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English Standard Version

Esther 8:1–9:32

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Esther Saves the Jews

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, hthe enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told pwhat he was to her. qAnd the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman rthe Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. sWhen the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, “If it please the king, tand if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke uthe letters devised by Haman rthe Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear vto see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, wI have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows,1 because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, xand seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring ycannot be revoked.”

zThe king’s scribes 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 concerning the Jews, to athe satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces bfrom India to Ethiopia, b127 provinces, cto each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. 10 dAnd he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus eand sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on fswift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, 11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city gto gather and defend their lives, hto destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, iand to plunder their goods, 12 jon one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 kA copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, mounted on their fswift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.

15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king lin royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown2 and ma robe of fine linen and purple, nand the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 The Jews had olight and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and pa holiday. qAnd many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, rfor fear of the Jews had fallen on them.

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

sNow in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, ton the thirteenth day of the same, uwhen the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, jon the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. vThe Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, wfor the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. All the officials of the provinces and xthe satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew ymore and more powerful. The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 zthe ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, athe enemy of the Jews, bbut they laid no hand on the plunder.

11 That very day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was reported to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and also the ten sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! cNow what is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what further is your request? It shall be fulfilled.” 13 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed dtomorrow also to do according to this day’s edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.”1 14 So the king commanded this to be done. A decree was issued in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa gathered also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and they killed 300 men in Susa, but they laid no hands on the plunder.

16 eNow the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also fgathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder. 17 This was gon the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness. 18 But the Jews who were in Susa gathered gon the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested hon the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in ithe rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as ja holiday, and kas a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.

The Feast of Purim Inaugurated

20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into ja holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, lthe enemy of all the Jews, mhad plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and nhad cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. 25 But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing othat his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews pshould return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term nPur. Therefore, because of all that was written in qthis letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, 27 the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and rall who joined them, that without fail they would keep sthese two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, tthe daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming uthis second letter about Purim. 30 Letters were sent to all the Jews, vto the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, 31 that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to wtheir fasts and their lamenting. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these practices of xPurim, and it was recorded in writing.

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