And let the king appoint officers throughout all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the attractive young women to Susa the citadel, to the harem 1 under the authority of Hegai, the king’s eunuch who oversees the women, and let him provide whatever cosmetics they desire. 2
The king thereby allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and to stand up for themselves – to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any army of whatever people or province that should become their adversaries, including their women and children, 1 and to confiscate their property.
Rejoice, young man, while you are young, 1 and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the impulses 2 of your heart and the desires 3 of your eyes, but know that God will judge your motives and actions. 4
For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 1 You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 2 I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword.
“Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you have brought up 1 your own guilt by uncovering your transgressions and revealing your sins through all your actions, for this reason you will be taken by force. 2
Therefore when they all 1 heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, 2 and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and language groups began bowing down and paying homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected.
I hereby decree 1 that any people, nation, or language group that blasphemes 2 the god of Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego will be dismembered and his home reduced to rubble! For there exists no other god who can deliver in this way.”
Due to the greatness that he bestowed on him, all peoples, nations, and language groups were trembling with fear 1 before him. He killed whom he wished, he spared 2 whom he wished, he exalted whom he wished, and he brought low whom he wished.
“After these things, as I was watching in the night visions 1 a fourth beast appeared – one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. 2 It had two large rows 3 of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns.
“Then I wanted to know the meaning 1 of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet.
Shortly after his rise to power, 1 his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky 2 – but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these.
“Then the king 1 will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of 2 wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur. 3
I thought, 1 ‘Certainly you will respect 2 me! Now you will accept correction!’ If she had done so, her home 3 would not be destroyed 4 by all the punishments I have threatened. 5 But they eagerly sinned in everything they did. 6
So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will 1 bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition 2 from God.
For if someone comes and proclaims 1 another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, 2 or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, 3 or a different gospel than the one you accepted, 4 you put up with it well enough! 5
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, 1
keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 1
Here I am. Bring a charge against me before the Lord and before his chosen king. 1 Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I wronged? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe so that I would overlook something? Tell me, 2 and I will return it to you!”