8:1 On that same day King Ahasuerus gave the estate of Haman, that adversary of the Jews, to Queen Esther. Now Mordecai had come before the king, for Esther had revealed how he was related to her. 2The king then removed his signet ring (the very one he had taken back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther designated Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s estate.
3Then Esther again spoke with the king, falling at his feet. She wept and begged him for mercy that he might nullify the evil of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had intended against the Jews. 4When the king extended to Esther the gold scepter, she arose and stood before the king.
5She said, “If the king is so inclined, and if I have met with his approval, and if the matter is agreeable to the king, and if I am attractive to him, let an edict be written rescinding those recorded intentions of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, which he wrote in order to destroy the Jews who are throughout all the king’s provinces. 6For how can I watch the calamity that will befall my people, and how can I watch the destruction of my relatives?”
7King Ahasuerus replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Look, I have already given Haman’s estate to Esther, and he has been hanged on the gallows because he took hostile action against the Jews. 8Now write in the king’s name whatever in your opinion is appropriate concerning the Jews and seal it with the king’s signet ring. Any decree that is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring cannot be rescinded.”
9The king’s scribes were quickly summoned—in the third month (that is, the month of Sivan), on the twenty-third day. They wrote out everything that Mordecai instructed to the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors, and the officials of the provinces all the way from India to Ethiopia—127 provinces in all—to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, and to the Jews according to their own script and their own language. 10Mordecai wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. He then sent letters by couriers, who rode royal horses that were very swift.
11The 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, and to confiscate their property. 12This was to take place on a certain day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus—namely, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar). 13A copy of the edict was to be presented as law throughout each and every province and made known to all peoples, so that the Jews might be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14The couriers who were riding the royal horses went forth with the king’s edict without delay. And the law was presented in Susa the citadel as well.
15Now Mordecai went out from the king’s presence in blue and white royal attire, with a large golden crown and a purple linen mantle. The city of Susa shouted with joy. 16For the Jews there was radiant happiness and joyous honor. 17Throughout 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 pretended to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them.(NET Bible)
60:1 For the music director, according to the shushan-eduth style; a prayer of David written to instruct others. It was written when he fought against Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah. That was when Joab turned back and struck down 12,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
O God, you have rejected us.
You suddenly turned on us in your anger.
Please restore us!
2You made the earth quake; you split it open.
Repair its breaches, for it is ready to fall.
3You have made your people experience hard times;
you have made us drink intoxicating wine.
4You have given your loyal followers a rallying flag,
so that they might seek safety from the bow. (Selah)
5Deliver by your power and answer me,
so that the ones you love may be safe.
6God has spoken in his sanctuary:
“I will triumph. I will parcel out Shechem;
the Valley of Sukkoth I will measure off.
7Gilead belongs to me,
as does Manasseh.
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my royal scepter.
8Moab is my washbasin.
I will make Edom serve me.
I will shout in triumph over Philistia.”
9Who will lead me into the fortified city?
Who will bring me to Edom?
10Have you not rejected us, O God?
O God, you do not go into battle with our armies.
11Give us help against the enemy,
for any help men might offer is futile.
12By God’s power we will conquer;
he will trample down our enemies.(NET Bible)
1 Thess. 4:1–18
4:1 Finally then, brothers and sisters, we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us about how you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) that you do so more and more. 2For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is God’s will: that you become holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, 4that each of you know how to possess his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. 6In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, because the Lord is the avenger in all these cases, as we also told you earlier and warned you solemnly. 7For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8Consequently the one who rejects this is not rejecting human authority but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11to aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. 12In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need.
13Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. 15For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.(NET Bible)
Luther was not unaware of the difficulties that arise when parallel passages in the Gospels are compared with each other. So in the Lenten Postil, of 1525, he discusses the order of time in the three temptations of our Lord. He makes this statement: “The order in which these temptations came to Christ cannot be determined with certainty, for the evangelists do not agree. What Matthew places in the middle, Luke places at the end, and what he places in the middle, Matthew places at the end, as though he placed little importance on the order. If we want to preach about it or discuss it, the order of Luke would be the best, for it makes a fine sequence that the devil first attacks through need and misfortune and, when this does not bring results, follows with fortune and honor. Finally, when this is all in vain, he strikes out with all force with errors, lies, and other spiritual deceits. But because they do not occur thus in our daily experience, but, as it happens, a Christian is tempted now with the last, now with the first, Matthew did not pay much attention to the order, as would be fitting for a preacher. And perhaps Christ was so tempted during the forty days that the devil did not observe any particular order but came today with the one temptation, tomorrow with the other, after ten days again with the first and so on as it happened to take place.” (45)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.