9Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, when the kings command and edict were about to be executed, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain power over them, but which had been changed to a day when the Jews would gain power over their foes, 2the Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who had sought their ruin; and no one could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen upon all peoples. 3All the officials of the provinces, the satraps and the governors, and the royal officials were supporting the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them. 4For Mordecai was powerful in the kings house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. 5So the Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering, and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.
18 But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. 19Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the open towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, a holiday on which they send gifts of food to one another.
20 Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor. 23So the Jews adopted as a custom what they had begun to do, as Mordecai had written to them.
4 I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority* to cast into hell.* Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in Gods sight. 7But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
8 And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how* you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
Let us go to the house of the Lord.
2 And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem;
3 Jerusalem, built as a city
that is at unity in itself.
4 Thither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
as is decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there are set the thrones of judgement,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls
and tranquillity within your palaces.
8 For my kindred and companions sake,
I will pray that peace be with you.
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek to do you good.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Common Worship psalter is © The Archbishops Council of the Church of England, 2000.
Common Worship texts are available at http://www.cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/
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10 February 2011