3 After these things King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the [a]Agagite, and advanced him and [b]established his authority over all the officials who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate [in royal service] bowed down and honored and paid homage to Haman; for this is what the king had commanded in regard to him. But Mordecai [a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin] neither bowed down nor paid homage [to him]. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you disregarding the king’s command?” 4 Now it happened when they had spoken to him day after day and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason [for his behavior] would stand [as valid]; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, he was furious. 6 But he disdained laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were (his nationality); so Haman determined to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who lived throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
7 In the first month, the month of Nisan (Mar-Apr), in the [c]twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Haman cast Pur, that is, the lot, cast before him day after day [to find a lucky day to approach the king], month after month, until the twelfth month, the month of Adar (Feb-Mar). 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered [abroad] and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people, and they do not observe the king’s laws. Therefore it is not in the king’s interest to [tolerate them and] let them stay here. 9 If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then the king removed his signet ring from his hand [that is, the special ring which was used to seal his letters] and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is given to you, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
12 Then the king’s scribes (secretaries) were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written just as Haman commanded to the king’s satraps (chief rulers), and to the governors who were over each province and to the officials of each people, each province according to its script (writing), each people according to their own language; being written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar (March 7, 473 b.c.), and to seize their belongings as plunder. 14 A copy of the edict to be decreed as law in every province was published to all the peoples, so that they would be ready for this day. 15 The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa. And while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was perplexed [by the unusual and alarming decree].
4 Now when Mordecai learned of everything that had been done, he tore his clothes [in mourning], and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the center of the city and cried out loudly and bitterly. 2 He went [only] as far as the king’s gate, because no one was to enter the king’s gate dressed in sackcloth. 3 In each and every province that the decree and law of the king reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing; and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s maids and her eunuchs came and told her [what had happened], the queen was seized by great fear. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he would remove his sackcloth, but he did not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom the king had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to find out what this issue was and why it had come about. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the [open] square of the city, which was in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, and the exact [d]amount of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave him a copy of the text of the decree which had been issued in Susa for the Jews destruction, so that he might show Esther and explain it to her, and order her to go in to the king to seek his favor and plead with him for [the lives of] her people.
9 Hathach came back and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai, saying: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court without being summoned, he has but one law, that he is to be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And as for me, I have not been summoned to come to the king for these [last] thirty days.” 12 So they told Mordecai what Esther had said.
13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?”
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews that are present in Susa, and observe a fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids also will fast in the same way. Then I will go in to [see] the king [without being summoned], which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had commanded him.
5 On the third day [of the fast] Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace opposite his [throne] room. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the [main] entrance of the palace. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she found favor in his sight; and the king extended to her the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you, [e]up to half of the kingdom.” 4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly so that we may do as Esther says.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6 As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is your [f]petition? It shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 7 Then Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and to do as I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet that I will prepare for them; and tomorrow I will do as the king says [and express my request].”
9 Haman went away that day joyful and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate refusing to stand up or show fear before him, he was filled with rage toward Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman controlled himself and went home. There he sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, the large number of his sons, and every instance in which the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him over the officials and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the banquet she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her [together] with the king. 13 Yet all of this does not satisfy me as long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows [g]fifty cubits high made, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully to the banquet with the king.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
22 But when the officers arrived, they did not find them in the prison; and they came back and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened [the doors], we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these things, they were greatly perplexed, wondering what would come of this. 25 But someone came and told them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing [right here] in the temple [area], teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them back, without hurting them (because they were afraid of the people, worried that they might be stoned).
27 So they brought them and presented them before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court). The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this [a]Man’s blood on us [by accusing us as His murderers].” 29 Then Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men [we have no other choice]. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a [b]cross [and you are responsible]. 31 God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior and Deliverer, in order to grant repentance to Israel, and [to grant] forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has bestowed on those who obey Him.”
33 Now when they heard this, they were infuriated and they intended to kill the apostles. 34 But a Pharisee named [c]Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law [of Moses], highly esteemed by all the people, stood up in the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) and ordered that the men be taken outside for a little while. 35 Then he said to the Council, “Men of Israel, be careful in regard to what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody [of importance], and a group of about four hundred men allied themselves with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas the Galilean rose up, [and led an uprising] during the time of the census, and drew people after him; he was also killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men [merely human in origin], it will fail and be destroyed; 39 but if it is of God [and it appears that it is], you will not be able to stop them; or else you may even be found fighting against God!”
40 The Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) took his advice; and after summoning the apostles, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them. 41 So they left the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy [dignified by indignity] to suffer shame for [the sake of] His name. 42 And every single day, in the temple [area] and in homes, they did not stop teaching and telling the good news of Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).