New International Reader's Version

Esther 3

Haman Plans to Destroy the Jews

1After those events, King Xerxes honored Haman. Haman was the son of Hammedatha. He was from the family line of Agag. The king gave Haman a higher position than he had before. He gave him a seat of honor. It was higher than the positions any of the other nobles had. All the royal officials at the palace gate got down on their knees. They gave honor to Haman. That’s because the king had commanded them to do it. But Mordecai refused to get down on his knees. He wouldn’t give Haman any honor at all.

The royal officials at the palace gate asked Mordecai a question. They said, “Why don’t you obey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him. But he still refused to obey. So they told Haman about it. They wanted to see whether he would let Mordecai get away with what he was doing. Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.

Haman noticed that Mordecai wouldn’t get down on his knees. He wouldn’t give Haman any honor. So Haman was very angry. But he had found out who Mordecai’s people were. So he didn’t want to kill only Mordecai. He also looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people. They were Jews. He wanted to kill all of them everywhere in the kingdom of Xerxes.

The lot was cast in front of Haman. The lot was called Pur. It was cast in the first month of the 12th year that Xerxes was king. That month was called Nisan. The lot was cast to choose a day and a month. The month chosen was the 12th month. That month was called Adar.

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “Certain people are scattered among the nations. They live in all the territories in your kingdom. They keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their practices are different from the practices of all other people. They don’t obey your laws. It really isn’t good for you to put up with them. If it pleases you, give the order to destroy them. I’ll even add 375 tons of silver to the king’s officials for the royal treasures.”

10 So the king took his ring off his finger. The ring had his royal seal on it. He gave the ring to Haman. Haman was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. Haman was the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman. “Do what you want to with those people.”

12 The king sent for the royal secretaries. It was the 13th day of the first month. The secretaries wrote down all Haman’s orders. They wrote them down in the writing of each territory in the kingdom. They also wrote them in the language of each nation. The orders were sent to the royal officials and to the governors of the territories. And the orders were also sent to the nobles of the nations. The orders were written in the name of King Xerxes himself. And they were stamped with his own official mark. 13 They were carried by messengers. They were sent to all the king’s territories. The orders commanded people to destroy, kill and wipe out all the Jews. That included young people and old people alike. It included women and children. All the Jews were supposed to be killed on a single day. That day was the 13th day of the 12th month. It was the month of Adar. The orders also commanded people to take everything that belonged to the Jews. 14 A copy of the order had to be sent out as law. It had to be sent to every territory in the kingdom. It had to be announced to the people of every nation. Then they would be ready for that day.

15 The king commanded the messengers to go out. So they did. The order was sent out from the fort of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink wine. But the people in the city were bewildered.