Esther 9-10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Jews Destroy Their Enemies
9 The first law that the king had made was to be followed on the thirteenth day of Adar,[a] the twelfth month. This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to do away with them. But the Jews turned things around, 2 and in the cities of every province they came together to attack their enemies. Everyone was afraid of the Jews, and no one could do anything to oppose them.
3 The leaders of the provinces, the rulers, the governors, and the court officials were afraid of Mordecai and took sides with the Jews. 4 Everyone in the provinces knew that the king had promoted him and had given him a lot of power.
5 The Jews took their swords and did away with their enemies, without showing any mercy. 6-10 They killed five hundred people in Susa,[b] but they did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Haman had been one of the worst enemies of the Jews, and ten of his sons were among those who were killed. Their names were Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha.
11 Later that day, someone told the king how many people had been killed in Susa.[c] 12 Then he told Esther, “Five hundred people, including Haman’s ten sons, have been killed in Susa alone. If that many were killed here, what must have happened in the provinces? Is there anything else you want done? Just tell me, and it will be done.”
13 Esther answered, “Your Majesty, please let the Jews in Susa fight to defend themselves tomorrow, just as they did today. And order the bodies of Haman’s ten sons to be hanged in public.”
14 King Xerxes did what Esther had requested, and the bodies of Haman’s sons were hung in Susa. 15 Then on the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of the city got together and killed three hundred more people. But they still did not take anything that belonged to their enemies.
16-17 On the thirteenth day of Adar, the Jews in the provinces had come together to defend themselves. They killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies, but the Jews did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Then on the fourteenth day of the month the Jews celebrated with a feast.
18 On the fifteenth day of the month the Jews in Susa held a holiday and celebrated, after killing their enemies on the thirteenth and the fourteenth. 19 This is why the Jews in the villages now celebrate on the fourteenth day of the month. It is a joyful holiday that they celebrate by feasting and sending gifts of food to each other.
The Festival of Purim
20 Mordecai wrote down everything that had happened. Then he sent letters to the Jews everywhere in the provinces 21 and told them:
Each year you must celebrate on both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar, 22 the days when we Jews defeated our enemies. Remember this month as a time when our sorrow was turned to joy, and celebration took the place of crying. Celebrate by having parties and by giving to the poor and by sharing gifts of food with each other.
23 They followed Mordecai’s instructions and set aside these two days every year as a time of celebration.
The Reason for the Festival of Purim
24 Haman was the son of Hammedatha and a descendant of Agag. He hated the Jews so much that he planned to destroy them, but he wanted to find out the best time to do it. So he cast lots.[d]
25 Esther went to King Xerxes and asked him to save her people. Then the king gave written orders for Haman and his sons to be punished in the same terrible way that Haman had in mind for the Jews. So they were hanged. 26 Mordecai’s letter had said that the Jews must celebrate for two days because of what had happened to them. This time of celebration is called Purim,[e] which is the Hebrew word for the lots that were cast. 27 Now every year the Jews set aside these two days for having parties and celebrating, just as they were told to do. 28 From now on, all Jewish families must remember to celebrate Purim on these two days each year.
29 Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, wanted to give full authority to Mordecai’s letter about the Festival of Purim, and with his help she wrote a letter about the feast. 30 Copies of this letter were sent to Jews in the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of King Xerxes. In the letter they said:
We pray that all of you will live in peace and safety.
31 You and your descendants must always remember to celebrate Purim at the time and in the way that we have said. You must also follow the instructions that we have given you about mourning and going without eating.[f]
32 These laws about Purim are written by the authority of Queen Esther.
The Greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai
10 King Xerxes made everyone in his kingdom pay taxes, even those in lands across the sea. 2 All the great and famous things that King Xerxes did are written in the record books of the kings of Media and Persia. These records also tell about the honors that the king gave to Mordecai. 3 Next to the king himself, Mordecai was the highest official in the kingdom. He was a popular leader of the Jews, because he helped them in many ways and would even speak to the king for them.
Acts 7:1-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 The high priest asked Stephen, “Are they telling the truth about you?”
2 Stephen answered:
Friends, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he had moved to Haran. 3 God told him, “Leave your country and your relatives and go to a land that I will show you.” 4 Then Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran.
After his father died, Abraham came and settled in this land where you now live. 5 God didn’t give him any part of it, not even a square foot. But God did promise to give it to him and his family forever, even though Abraham didn’t have any children. 6 God said that Abraham’s descendants would live for a while in a foreign land. There they would be slaves and would be mistreated four hundred years. 7 But he also said, “I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. Then later they will come and worship me in this place.”
8 God said to Abraham, “Every son in each family must be circumcised to show that you have kept your agreement with me.” So when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him. Later, Isaac circumcised his son Jacob, and Jacob circumcised his twelve sons. 9 These men were our ancestors.
Joseph was also one of our famous ancestors. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave to be taken to Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. God made him so wise that the Egyptian king Pharaoh[a] thought highly of him. The king even made Joseph governor over Egypt and put him in charge of everything he owned.
11 Everywhere in Egypt and Canaan the grain crops failed. There was terrible suffering, and our ancestors could not find enough to eat. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there for the first time. 13 It was on their second trip that Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family.
14 Joseph sent for his father and his relatives. In all, there were seventy-five of them. 15 His father went to Egypt and died there, just as our ancestors did. 16 Later their bodies were taken back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor.
17 Finally, the time came for God to do what he had promised Abraham. By then the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18 Another king was ruling Egypt, and he didn’t know anything about Joseph. 19 He tricked our ancestors and was cruel to them. He even made them leave their babies outside, so they would die.
20 During this time Moses was born. He was a very beautiful child, and for three months his parents took care of him in their home. 21 Then when they were forced to leave him outside, the king’s daughter found him and raised him as her own son.
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