Attention!
10 million Ukrainians without power because of Russia. Help us purchase electrical generators for churches.
Consider helping today!

Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading

December 20 - Old & New Testament

 

Esther 1,2

Queen Vashti Deposed

1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,[a](a) the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces(b) stretching from India to Cush[b]:(c) 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa,(d) 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet(e) for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.

4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days,(f) in the enclosed garden(g) of the king's palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. 6 The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches(h) of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king's liberality.(i) 8 By the king's command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.

9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet(j) for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.

10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits(k) from wine,(l) he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona,(m) Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring(n) before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty(o) to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.(p)

13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times(q) 14 and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles(r) of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.

15 "According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?" he asked. "She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her."

16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, "Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.' 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen's conduct will respond to all the king's nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.(s)

19 "Therefore, if it pleases the king,(t) let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed,(u) that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king's edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest."

21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language,(v) proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.

Esther Made Queen

1 Later when King Xerxes' fury had subsided,(a) he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king's personal attendants proposed, "Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.

5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish,(b) 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a](c) king of Judah.(d) 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther,(e) had a lovely figure(f) and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

8 When the king's order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa(g) and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king's palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor.(h) Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food.(i) He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king's palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.(j) 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

12 Before a young woman's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes(k) and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines.(l) She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.(m)

15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail(n)) to go to the king,(o) she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor(p) of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen(q) instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet,(r) Esther's banquet, for all his nobles and officials.(s) He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.(t)

Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy

19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.(u) 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.(v)

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king's officers(w) who guarded the doorway, became angry(x) and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled(y) on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals(z) in the presence of the king.(aa)

Matthew 1

Chapter 1

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah(a)(b)(c)

1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David,(d) the son of Abraham:(e)

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,(f)

Isaac the father of Jacob,(g)

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,(h)

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,(i)

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

4 Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,(j)

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

6 and Jesse the father of King David.(k)

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,(l)

7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,(m)

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.(n)

12 After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,(o)

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,(p)

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary,(q) and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.(r)

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.(s) 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce(t) her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel(u) of the Lord appeared to him in a dream(v) and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f](w) because he will save his people from their sins."(x)

22 All this took place to fulfill(y) what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"[g](z) (which means "God with us").

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel(aa) of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.(ab)

Luke 3

Chapter 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way(a)(b)

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate(c) was governor of Judea, Herod(d) tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,(e) the word of God came to John(f) son of Zechariah(g) in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.(h) 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

"A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
     make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
     every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
     the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God's salvation.'"[a](i)

7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers!(j) Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?(k) 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.'(l) For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."(m)

10 "What should we do then?"(n) the crowd asked.

11 John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."(o)

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized.(p) "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"

13 "Don't collect any more than you are required to,"(q) he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"

He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely(r)—be content with your pay."

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John(s) might possibly be the Messiah.(t) 16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with[b] water.(u) But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire.(v) 17 His winnowing fork(w) is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."(x) 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod(y) the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.(z)

The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus(aa)(ab)

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying,(ac) heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him(ad) in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son,(ae) whom I love; with you I am well pleased."(af)

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.(ag) He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,(ah)

the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, the son of Melki,

the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,

25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,

the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,

the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,

the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,

the son of Josek, the son of Joda,

27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,

the son of Zerubbabel,(ai) the son of Shealtiel,

the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,

the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,

the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,

the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,

the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,

the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,

the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,(aj)

the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,

the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,

the son of Salmon,[d] the son of Nahshon,

33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[e]

the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,(ak)

the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,

the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,

the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,(al)

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,

the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,

the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,

the son of Arphaxad,(am) the son of Shem,

the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,(an)

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,

the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,

the son of Kenan,(ao) 38 the son of Enosh,

the son of Seth, the son of Adam,

the son of God.(ap)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.