Esther 6-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The King Honors Mordecai
6 That night the king could not sleep, and he had a servant read him the records of what had happened since he had been king. 2 When the servant read how Mordecai had kept Bigthana and Teresh from killing the king, 3 the king asked, “What has been done to reward Mordecai for this?”
“Nothing, Your Majesty!” the king’s servants replied.
4 About this time, Haman came in to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on the tower he had built. The king saw him and asked, “Who is that man waiting in front of the throne room?”
5 The king’s servants answered, “Your Majesty, it is Haman.”
“Have him come in,” the king commanded.
6 When Haman entered the room, the king asked him, “What should I do for a man I want to honor?”
Haman was sure that he was the one the king wanted to honor. 7 So he replied, “Your Majesty, if you wish to honor a man, 8 have someone bring him one of your own robes and one of your own horses with a fancy headdress. 9 Have one of your highest officials place your robe on this man and lead him through the streets on your horse, while someone shouts, ‘This is how the king honors a man!’”
10 The king replied, “Hurry and do just what you have said! Don’t forget a thing. Get the robe and the horse for Mordecai the Jew, who is on duty at the palace gate!”
11 Haman got the king’s robe and put it on Mordecai. He led him through the city on the horse and shouted as he went, “This is how the king honors a man!”
12 Afterwards, Mordecai returned to his duties at the palace gate, and Haman hurried home, hiding his face in shame. 13 Haman told his wife and friends what had happened. Then his wife and his advisors said, “If Mordecai is a Jew, this is just the beginning of your troubles! You will end up a ruined man.” 14 They were still talking, when the king’s servants came and quickly took Haman to the dinner that Esther had prepared.
Haman Is Punished
7 The king and Haman were dining with Esther 2 and drinking wine during the second dinner, when the king again said, “Esther, what can I do for you? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom!”
3 Esther answered, “Your Majesty, if you really care for me and are willing to help, you can save me and my people. That’s what I really want, 4 because a reward has been promised to anyone who kills my people. Your Majesty, if we were merely going to be sold as slaves, I would not have bothered you.”[a]
5 “Who would dare to do such a thing?” the king asked.
6 Esther replied, “That evil Haman is the one out to get us!”
Haman was terrified, as he looked at the king and the queen.
7 The king was so angry that he got up, left his wine, and went out into the palace garden.
Haman realized that the king had already decided what to do with him, and he stayed and begged Esther to save his life.
8 Just as the king came back into the room, Haman got down on his knees beside Esther, who was lying on the couch. The king shouted, “Now you’re even trying to rape my queen here in my own palace!”
As soon as the king said this, his servants covered Haman’s head. 9 Then Harbona, one of the king’s personal servants, said, “Your Majesty, Haman built a tower seventy-five feet high beside his house, so he could hang Mordecai on it. And Mordecai is the very one who spoke up and saved your life.”
“Hang Haman from his own tower!” the king commanded. 10 Right away, Haman was hanged on the tower he had built to hang Mordecai, and the king calmed down.
A Happy Ending for the Jews
8 Before the end of the day, King Xerxes gave Esther everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So the king made Mordecai one of his highest officials 2 and gave him the royal ring that Haman had worn. Then Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s property.
3 Once again Esther went to speak to the king. This time she fell down at his feet, crying and begging, “Please stop Haman’s evil plan to have the Jews killed!” 4 King Xerxes held out the golden scepter to Esther, 5 and she got up and said, “Your Majesty, I know that you will do the right thing and that you really love me. Please stop what Haman has planned. He has already sent letters demanding that the Jews in all your provinces be killed, 6 and I can’t bear to see my people and my own relatives destroyed.”
7 King Xerxes then said to Esther and Mordecai, “I have already ordered Haman to be hanged and his house given to Esther, because of his evil plans to kill the Jews. 8 I now give you permission to make a law that will save the lives of your people. You may use my ring to seal the law, so that it can never be changed.”
9 On the twenty-third day of Sivan,[b] the third month, the king’s secretaries wrote the law. They obeyed Mordecai and wrote to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the officials of all one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia.[c] The letters were written in every language used in the kingdom, including the Jewish language. 10 They were written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with his ring. Then they were taken by messengers who rode the king’s finest and fastest horses.
11-13 In these letters the king said:
On the thirteenth day of Adar,[d] the twelfth month, the Jews in every city and province will be allowed to get together and defend themselves. They may destroy any army that attacks them, and they may kill all of their enemies, including women and children. They may also take everything that belongs to their enemies.
A copy of this law is to be posted in every province and read by everyone.
14-15 Then the king ordered his messengers to take their fastest horses and deliver the law as quickly as possible to every province. When Mordecai left, he was wearing clothes fit for a king. He wore blue and white robes, a large gold crown, and a cape made of fine linen and purple cloth.
After the law was announced in Susa, everyone shouted and cheered, 16 and the Jews were no longer afraid. In fact, they were very happy and felt that they had won a victory.
17 In every province and city where the law was sent, the Jews had parties and celebrated. Many of the people in the provinces accepted the Jewish religion, because they were now afraid of the Jews.
Acts 6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Seven Leaders for the Church
6 A lot of people were now becoming followers of the Lord. But some of the ones who spoke Greek started complaining about the ones who spoke Aramaic. They complained that the Greek-speaking widows were not given their share when the food supplies were handed out each day.
2 The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, “We should not give up preaching God’s message in order to serve at tables.[a] 3 My friends, choose seven men who are respected and wise and filled with God’s Spirit. We will put them in charge of these things. 4 We can spend our time praying and serving God by preaching.”
5 This suggestion pleased everyone, and they began by choosing Stephen. He had great faith and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and also Nicolaus, who worshiped with the Jewish people[b] in Antioch. 6 These men were brought to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on the men to show that they had been chosen to do this work. 7 God’s message spread, and many more people in Jerusalem became followers. Even a large number of priests put their faith in the Lord.
Stephen Is Arrested
8 God gave Stephen the power to work great miracles and wonders among the people. 9 But some Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria were members of a group who called themselves “Free Men.”[c] They started arguing with Stephen. Some others from Cilicia and Asia also argued with him. 10 But they were no match for Stephen, who spoke with the great wisdom that the Spirit gave him. 11 So they talked some men into saying, “We heard Stephen say terrible things against Moses and God!”
12 They turned the people and their leaders and the teachers of the Law of Moses against Stephen. Then they all grabbed Stephen and dragged him in front of the council.
13 Some men agreed to tell lies about Stephen, and they said, “This man keeps on saying terrible things about this holy temple and the Law of Moses. 14 We have heard him claim that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses gave us.” 15 Then all the council members stared at Stephen. They saw that his face looked like the face of an angel.
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