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Esther 9

9:1 In the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar), on its thirteenth day, the edict of the king and his law were to be executed. It was on this day that the enemies of the Jews had supposed that they would gain power over them. But contrary to expectations, the Jews gained power over their enemies. 2The Jews assembled themselves in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to strike out against those who were seeking their harm. No one was able to stand before them, for dread of them fell on all the peoples. 3All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and those who performed the king’s business were assisting the Jews, for the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4Mordecai was of high rank in the king’s palace, and word about him was spreading throughout all the provinces. His influence continued to become greater and greater.

5The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, bringing death and destruction, and they did as they pleased with their enemies. 6In Susa the citadel the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men. 7In addition, they also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10the 10 sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not confiscate their property.

11On that same day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was brought to the king’s attention. 12Then the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and the 10 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.”

13Esther replied, “If the king is so inclined, let the Jews who are in Susa be permitted to act tomorrow also according to today’s law, and let them hang the 10 sons of Haman on the gallows.”

14So the king issued orders for this to be done. A law was passed in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. 15The Jews who were in Susa then assembled on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they killed 300 men in Susa. But they did not confiscate their property.

16The rest of the Jews who were throughout the provinces of the king assembled in order to stand up for themselves and to have rest from their enemies. They killed 75,000 of their adversaries, but they did not confiscate their property. 17All this happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. They then rested on the fourteenth day and made it a day for banqueting and happiness.

18But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth days, and rested on the fifteenth, making it a day for banqueting and happiness. 19This is why the Jews who are in the rural country—those who live in rural villages—set aside the fourteenth day of the month of Adar for happiness, banqueting, a holiday, and sending gifts to one another.

20Mordecai wrote these matters down and sent letters to all the Jews who were throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21to have them observe the fourteenth and the fifteenth days of the month of Adar each year 22as the time when the Jews gave themselves rest from their enemies—the month when their trouble was turned to happiness and their mourning to a holiday. These were to be days of banqueting, happiness, sending gifts to one another, and providing for the poor.

23So the Jews committed themselves to continuing what they had begun to do and to what Mordecai had written to them. 24For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised plans against the Jews to destroy them. He had cast pur (that is, the lot) in order to afflict and destroy them. 25But when the matter came to the king’s attention, the king gave written orders that Haman’s evil intentions that he had devised against the Jews should fall on his own head. He and his sons were hanged on the gallows. 26For this reason these days are known as Purim, after the name of pur. Therefore, because of the account found in this letter and what they had faced in this regard and what had happened to them, 27the Jews established as binding on themselves, their descendants, and all who joined their company that they should observe these two days without fail, just as written and at the appropriate time on an annual basis. 28These days were to be remembered and to be celebrated in every generation and in every family, every province, and every city. The Jews were not to fail to observe these days of Purim; the remembrance of them was not to cease among their descendants.

29So Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30Letters were sent to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the empire of Ahasuerus—words of true peace— 31to establish these days of Purim in their proper times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established, and just as they had established both for themselves and their descendants, matters pertaining to fasting and lamentation. 32Esther’s command established these matters of Purim, and the matter was officially recorded.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 61

61:1 For the music director, to be played on a stringed instrument; written by David.

O God, hear my cry for help.

Pay attention to my prayer.

2From the remotest place on earth

I call out to you in my despair.

Lead me up to a rocky summit where I can be safe.

3Indeed, you are my shelter,

a strong tower that protects me from the enemy.

4I will be a permanent guest in your home;

I will find shelter in the protection of your wings. (Selah)

5For you, O God, hear my vows;

you grant me the reward that belongs to your loyal followers.

6Give the king long life.

Make his lifetime span several generations.

7May he reign forever before God.

Decree that your loyal love and faithfulness should protect him.

8Then I will sing praises to your name continually,

as I fulfill my vows day after day.

(NET Bible)

1 Thess. 5:1–28

5:1 Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 2For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. 3Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. 4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. 5For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. 6So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. 9For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep, we will come to life together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing.

12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. 15See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16Always rejoice, 17constantly pray, 18in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not extinguish the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. 22Stay away from every form of evil.

23Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this. 25Brothers and sisters, pray for us too. 26Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. 27I call on you solemnly in the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

(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.

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