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A Decree to Protect the Jews

That same day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Then Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had revealed how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had taken back from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther then appointed Mordecai over Haman’s estate.

Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She pleaded with him to stop the evil of Haman the Agagite and his plan that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the golden scepter to Esther, and she arose and stood before the king.

She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor before him and it seems right to the king, and if I am pleasing in his eyes, let an edict be written rescinding the dispatches devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are throughout the king’s provinces. For how can I endure seeing the disaster that will fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my relatives?”

King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “I have decided to give Haman’s estate to Esther and had him hanged on the gallows, because he stretched out his hand against the Jews. Now write in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews what seems good to you and seal it with the king’s signet ring. For a decree that is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, cannot be revoked.”

So the king’s scribes were called at that time—on the 23rd day of the third month, the month of Sivan. It was written according to all that Mordecai commanded to all the Jews, as well as to the officials, governors and advisors of all the 127 provinces that stretch from India to Ethiopia. To each province it was written in its own script and in its own language, and also to the Jews in their own writing and language. 10 This decree was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed with the king’s ring, and sent on horseback by couriers who rode on the king’s horses specially bred for their speed.

11 The king granted the right for Jews in every city to assemble themselves and to protect themselves—to destroy, kill and annihilate any army of any people or province that might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder their possessions. 12 The day appointed for this in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar. 13 A copy of the written edict was distributed to every province and made known to the peoples of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

14 The couriers that rode royal horses raced out, pressed on by the king’s command. The decree was also given out at the palace at Shushan.

15 Then Mordecai went out from the king’s presence in blue and white royal robes, with a large gold crown, and also a purple robe of fine linen. The city of Shushan shouted and rejoiced. 16 For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 Throughout every province and throughout every city, wherever the king’s edict and his law went, the Jews had gladness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many peoples of the land became Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them.