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sold, I and my people are to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish; but if we had been sold for bond-men and bond-women, I had held my tongue although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.

And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath, went into the palace-garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.

Then the king returned out of the palace-garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen on the bed where Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king' mouth, they covered Haman's face.

And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman, the Jews' enemy, unto Esther the queen: and Mordecai came before the king: for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman, the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.

Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman, which he wrote to destroy the Jews, which are in the king's provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?

Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen, and to Mordecai the Jew, Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh ye, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring; for the writing that is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.

Then were the king's scribes called in, and it was written (according to all that Mordecai commanded) unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province, according to the writing thereof and unto every people after their language.

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus's name, and sealed it with the king's ring; and sent letters by post on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.


Now after these things, Ezra went up from Babylon: and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.

And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judg


And Artaxerxes (which is Ahasuerus) made a decree that all the people of Israel that were in his realm might go up to Jerusalem with Ezra, and take with them silver and gold for the building of the temple, and the vessels that were given to them for the house of God.

Then Ezra said, Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

And hath extended mercy to me before the king and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes: and I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.


AND it came to pass, eleven years after this, as Nehemiah the king's cup-bearer was in Shushan, the palace, that Hanania, one of his brethren, and others, came to him, and he asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem

And they said unto him, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire by our enemies.

And it came to pass, when he heard these words, that he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel, thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee, both I and my father's house have sinned.

We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou com

mandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations.

But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who desire to fear thy name, and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man: for he was the king's cup-bearer.

And it came to pass soon after, that wine was set before the king and Nehemiah took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now he had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

Wherefore the king said unto him, Wherefore is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then he was very sore afraid,

And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire.

Then the king said unto him, For what dost thou make request? So he prayed to the God of heaven.

And he said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldst send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.

And the king said unto him, (the queen also sitting by him), For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send him and he set the king a time.

Moreover he said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come unto Judah,

And a letter unto Asaph, the keeper of the king's forests, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace, which appertaineth to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted him according to the good hand of his God upon him: so the wall was repaired, and the city secured.


AND all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water-gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe, to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded, to Israel.

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water-gate, from the morning until mid-day, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, and Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people (for he was above all the people); and when he opened it, all the people stood up ;.

And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands : and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

And the Levites that stood by Ezra caused the people to understand the law. So they read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest, the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God: : mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept,

when they heard the words of the law.

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto the Lord; neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy: neither be ye grieved.

And all the people went their way to eat and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.

And they found written in the law which the Lord had

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