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Jews Defend Themselves

Consequently, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is the month Adar), the king’s edict and his law drew near to be carried out. On that day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but contrary to expectations the Jews gained the upper hand over those that hated them. Jews assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus in order to lay hands on those seeking their harm. No one was able to stand against them, for fear of them had fallen on all the peoples. Even all the administrators of the provinces, the officers and governors, and those doing business for the king, helped the Jews, for the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. Mordecai was prominent at the palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces. The man Mordecai was growing ever more powerful.

The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying, and they did whatever they wished to those who hated them. In the citadel at Shushan the Jews killed and destroyed 500 people, including Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the 10 sons of Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. They slew them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.

11 On that day the number of those that were killed in the citadel at Shushan was brought to the king’s attention. 12 Then the king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men in the citadel of Shushan, including Haman’s ten sons. What have they done, in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your request? It shall be granted to you. What other petition do you have? It shall be done.”

13 “If it please the king,” Esther said, “let the Jews in Shushan be allowed to carry out today’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”

14 The king commanded that this be done. A decree was issued in Shushan and they hanged Haman’s 10 sons. 15 The Jews in Shushan gathered together on the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and they killed 300 men in Shushan, but they did not put their hands on the plunder.

16 Meanwhile the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered together to protect themselves and to get relief from their enemies. They killed 75,000 of their enemies, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of Adar and on the fourteenth day they rested, making it a day of feasting and gladness.

18 But the Jews that were in Shushan had assembled on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth and on the fifteenth they rested, making it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 That is why the rural Jews—those living in unwalled villages—make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, a day of sending presents of food to one another.

Purim Festival

20 Mordecai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 urging them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar every year 22 as the days when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration. These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the commemoration they had begun, and do what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur—that is, the lot—to ruin and destroy them. 25 But when it came to the king’s attention, he issued a written edict that the wicked scheme Haman[a] had devised against the Jews should come back on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. (26 For this reason, these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Therefore because of everything in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and took upon themselves, upon their descendants, and upon all who joined with them, that they would commemorate these two days in the way prescribed and at the appointed time every year. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and every city. These days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their remembrance perish from their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther the daughter of Abihail, and also Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of shalom and truth, 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them and just as they had established for themselves and their descendants, matters regarding their times of fasting and lamentations. 32 Esther’s command confirmed these regulations about Purim and it was written into the records.


  1. Esther 9:25 The text has a pronoun; Haman is added for clarity.