Greek Esther 8Common English Bible (CEB)
Esther acts again
8 That same day King Artaxerxes gave Queen Esther everything that had belonged to Haman the accuser. Mordecai was summoned before the king because Esther told the king that he was family to her. 2 The king took the royal ring that he had removed from Haman and gave it to Mordecai. Esther put Mordecai in charge of what Haman had owned.
3 Esther spoke further to the king. She bowed at his feet and asked him to overturn the evil plot of Haman and whatever evils he planned to do to the Jews. 4 The king held out the gold scepter to Esther, and she got up and stood before him. 5 Esther said, “If the idea seems right to the king, and if I still please him, revoke the written decrees sent out by Haman, ordering the destruction of the Jews living within your kingdom. 6 How can I bear to watch the terrible evil about to sweep over my people? And how can I be delivered from the destruction of my people?”
Mordecai writes a new law
7 The king said to Esther, “I’ve given you everything Haman owned: I’ve favored you and impaled him on a pole because he planned to attack the Jews. 8 Write to the Jews in the king’s name whatever seems best to you and seal the letters with my royal ring. Anything written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s royal ring can’t be revoked.”
9 So the royal scribes were summoned on the twenty-third day of the first month (that is, the month of Nisan[a]). They wrote out Mordecai’s orders regarding the Jews for the officials and governors of the provinces from India to Cush, one hundred twenty-seven in all. They wrote in the alphabet of each province and in the language of each people. 10 They wrote in the name of the king and sealed the order with the king’s royal ring. They sent the letters out by messengers on horseback. 11 Mordecai ordered the Jews to live according to their own laws and to defend themselves. He allowed them to do as they wished to their attackers and opponents 12 throughout Artaxerxes’ entire kingdom, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar[b]).
Artaxerxes’ second decree
E Written below is a copy of the letter:
The Great King Artaxerxes writes to the governors in the one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia, and to those who are loyal to us. Greetings!
2 Many people who are greatly honored, owing to the immense generosity of their benefactors, become overly ambitious. 3 Not only do they seek to harm our subjects, but they even attempt to scheme against their own benefactors since they are unable to manage their pride. 4 Not only do they fail to exhibit gratitude among people, but encouraged by the boasts of people who know nothing of goodness, they even suppose they will escape the judgment of the God who sees all. 5 Often, many people in positions of authority become accessories to the shedding of innocent blood because of the influence of friends they trusted to manage their affairs. They suffer terrible misfortunes 6 as a result of the cruel lies of those who take advantage of the innocent goodwill of rulers.
7 Now this can be seen, not so much from older accounts that we have inherited but from what is right before your eyes.[c] Consider the ungodly things that have been done as a result of the corruption of those not worthy to hold power. 8 But looking to the future, we will make the kingdom peaceful and secure for all people, 9 adopting changes and settling those matters that come to our attention with a fair reply.
10 As for Haman, Hammedatha’s son, a Macedonian, he was not Persian, and was far removed from us in kindness. Yet we warmly welcomed him. 11 He gained the goodwill that we have for every nation to such an extent that he was publicly proclaimed our father. All worshipped him as the person second only to the royal throne. 12 But when he could no longer hold his pride in check, he made it his business to rob us of our leadership and our life. 13 With lies and tricks he called for the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and constant benefactor, and Esther, our innocent partner in the kingdom, together with their whole nation. 14 He thought that, by these methods, he could render us helpless and turn the Persian Empire over to the Macedonians.
15 But we find that the Jews, whom this accursed man wanted to destroy, are not criminals but are governed by just laws. 16 They are children of the most high, most great, living God, who has guided the kingdom on the best course for us and for our ancestors.
17 You would do well, therefore, not to act on the letters sent by Haman, Hammedatha’s son. 18 Haman, who devised these things, has been impaled at the gates of Susa together with his entire household. The God who holds power over all things swiftly passed this fair judgment on him. 19 And you should publish a copy of this letter in every place for all to see, to allow the Jews to live by their own customs, 20 and to assist them so that they can defend themselves against their attackers in the time of distress, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar.[d] 21 God, who rules over all things, has made this a joyous day for his chosen line rather than one of destruction. 22 As for you, celebrate it with feasting 23 as a special holiday among your festivals so that it will be for us, and for all Persians of goodwill, a memorial of deliverance, both now and in the future. But for those who plot against us, it will be a memorial of destruction. 24 Any city or region, without exception, that does not act accordingly will be completely destroyed by fire and spear. This city will be made uninhabitable not only to humans but also to wild animals and birds for all time.
13 Let copies of this decree be displayed publicly throughout the kingdom so that all the Jews may be ready on this day to do battle with their enemies. 14 Messengers on horses sped off to do as the king said, and the law was made public in the city of Susa.
15 Mordecai went out dressed in a royal robe, wearing a gold crown and a turban made of purple linen. The people of Susa rejoiced to see him, 16 and light and gladness came to the Jews. 17 In every city and region—wherever the king’s order was posted and the decree proclaimed—the Jews had happiness and joy, feasts and a holiday. Many of the Gentiles had themselves circumcised and became Jews themselves, out of fear of the Jews.