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Esther 1-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

The King Dethrones Queen Vashti

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus[a] (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan[b] the [c]citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him— when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.

And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in [d]Shushan the [e]citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the [f]generosity of the king. In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household, that they should do according to each man’s pleasure.

Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times (for this was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and justice, 14 those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who had access to the king’s presence, and who [g]ranked highest in the kingdom): 15 “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?”

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [h]decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not [i]be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.”

21 And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan. 22 Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.

Esther Becomes Queen

After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to [j]Shushan the [k]citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of [l]Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.”

This thing pleased the king, and he did so.

In [m]Shushan the [n]citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish[o] had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with [p]Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at [q]Shushan the [r]citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides [s]her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.

10 Esther had not [t]revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. 13 Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. She would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name.

15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the [u]generosity of a king.

Mordecai Discovers a Plot

19 When virgins were gathered together a second time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gate. 20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.

21 In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, [v]Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Haman’s Conspiracy Against the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman [w]to determine the day and the [x]month, [y]until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.”

12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their [z]possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king’s command; and the decree was proclaimed in [aa]Shushan the [ab]citadel. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was [ac]perplexed.

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had happened, [ad]he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at [ae]Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” 12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in [af]Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded [ag]him.

Esther’s Banquet

Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the [ah]house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and [ai]fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Haman’s Plot Against Mordecai

So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king.

12 Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows[aj] be made, [ak]fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.”

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.

The King Honors Mordecai

That night [al]the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written that Mordecai had told of [am]Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?”

And the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

So the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

The king’s servants said to him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.”

And the king said, “Let him come in.”

So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal [an]crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then [ao]parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”

11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

Haman Hanged Instead of Mordecai

So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”

So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”

And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!”

So Haman was terrified before the king and queen.

Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?”

As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The [ap]gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.”

Then the king said, “Hang him on it!”

10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.

Esther Saves the Jews

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

Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”

Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, [aq]as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.”

So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses [ar]bred from swift steeds.

11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of [as]Adar. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in [at]Shushan the [au]citadel.

15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of [av]blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of [aw]Shushan rejoiced and was glad. 16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.

The Jews Destroy Their Tormentors

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king’s work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.

And in Shushan[ax] the [ay]citadel the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. Also Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha— 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews—they killed; but they did not lay a hand on the [az]plunder.

11 On that day the number of those who were killed in [ba]Shushan the [bb]citadel [bc]was brought to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. Or what is your further request? It shall be done.”

13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”

14 So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

15 And the Jews who were in [bd]Shushan gathered together again on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men at Shushan; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.

16 The remainder of the Jews in the king’s provinces gathered together and protected their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder. 17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. And on the fourteenth of [be]the month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

The Feast of Purim

18 But the Jews who were at [bf]Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of [bg]the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.

20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, 24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; 25 but when [bh]Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that [bi]this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 So they called these days Purim, after the name [bj]Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.

Mordecai’s Advancement

10 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king [bk]advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his [bl]countrymen.

Footnotes:

