The Longest Verse in the Bible and Its Context

The longest verse in the Bible can be found in the Book of Esther. However, some argue that Revelation 20:4 is the longest verse in the Bible in the original languages.

The word Bible comes from the Greek word “ta Biblia” which means “the books.” It is a collection of books; that is probably why a lot of people find it interesting and are eager to learn more about it. There is a lot of trivia about the Bible and one of them is the longest verse found in the Bible.

The Longest Verse in the Bible

What is the Longest Verse in the Bible?

The longest verse in the Bible can be found in Esther 8:9. Here is what it says:

“On the twenty-third day of Sivan, the third month, the king’s secretaries wrote the law. They obeyed Mordecai and wrote to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the officials of all one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. The letters were written in every language used in the kingdom, including the Jewish language.”

The Contemporary English Version of this verse has 55 words. The New International Version has 71 words. Different versions of the Bible might contain different numbers of words in this verse but it is officially considered the longest verse in the Bible.

What is the Context Behind the Longest Verse in the Bible

The context behind the longest verse in the Bible is quite violent but also rich. It is one of the most captivating stories in the Bible. A lot of Jews were living in Persia during this time. Other Jews were trying to establish order in Judah, but this group of Jews remained in Persia.

Esther, a Jew, has been chosen by the King to be his wife. Esther had a cousin named Mordecai. Mordecai was the one who raised her. The king had a chief minister named Haman and he was very arrogant.

He expected people to bow to him whenever he would pass. One day, while Haman was walking, everyone bowed to him except for one man, Mordecai. He refused to bow to Haman. This infuriated Haman and thought of a way to get back at Mordecai.

He tried to hurt Mordecai a couple of times in a couple of different ways but none of them succeeded. Haman’s anger burned brighter because of this. He plotted to have all Jews killed as revenge. In the end, Haman tricked the king into signing the decree dooming all the Jews.

Mordecai went to Esther and asked for her help. Despite her young age, Esther was courageous and smart. He asked all of her handmaids and assistants to fast with her. She prayed for wisdom and guidance before appearing before the king.

Although Esther was engaged to the king, it did not mean that she was safe or that she had power. The king could easily put her to death if he was not pleased. This was the time when women had no power and no rights at all.

In the end, Esther thought of a way to expose Haman’s real plan in front of the king. The king realized Haman tricked him and he got angry. But, his previous command allowing the death of all Jews cannot be taken back. So in Esther 8:9, he released a new decree allowing Jews to defend themselves against everyone who wanted to do them harm.

Because of this, because of Esther, and her nation was saved.

The Longest Verse in the Bible in 5 Different Translations

Here’s a rundown of the longest verse in the Bible that can be read in different Bible translations. 

New International Version

“At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.” (Esther 8:9)

Contemporary English Version

“On the twenty-third day of Sivan, the third month, the king’s secretaries wrote the law. They obeyed Mordecai and wrote to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the officials of all one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. The letters were written in every language used in the kingdom, including the Jewish language.” (Esther 8:9)

New Revised Standard Version

“The king’s secretaries were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews and to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language.” (Esther 8:9)

The Voice

“So the royal secretaries were summoned together on the 23rd day of the 3rd month (the month of Sivan). The king’s new orders were written down exactly the way Mordecai dictated them, and they were written to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. The orders were written down in every script and every language spoken in the provinces, including the Jewish script and the Jewish language.” (Esther 8:9)

American Standard Version

“Then were the king’s scribes called at that time, in the third month, which is the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors and princes of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, a hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.” (Esther 8:9)

Top 10 Longest Verses in the Bible

The longest verse in the Bible might be cool, but it is not the only long verse or the interesting one in the Bible. Let us look at some.

Jeremiah 33:11

The books of the prophets were filled with bad news mostly because people refused to listen to their warnings and kept on sinning. Yet, we see something like this in these books. A verse that talks about hope. That even though things are bad now, even if things are about to go worse, hope is not dead because they have faith in God. 

Daniel 5:23

The Israelites had only one temple in their whole nation at a time. They do not have multiple temples. They only have synagogues for common worship. These are scattered all across the nation. It had been destroyed or burned a lot of times but they managed to rebuild it later on.

Their temple had special tools and items that were only allowed to be used on certain days or rituals, and can only be used by certain people. Everything inside the temple was holy. When Israel has been conquered by Babylon, they ransacked the temple and took everything.

One night, King Belshazzar decided to have a party where they used the items from the temple. This angered God and a hand suddenly appeared out of nowhere and wrote on the wall proclaiming tragedy to the king because of what He did.

2 Kings 16:15

This verse is a little hard to understand because it is a detailed instruction by the high priest Ahaz regarding their new arrangement with the sacrifices or offerings. The Israelites have very precise and specific rules when it comes to their worship. Verses like this give us a glimpse of how they worshipped during those times.

