A Decree to Help the Jews
1On that same day King Xerxes gave the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther. Then Mordecai was brought before the king, for Esther had told the king how they were related. 2The king took off his signet ring—which he had taken back from Haman—and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s property.
3Then Esther went again before the king, falling down at his feet and begging him with tears to stop the evil plot devised by Haman the Agagite against the Jews. 4Again the king held out the gold scepter to Esther. So she rose and stood before him.
5Esther said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king’s provinces should be destroyed. 6For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed?”
7Then King Xerxes said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “I have given Esther the property of Haman, and he has been impaled on a pole because he tried to destroy the Jews. 8Now go ahead and send a message to the Jews in the king’s name, telling them whatever you want, and seal it with the king’s signet ring. But remember that whatever has already been written in the king’s name and sealed with his signet ring can never be revoked.”
9So on June 25#8:9a Hebrew on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was June 25, 474 b.c.; also see note on 2:16. the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Mordecai dictated. It was sent to the Jews and to the highest officers, the governors, and the nobles of all the 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia.#8:9b Hebrew to Cush. The decree was written in the scripts and languages of all the peoples of the empire, including that of the Jews. 10The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Mordecai sent the dispatches by swift messengers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king’s service.
11The king’s decree gave the Jews in every city authority to unite to defend their lives. They were allowed to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality or province who might attack them or their children and wives, and to take the property of their enemies. 12The day chosen for this event throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes was March 7 of the next year.#8:12 Hebrew the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. The date selected was March 7, 473 b.c.; also see note on 2:16.
13A copy of this decree was to be issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples, so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies on the appointed day. 14So urged on by the king’s command, the messengers rode out swiftly on fast horses bred for the king’s service. The same decree was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa.
15Then Mordecai left the king’s presence, wearing the royal robe of blue and white, the great crown of gold, and an outer cloak of fine linen and purple. And the people of Susa celebrated the new decree. 16The Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere. 17In every province and city, wherever the king’s decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced and had a great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday. And many of the people of the land became Jews themselves, for they feared what the Jews might do to them.