 48 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 7 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

A. No One Can Find Out the Best Way of Acting

Chapter 7

Critique of Sages on the Day of Adversity

A good name is better than good ointment,[a]
    and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
    than to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of every mortal,
    and the living should take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter;
    when the face is sad, the heart grows wise.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of merriment.
It is better to listen to the rebuke of the wise
    than to listen to the song of fools;
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
    so is the fool’s laughter.
This also is vanity.
Extortion can make a fool out of the wise,
    and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
    better is a patient spirit than a lofty one.
Do not let anger upset your spirit,
    for anger lodges in the bosom of a fool.

10 Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not out of wisdom that you ask about this.

11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance
    and profitable to those who see the sun.

12 [b]For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and knowledge is profitable because wisdom gives life to those who possess it.

13 Consider the work of God. Who can make straight what God has made crooked? 14 On a good day enjoy good things, and on an evil day consider: Both the one and the other God has made, so that no one may find the least fault with him.

Critique of Sages on Justice and Wickedness. 15 [c]I have seen all manner of things in my vain days: the just perishing in their justice, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. 16 “Be not just to excess, and be not overwise. Why work your own ruin? 17 Be not wicked to excess, and be not foolish. Why should you die before your time?” 18 It is good to hold to this rule, and not to let that one go; but the one who fears God will succeed with both.

19 Wisdom is a better defense for the wise than ten princes in the city, 20 yet there is no one on earth so just as to do good and never sin. 21 Do not give your heart to every word that is spoken; you may hear your servant cursing you, 22 for your heart knows that you have many times cursed others.

23 All these things I probed in wisdom. I said, “I will acquire wisdom”; but it was far beyond me. 24 What exists is far-reaching; it is deep, very deep:[d] Who can find it out? 25 [e]I turned my heart toward knowledge; I sought and pursued wisdom and its design, and I recognized that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.

Critique of Advice on Women. 26 More bitter than death I find the woman[f] who is a hunter’s trap, whose heart is a snare, whose hands are prison bonds. The one who pleases God will be delivered from her, but the one who displeases will be entrapped by her. 27 See, this have I found, says Qoheleth, adding one to one to find the sum. 28 What my soul still seeks and has yet to find is this: “One man out of a thousand have I found, but a woman among them all I have not found.” 29 But this alone I have found: God made humankind honest, but they have pursued many designs.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:1 Ointment: a good name can be affirmed only with death, when one is normally anointed. The author dialogues in this section (vv. 1–14) with traditional wisdom, alternately affirming or countering its assertions. The real value of traditional wisdom lies in its ability to provoke one to thought and reflection, and not to absolve one from such activity.
  2. 7:12 St. Jerome’s translation of v. 12b gives an edge to wisdom over money: “But learning and wisdom excel in this, that they bestow life on the one who possesses them.”
  3. 7:15–24 The author continues both to affirm and to counter traditional wisdom. He affirms a certain validity to wisdom, but challenges complacency and mindless optimism. His sense of life’s uncertainty and insecurity finds expression, for example, in the irony evident when v. 16 is read in the light of vv. 20–24: How can one be “excessively” just or wise, when justice and wisdom may be out of reach to begin with? The only sure thing is to “fear God” (v. 18).
  4. 7:24 Far-reaching…deep: the spatial metaphor here emphasizes wisdom’s inaccessibility, a frequent theme in wisdom literature; cf. Jb 28; Prv 30:1–4; Sir 24:28–29; Bar 3:14–23.
  5. 7:25–29 The emphasis is on the devious designs of human beings in general, reflecting the viewpoint of Genesis.
  6. 7:26 More bitter than death…the woman: warnings against the scheming, adulterous woman are common in ancient wisdom (e.g., Prv 2:16–19, etc.).
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 5:1-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

The Call of Simon the Fisherman.[a] While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, 10 and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything[b] and followed him.

The Cleansing of a Leper. 12 Now there was a man full of leprosy[c] in one of the towns where he was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” 13 Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. 14 Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;[d] that will be proof for them.” 15 The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, 16 but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

The Healing of a Paralytic. 17 [e]One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees[f] and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 18 And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set [him] in his presence. 19 But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles[g] into the middle in front of Jesus. 20 When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”[h] 21 Then the scribes[i] and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 22 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 [j]But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 25 He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26 Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

The Call of Levi.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1–11 This incident has been transposed from his source, Mk 1:16–20, which places it immediately after Jesus makes his appearance in Galilee. By this transposition Luke uses this example of Simon’s acceptance of Jesus to counter the earlier rejection of him by his hometown people, and since several incidents dealing with Jesus’ power and authority have already been narrated, Luke creates a plausible context for the acceptance of Jesus by Simon and his partners. Many commentators have noted the similarity between the wondrous catch of fish reported here (Lk 4:4–9) and the post-resurrectional appearance of Jesus in Jn 21:1–11. There are traces in Luke’s story that the post-resurrectional context is the original one: in Lk 4:8 Simon addresses Jesus as Lord (a post-resurrectional title for Jesus—see Lk 24:34; Acts 2:36—that has been read back into the historical ministry of Jesus) and recognizes himself as a sinner (an appropriate recognition for one who has denied knowing Jesus—Lk 22:54–62). As used by Luke, the incident looks forward to Peter’s leadership in Luke-Acts (Lk 6:14; 9:20; 22:31–32; 24:34; Acts 1:15; 2:14–40; 10:11–18; 15:7–12) and symbolizes the future success of Peter as fisherman (Acts 2:41).
  2. 5:11 They left everything: in Mk 1:16–20 and Mt 4:18–22 the fishermen who follow Jesus leave their nets and their father; in Luke, they leave everything (see also Lk 5:28; 12:33; 14:33; 18:22), an indication of Luke’s theme of complete detachment from material possessions.
  3. 5:12 Full of leprosy: see note on Mk 1:40.
  4. 5:14 Show yourself to the priest…what Moses prescribed: this is a reference to Lv 14:2–9 that gives detailed instructions for the purification of one who had been a victim of leprosy and thereby excluded from contact with others (see Lv 13:45–46, 49; Nm 5:2–3). That will be proof for them: see note on Mt 8:4.
  5. 5:17–6:11 From his Marcan source, Luke now introduces a series of controversies with Pharisees: controversy over Jesus’ power to forgive sins (Lk 5:17–26); controversy over his eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners (Lk 5:27–32); controversy over not fasting (Lk 5:33–36); and finally two episodes narrating controversies over observance of the sabbath (Lk 5:1–11).
  6. 5:17 Pharisees: see note on Mt 3:7.
  7. 5:19 Through the tiles: Luke has adapted the story found in Mark to his non-Palestinian audience by changing “opened up the roof” (Mk 2:4, a reference to Palestinian straw and clay roofs) to through the tiles, a detail that reflects the Hellenistic Greco-Roman house with tiled roof.
  8. 5:20 As for you, your sins are forgiven: literally, “O man, your sins are forgiven you.” The connection between the forgiveness of sins and the cure of the paralytic reflects the belief of first-century Palestine (based on the Old Testament: Ex 20:5; Dt 5:9) that sickness and infirmity are the result of sin, one’s own or that of one’s ancestors (see also Lk 13:2; Jn 5:14; 9:2).
  9. 5:21 The scribes: see note on Mk 2:6.
  10. 5:24 See notes on Mt 9:6 and Mk 2:10.
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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