He passed his sons through the fire 1 in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom and practiced divination, omen reading, and sorcery. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits and appointed magicians to supervise it. 2 He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord and angered him. 3
‘You displayed a sensitive spirit 1 and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words concerning this place and its residents. You humbled yourself before me, tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord.
The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites. All the people were there, from the oldest to the youngest. He read aloud all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple.
Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the areas belonging to the Israelites and encouraged 1 all who were in Israel to worship the Lord their God. Throughout the rest of his reign 2 they did not turn aside from following the Lord God of their ancestors.
A Passover like this had not been observed in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had observed a Passover like the one celebrated by Josiah, the priests, the Levites, all the people of Judah and Israel who were there, and the residents of Jerusalem.
they came to Zerubbabel and the leaders 1 and said to them, “Let us help you build, 2 for like you we seek your God and we have been sacrificing to him 3 from the time 4 of King Esarhaddon 5 of Assyria, who brought us here.” 6
“I also hereby issue orders as to what you are to do with those elders of the Jews in order to rebuild this temple of God. From the royal treasury, from the taxes of Trans-Euphrates the complete costs are to be given to these men, so that there may be no interruption of the work. 1
“Now you, Ezra, in keeping with the wisdom of your God which you possess, 1 appoint judges 2 and court officials who can arbitrate cases on behalf of all the people who are in Trans-Euphrates who know the laws of your God. Those who do not know this law should be taught.
Although we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our servitude. He has extended kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, in that he has revived us 1 to restore the temple of our God and to raise 2 up its ruins and to give us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 3
and in the presence of his colleagues 1 and the army of Samaria 2 he said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they be left to themselves? 3 Will they again offer sacrifice? Will they finish this in a day? Can they bring these burnt stones to life again from piles of dust?”
Every day one ox, six select sheep, and some birds were prepared for me, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Despite all this I did not require the food allotted to the governor, for the work was demanding on this people.
When you perceived that his heart was faithful toward you, you established a 1 covenant with him to give his descendants 2 the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites. You have fulfilled your promise, 3 for you are righteous.
So I entered a complaint with them. I called down a curse on them, and I struck some of the men and pulled out their hair. I had them swear by God saying, “You will not marry off 1 your daughters to their sons, and you will not take any of their daughters as wives for your sons or for yourselves!
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a particular people 1 that is dispersed and spread among the inhabitants 2 throughout all the provinces of your kingdom whose laws differ from those of all other peoples. Furthermore, they do not observe the king’s laws. It is not appropriate for the king to provide a haven for them. 3
“Don’t imagine that because you are part of the king’s household you will be the one Jew 1 who will escape. If you keep quiet at this time, liberation and protection for the Jews will appear 2 from another source, 3 while you and your father’s household perish. It may very well be 4 that you have achieved royal status 5 for such a time as this!”
For we have been sold 1 – both I and my people – to destruction and to slaughter and to annihilation! If we had simply been sold as male and female slaves, I would have remained silent, for such distress would not have been sufficient for troubling the king.”
Then the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman! What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? What is your request? It shall be given to you. What other petition do you have? It shall be done.”
Lord, use your power to deliver me from these murderers, 1 from the murderers of this world! 2 They enjoy prosperity; 3 you overwhelm them with the riches they desire. 4 They have many children, and leave their wealth to their offspring. 5
For to the one who pleases him, 1 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner, he gives the task of amassing 2 wealth 3 – only to give 4 it 5 to the one who pleases God. This 6 task of the wicked 7 is futile – like chasing the wind!
I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: 1 to eat and drink, 2 and find enjoyment in all their 3 hard work 4 on earth 5 during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward. 6