What follows is a list of Israelite family leaders and commanders of units of a thousand and a hundred, as well as their officers who served the king in various matters. Each division was assigned to serve for one month during the year; each consisted of 24,000 men. 1
Jehoiada the priest sent out the officers of the units of hundreds, who were in charge of the army, and ordered them, “Bring her outside the temple to the guards. 1 Put the sword to anyone who follows her.” The priest gave this order because he had decided she should not be executed in the Lord’s temple. 2
He put an idolatrous image he had made in God’s temple, about which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. 1
Now when these things had been completed, the leaders approached me and said, “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the local residents 1 who practice detestable things similar to those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
“Everything that has happened to us has come about because of our wicked actions and our great guilt. Even so, our God, you have exercised restraint 1 toward our iniquities and have given us a remnant such as this.
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
When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet of wine, Haman was throwing himself down 1 on the couch where Esther was lying. 2 The king exclaimed, “Will he also attempt to rape the queen while I am still in the building!” As these words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.
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 Lover to His Beloved: O my dove, 1 in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places of the mountain crags, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
But the chief adviser said, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 1 His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you!” 2
Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 1 When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 2 So pray for this remnant that remains.’” 3
Who stirs up this one from the east? 1 Who 2 officially commissions him for service? 3 He hands nations over to him, 4 and enables him to subdue 5 kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, like windblown straw with his bow. 6
All nations gather together, the peoples assemble. Who among them announced this? Who predicted earlier events for us? 1 Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right; let them listen and affirm, ‘It is true.’
No one thinks to himself, nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves: ‘I burned half of it in the fire – yes, I baked bread over the coals; I roasted meat and ate it. With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol? Should I bow down to dry wood?’ 1
Tell me! Present the evidence! 1 Let them consult with one another! Who predicted this in the past? Who announced it beforehand? Was it not I, the Lord? I have no peer, there is no God but me, a God who vindicates and delivers; 2 there is none but me.
Why do you forget 1 the Lord, who made you, who stretched out the sky 2 and founded the earth? Why do you constantly tremble all day long 3 at the anger of the oppressor, when he makes plans to destroy? Where is the anger of the oppressor? 4
They lament, 1 ‘Why don’t you notice when we fast? Why don’t you pay attention when we humble ourselves?’ Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfish desires, 2 you oppress your workers. 3
So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 1 to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. 2 I, the Lord, affirm it! 3
King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor? 1 Did not 2 the Lord forgo destroying them 3 as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.” 4