71And so the king and Haman went to eat with Esther 2for a second time. Over the wine the king asked her again, “Now, Queen Esther, what do you want? Tell me and you shall have it. I'll even give you half the empire.”
3Queen Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty to grant my humble request, my wish is that I may live and that my people may live. 4My people and I have been sold for slaughter. If it were nothing more serious than being sold into slavery, I would have kept quiet and not bothered you about it;7.4 Probable text and not… it; Hebrew unclear. but we are about to be destroyed — exterminated!”
5Then King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who dares to do such a thing? Where is this man?”
6Esther answered, “Our enemy, our persecutor, is this evil man Haman!”
Haman stared at the king and queen in terror. 7The king got up in a fury, left the room, and went outside to the palace gardens. Haman could see that the king was determined to punish him for this, so he stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 8He had just thrown himself down on Esther's couch to beg for mercy, when the king came back into the room from the gardens. Seeing this, the king cried out, “Is this man going to rape the queen right here in front of me, in my own palace?”
The king had no sooner said this than the eunuchs covered Haman's head. 9Then one of them, who was named Harbonah, said, “Haman even went so far as to build a gallows at his house so that he could hang Mordecai, who saved Your Majesty's life. And it's 22 metres tall!”
“Hang Haman on it!” the king commanded.
10So Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Then the king's anger cooled down.
81That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther all the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was related to her, and from then on Mordecai was allowed to enter the king's presence. 2The king took off his ring with his seal on it (which he had taken back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai. Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman's property.
3Then Esther spoke to the king again, throwing herself at his feet and crying. She begged him to do something to stop the evil plot that Haman, the descendant of Agag,8.3 Agag: See 3.1. had made against the Jews. 4The king held out the gold sceptre to her, so she stood up and said, 5“If it please Your Majesty, and if you care about me and if it seems right to you, please issue a proclamation to prevent Haman's orders from being carried out — those orders that the son of Hammedatha the descendant of Agag gave for the destruction of all the Jews in the empire. 6How can I endure it if this disaster comes on my people, and my own relatives are killed?”
7King Xerxes then said to Queen Esther and Mordecai, the Jew, “Look, I have hanged Haman for his plot against the Jews, and I have given Esther his property. 8But a proclamation issued in the king's name and stamped with the royal seal cannot be revoked. You may, however, write to the Jews whatever you wish; and you may write it in my name and stamp it with the royal seal.”
9This happened on the 23rd day of the third month, the month of Sivan. Mordecai called the king's secretaries and dictated letters to the Jews and to the governors, administrators, and officials of all the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia8.9 Ethiopia: See Word List.. The letters were written to each province in its own language and system of writing and to the Jews in their language and system of writing. 10Mordecai had the letters written in the name of King Xerxes, and he stamped them with the royal seal. They were delivered by riders mounted on fast horses from the royal stables.
11These letters explained that the king would allow the Jews in every city to organize themselves for self-defence. If armed men of any nationality in any province attacked the Jewish men, their children or their women, the Jews could fight back and destroy the attackers; they could slaughter them to the last man and take their possessions. 12This decree was to take effect throughout the Persian Empire on the day set for the slaughter of the Jews, the thirteenth of Adar, the twelfth month. 13It was to be proclaimed as law and made known to everyone in every province, so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies when that day came. 14At the king's command the riders mounted royal horses and rode off at top speed. The decree was also made public in Susa, the capital city.
15Mordecai left the palace, wearing royal robes of blue and white, a cloak of fine purple linen, and a magnificent gold crown. Then the streets of Susa rang with cheers and joyful shouts. 16For the Jews there was joy and relief, happiness and a sense of victory. 17In every city and province, wherever the king's proclamation was read, the Jews held a joyful holiday with feasting and happiness. In fact, many other people became Jews, because they were afraid of them now.
91The thirteenth day of Adar came, the day on which the royal proclamation was to take effect, the day when the enemies of the Jews were hoping to get them in their power. But instead, the Jews triumphed over them. 2In the Jewish quarter of every city9.2 In the Jewish quarter of every city; or In every Jewish city. in the empire the Jews organized themselves to attack anyone who tried to harm them. People everywhere were afraid of them, and no one could stand against them. 3In fact, all the provincial officials — governors, administrators, and royal representatives — helped the Jews because they were all afraid of Mordecai. 4It was well known throughout the empire that Mordecai was now a powerful man in the palace and was growing more powerful. 5So the Jews could do what they wanted with their enemies. They attacked them with swords and slaughtered them.
6In Susa, the capital city itself, the Jews killed 500 people. 7-10Among them were the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. However, there was no looting.
11That same day the number of people killed in Susa was reported to the king. 12He then said to Queen Esther, “In Susa alone the Jews have killed 500 people, including Haman's ten sons. What must they have done out in the provinces! What do you want now? You shall have it. Tell me what else you want, and you shall have it.”
13Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty, let the Jews in Susa do again tomorrow what they were allowed to do today. And order the bodies of Haman's ten sons to be hung from the gallows.” 14The king ordered this to be done, and the proclamation was issued in Susa. The bodies of Haman's ten sons were publicly displayed. 15On the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of Susa got together again and killed 300 more people in the city. But again, they did no looting.
16The Jews in the provinces also organized and defended themselves. They rid themselves of their enemies by killing 75,000 people who hated them. But they did no looting. 17This was on the thirteenth day of Adar. On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and they made it a joyful day of feasting. 18The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then stopped on the fifteenth. 19This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a joyous holiday, a time for feasting and giving gifts of food to one another.
20Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire, 21telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year. 22These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor. 23So the Jews followed Mordecai's instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom.
Haman son of Hammedatha — the descendant of Agag and the enemy of the Jewish people — had cast lots (or “purim”, as they were called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out. 25But Esther went to the king, and the king issued written orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews — he and his sons were hanged from the gallows. 26That is why the holidays are called Purim. Because of Mordecai's letter and because of all that had happened to them, 27the Jews made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone who might become a Jew, that at the proper time each year these two days would be regularly observed according to Mordecai's instructions. 28It was resolved that every Jewish family of every future generation in every province and every city should remember and observe the days of Purim for all time to come.
29Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai, also wrote a letter, putting her full authority behind the letter about Purim, which Mordecai had written earlier. 30The letter was addressed to all the Jews, and copies were sent to all the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It wished the Jews peace and security 31and directed them and their descendants to observe the days of Purim at the proper time, just as they had adopted rules for the observance of fasts and times of mourning. This was commanded by both Mordecai and Queen Esther. 32Esther's command, confirming the rules for Purim, was written down on a scroll.