  1. Esther 1:1 Generally identified with Xerxes I (485–464 b.c.)
  2. Esther 1:2 Or Susa
  3. Esther 1:2 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book
  4. Esther 1:5 Or Susa
  5. Esther 1:5 palace
  6. Esther 1:7 Lit. hand
  7. Esther 1:14 Lit. sat in first place
  8. Esther 1:19 Lit. word
  9. Esther 1:19 pass away
  10. Esther 2:3 Or Susa
  11. Esther 2:3 palace
  12. Esther 2:3 Heb. Hege
  13. Esther 2:5 Or Susa
  14. Esther 2:5 palace
  15. Esther 2:6 Lit. Who
  16. Esther 2:6 Jehoiachin, 2 Kin. 24:6
  17. Esther 2:8 Or Susa
  18. Esther 2:8 palace
  19. Esther 2:9 Lit. her portions
  20. Esther 2:10 Revealed the identity of
  21. Esther 2:18 Lit. hand
  22. Esther 2:21 Bigthana, Esth. 6:2
  23. Esther 3:7 Lit. from day to day and month to month
  24. Esther 3:7 LXX adds to destroy the people of Mordecai in one day; Vg. adds the nation of the Jews should be destroyed
  25. Esther 3:7 So with MT, Vg.; LXX and the lot fell on the fourteenth of the month
  26. Esther 3:13 LXX adds the text of the letter here
  27. Esther 3:15 Or Susa
  28. Esther 3:15 palace
  29. Esther 3:15 in confusion
  30. Esther 4:1 Lit. Mordecai
  31. Esther 4:8 Or Susa
  32. Esther 4:16 Or Susa
  33. Esther 4:17 LXX adds a prayer of Mordecai here
  34. Esther 5:1 LXX adds many extra details in vv. 1, 2
  35. Esther 5:8 Lit. to do
  36. Esther 5:14 Lit. tree or wood
  37. Esther 5:14 About 75 feet
  38. Esther 6:1 Lit. the king’s sleep fled away
  39. Esther 6:2 Bigthan, Esth. 2:21
  40. Esther 6:8 crown
  41. Esther 6:9 Lit. cause him to ride
  42. Esther 7:9 Lit. tree or wood
  43. Esther 8:8 Lit. as is good in your eyes
  44. Esther 8:10 Lit. sons of the swift horses
  45. Esther 8:12 LXX adds the text of the letter here
  46. Esther 8:14 Or Susa
  47. Esther 8:14 palace
  48. Esther 8:15 violet
  49. Esther 8:15 Or Susa
  50. Esther 9:6 Or Susa
  51. Esther 9:6 palace
  52. Esther 9:10 spoil
  53. Esther 9:11 Or Susa
  54. Esther 9:11 palace
  55. Esther 9:11 Lit. came
  56. Esther 9:15 Or Susa
  57. Esther 9:17 Lit. it
  58. Esther 9:18 Or Susa
  59. Esther 9:18 Lit. it
  60. Esther 9:25 Lit. she or it
  61. Esther 9:25 Lit. his
  62. Esther 9:26 Lit. Lot
  63. Esther 10:2 Lit. made him great
  64. Esther 10:3 Lit. seed. LXX, Vg. add a dream of Mordecai here; Vg. adds six more chapters
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Esther 1-10 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

These events took place in the time of Achashverosh, the Achashverosh who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. It was in those days, when King Achashverosh sat on his royal throne in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, that he gave a banquet for all his officials and courtiers. The army of Persia and Media, the nobles and the provincial officials were in attendance. He displayed the dazzling wealth of his kingdom and his great splendor for a long time, 180 days. At the end of that time, the king gave a seven-day banquet in the courtyard of the royal palace garden for all the people, both great and small, there in Shushan the capital. There were white cotton curtains and blue hangings fastened to silver rods, with cords of fine linen and purple; the columns were marble; the couches [for reclining at table] were of gold and silver on a mosaic flooring of malachite, marble, mother-of-pearl and onyx. Drinks were served in gold goblets, with each goblet different from the others. There was royal wine in abundance, as befits royal bounty. The drinking was not according to any fixed rule, for the king had ordered the stewards to serve each man what he wanted. Also Vashti the queen gave a banquet for the women in the royal house belonging to King Achashverosh.

10 On the seventh day, when the king was in high spirits from the wine, he ordered Mehuman, Bizta, Harvona, Bigta, Avagta, Zetar and Karkas, the seven officers who attended him, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with the royal crown, in order to show the people and the officials her beauty, for she was indeed a good-looking woman. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the order of the king, which he had sent through his officers. This enraged the king — his anger blazed inside him.

13 As was the king’s custom, he consulted sages well-versed in matters of law and justice. 14 With him were Karshna, Shetar, Admata, Tarshish, Meres, Marsna and Memukhan, the seven vice-regents of Persia and Media, who were part of the king’s inner circle and were the most important officials in the kingdom. 15 [The king asked the sages,] “According to the law, what should we do to Queen Vashti, since she didn’t obey the order of King Achashverosh conveyed by the officers?”

16 Memukhan presented the king and vice-regents this answer: “Vashti the queen has wronged not only the king, but also all the officials and all the peoples in all the provinces of King Achashverosh; 17 because this act of the queen’s will become known to all the women, who will then start showing disrespect toward their own husbands; they will say, ‘King Achashverosh ordered Vashti the queen to be brought before him, but she wouldn’t come.’ 18 Moreover, the noble ladies of Persia and Media who hear of the queen’s conduct will mention it to all the king’s officials, which will bring about no end of disrespect and discord. 19 If it pleases his majesty, let him issue a royal decree — and let it be written as one of the laws of the Persians and Medes, which are irrevocable — that Vashti is never again to be admitted into the presence of King Achashverosh, and that the king give her royal position to someone better than she. 20 When the edict made by the king is proclaimed throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom, then all wives will honor their husbands, whether great or small.”

