Greek Esther 3 Common English Bible (CEB)
Haman plans to destroy Mordecai
3 Sometime later, King Artaxerxes honored Haman, Hammedatha’s son, a Bougaean, by promoting him above all other political advisors. 2 Everyone at the court would kneel and bow down to Haman because the king had so ordered. But Mordecai didn’t kneel or bow down. 3 So the people at the king’s court said to him, “Mordecai, why don’t you obey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they tried to speak to him, but he didn’t listen to them. So they let Haman know that Mordecai was disregarding the king’s order. Earlier Mordecai had explained to them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman himself became aware that Mordecai didn’t kneel or bow down to him, he became very angry. 6 So he planned to wipe out all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Artaxerxes. 7 He made a decision in the twelfth year of Artaxerxes’ rule, and he threw lots to determine the day and month on which Mordecai’s people would be destroyed in a single day. The lot fell on the fourteenth[a] day of the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar.[b]
8 Then Haman said to King Artaxerxes, “A certain group of people exist in pockets among the other peoples throughout your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of everyone else, and they refuse to obey the king’s laws. It is against the king’s interests to put up with them any longer. 9 If the king wishes, perhaps a written order could be sent out that they should be destroyed, and I will contribute ten thousand big sacks[c] of silver to the king’s treasury.”
10 The king removed his royal ring from his finger and handed it to Haman to put a seal on the orders he would write against the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “Keep the silver. Do as you wish to the people.”
12 So in the first month, on the thirteenth day, royal scribes were summoned to write down everything that Haman ordered in the name of King Artaxerxes. The orders were sent out to the governors and rulers in charge of each province, from India to Ethiopia, to one hundred twenty-seven regions in their own language. 13 Fast runners carried the order throughout Artaxerxes’ kingdom. The order commanded people to wipe out all the Jews on a single day of the twelfth month, the month called Adar, and to seize their property.
B The following is a copy of the letter:
The Great King Artaxerxes writes as follows to the governors of the one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia, and to the district governors subject to them:
2 I rule over many nations and have conquered the whole world. Nevertheless, I am not carelessly driven by power; rather, I have always conducted my affairs with moderation and gentleness. I am committed to providing a calm and stable environment for my subjects, and to restore the peace that all people desire. In this way, the kingdom will be at peace and safe for travel throughout its borders.
3 I have, therefore, asked my advisors how this might be accomplished. Haman stands out among us for his moderation. He has demonstrated goodwill and firm loyalty in equal measure, and has attained the second-highest honor in the kingdom. 4 He pointed out to us that there is a certain hostile group scattered among all the peoples of the world. These people are at odds with every nation because of their peculiar laws. They constantly ignore the king’s decrees, so that the government, although well managed by us, is never secure. 5 We see that this nation stands alone in its constant hostility toward everyone. They follow a strange manner of life because of their law code, and they don’t think well of our actions. They carry out the worst evils so that the kingdom is not at peace.
6 We have therefore commanded that this people—pointed out to you in the letters written by Haman, who has been appointed over the government and is like a second father to us—should be destroyed one and all by the swords of their enemies, without pity or restraint. Their wives and children should also be destroyed, all on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar,[d] in the current year. 7 In this way, these people who have always been hostile to us, and remain so, will all go straight to the grave in a single day. Then our affairs will be stable and peaceful.
14 Copies of the order were posted in each region, and the people were to be ready for this day. 15 The matter proceeded quickly and became public in the city of Susa almost immediately. While the king and Haman got drunk together, the city of Susa was full of unrest.