Day 280 – The People of the Covenant

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about the people of Israel defending themselves and killing a lot of people. They don’t take plunder even though they were allowed to do so. In a world that was broken at this time, this was a bit of justice and hope. Soon the Maccabean revolt will be upon us and we will recall the Lord’s promise to make the descendants of Abraham a great nation.

For centuries the kingdom has been divided and they have been exiled for years. We will have to wait and see how God will save them from other’s rule.

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!

Daily Readings

Nehemiah 12

1 These are the priests and the Levites who came back with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua:

2 Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

3 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah,

5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,

6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah — these were the heads of the priests and their kinsmen in the days of Jeshua.

8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, Mattaniah — this last, with his brothers, was in charge of the songs of praise,

9 while Bakbukiah and Unno, their colleagues, formed the alternate choir to theirs.

10 Jeshua fathered Joiakim, Joiakim fathered Eliashib, Eliashib fathered Joiada,

11 Joiada fathered Johanan, and Johanan fathered Jaddua.

12 In the days of Joiakim the heads of the priestly families were: family of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;

13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;

14 of Malluch, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;

15 of Harim, Adna; of Meremoth, Helkai;

16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;

17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Minjamin, . . .; of Moadiah, Piltai;

18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;

19 and of Jojarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;

20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;

21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22 In the time of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua, the heads of the families of priests were registered in the Book of Chronicles, up to the reign of Darius the Persian.

23 The Levites who were heads of families were registered in the Book of Chronicles up to the time of Johanan, grandson of Eliashib.

24 The heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, while their brothers who formed an alternate choir for the hymns of praise and thanksgiving, as David, man of God, had prescribed, section corresponding to section,

25 were Mattaniah, Bakbukiah and Obadiah. Meshullam, Talmon and Akkub were the gatekeepers guarding the stores at the gates.

26 These lived in the days of Joiakim son of Jeshua, son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest-scribe.

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem the Levites were sent for, wherever they lived, to come to Jerusalem and joyfully perform the dedication with hymns of thanksgiving and songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, lyres and harps.

28 Accordingly, the levitical singers assembled from the district round Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites,

29 from Beth-Gilgal and from their farms at Geba and Azmaveth — for the singers had built themselves villages all round Jerusalem.

30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves, they then purified the people, the gates and the wall.

31 I then made the leaders of Judah come on to the top of the wall and appointed two large choirs. One made its way along the top of the wall, to the right, towards the Dung Gate;

32 bringing up the rear were Hoshaiah and half the leaders of Judah,

33 and also Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,

34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah and Jeremiah,

35 of the priests, with trumpets; then Zechariah son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph,

36 with his kinsmen, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Juda, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David, man of God. The scribe Ezra walked at their head.

37 At the Fountain Gate they went straight on up the steps of the City of David, along the top of the rampart by the stairway of the wall, above the Palace of David as far as the Water Gate, on the east.

38 The other choir made its way to the left; I and half the leaders of the people followed them along the top of the wall from the Tower of the Furnaces to the Broad Wall,

39 from the Ephraim Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred as far as the Sheep Gate, and they came to a halt at the Prison Gate.

40 The two choirs then took their places in the Temple of God. But I had half the magistrates with me

41 as well as the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, Hananiah with the trumpets,

42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam and Ezer. The singers sang loudly under the direction of Jezrahiah.

43 There were great sacrifices offered that day and the people rejoiced, God having given them good cause for rejoicing; the women and children rejoiced too, and the joy of Jerusalem could be heard from far away.

44 For the rooms intended for the treasures, contributions, first-fruits and tithes, supervisors were then appointed whose business it was to collect in them those portions from the town lands awarded by the Law to the priests and Levites. For Judah rejoiced in the officiating priests and Levites,

45 since they — with the singers and gatekeepers — performed the liturgy of their God and the rites of purification as ordained by David and his son Solomon.

46 For from ancient times, from the days of David and Asaph, they had been the leaders in rendering hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God.

47 In the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, all Israel supplied regular daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers, and gave the dedicated contributions to the Levites; and the Levites gave the dedicated contributions to the Aaronites.

Esther 9

1 The king’s command and decree came into force on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, and the day on which the enemies of the Jews had hoped to crush them produced the very opposite effect: the Jews it was who crushed their enemies.

2 In their towns throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the Jews assembled to strike at those who had planned to injure them. No one resisted them, since the various peoples were now all afraid of them.

3 Provincial officers-of-state, satraps, governors and royal officials, all supported the Jews for fear of Mordecai.

4 And indeed Mordecai was a power in the palace and his fame was spreading through all the provinces; Mordecai was steadily growing more powerful.

5 So the Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, with resulting slaughter and destruction, and worked their will on their opponents.