21 This advice pleased the king and the officials, so the king did what Memukhan had suggested — 22 he sent letters to all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, that every man should be master in his own house and speak the language of his own people.

A while later, when King Achashverosh’s anger had subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done and what had been decreed against her. The king’s servants attending him said, “A search should be made for young, good-looking virgins. The king should appoint officials in all the provinces of the kingdom to gather all the young, good-looking virgins to the house for the harem, in Shushan the capital. They should be put under the care of Hegai the king’s officer in charge of the women, and he should give them the cosmetics they require. Then, the girl who seems best to the king should become queen instead of Vashti.” This proposal pleased the king, so he acted accordingly.

There was in Shushan the capital a man who was a Jew, whose name was Mordekhai the son of Ya’ir, the son of Shim‘i, the son of Kish, a Binyamini. He had been exiled from Yerushalayim with the captives exiled with Y’khanyah king of Y’hudah, whom N’vukhadnetzar king of Bavel had carried off. He had raised Hadassah, that is, Ester, his uncle’s daughter; because she had neither father nor mother. The girl was shapely and good-looking; after her father’s and mother’s death, Mordekhai had adopted her as his own daughter.

When the king’s order and decree were proclaimed, and many girls assembled in Shushan the capital under the care of Hegai, Ester too was taken into the king’s house and put under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. The girl pleased him and won his favor, so that he lost no time in giving her her cosmetics, her portions [of special food] and seven girls from the king’s palace to attend her; he also promoted her and the girls attending her to the best place in the harem’s quarters. 10 Ester did not disclose her people or family ties, because Mordekhai had instructed her not to tell anyone. 11 Every day Mordekhai would walk around in front of the courtyard of the harem’s house in order to know how Ester was doing and what was happening to her.

12 Each girl had her turn to appear before King Achashverosh after she had undergone the full twelve-month preparation period prescribed for the women, consisting of a six-month treatment with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and other cosmetics for women. 13 Then, when the girl went to see the king, whatever she wanted would be given to her as she went from the harem’s house to the king’s palace. 14 She would go in the evening, and on the following day she would return to another part of the harem’s house and be under the care of Sha‘ashgaz the king’s officer in charge of the concubines. She would not go to the king again unless he was especially pleased with her and had her summoned by name.

15 When the turn came for Ester the daughter of Avichayil, whom Mordekhai had adopted as his own daughter, to appear before the king, she didn’t ask for anything other than what Hegai the king’s officer in charge of the harem advised. Yet Ester was admired by all who saw her. 16 She was brought to King Achashverosh in his royal palace in the tenth month, Tevet, during the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king liked Ester more than any of his wives; none of the other virgins obtained such favor and approval from him. So he put the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

18 The king then gave a great banquet in Ester’s honor for all his officers and servants, decreed a holiday for the provinces and distributed gifts worthy of royal bounty.

19 When the girls would gather on other occasions, Mordekhai would sit at the King’s Gate. 20 Ester had not yet revealed her family ties or her people, as Mordekhai had ordered her; for Ester continued obeying what Mordekhai told her to do, as she had when he was raising her. 21 On one of those occasions, when Mordekhai was sitting at the King’s Gate, two of the king’s officers, Bigtan and Teresh, from the group in charge of the private entryways, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Achashverosh. 22 But Mordekhai learned about it and told Ester the queen. Ester reported it to the king, crediting Mordekhai. 23 The matter was investigated, found to be true, and both were hanged on a stake. All this was recorded in the daily journal that was kept with the king.

Some time later King Achashverosh began to single out Haman the son of Hamdata the Agagi for advancement; eventually he gave him precedence over all his fellow officers. All the king’s servants at the King’s Gate would kneel and bow down before Haman, because the king had so ordered. But Mordekhai would neither kneel nor bow down to him. The king’s servants at the King’s Gate asked Mordekhai, “Why don’t you obey the king’s order?” But after they had confronted him a number of times without his paying attention to them, they told Haman, in order to find out whether Mordekhai’s explanation that he was a Jew would suffice to justify his behavior. Haman was furious when he saw that Mordekhai was not kneeling and bowing down to him. However, on learning what people Mordekhai belonged to, it seemed to him a waste to lay hands on Mordekhai alone. Rather, he decided to destroy all of Mordekhai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole of Achashverosh’s kingdom.

In the first month, the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of Achashverosh, they began throwing pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman every day and every month until the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. Then Haman said to Achashverosh, “There is a particular people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people; moreover, they don’t observe the king’s laws. It doesn’t befit the king to tolerate them. If it please the king, have a decree written for their destruction; and I will hand over 330 tons of silver to the officials in charge of the king’s affairs to deposit in the royal treasury.”