Ezekiel 48:21

This verse is about how they will divide the land between the religious leaders and the prince. The whole passage details where each tribe would settle and which parts of the land should be reserved for their religion and their state.

Jeremiah 44:12

God’s love is amazing but He is also just. He loves us as a parent would, but all actions have consequences. If we sin, God still loves us but that sin would have consequences. God’s love never wavers, and it is also that love that lets us face these consequences so that we grow. Besides, whatever these consequences are, He is there facing them with us.

2 Chronicles 2:14

The two books of Chronicles are more of a retelling of events that were recorded in other books of the Bible. This chapter is the beginning of the building of the temple and they are choosing the best people best suited for the important job. 

Sometimes people start losing hope or stop caring about God because of how hard their life is. The chronicler retold stories of God’s greatness and love to remind them that God is working, and He will keep His word to them even if it is taking a little while.

Joshua 8:33

God promised land to the Israelites, but it was not waiting for them ready and empty when they got there. They had to take it back from people who have settled there. They had to do their part. Joshua was one of the war commanders, and he was one of the best. Here, they were preparing to follow God through Joshua in taking the land that God promised them.

Ezekiel 46:9

Have you ever attended a jam-packed concert with thousands and thousands of attendees? That is the case with this verse. This pertains to one of their pilgrimage festivals and people were given instructions on what to do to avoid chaos. It is also possible that people were instructed to go through one gate and leave through the opposite gate so they would be seeing more of the temple and their awe would build.

Jeremiah 21:7

Jeremiah is sometimes called the “Weeping Prophet” because his prophecies were so grim that they would make him weep. This is one of those prophecies. This is the consequence of Israel’s disobedience, the people, and most especially their rulers.

Revelation 20:4

The Bible has been translated from Hebrew and Greek into other languages, and the word counts are not the same from one language to the next. If we look at the original languages, the longest verse in the Bible is Revelation 20:4. If you count by the number of Hebrew/Greek words, Revelation 20:4 has 58 words while Esther 8:9 has 43 words. 

The Longest Verse in the Bible

How Does Esther 8:9 Relate to Christians Today?

Esther was a woman. Women were viewed as objects that did not have any rights in those days. She was also young. People tend to dismiss young people quite easily. It is true now, it was truer then. She was also most probably an orphan since her cousin Mordecai raised her. Esther faced a lot of disadvantages and some advantages too though.

She had a good upbringing. Mordecai did not lack in teaching her their culture and their faith. She was also beautiful and smart. For this, she was chosen as the king’s bride-to-be. She had more disadvantages than advantages, but when the occasion called for it, she was willing to step up.

Esther used all her advantages to succeed. She overcame her disadvantages through God’s help, and she found a way to reveal what is true and what is not that led the king to take action to correct the mistake that he did because someone tricked him to do it. 

We would be faced with a lot of disadvantages in life. At times, our disadvantages would seem greater and stronger than our advantages. When this happens, let us keep Esther in mind. Founded firmly on her faith and optimizing the blessings God gave to her, she beat the odds and even saved a lot of people’s lives.

Other Trivia About the Bible

Looking through the Bible and studying it would enrich our faith, help us grow, and help us get closer to God. Let us look at, and study other trivia from the Bible.

The longest word mentioned in the Bible

The longest word in the Bible is Maher-shalal-hash-baz and it can be found in Isaiah 8:3. He was one of the sons of the prophet Isaiah. His name was symbolic because it was a warning of how Assyria would plunder Damascus and Samaria soon after the baby’s birth.

The shortest verse in the Bible

The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35. In the New International Version, the verse only has two words. This was when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. Jesus’ arrival was delayed and he died before Jesus could get there.

Lazarus was a friend of Jesus and when Jesus learned that His friend died, He wept. Jesus knows loss. He can relate to us when we are grieving and hurting.

The longest chapter in the Bible

The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119. It is a very interesting chapter not just because of its length but also because of the artistry that comes with it. Psalm 119 is so long because it is an acrostic poem of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 

The psalm is divided into 22 sections where each section has eight verses. Each section is dedicated to a Hebrew letter and each verse would begin with that Hebrew letter. The psalm is beautiful for its message and its structure.

The middle chapter of the Bible

Aside from being the shortest chapter of the Bible, Psalm 117 is also the middle chapter of the Bible. Although there is a bit of a debate here because some are claiming that it is Psalm 118 that is the middle chapter. Regardless, they are both beautiful psalms declaring thanksgiving and praise to God.

The Longest Verse in the Bible

In Summary

The Bible has a wealth of knowledge, lessons, and wisdom. It can guide us through our lives. We would be surprised at how relevant the stories in the Bible are today if we only look at them closely and study them. Exploring the Bible and its lesson can also be fun by using trivia especially if we are just starting. 

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.


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