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Bible Reading Plan
Daily Bible Reading
December 22 - Old & New Testament
1 That night the king could not sleep;(a) so he ordered the book of the chronicles,(b) the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.(c)
3 "What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?" the king asked.
"Nothing has been done for him,"(d) his attendants answered.
4 The king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.
5 His attendants answered, "Haman is standing in the court."
"Bring him in," the king ordered.
6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?"
Now Haman thought to himself, "Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?" 7 So he answered the king, "For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe(e) the king has worn and a horse(f) the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king's most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!(g)'"
10 "Go at once," the king commanded Haman. "Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended."
11 So Haman got(h) the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"
12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered(i) in grief, 13 and told Zeresh(j) his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.
His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, "Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall(k) has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!"(l) 14 While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet(m) Esther had prepared.
1 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther's banquet,(a) 2 and as they were drinking wine(b) on the second day, the king again asked, "Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(c) it will be granted.(d)"
3 Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor(e) with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.(f) If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.[a]"
5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?"
6 Esther said, "An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!"
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage,(g) left his wine and went out into the palace garden.(h) But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate,(i) stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch(j) where Esther was reclining.(k)
The king exclaimed, "Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?"(l)
As soon as the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.(m) 9 Then Harbona,(n) one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, "A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits[b](o) stands by Haman's house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king."
The king said, "Impale him on it!"(p) 10 So they impaled(q) Haman(r) on the pole(s) he had set up for Mordecai.(t) Then the king's fury subsided.(u)
The King's Edict in Behalf of the Jews
1 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman,(a) the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring,(b) which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman's estate.(c)
3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite,(d) which he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king extended the gold scepter(e) to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
5 "If it pleases the king," she said, "and if he regards me with favor(f) and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king's provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?"(g)
7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, "Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled(h) him on the pole he set up. 8 Now write another decree(i) in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal(j) it with the king's signet ring(k)—for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked."(l)
9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.[a](m) These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.(n) 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
11 The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,[b] and to plunder(o) the property of their enemies. 12 The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.(p) 13 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day(q) to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14 The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king's command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.(r)
The Triumph of the Jews
15 When Mordecai(s) left the king's presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold(t) and a purple robe of fine linen.(u) And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.(v) 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy,(w) gladness and honor.(x) 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy(y) and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear(z) of the Jews had seized them.(aa)
The Beast out of the Sea
1 The dragon[a] stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.(a) It had ten horns and seven heads,(b) with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.(c) 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard,(d) but had feet like those of a bear(e) and a mouth like that of a lion.(f) The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.(g) 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.(h) The whole world was filled with wonder(i) and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like(j) the beast? Who can wage war against it?"
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies(k) and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.(l) 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.(m) 7 It was given power to wage war(n) against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.(o) 8 All inhabitants of the earth(p) will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life,(q) the Lamb(r) who was slain from the creation of the world.[b](s)
9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.(t)
10 "If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed[c] with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed."[d](u)
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness(v) on the part of God's people.(w)
The Beast out of the Earth
11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth.(x) It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.(y) 12 It exercised all the authority(z) of the first beast on its behalf,(aa) and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast,(ab) whose fatal wound had been healed.(ac) 13 And it performed great signs,(ad) even causing fire to come down from heaven(ae) to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs(af) it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived(ag) the inhabitants of the earth.(ah) It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.(ai) 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship(aj) the image to be killed.(ak) 16 It also forced all people, great and small,(al) rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,(am) 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark,(an) which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.(ao)
18 This calls for wisdom.(ap) Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[e](aq) That number is 666.
the Fifth Week after Epiphany