10 The king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the son of Hamdata the Agagi, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, and the people too, to do with as seems good to you.”

12 The king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month. They wrote down all Haman’s orders to the king’s army commanders and governors in all the provinces and to the officials of every people, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language; everything was written in the name of King Achashverosh and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by courier to all the royal provinces “to destroy, kill and exterminate all Jews, from young to old, including small children and women, on a specific day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to seize their goods as plunder.” 14 A copy of the document to be issued as a decree in every province was to be publicly proclaimed to all the peoples, so that they would be ready for that day. 15 At the king’s order the runners went out quickly, and the decree was issued in Shushan the capital. Then the king and Haman sat down for a drink together, but the city of Shushan was thrown into confusion.

When Mordekhai learned everything that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and went out through the city, lamenting and crying bitterly. He stopped before entering the King’s Gate, since no one was allowed to go inside the King’s Gate wearing sackcloth. In every province reached by the king’s order and decree, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing, as many lay down on sackcloth and ashes.

When the girls and officials attending Ester came and informed her of this, the queen became deeply distressed. She sent clothes for Mordekhai to wear instead of his sackcloth, but he wouldn’t accept them. So Ester summoned Hatakh, one of the king’s officials attending her, and instructed him to go to Mordekhai and find out what this was all about and why. Hatakh went out to Mordekhai in the open space in front of the King’s Gate, and Mordekhai told him everything that had happened to him and exactly how much silver Haman had promised to put in the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the decree for their destruction issued in Shushan; so that he could show it to Ester, explain it to her, and then instruct her to approach the king, intercede with him and implore his favor on behalf of her people. Hatakh returned and told Ester what Mordekhai had said.

10 Then Ester spoke to Hatakh and gave him this message for Mordekhai: 11 “All the king’s officials, as well as the people in the royal provinces, know that if anyone, man or woman, approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being summoned, there is just one law — he must be put to death — unless the king holds out the gold scepter for him to remain alive; and I haven’t been summoned to the king for the past thirty days.”

12 Upon being told what Ester had said, Mordekhai 13 asked them to give Ester this answer: “Don’t suppose that merely because you happen to be in the royal palace you will escape any more than the other Jews. 14 For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different direction; but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.”

15 Ester had them return this answer to Mordekhai: 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews to be found in Shushan, and have them fast for me, neither eating nor drinking for three days, night and day; also I and the girls attending me will fast the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Then Mordekhai went his way and did everything Ester had ordered him to do.

On the third day, Ester put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace, opposite the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the king’s hall, across from the entrance to the hall. When the king saw Ester the queen standing in the courtyard, she won his favor; so the king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Ester. Ester approached and touched the tip of the scepter. “What is it you want, Queen Ester?” the king asked her. “Whatever your request, up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.” “If it is all right with the king,” answered Ester, “let the king and Haman come today to the banquet I have prepared for him.” The king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that what Ester has asked for can be done.” (6) So the king and Haman came to the banquet Ester had prepared.

(7) At the banquet of wine the king again said to Ester, “Whatever your request, you will be granted it; whatever you want, up to half the kingdom, it will be done.” (8) Then Ester answered, “My request, what I want, is this: if I have won the king’s favor, if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I want, let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them; and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

That day Haman went out happy and in good spirits. But when Haman saw Mordekhai at the King’s Gate, that he neither rose nor moved for him, Haman was infuriated with Mordekhai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, where he summoned and brought his friends and Zeresh his wife. 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and everything connected with how the king had promoted him and given him precedence over the other officials and servants of the king. 12 “Indeed,” Haman added, “Ester the queen let nobody into the banquet with the king that she had prepared except myself; and tomorrow, too, I am invited by her, together with the king. 13 Yet none of this does me any good at all, as long as I keep seeing Mordekhai the Jew remaining seated at the King’s Gate.” 14 At this Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows seventy-five feet high constructed, and in the morning speak to the king about having Mordekhai hanged on it. Then go in, and enjoy yourself with the king at the banquet.” Haman liked the idea, so he had a gallows made.