6 In the citadel of Susa alone, the Jews put to death and slaughtered five hundred men,

7 notably Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,

8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,

9 Parmashtha, Arisai, Aridai and Jezatha,

10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the persecutor of the Jews. But they took no plunder.

11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day.

12 The king said to Queen Esther, ‘In the citadel of Susa the Jews have killed five hundred men and also the ten sons of Haman. What must they have done in the other provinces of the realm? Tell me your request; I grant it to you. Tell me what else you would like; it is yours for the asking.’

13 ‘If such is the king’s pleasure,’ Esther replied, ‘let the Jews of Susa be allowed to enforce today’s decree tomorrow as well. And as for the ten sons of Haman, let their bodies be hanged on the gallows.’

14 Whereupon, the king having given the order, the edict was promulgated in Susa and the ten sons of Haman were hanged.

15 Thus the Jews of Susa reassembled on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men in the city. But they took no plunder.

16 The other Jews who lived in the king’s provinces also assembled to defend their lives and rid themselves of their enemies. They slaughtered seventy-five thousand of their opponents. But they took no plunder.

17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. On the fourteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

18 But for the Jews of Susa, who had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth days, the fifteenth was the day they rested, making that a day of feasting and gladness.

19 This is why Jewish country people, those who live in undefended villages, keep the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day of gladness, feasting and holiday-making, and the exchanging of presents with one another, (a) whereas for those who live in cities the day of rejoicing and exchanging presents with their neighbours is the fifteenth day of Adar.

20 Mordecai committed these events to writing. Then he sent letters to all the Jews living in the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far,

21 enjoining them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar every year,

22 as the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies, and the month in which their sorrow had been turned into gladness, and mourning into a holiday. He therefore told them to keep these as days of festivity and gladness when they were to exchange presents and make gifts to the poor.

23 Once having begun, the Jews continued observing these practices, Mordecai having written them an account

24 of how Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the persecutor of all the Jews, had plotted their destruction and had cast the pur, that is, the lot, for their overthrow and ruin;

25 but how, when he went back to the king to ask him to order the hanging of Mordecai, the wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews recoiled on his own head, and both he and his sons were hanged on the gallows;

26 and that, hence, these days were called Purim, from the word pur. And so, because of what was written in this letter, and because of what they had seen for themselves and of what had happened to them,

27 the Jews willingly bound themselves, their descendants and all who should join them, to celebrate these two days without fail, in the manner prescribed and at the time appointed, year after year.

28 Thus commemorated and celebrated from generation to generation, in every family, in every province, in every city, these days of Purim will never be abrogated among the Jews, nor will their memory perish from their race.

29 Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, wrote with full authority to ratify this second letter,

30 and sent letters to all the Jews of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the realm of Ahasuerus, in terms of peace and loyalty

31 enjoining them to observe these days of Purim at the appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew had recommended, and in the manner prescribed for themselves and their descendants, with additional ordinances for fasts and lamentations.

32 The ordinance of Esther fixed the law of Purim, which was then recorded in a book.

Esther 10

1 King Ahasuerus put not only the mainland under tribute but the Mediterranean islands as well.

2 All his feats of power and valour, and the account of the high honour to which he raised Mordecai: all this is recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Media and Persia.

3 And Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus. He was a man held in respect among the Jews, esteemed by thousands of his brothers, a man who sought the good of his people and cared for the welfare of his entire race. 

(a) And Mordecai said, ‘All this is God’s doing. 

(b) I remember the dream I had about these matters, nothing of which has failed to come true:

(c) the little spring that became a river, the light that shone, the sun, the flood of water. Esther is the river — she whom the king married and made queen. 

(d) The two dragons are Haman and myself. 

(e) The nations are those that banded together to blot out the name of Jew. 

(f)The single nation, mine, is Israel, those who cried out to God and were saved. Yes, the Lord has saved his people, the Lord has delivered us from all these evils, God has worked such signs and great wonders as haven ever occurred among the nations.

(g) ‘Two destinies he appointed, one for his own people, one for the nations at large. 

(h) And these two destinies were worked out at the hour and time and day laid down by God, involving all the nations. 

(i) In this way God has remembered his people and vindicated his heritage; 

(k) and for them these days, the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month of Adar, are to be days of assembly, of joy and of gladness before God, through all generations and for ever among his people 

Proverbs 21:21-24

21 Whoever pursues uprightness and faithful love will find life, uprightness and honour.

22 A sage can scale a garrisoned city and shatter the rampart on which it relied.

23 Watch kept over mouth and tongue keeps the watcher safe from disaster.

24 Insolent, haughty — the name is ‘Cynic’; overweening pride marks such behaviour.


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