The King Allows the Jews to Fight for Their Lives
1That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther everything Haman had owned. Haman had been the enemy of the Jews. Esther had told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So Mordecai came to see the king. 2The king took his ring off. It had his royal mark on it. He had taken it back from Haman. Now he gave it to Mordecai. And Esther put Mordecai in charge of everything Haman had owned.
3Esther made another appeal to the king. She fell at his feet and wept. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman, the Agagite. He had decided to kill the Jews. 4The king reached out his gold scepter toward Esther. She got up and stood in front of him.
5She said, “King Xerxes, I hope you will think what I’m asking is the right thing to do. I hope you are pleased with me. If you are, and if it pleases you, let an order be written. Let it take the place of the messages Haman wrote. Haman was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. He planned to kill the Jews. He wrote orders to destroy us in all your territories. 6I couldn’t stand by and see the horrible trouble that would fall on my people! I couldn’t stand to see my family destroyed!”
7King Xerxes gave a reply to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew. He said, “Haman attacked the Jews. So I’ve given Esther everything he owned. My men have stuck a pole through his dead body. And they’ve set it up where everyone can see it. 8Now write another order in my name. Do it for the benefit of the Jews. Do what seems best to you. Stamp the order with my royal mark. Nothing that is written in my name and stamped with my mark can ever be changed.”
9Right away the king sent for the royal secretaries. It was the 23rd day of the third month. That was the month of Sivan. They wrote down all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews. They also wrote them to the royal officials, the governors and the nobles of the 127 territories in his kingdom. The territories reached from India all the way to Cush. The orders were written down in the writing of each territory. They were written in the language of each nation. They were also written to the Jews in their own writing and language. 10Mordecai wrote the orders in the name of King Xerxes. He stamped them with the king’s royal mark. He sent them by messengers on horseback. They rode fast horses that were raised just for the king.
11The Jews in every city could now gather together and fight for their lives. The king’s order gave them that right. But suppose soldiers from any nation or territory attacked them, their women or children. Then the Jews could destroy, kill and wipe out those soldiers. They could also take the goods that belonged to their enemies. 12A day was appointed for the Jews to do that in all the king’s territories. It was the 13th day of the 12th month. That was the month of Adar. 13A copy of the order was sent out as law in every territory. It was announced to the people of every nation. So the Jews would be ready on that day. They could pay back their enemies.
14The messengers rode on the royal horses. They raced along. That’s what the king commanded them to do. The order was also sent out in the fort of Susa.
The Jews Win the Battle Over Their Enemies
15Mordecai left the king and went on his way. Mordecai was wearing royal clothes when he went. They were blue and white. He was also wearing a large gold crown. And he was wearing a purple coat. It was made out of fine linen. The city of Susa celebrated with great joy. 16The Jews were filled with joy and happiness. They were very glad because now they were being honored. 17They celebrated and enjoyed good food. They were glad and full of joy. That was true everywhere the king’s order came. It was true in every territory and every city. Many people from other nations announced that they had become Jews. That’s because they were so afraid of the Jews.
The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews
1That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.
3Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 4Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
5“If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”
7King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. 8Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”
9At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.8:9 That is, the upper Nile region These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
11The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,8:11 Or province, together with their women and children, who might attack them; and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.
The Triumph of the Jews
15When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.