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earth-for neither day nor night do men see sleep with their eyes-17 then I beheld all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it. 11 6 in the morning

sow thy seed, And in the evening withhold not thy hand; For thou knowest not which shall prosper,

whether this or that, Or whether they both shall be alike good. 7 And the light is sweet, And a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to be

hold the sun.
8 For if a man live many years,

Let him rejoice in them all,
And remember the days of darkness,
For they shall be many.

All that cometh is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; And let thy heart cheer thee in the days of

thy youth,
And walk in the ways of thy heart,
And in the sight of thine eyes;
But know thou, that for all these things

God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove vexation from thy heart,

And put away evil from thy flesh;

For childhood and youth are vanity. 12

Remember then thy Creator in the days

of thy youth,

Before the evil days come,
And the years draw nigh, when thou shalt

say: 'I have no pleasure in them'; 2 Before the sun, and the light, and the moon,

And the stars, are darkened,

And the clouds return after the rain; 3 In the day when the keepers of the house

shall tremble, And the strong men shall bow themselves, And the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look out shall be darkened

in the windows, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the street,

When the sound of the grinding is low;
And one shall start up at the voice of a bird,
And all the daughters of music shall be

brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which

is high, And terrors shall be in the way; And the almond-tree shall blossom, And the grasshopper shall drag itself along, And the caperberry shall fail; Because man goeth to his long home,

And the mourners go about the streets;
6 Before the silver cord is snapped asunder,

And the golden bowl is shattered,
And the pitcher is broken at the fountain,

And the wheel falleth shattered into the pit; 7 And the dust returneth to the earth as it

was,

And the spirit returneth unto God who 8 Vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth;

gave it.

All is vanity.

ESTHER

Story of Purim 1

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus

-this is Ahasuerus who reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over a hundred and seven and twenty provinces—2 that in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the castle, 3 in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the army of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him; 4 when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty, many days, even a hundred and fourscore days. 5 And when these days were fulfilled, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the castle, both great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace; 6 there were hangings of white, fine cotton, and blue, bordered with cords of fine linen and purple, upon silver rods and pillars of marble; the couches were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of green, and white, and shell, and onyx marble. 7 And they gave them drink in vessels of gold-the vessels being diverse one from another-and royal wine in abundance, according to the bounty of the king. 8 And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel; for so the king had appointed to all the officers of

his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.

9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. 10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Bizzetha, Harbona, Big. tha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that ministered in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by the chamberlains; therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times-for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment; 14 and the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom: 15 'What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, forasmuch as she hath not done the bidding of the king Ahasuerus by the cham. berlains?'

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: ‘Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the peoples, that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. this deed of the queen will come abroad unto all women, to make their husbands contempti. ble in their eyes, when it will be said: The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 18 And this day will the princesses of Persia and Media who have heard of the deed of the queen say the like unto all the king's princes. So will there arise enough contempt and wrath. 19 If it please the king, let there go forth a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, that Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus, and that the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20 And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his kingdom, great though it be, all the wives will give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.' 21 And the word pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan; 22 for he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and speak according to the language of his people. 2

17 For

After these things, when the wrath of king

Ahasuerus was assuaged, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him: 'Let there be sought for the king young virgins fair to look on; 3 and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the castle, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hegai the king's chamber.

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