The thirteenth day of Adar came, the day on which the royal proclamation was to take effect, the day when the enemies of the Jews were hoping to get them in their power. But instead, the Jews triumphed over them.
In the Jewish quarter of every city in the empire the Jews organized to attack anyone who tried to harm them. People everywhere were afraid of them, and no one could stand against them.
In fact, all the provincial officials---governors, administrators, and royal representatives---helped the Jews because they were all afraid of Mordecai.
It was well-known throughout the empire that Mordecai was now a powerful man in the palace and was growing more powerful.
So the Jews could do what they wanted with their enemies. They attacked them with swords and slaughtered them.
In Susa, the capital city itself, the Jews killed five hundred people.
Among them were the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. However, there was no looting.
That same day the number of people killed in Susa was reported to the king.
He then said to Queen Esther, "In Susa alone the Jews have killed five hundred people, including Haman's ten sons. What must they have done out in the provinces! What do you want now? You shall have it. Tell me what else you want, and you shall have it."
Esther answered, "If it please Your Majesty, let the Jews in Susa do again tomorrow what they were allowed to do today. And have the bodies of Haman's ten sons hung from the gallows."
The king ordered this to be done, and the proclamation was issued in Susa. The bodies of Haman's ten sons were publicly displayed.
On the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of Susa got together again and killed three hundred more people in the city. But again, they did no looting.
The Jews in the provinces also organized and defended themselves. They rid themselves of their enemies by killing seventy-five thousand people who hated them. But they did no looting.
This was on the thirteenth day of Adar. On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and they made it a joyful day of feasting.
The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then stopped on the fifteenth.
This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a joyous holiday, a time for feasting and giving gifts of food to one another.
Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire,
telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year.
These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor.
So the Jews followed Mordecai's instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom.
Haman son of Hammedatha---the descendant of Agag and the enemy of the Jewish people---had cast lots ("purim," they were called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out.
But Esther went to the king, and the king issued written orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews---he and his sons were hanged from the gallows.
That is why the holidays are called Purim. Because of Mordecai's letter and because of all that had happened to them,
the Jews made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone who might become a Jew, that at the proper time each year these two days would be regularly observed according to Mordecai's instructions.
It was resolved that every Jewish family of every future generation in every province and every city should remember and observe the days of Purim for all time to come.
Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai, also wrote a letter, putting her full authority behind the letter about Purim, which Mordecai had written earlier.
The letter was addressed to all the Jews, and copies were sent to all the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It wished the Jews peace and security
and directed them and their descendants to observe the days of Purim at the proper time, just as they had adopted rules for the observance of fasts and times of mourning. This was commanded by both Mordecai and Queen Esther.
Esther's command, confirming the rules for Purim, was written down on a scroll.
Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through.
There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich.
He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd.
So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today."
Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.
All the people who saw it started grumbling, "This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!"
Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much."
Jesus said to him, "Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham.
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
While the people were listening to this, Jesus continued and told them a parable. He was now almost at Jerusalem, and they supposed that the Kingdom of God was just about to appear.
So he said, "There was once a man of high rank who was going to a country far away to be made king, after which he planned to come back home.
Before he left, he called his ten servants and gave them each a gold coin and told them, 'See what you can earn with this while I am gone.'
Now, his own people hated him, and so they sent messengers after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'
"The man was made king and came back. At once he ordered his servants to appear before him, in order to find out how much they had earned.
The first one came and said, 'Sir, I have earned ten gold coins with the one you gave me.'
'Well done,' he said; 'you are a good servant! Since you were faithful in small matters, I will put you in charge of ten cities.'
The second servant came and said, 'Sir, I have earned five gold coins with the one you gave me.'
To this one he said, 'You will be in charge of five cities.'
Another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it hidden in a handkerchief.
I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take what is not yours and reap what you did not plant.'
He said to him, 'You bad servant! I will use your own words to condemn you! You know that I am a hard man, taking what is not mine and reaping what I have not planted.
Well, then, why didn't you put my money in the bank? Then I would have received it back with interest when I returned.'
Then he said to those who were standing there, 'Take the gold coin away from him and give it to the servant who has ten coins.'
But they said to him, 'Sir, he already has ten coins!'
'I tell you,' he replied, 'that to those who have something, even more will be given; but those who have nothing, even the little that they have will be taken away from them.
Now, as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and kill them in my presence!' "
After Jesus said this, he went on in front of them toward Jerusalem.
As he came near Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead
with these instructions: "Go to the village there ahead of you; as you go in, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that the Master needs it."
They went on their way and found everything just as Jesus had told them.
As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying it?"
"The Master needs it," they answered,
and they took the colt to Jesus. Then they threw their cloaks over the animal and helped Jesus get on.
As he rode on, people spread their cloaks on the road.
When he came near Jerusalem, at the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives, the large crowd of his disciples began to thank God and praise him in loud voices for all the great things that they had seen:
"God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God!"
Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. "Teacher," they said, "command your disciples to be quiet!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones themselves will start shouting."
He came closer to the city, and when he saw it, he wept over it,
saying, "If you only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it!
The time will come when your enemies will surround you with barricades, blockade you, and close in on you from every side.
They will completely destroy you and the people within your walls; not a single stone will they leave in its place, because you did not recognize the time when God came to save you!"
Then Jesus went into the Temple and began to drive out the merchants,
saying to them, "It is written in the Scriptures that God said, 'My Temple will be a house of prayer.' But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!"
Every day Jesus taught in the Temple. The chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the leaders of the people wanted to kill him,
but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people kept listening to him, not wanting to miss a single word.