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1-2 So on the 28th day of February, the day the two decrees of the king were to be put into effect—the day the Jews’ enemies had hoped to vanquish them, though it turned out quite to the contrary—the Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to defend themselves against any who might try to harm them; but no one tried, for they were greatly feared. And all the rulers of the provinces—the governors, officials, and aides—helped the Jews for fear of Mordecai; for Mordecai was a mighty name in the king’s palace and his fame was known throughout all the provinces, for he had become more and more powerful.

But the Jews went ahead on that appointed day and slaughtered their enemies. They even killed 500 men in Shushan. 7-10 They also killed the ten sons of Haman (son of Hammedatha), the Jews’ enemy—Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. But they did not try to take Haman’s property.

11 Late that evening, when the king was informed of the number of those slain in Shushan, 12 he called for Queen Esther. “The Jews have killed 500 men in Shushan alone,” he exclaimed, “and also Haman’s ten sons. If they have done that here, I wonder what has happened in the rest of the provinces! But now, what more do you want? It will be granted to you. Tell me and I will do it.”

13 And Esther said, “If it please Your Majesty, let the Jews who are here at Shushan do again tomorrow as they have done today, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.”

14 So the king agreed, and the decree was announced at Shushan, and they hung up the bodies of Haman’s ten sons. 15 Then the Jews at Shushan gathered together the next day also and killed 300 more men, though again they took no property.

16 Meanwhile the other Jews throughout the king’s provinces had gathered together and stood for their lives and destroyed all their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them; but they did not take their goods. 17 Throughout the provinces this was done on the 28th day of February, and the next day they rested, celebrating their victory with feasting and gladness. 18 But the Jews at Shushan went on killing their enemies the second day also and rested the next day, with feasting and gladness. 19 And so it is that the Jews in the unwalled villages throughout Israel to this day have an annual celebration on the second day when they rejoice and send gifts to each other.

20 Mordecai wrote a history of all these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the king’s provinces, 21 encouraging them to declare an annual holiday on the last two days of the month, 22 to celebrate with feasting, gladness, and the giving of gifts these historic days when the Jews were saved from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned to gladness and their mourning into happiness.

23 So the Jews adopted Mordecai’s suggestion and began this annual custom 24-25 as a reminder of the time when Haman (son of Hammedatha the Agagite), the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy them at the time determined by a throw of the dice; and to remind them that when the matter came before the king, he issued a decree causing Haman’s plot to boomerang, and he and his sons were hanged on the gallows. 26 That is why this celebration is called “Purim” because the word for “throwing dice” in Persian is pur. 27 All the Jews throughout the realm agreed to inaugurate this tradition and to pass it on to their descendants and to all who became Jews; they declared they would never fail to celebrate these two days at the appointed time each year. 28 It would be an annual event from generation to generation, celebrated by every family throughout the countryside and cities of the empire, so that the memory of what had happened would never perish from the Jewish race.

29-31 Meanwhile Queen Esther (daughter of Abihail and later adopted by Mordecai the Jew) had written a letter throwing her full support behind Mordecai’s letter inaugurating his annual Feast of Purim. In addition, letters were sent to all the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus with messages of good will and encouragement to confirm these two days annually as the Feast of Purim, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and by Queen Esther; indeed, the Jews themselves had decided upon this tradition as a remembrance of the time of their national fasting and prayer. 32 So the commandment of Esther confirmed these dates, and it was recorded as law.

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