That night, the king couldn’t sleep; so he ordered the records of the daily journal brought, and they were read to the king. It was found written that Mordekhai had told about Bigtana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers from the group in charge of the private entryways, who had conspired to assassinate King Achashverosh. The king asked, “What honor or distinction was conferred on Mordekhai for this?” The king’s servants answered, “Nothing was done for him.” The king then asked, “Who’s that in the courtyard?” For Haman had come into the outer courtyard of the king’s palace to speak to the king about hanging Mordekhai on the gallows he had prepared for him. The king’s servants told him, “It’s Haman standing there in the courtyard.” The king said, “Have him come in.” So Haman came in. The king said to him, “What should be done for a man that the king wants to honor?” Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king want to honor more than me?” So Haman answered the king, “For a man the king wants to honor, have royal robes brought which the king himself wears and the horse the king himself rides, with a royal crown on its head. The robes and the horse should be handed over to one of the king’s most respected officials, and they should put the robes on the man the king wants to honor and lead him on horseback through the streets of the city, proclaiming ahead of him, ‘This is what is done for a man whom the king wants to honor.’” 10 The king said to Haman, “Hurry, and take the robes and the horse, as you said, and do this for Mordekhai the Jew, who sits at the King’s Gate. Don’t leave out anything you mentioned.”

11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, dressed Mordekhai and led him riding through the streets of the city, as he proclaimed ahead of him, “This is what is done for a man whom the king wants to honor.” 12 Then Mordekhai returned to the King’s Gate; but Haman rushed home with his head covered in mourning.

13 After Haman had told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordekhai, before whom you have begun to fall, is a Jew, you will not get the better of him; on the contrary, your downfall before him is certain.”

14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s officials came, hurrying to bring Haman to the banquet Ester had prepared.

So the king and Haman went to Queen Ester’s banquet; and the king again said to Ester at the wine banquet, “Whatever your request, Queen Ester, you will be granted it; whatever you want, up to half the kingdom, it will be done.” Ester the queen answered, “If I have won your favor, king, and if it pleases the king, then what I ask be given me is my own life and the lives of my people. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, killed, exterminated. If we had only been sold as men- and women-slaves, I would have remained quiet; since then [our] trouble would not have been worth the damage it would have caused the king [to alter the situation].” King Achashverosh asked Ester the queen, “Who is he? Where is the man who dared to do such a thing?” Ester said, “A ruthless enemy — it’s this wicked Haman!” Haman stood aghast, terrified before the king and queen. In a rage, the king got up from the wine banquet and went out to the palace garden. But Haman remained, pleading with Ester the queen to spare his life; for he could see that the king had decided to do him in. Haman had just fallen on the couch where Ester was, when the king returned from the palace garden to the wine banquet. He shouted, “Is he even going to rape the queen here in the palace, before my very eyes?” The moment these words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Harvonah, one of the king’s attendants, said, “Look! The gallows seventy-five feet high that Haman made for Mordekhai, who spoke only good for the king, is standing at Haman’s house.” The king said, “Hang him on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordekhai. Then the king’s anger subsided.

That same day King Achashverosh gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Ester the queen. Also Mordekhai appeared before the king, for Ester had revealed his relationship to her. The king removed his signet ring, which he had taken back from Haman, and gave it to Mordekhai. Then Ester put Mordekhai in charge of Haman’s house.

Again Ester spoke to the king; she fell at his feet and begged him with tears to put an end to the mischief Haman the Agagi had caused by the scheme he had worked out against the Jews. The king extended the gold scepter toward Ester. So Ester got up and stood in front of the king. She said, “If it pleases the king, if I have won his favor, if the matter seem right to the king and if I have his approval, then let an order be written rescinding the letters devised by Haman the son of Hamdata the Agagi, which he wrote to destroy the Jews in all the royal provinces. For how can I bear to see the disaster that will overcome my people? How can I endure seeing the extermination of my kinsmen?” King Achashverosh said to Ester the queen and Mordekhai the Jew, “Listen! I gave Ester the house of Haman, and they hanged him on the gallows, because he threatened the lives of the Jews. You should issue a decree in the king’s name for whatever you want concerning the Jews, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; because a decree written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s ring can’t be rescinded by anyone.”

The king’s secretaries were summoned at that time, on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan; and a decree was written according to everything Mordekhai ordered concerning the Jews, to the army commanders, governors and officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its script and to each people in their language, also to the Jews in their script and language. 10 They wrote in the name of King Achashverosh and sealed it with the king’s signet ring; they sent the letters by couriers on horseback riding fast horses used in the king’s service and bred from the royal stock. 11 The letters said that the king had granted the Jews in every city the right “to assemble and defend their lives by destroying, killing and exterminating any forces of any people or province that would attack them, their little ones or their women or would try to seize their goods as plunder 12 on the designated day in any of the provinces of King Achashverosh, namely, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.” 13 A copy of the edict was to be issued as a decree in every province and proclaimed to all the peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance against their enemies. 14 Couriers riding fast horses used in the king’s service left quickly, pressed by the king’s order; and the decree was issued in Shushan the capital.

