The King Helps the Jewish People
1That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther everything Haman, the enemy of the Jewish people, had left when he died. And Mordecai came in to see the king, because Esther had told the king how he was related to her. 2Then the king took off his signet ring that he had taken back from Haman, and he gave it to Mordecai. Esther put Mordecai in charge of everything Haman left when he died.
3Once again Esther spoke to the king. She fell at the king’s feet and cried and begged him to stop the evil plan that Haman the Agagite had planned against the Jews. 4The king held out the gold scepter to Esther. So Esther got up and stood in front of him.
5She said, “My king, if you are pleased with me, and if it pleases you to do this, if you think it is the right thing to do, and if you are happy with me, let an order be written to cancel the letters Haman wrote. Haman the Agagite sent messages to destroy all the Jewish people in all of your kingdom. 6I could not stand to see that terrible thing happen to my people. I could not stand to see my family killed.”
7King Xerxes answered Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman was against the Jewish people, I have given his things to Esther, and my soldiers have hanged him. 8Now, in the king’s name, write another order to the Jewish people as it seems best to you. Then seal the order with the king’s signet ring, because no letter written in the king’s name and sealed with his signet ring can be canceled.”
9At that time the king’s secretaries were called. This was the twenty-third day of the third month, which is Sivan. The secretaries wrote out all of Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, to the governors, to the captains of the soldiers in each state, and to the important men of the one hundred twenty-seven states that reached from India to Cush. They wrote in the writing of each state and in the language of each people. They also wrote to the Jewish people in their own writing and language. 10Mordecai wrote orders in the name of King Xerxes and sealed the letters with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the king’s orders by messengers on fast horses, horses that were raised just for the king.
11These were the king’s orders: The Jewish people in every city have the right to gather together to protect themselves. They may destroy, kill, and completely wipe out the army of any state or people who attack them. And they are to do the same to the women and children of that army. They may also take by force the property of their enemies. 12The one day set for the Jewish people to do this in all the empire of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13A copy of the king’s order was to be sent out as a law in every state. It was to be made known to the people of every nation living in the kingdom so the Jewish people would be ready on that set day to strike back at their enemies.
14The messengers hurried out, riding on the royal horses, because the king commanded those messengers to hurry. And the order was also given in the palace at Susa.
15Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal clothes of blue and white and a large gold crown. He also had a purple robe made of the best linen. And the people of Susa shouted for joy. 16It was a time of happiness, joy, gladness, and honor for the Jewish people. 17As the king’s order went to every state and city, there was joy and gladness among the Jewish people. In every state and city to which the king’s order went, they were having feasts and celebrating. And many people through all the empire became Jews, because they were afraid of the Jewish people.