16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening,(A) morning(B) and noon(C)
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,(D)
    who does not change—
he will hear(E) them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God.(F)

20 My companion attacks his friends;(G)
    he violates his covenant.(H)
21 His talk is smooth as butter,(I)
    yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,(J)
    yet they are drawn swords.(K)

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;(L)
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.(M)
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit(N) of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful(O)
    will not live out half their days.(P)

But as for me, I trust in you.(Q)

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Esther’s Request to the King

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes(A) and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s(B) hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.(C)

Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(D) it will be given you.”

“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

“Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”

So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. As they were drinking wine,(E) the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(F) it will be granted.”(G)

Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor(H) and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet(I) I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”

Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai

Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage(J) against Mordecai.(K) 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.

Calling together his friends and Zeresh,(L) his wife, 11 Haman boasted(M) to them about his vast wealth, his many sons,(N) and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person(O) Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.(P)

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits,[a](Q) and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled(R) on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.

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Footnotes

  1. Esther 5:14 That is, about 75 feet or about 23 meters

Freedom From Human Rules

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you(A) by what you eat or drink,(B) or with regard to a religious festival,(C) a New Moon celebration(D) or a Sabbath day.(E) 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come;(F) the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility(G) and the worship of angels disqualify you.(H) Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head,(I) from whom the whole body,(J) supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.(K)

20 Since you died with Christ(L) to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,(M) why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:(N) 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish(O) with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.(P) 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility(Q) and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,(R) set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.(S)