CHAPTER C

Prayer of Mordecai. 1Recalling all that the Lord had done, Mordecai prayed to the Lord 2and said: “Lord, Lord, King and Ruler of all, everything is in your power, and there is no one to oppose you when it is your will to save Israel. 3You made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven. 4You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, the Lord. 5a You know all things. You know, Lord, that it was not out of insolence or arrogance or desire for glory that I acted thus in not bowing down to the arrogant Haman. 6I would have gladly kissed the soles of his feet for the salvation of Israel. 7But I acted as I did so as not to place the honor of a mortal above that of God. I will not bow down to anyone but you, my Lord. It is not out of arrogance that I am acting thus. 8And now, Lord God, King, God of Abraham, spare your people, for our enemies regard us with deadly envy and are bent upon destroying the inheritance that was yours from the beginning. 9Do not spurn your portion, which you redeemed for yourself out of the land of Egypt. 10Hear my prayer; have pity on your inheritance and turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live to sing praise to your name, Lord. Do not silence the mouths of those who praise you.”

11All Israel, too, cried out with all their strength, for death was staring them in the face.

Prayer of Esther. 12b Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, fled to the Lord for refuge. 13Taking off her splendid garments, she put on garments of distress and mourning. In place of her precious ointments she covered her head with dung and ashes. She afflicted her body severely and in place of her festive adornments, her tangled hair covered her.

14Then she prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: “My Lord, you alone are our King. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, 15for I am taking my life in my hand.c 16From birth, I have heard among my people that you, Lord, chose Israel from among all nations, and our ancestors from among all their forebears, as a lasting inheritance, and that you fulfilled all your promises to them.d 17But now we have sinned in your sight, and you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies, 18because we worshiped their gods. You are just, O Lord. 19But now they are not satisfied with our bitter servitude, but have sworn an oath to their idols 20to do away with the decree you have pronounced, to destroy your inheritance, to close the mouths of those who praise you, to extinguish the glory of your house and your altar, 21to open the mouths of the nations to acclaim their worthless gods, and to extol a mortal king forever.

22“Lord, do not relinquish your scepter to those who are nothing. Do not let our foes gloat over our ruin, but turn their own counsel against them and make an example of the one who began this against us. 23Be mindful of us, Lord. Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power. 24Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and his co-conspirators may perish. 25Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.

26“You know all things. You know that I hate the pomp of the lawless, and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised or of any foreigner. 27You know that I am under constraint, that I abhor the sign of grandeur that rests on my head when I appear in public. I abhor it like a polluted rag, and do not wear it in private. 28I, your servant, have never eaten at the table of Haman, nor have I graced the banquet of the king or drunk the wine of libations.* 29From the day I was brought here till now, your servant has had no joy except in you, Lord, God of Abraham. 30O God, whose power is over all, hear the voice of those in despair. Save us from the power of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear.”

* [C:28] Wine of libations: offered in sacrifice to the gods.

a. [C:57] Est 3:2; 5:9.

b. [C:1213] Est 4:16.

c. [C:15] Est 4:16.

d. [C:16] Dt 4:20; 7:6; 9:29; 14:2; 26:18; 32:9.