Matthew 22 (Listen)

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Paying Taxes to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

The Great Commandment

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44   “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

(ESV)

Esther 9 (Listen)

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they laid no hand on the plunder.

11 That very day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was reported to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and also the ten sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces! Now what is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what further is your request? It shall be fulfilled.” 13 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day's edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.” 14 So the king commanded this to be done. A decree was issued in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa gathered also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and they killed 300 men in Susa, but they laid no hands on the plunder.

16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder. 17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness. 18 But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.

The Feast of Purim Inaugurated

20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. 25 But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, 27 the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. 30 Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, 31 that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to their fasts and their lamenting. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.

(ESV)

Proverbs 12 (Listen)

  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but he who hates reproof is stupid.
  A good man obtains favor from the LORD,
    but a man of evil devices he condemns.
  No one is established by wickedness,
    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
  An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
    but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
  The thoughts of the righteous are just;
    the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
  The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
  The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous will stand.
  A man is commended according to his good sense,
    but one of twisted mind is despised.
  Better to be lowly and have a servant
    than to play the great man and lack bread.
10   Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
    but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
11   Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
    but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
12   Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13   An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
    but the righteous escapes from trouble.
14   From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
    and the work of a man's hand comes back to him.
15   The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but a wise man listens to advice.
16   The vexation of a fool is known at once,
    but the prudent ignores an insult.
17   Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
    but a false witness utters deceit.
18   There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19   Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20   Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
    but those who plan peace have joy.
21   No ill befalls the righteous,
    but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22   Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23   A prudent man conceals knowledge,
    but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24   The hand of the diligent will rule,
    while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
25   Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
    but a good word makes him glad.
26   One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27   Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,
    but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
28   In the path of righteousness is life,
    and in its pathway there is no death.

(ESV)

Psalm 75 (Listen)

God Will Judge with Equity

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

  We give thanks to you, O God;
    we give thanks, for your name is near.
  We recount your wondrous deeds.
  “At the set time that I appoint
    I will judge with equity.
  When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
    it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
  I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
    and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
  do not lift up your horn on high,
    or speak with haughty neck.’”
  For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
  but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.
  For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup
    with foaming wine, well mixed,
  and he pours out from it,
    and all the wicked of the earth
    shall drain it down to the dregs.
  But I will declare it forever;
    I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10   All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
    but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

(ESV)