15 Meanwhile, Mordekhai left the king’s presence arrayed in royal blue and white, wearing a large gold crown and a robe of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan shouted for joy. 16 For the Jews, all was light, gladness, joy and honor. 17 In every province and city where the king’s order and decree arrived, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday. Many from the peoples of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews had overcome them.

The time approached for the king’s order and decree to be carried out, the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to overpower them. But, as it turned out, the opposite took place — the Jews overpowered those who hated them. Thus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the Jews assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Achashverosh to attack anyone who tried to do them harm; and no one was able to withstand them; because all the peoples were afraid of them. All the officials of the provinces, the army commanders, the governors and those occupied with the king’s affairs helped the Jews; because they were afraid of Mordekhai. For Mordekhai had become a powerful person in the king’s palace, and his fame had spread through all the provinces; Mordekhai continued to grow increasingly powerful.

The Jews put all their enemies to the sword; there was great slaughter and destruction, as they did whatever they wanted to those who hated them; in Shushan the capital, the Jews slaughtered 500 men. 7-10 They put to death the ten sons of Haman the son of Hamdata, the enemy of the Jews — Parshandata, Dalfon, Aspata, Porata, Adalya, Aridata, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizata. But they did not touch the spoil.

11 The same day, after the king had been told the number of those killed in Shushan the capital, 12 he said to Ester the queen, “If the Jews have slaughtered 500 men in Shushan the capital and the ten sons of Haman, what have they done in the rest of the royal provinces! Now, whatever your request, you will be granted it; whatever more you want, it will be done.” 13 Ester replied, “If it pleases the king, let the Jews in Shushan act again tomorrow in accordance with today’s decree; also have Haman’s ten sons hanged on the gallows.” 14 The king ordered these things done — a decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. 15 So the Jews in Shushan assembled also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed 300 men in Shushan, but they did not touch the spoil.

16 The other Jews, those in the royal provinces, had assembled, defended their lives and won rest from their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them, but without touching the spoil, 17 on the thirteenth day of the month Adar. So on the fourteenth day of Adar they rested and made it a holiday for celebrating and rejoicing. 18 However, the Jews of Shushan assembled on both the thirteenth and fourteenth days of Adar, so it was on the fifteenth that they rested and made it a holiday for celebrating and rejoicing. 19 This is why the Jews of the villages, those who live in unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar a day for celebrating and rejoicing, a holiday and a time for sending each other portions [of food].

20 Mordekhai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Achashverosh, both near and far, 21 instructing them to observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and the fifteenth day, every year, 22 [to commemorate] the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and the month which for them was turned from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; they were to make them days of celebrating and rejoicing, sending portions [of food] to each other and giving gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews took it upon themselves to continue what they had already begun to do, and as Mordekhai had written to them; 24 because Haman the son of Hamdata the Agagi, the enemy of the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had thrown pur (that is, “cast lots”) to crush and destroy them; 25 but when Ester came before the king, he ordered by letters that [Haman’s] wicked scheme, which he had plotted against the Jews, should recoil on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 This is why these days have been called Purim, after the word pur. Thus, because of everything written in this letter, and what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had come upon them, 27 the Jews resolved and took upon themselves, their descendants and all who might join them that without fail they would observe these two days in accordance with what was written in [this letter] and at the appointed time, every year; 28 and that these days would be remembered and observed throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and that these days of Purim would never cease among the Jews or their memory be lost by their descendants.

29 Then Ester the queen, the daughter of Avichayil, and Mordekhai the Jew, gave full written authority to confirm a second letter about Purim. 30 He sent copies of it to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Achashverosh, ensuring their peace and security 31 and requiring the observance of these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordekhai the Jew and Ester the queen had enjoined them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants concerning the matters of fasting and lamenting. 32 At Ester’s order these matters of Purim were confirmed and put in writing in the book.

10 King Achashverosh laid tribute on the land, the coasts and the islands. All the acts of his power and might, along with a full account of the high honor to which the king advanced Mordekhai, are written in the Annals of the Kings of Media and Persia. For Mordekhai the Jew was second only to King Achashverosh; he was a great man among the Jews, popular with all his many countrymen. He sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all their descendants.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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