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A good reputation 1 is better 2 than precious 3 perfume; 4 likewise, 5 the day of one’s 6 death 7 is better than the day of one’s birth. 8
I, the Lord, protect it; 1 I water it regularly. 2 I guard it night and day, so no one can harm it. 3
to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor, the day when our God will seek vengeance, 1 to console all who mourn,
“While the earth continues to exist, 1 planting time 2 and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”
but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it 1 you shall not do any work, you, 2 or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates. 3
And day after day Mordecai used to walk back and forth in front of the court of the harem in order to learn how Esther was doing 1 and what might happen to her.
But I have not pestered you to bring disaster. 1 I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation. 2 You know that. You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken. 3
(But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion; he can turn the darkness into morning and daylight 1 into night. He summons the water of the seas and pours it out on the earth’s surface. The Lord is his name!
but the seventh day is the Sabbath 1 of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, 2 so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest.
Night and day may you watch over this temple, the place where you promised you would live. 1 May you answer your servant’s prayer for this place. 2
And after they had spoken to him day after day 1 without his paying any attention to them, they informed Haman to see whether this attitude on Mordecai’s part would be permitted. 2 Furthermore, he had disclosed to them that he was a Jew. 3
Throughout every province and throughout every city where the king’s edict and his law arrived, the Jews experienced happiness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many of the resident peoples 1 pretended 2 to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them. 3
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.
Is this really the kind of fasting I want? 1 Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves, 2 bowing their heads like a reed and stretching out 3 on sackcloth and ashes? Is this really what you call a fast, a day that is pleasing to the Lord?
“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!”