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The Jews Defend Themselves

On the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month, the king’s command and decree were to be carried out. On that very day, when the enemies of the Jews expected to overpower them, the exact opposite happened: The Jews overpowered those who hated them.

The Jews assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes to kill those who were planning to harm them. No one could stand up against them, because all the people were terrified of them. All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the king’s treasurers assisted the Jews because they were terrified of Mordecai. Mordecai was an important man in the king’s palace. Moreover, his reputation was spreading to all the provinces, since Mordecai was becoming more and more powerful.

Then with their swords, the Jews attacked all their enemies, killing them, destroying them, and doing whatever they pleased to those who hated them. In the fortress of Susa the Jews killed and wiped out 500 men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 10 These were the ten sons of Haman, who was the son of Hammedatha and the enemy of the Jews. But the Jews did not seize any of their possessions.

11 On that day the number of those killed in the fortress of Susa was reported to the king. 12 So the king said to Queen Esther, “In the fortress of Susa the Jews have killed and wiped out 500 men and Haman’s 10 sons. What must they have done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now, what is your request? It will be granted to you. And what else would you like? It, too, will be granted.”

13 Esther said, “If it pleases you, Your Majesty, allow the Jews in Susa to do tomorrow what was decreed for today. Let them hang Haman’s ten sons on poles.”

14 The king commanded this, issuing a decree in Susa. And so they hung Haman’s ten sons on poles.

15 The Jews in Susa also assembled on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed 300 men in Susa, but they did not seize any of their possessions. 16 The other Jews who were in the king’s provinces had also assembled to defend and free themselves from their enemies. They killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they did not seize any of their possessions. 17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. On the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and celebration. 18 But the Jews in Susa had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth. They rested on the fifteenth and made it a day of feasting and celebration. 19 That is why the Jews who live in the villages and in the unwalled towns make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar a holiday for feasting and celebration. They also send gifts of food to one another.

The Festival of Purim Instituted by Esther and Mordecai

20 Now, Mordecai wrote these things down and sent official letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far. 21 He established the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as days they must observe every year. 22 They were to observe them just like the days when the Jews freed themselves from their enemies. In that month their grief turned to joy and their mourning into a holiday. He declared that these days are to be days for feasting and celebrating and for sending gifts of food to one another, especially gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted as tradition what they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them. 24 It was because Haman, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. (Haman was the son of Hammedatha and was from Agag.) Haman had the Pur (which means the lot) thrown in order to determine when to crush and destroy them. 25 But when this came to the king’s attention, he ordered, in the well-known letter, that the evil plan Haman had plotted against the Jews should turn back on his own head. As a result, they hung Haman and his sons on poles.

26 So the Jews called these days Purim, based on the word Pur. Therefore, because of everything that was said in this letter—both what they had seen and what had happened to them— 27 the Jews established a tradition for themselves and their descendants and for anyone who would join them. The tradition was that a person should never fail to observe these two days every year, as they were described and at their appointed time. 28 So these days must be remembered and observed in every age, family, province, and city. These days of Purim must not be ignored among the Jews, and the importance of these days must never be forgotten by the generations to come.

29 Abihail’s daughter Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority in order to establish with this second letter the well-known celebration of Purim. 30 Mordecai sent official documents granting peace and security to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes. 31 He did this in order to establish these days of Purim at the appointed time. Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther established them for themselves, as they had established for themselves and their descendants the practices of fasting with sadness. 32 Esther’s command had established these practices of Purim, and they are written in a book.