Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read that the people weep when Nehemiah and Ezra teach them the Law of God. This reflects their relationship with the Lord. They realize that there is a God who knows and loves them. Just like us today, we may understand we are the sons or daughters of God but we may not really understand all the love that God has for us. The people know they aren’t living the law.
In the book of Esther, there is a crisis. Haman is promoted to be the second in command in King Ahasuerus’ land and the people bow down to him. Mordecai, Esther’s foster father, refuses to bow down to him. Esther declares that he will establish lasting peace by eliminating anyone who stands in his way. Esther risks her life by coming before him to intercede for the people.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
3 In the square in front of the Water Gate, in the presence of the men and women, and of those old enough to understand, he read from the book from dawn till noon; all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden dais erected for the purpose; beside him stood, on his right, Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; on his left, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 In full view of all the people — since he stood higher than them all — Ezra opened the book; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God, and all the people raised their hands and answered, ‘Amen! Amen!’; then they bowed down and, face to the ground, prostrated themselves before Yahweh.
7 And Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabab, Hanan, Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the Law to the people, while the people all kept their places.
8 Ezra read from the book of the Law of God, translating and giving the sense; so the reading was understood.
9 Then His Excellency Nehemiah and the priest-scribe Ezra and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people, ‘Today is sacred to Yahweh your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.’ For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 He then said, ‘You may go; eat what is rich, drink what is sweet and send a helping to the man who has nothing prepared. For today is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold.’
11 And the Levites calmed all the people down, saying, ‘Keep quiet; this is a sacred day. Do not be sad.’
13 On the second day, the heads of families of the whole people, and the priests and Levites, gathered round the scribe Ezra to study the words of the Law.
15 So they issued a proclamation and had it circulated in all their towns and in Jerusalem: ‘Go into the hills and bring branches of olive, pine, myrtle, palm and other leafy trees to make shelters, as it says in the book.’
16 The people went out; they brought branches and made shelters for themselves, each man on his roof, in their courtyards, in the precincts of the Temple of God, in the square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Ephraim Gate.
17 The whole assembly, all who had returned from the captivity, put up shelters and lived in them; this the Israelites had not done from the days of Joshua son of Nun till that day, and there was very great merrymaking.
1 Shortly afterwards, King Ahasuerus singled out Haman son of Hammedatha, a native of Agag, for promotion. He raised him in rank, granting him precedence over all his colleagues, the other officers-of-state,
2 and all the royal officials employed at the Chancellery used to bow low and prostrate themselves whenever Haman appeared — such was the king’s command. Mordecai refused either to bow or to prostrate himself.
4 Day after day they asked him this, but he took no notice of them. In the end they reported the matter to Haman, to see whether Mordecai would persist in his attitude, since he had told them that he was a Jew.
6 And, on being told what race Mordecai belonged to, he thought it beneath him merely to get rid of Mordecai, but made up his mind to wipe out all the members of Mordecai’s race, the Jews, living in Ahasuerus’ entire empire.
7 In the first month, that is the month of Nisan, of the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in Haman’s presence, to determine the day and the month. The lot falling on the twelfth month, which is Adar,
8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain unassimilated nation scattered among the other nations throughout the provinces of your realm; their laws are different from those of all the other nations, and the royal laws they ignore; hence it is not in the king’s interests to tolerate them.
12 The royal scribes were therefore summoned for the thirteenth day of the first month, when they wrote out the orders addressed by Haman to the king’s satraps, to the governors ruling each province and to the principal officials of each people, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language. The edict was signed in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with his ring,
13 and letters were sent by runners to every province of the realm, ordering the destruction, slaughter and annihilation of all Jews, young and old, including women and children, on the same day — the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar — and the seizing of their possessions.
14 Copies of this decree, to be promulgated as law in each province, were published to the various peoples, so that each might be ready for the day aforementioned.
15 At the king’s command, the runners set out with all speed; the decree was first promulgated in the citadel of Susa. While the king and Haman gave themselves up to feasting and drinking, consternation reigned in the city of Susa.
5 The hardworking is thoughtful, and all is gain; too much haste, and all that comes of it is want.
6 To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue: such is the idle fantasy of those who look for death.
7 The violence of the wicked proves their ruin, for they refuse to do what is right.