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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 14

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1 QUEEN Esther, in the grip of mortal anxiety a 14:1 in … anxiety: or caught up in this deadly struggle. , sought refuge in the Lord. 2She took off her royal robes and put on the garb of distress and mourning. Instead of rich perfumes she strewed ashes and dirt over her head; she abased her body, and every part that she had delighted to adorn she covered with her dishevelled hair. 3Then she prayed to the Lord God of Israel.

‘O my Lord, you alone are our King; come to my help who am alone and have no other helper but you, 4for I am taking my life in my hands. 5From my earliest days I have been taught by my father's family and tribe that you, Lord, chose Israel out of all the nations, and from all who went before them you chose our fathers as an everlasting possession, and you have performed for them whatever you promised. 6But now we have sinned against you, and you have handed us over to our enemies 7because we paid honour to their gods. O Lord, you are just. 8Yet even now our enemies are not content that we are in bitter servitude; they have taken a vow 9to annul the decree you have proclaimed and to destroy Israel, your possession, silencing those who praise you, extinguishing the glory of your house and the flame on your altar. 10They would give the heathen cause to sing the praises of their worthless gods, and would have a mortal king held in everlasting honour.

11‘Do not yield your sceptre, Lord, to gods that have no real existence; let not our enemies mock at our ruin, but turn their plot against them, and make an example of the man who planned it. 12Be mindful of us, Lord; reveal yourself in the time of our distress, and give me courage, O King of gods, Sovereign over every power. 13Put the right words into my mouth when I enter this lion's den, and divert his hatred to him who is our enemy, so that there may be an end of him and his associates.

14‘By your power save us, and help me who am alone and have no one but you, Lord. 15You know all things; you know that I hate the splendour of the heathen; I abhor the bed of the uncircumcised or of any Gentile. 16You know in what straits I am: I loathe that symbol of pride, the headdress that I wear when I show myself in public, I loathe it as one loathes a filthy rag and in private never wear it. 17I, your servant, have not eaten at Haman's table, nor have I graced a banquet of the king nor touched the wine of his drink-offerings. 18From the day of my preferment until now I have known no joy except in you, Lord God of Abraham. 19O God, the all-prevailing, give heed to the cry of those driven to despair: deliver us from the power of the wicked, and rescue me from what I dread.’

Notes:

a 14:1 in … anxiety: or caught up in this deadly struggle.

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