You shall rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God, along with your sons, daughters, male and female servants, and the Levites in your villages 1 (since they have no allotment or inheritance with you). 2
No one must enter the Lord’s temple except the priests and Levites who are on duty. They may enter because they are ceremonially pure. All the others should carry out their assigned service to the Lord.
Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders 1 – older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established 2 – were weeping loudly, 3 and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout.
This is why the Jews who are in the rural country – those who live in rural cities – set aside the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a holiday for happiness, banqueting, holiday, and sending gifts to one another.
Therefore, because of the account found in this letter and what they had faced in this regard and what had happened to them, the Jews established as binding on themselves, their descendants, and all who joined their company that they should observe these two days without fail, just as written and at the appropriate time on an annual basis.
For this is what the Lord says, the one who created the sky – he is the true God, 1 the one who formed the earth and made it; he established it, he did not create it without order, 2 he formed it to be inhabited – “I am the Lord, I have no peer.
I, the Lord, say: 1 ‘You people have deserted me! You keep turning your back on me.’ 2 So I have unleashed my power against you 3 and have begun to destroy you. 4 I have grown tired of feeling sorry for you!” 5
You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. 1 For what is ‘burdensome’ 2 really pertains to what a person himself says. 3 You are misrepresenting 4 the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 5
But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words – even though briers 1 and thorns 2 surround you and you live among scorpions – do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, 3 for they are a rebellious house!
“Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power 1 and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day – we have sinned and behaved wickedly.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. He 1 is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you!”
and do not present your members to sin as instruments 1 to be used for unrighteousness, 2 but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments 3 to be used for righteousness.