When it became the turn of Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai (who had raised her as if she were his own daughter 1 ) to go to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who was overseer of the women, had recommended. Yet Esther met with the approval of all who saw her.
Letters were sent by the runners to all the king’s provinces stating that 1 they should destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, from youth to elderly, both women and children, 2 on a particular day, namely the thirteenth day 3 of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar), and to loot and plunder their possessions.
“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast in my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I 1 will also fast in the same way. Afterward I will go to the king, even though it violates the law. 2 If I perish, I perish!”
A man who is all alone with no companion, 1 he has no children nor siblings; 2 yet there is no end to all his toil, and he 3 is never satisfied with riches. He laments, 4 “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself 5 of pleasure?” 6 This also is futile and a burdensome task! 7
The Lord showed me two baskets of figs sitting before his temple. This happened after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon deported Jehoiakim’s son, King Jeconiah of Judah. He deported him and the leaders of Judah, along with the craftsmen and metal workers, and took them to Babylon. 1
So I, the Lord, affirm that 1 I will send for all the peoples of the north 2 and my servant, 3 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and all the nations that surround it. I will utterly destroy 4 this land, its inhabitants, and all the nations that surround it 5 and make them everlasting ruins. 6 I will make them objects of horror and hissing scorn. 7
Now it happened just as the Lord had said! My cousin Hanamel 1 came to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse. He said to me, ‘Buy my field which is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ When this happened, I recognized that the Lord had indeed spoken to me.
So I, the Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, say: 1 “I will soon bring on Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem all the disaster that I threatened to bring on them. I will do this because I spoke to them but they did not listen. I called out to them but they did not answer.”’”
But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free 1 from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you. 2 But if you prefer not to come to Babylon with me, you are not required to do so. 3 You are free to go anywhere in the land you want to go. 4 Go wherever you choose.” 5
For 1 the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 2 says, ‘If you go to Egypt, I will pour out my wrath on you just as I poured out my anger and wrath on the citizens of Jerusalem. 3 You will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 4 You will never see this place again.’ 5
I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go 1 and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle 2 or perish from starvation. People of every class 3 will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 4
Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do. 1 We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven 2 just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and had no troubles. 3
From the city he took an official who was in charge of the soldiers, seven of the king’s advisers who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens 1 for military service, and sixty citizens who were discovered in the middle of the city.
Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: When any one from the house of Israel erects his idols in his heart and sets the obstacle leading to his iniquity before his face, and then consults a prophet, I the Lord am determined to answer him personally according to the enormity of his idolatry. 1
For this reason no watered trees will grow so tall; their tops will not reach into the clouds, nor will the well-watered ones grow that high. 1 For all of them have been appointed to die in the lower parts of the earth; 2 they will be among mere mortals, 3 with those who descend to the pit.
As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, my sheep have become prey and have become food for all the wild beasts. There was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my flock, but fed themselves and did not feed my sheep,
He said to me: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne 1 and the place for the soles of my feet, 2 where I will live among the people of Israel forever. The house of Israel will no longer profane my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their spiritual prostitution or by the pillars of their kings set up when they die. 3
When they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its pattern, its exits and entrances, and its whole design – all its statutes, its entire design, and all its laws; write it all down in their sight, so that they may observe its entire design and all its statutes and do them.
“All the servants of the king and the people of the king’s provinces know that there is only one law applicable 1 to any man or woman who comes uninvited to the king in the inner court – that person will be put to death, unless the king extends to him the gold scepter, permitting him to be spared. 2 Now I have not been invited to come to the king for some thirty days!”
Then 1 I, the Lord, promise that 2 I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’