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Greek Esther 3New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Mordecai Refuses to Do Obeisance

After these events King Artaxerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougean, advancing him and granting him precedence over all the king’s[a] Friends. So all who were at court used to do obeisance to Haman,[b] for so the king had commanded to be done. Mordecai, however, did not do obeisance. Then the king’s courtiers said to Mordecai, ‘Mordecai, why do you disobey the king’s command?’ Day after day they spoke to him, but he would not listen to them. Then they informed Haman that Mordecai was resisting the king’s command. Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. So when Haman learned that Mordecai was not doing obeisance to him, he became furiously angry, and plotted to destroy all the Jews under Artaxerxes’ rule.

In the twelfth year of King Artaxerxes Haman[c] came to a decision by casting lots, taking the days and the months one by one, to fix on one day to destroy the whole race of Mordecai. The lot fell on the fourteenth[d] day of the month of Adar.

Decree against the Jews

Then Haman[e] said to King Artaxerxes, ‘There is a certain nation scattered among the other nations in all your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other nation, and they do not keep the laws of the king. It is not expedient for the king to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they are to be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king’s treasury.’ 10 So the king took off his signet ring and gave it to Haman to seal the decree[f] that was to be written against the Jews. 11 The king told Haman, ‘Keep the money, and do whatever you want with that nation.’

12 So on the thirteenth day of the first month the king’s secretaries were summoned, and in accordance with Haman’s instructions they wrote in the name of King Artaxerxes to the magistrates and the governors in every province from India to Ethiopia. There were one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, and the governors were addressed each in his own language. 13 Instructions were sent by couriers throughout all the empire of Artaxerxes to destroy the Jewish people on a given day of the twelfth month, which is Adar, and to plunder their goods.

Addition B

The King’s Letter

13 [g] This is a copy of the letter: ‘The Great King, Artaxerxes, writes the following to the governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia and to the officials under them:

‘Having become ruler of many nations and master of the whole world (not elated with presumption of authority but always acting reasonably and with kindness), I have determined to settle the lives of my subjects in lasting tranquillity and, in order to make my kingdom peaceable and open to travel throughout all its extent, to restore the peace desired by all people.

‘When I asked my counsellors how this might be accomplished, Haman—who excels among us in sound judgement, and is distinguished for his unchanging goodwill and steadfast fidelity, and has attained the second place in the kingdom— pointed out to us that among all the nations in the world there is scattered a certain hostile people, who have laws contrary to those of every nation and continually disregard the ordinances of kings, so that the unifying of the kingdom that we honourably intend cannot be brought about. We understand that this people, and it alone, stands constantly in opposition to every nation, perversely following a strange manner of life and laws, and is ill-disposed to our government, doing all the harm they can so that our kingdom may not attain stability.

‘Therefore we have decreed that those indicated to you in the letters written by Haman, who is in charge of affairs and is our second father, shall all—wives and children included—be utterly destroyed by the swords of their enemies, without pity or restraint, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year, so that those who have long been hostile and remain so may in a single day go down in violence to Hades, and leave our government completely secure and untroubled hereafter.’

End of Addition B

14 Copies of the document were posted in every province, and all the nations were ordered to be prepared for that day. 15 The matter was expedited also in Susa. And while the king and Haman caroused together, the city of Susa[h] was thrown into confusion.


  1. Greek Esther 3:1 Gk all his
  2. Greek Esther 3:2 Gk him
  3. Greek Esther 3:7 Gk he
  4. Greek Esther 3:7 Other ancient witnesses read thirteenth; see 8.12
  5. Greek Esther 3:8 Gk he
  6. Greek Esther 3:10 Gk lacks the decree
  7. Greek Esther 3:13 Chapter 13.1–7 corresponds to chapter B 1–7 in some translations.
  8. Greek Esther 3:15 Gk the city
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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