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Esther 3-4 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Haman’s Plan to Kill the Jews

After all this took place, King Ahasuerus honored Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite. He promoted him in rank and gave him a higher position than all the other officials. The entire royal staff at the King’s Gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, because the king had commanded this to be done for him. But Mordecai would not bow down or pay homage. The members of the royal staff at the King’s Gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” When they had warned him day after day and he still would not listen to them, they told Haman in order to see if Mordecai’s actions would be tolerated, since he had told them he was a Jew.

When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing down or paying him homage, he was filled with rage. And when he learned of Mordecai’s ethnic identity, it seemed repugnant to Haman to do away with[a] Mordecai alone. He planned to destroy all of Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout Ahasuerus’s kingdom.

In the first month, the month of Nisan, in King Ahasuerus’s twelfth year, the Pur—that is, the lot—was cast before Haman for each day in each month, and it fell on the twelfth month, the month Adar. Then Haman informed King Ahasuerus, “There is one ethnic group, scattered throughout the peoples in every province of your kingdom, keeping themselves separate. Their laws are different from everyone else’s and they do not obey the king’s laws. It is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If the king approves, let an order be drawn up authorizing their destruction, and I will pay 375 tons of silver to[b] the officials for deposit in the royal treasury.”

10 The king removed his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jewish people. 11 Then the king told Haman, “The money and people are given to you to do with as you see fit.”

12 The royal scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and the order was written exactly as Haman commanded. It was intended for the royal satraps, the governors of each of the provinces, and the officials of each ethnic group and written for each province in its own script and to each ethnic group in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the royal signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to each of the royal provinces telling the officials to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people—young and old, women and children—and plunder their possessions on a single day, the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month.[c]

14 A copy of the text, issued as law throughout every province, was distributed to all the peoples so that they might get ready for that day. 15 The couriers left, spurred on by royal command, and the law was issued in the fortress of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, while the city of Susa was in confusion.

Mordecai Appeals to Esther

When Mordecai learned all that had occurred, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city, and cried loudly and bitterly. He went only as far as the King’s Gate, since the law prohibited anyone wearing sackcloth from entering the King’s Gate. There was great mourning among the Jewish people in every province where the king’s command and edict came. They fasted, wept, and lamented, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

Esther’s female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so that he would take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them. Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who attended her, and dispatched him to Mordecai to learn what he was doing and why.[d] So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square in front of the King’s Gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened as well as the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay the royal treasury for the slaughter of the Jews.

Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa ordering their destruction, so that Hathach might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and command her to approach the king, implore his favor, and plead with him personally for her people. Hathach came and repeated Mordecai’s response to Esther.

10 Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to tell Mordecai, 11 “All the royal officials and the people of the royal provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard and who has not been summoned—the death penalty— unless the king extends the gold scepter, allowing that person to live. I have not been summoned to appear before the king for the last[e] thirty days.” 12 Esther’s response was reported to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. 14 If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”

15 Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went and did everything Esther had commanded him.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:6 Lit to stretch out a hand against
  2. 3:9 Lit will weigh 10,000 silver talents on the hands of
  3. 3:13 LXX adds the text of Ahasuerus’s letter here.
  4. 4:5 Lit what is this and why is this
  5. 4:11 Lit king these
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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