Esther


Esther

2:17 Esther became queen to the King of Persia...

1[1-5] Now in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces), when the Ruler Ahasuerus reigned in his realm, which was in the royal house at Shushan, in the 3rd  year of his reign, he made a celebration for all his leaders and workers, who were in power in Persia and Media during this time, the rulers and leaders of the provinces, who sat before him. He showed them the wealth of his famous realm and the honor of his great dignity for 180 days. When these days were finished, he made a week long celebration for all the people who were at Shushan in the royal house, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of his royal house.

[6-9] There were white, green, and blue curtains, tied with purple cords of fine linen to silver rods and marble posts. There were gold and silver couches on a pavement of red, white, yellow, and black marble. They gave them drinks in all different kinds of golden cups, with a great amount of royal wine, as much as the Ruler had. As the law stated, no one had to drink because the Ruler had told all the workers of his house that they should do whatever each person wanted. Vashti, the queen, also made a celebration for the women in the royal house which belonged to Ruler Ahasuerus.

[10-15] On the seventh day, when the Ruler was drunk, he told Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcass, the seven officers who served Ahasuerus, the Ruler, to bring Vashti the queen before the Ruler wearing her royal crown, to show the people and the leaders her beauty because she was very beautiful. But the queen Vashti refused to come when the Ruler called her by the officers, so he was very angry, and in a rage. Then the Ruler said to the educated men, who knew the times, (for it was the Ruler’s custom to consult those who knew law and judgment, “What should we do to the queen Vashti according to the law, for not doing what I asked her to do by the officers?” And those next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven leaders ofPersiaand Media, who sat in the Ruler’s presence, and sat 1st  in the realm.

[16-20] Memucan answered before the Ruler and the leaders, “Vashti the queen hasn’t only done wrong to you, but also to all the leaders, and to all the people who are in all your provinces. What the queen has done will become known to all the women, causing them to disrespect their husbands, when it’s reported, ‘Ruler Ahasuerus told Vashti the queen to be brought to him, but she didn’t come.’ Today, the leaders ofPersiaand Media who have heard what the queen has done will tell all your other leaders. This will cause great disrespect and anger. If it please you, let a royal judgment go out from you, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it can’t be changed, so that Vashti may never come before you again; and give her royal place to another who is better than she. When your law is published throughout all your great realm, all the wives will give their husbands honor, from the greatest to the least.”

[21-22] This advice pleased the Ruler and the leaders, and the Ruler did what Memucan had said, sending letters into all the Ruler’s provinces, into every province and people according to the language, that every man should rule his own house, and published it in the language of the people.

2[1-4] After these things, when the great anger of Ruler Ahasuerus was cooled, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what judgment was on her. Then the Ruler’s workers who served him said, “Let beautiful young girls who have not had sex be searched out for the Ruler. Let the Ruler appoint officers in all the provinces of his realm to gather together all the beautiful young girls to the royal house ofSusa, to the women’s house, to the custody of Hegai the Ruler’s officer, who keeps the women. Let whatever they need be given to them to get ready for you; and let the girl who pleases the Ruler most be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the Ruler, so it was done.

[5-9] There was a certain Jew in the royal house of Susa, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, who had been forced out from Jerusalem with the prisoners who had been forced out with Jeconiah, Ruler of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar, the Ruler of Babylon, had forced out. He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter because she was orphaned. The young girl was very beautiful; and when her father and mother had died, Mordecai took her for his own daughter. So when the Ruler’s judgment and his law was heard, and when many young girls were gathered together to the royal house of Susa, to the custody of Hegai, Esther was taken into the Ruler’s house also, to the custody of Hegai, who keeps the women. The young girl pleased him, and she was treated kindly by him. He gave her whatever she wanted and what belonged to her 1st , and seven of the best young girls were given her out of the Ruler’s house. He moved her and her young girls to the best place in the women’s house.

[10-14] Now Esther hadn’t told anyone about her people, nor who her relatives were, because Mordecai had told her that she shouldn’t say anything about it. Mordecai walked every day in front of the court of the women’s house, to find out how Esther was, and what would happen to her. Each young woman’s turn came to go in to Ruler Ahasuerus after a year of preparation (for this was the length of their preparation, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet perfumes and with preparations for beautifying women). The young woman then came to the Ruler after she was given whatever she wanted to take with her out of the women’s house to the Ruler’s house. In the evening she went, and on the next day she went into the second women’s house, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the Ruler’s officer, who kept the wives. She didn’t come back to the Ruler any more, unless the Ruler liked her, and she was called by name.

[15-18] Now when Esther’s turn, the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go to the Ruler, she didn’t want anything but what Hegai the Ruler’s officer, who kept the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her. So Esther was taken to Ruler Ahasuerus into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tevet, in the seventh year of his reign. The Ruler loved Esther more than all the other young women, and she was his favorite.  He was more kind to her than all the other young girls and set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the Ruler made a great celebration for all his leaders and workers; and he called for a holiday for Esther’s celebration in the provinces, and gave gifts out of all he had.

[19-23] When the young girls were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the Ruler’s gate. Now Esther hadn’t told anyone who her relatives or her people were, as Mordecai had told her because Esther still obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him. While Mordecai was sitting in the Ruler’s gate, two of the Ruler’s officers, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and wanted to kill the Ruler Ahasuerus. This thing became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther; and Esther told the Ruler in Mordecai’s name. When this matter was investigated, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the Ruler’s presence.

3[1-4] After this, the Ruler Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, advancing him, and setting him in power above all the leaders who were with him.  All the Ruler’s workers, who were in the Ruler’s gate bowed down, and paid respect to Haman because the Ruler had told them to do so to him. But Mordecai didn’t bow down or nor pay him any respect. Then the Ruler’s workers, who were in the Ruler’s gate, asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the Ruler’s judgment?” Now when they spoke to him every day about this, and he didn’t listen to them, they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand, because he had told them that he was a Jew.

[5-7] When Haman saw that Mordecai didn’t bow down, nor pay him any respect, he was very angry. But he hated the thought of killing just Mordecai alone, for they had told him who Mordecai’s people were. So Haman looked for a way to kill all the Jews who were in the whole realm of Ahasuerus, who were Mordecai’s people. In the 1st  month, which is the month Nisan (March/April), in the 12th  year of Ruler Ahasuerus, they threw Pur (judgment stones used like dice), that is, they gambled, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, and chose the 12th  month Adar (February/March).

[8-11] Haman said to Ruler Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people who are scattered among all the peoples of the provinces of your realm, and their laws are different than the other people’s. They don’t keep your laws. So it’s not to your advantage to allow them to live. If it please the Ruler, let it be written that they be killed; and I’ll pay 30,000,000 silver dollars to those who are in charge of your work, to bring it into your treasuries.” So the Ruler took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy, and the Ruler said to Haman, “I give you the money and the people also to do whatever you think is right.”

[12-15] Then the Ruler’s educated writers were called in on the 1st month Nisan (March/April), on the 13th of the month; and all that Haman told them was written to the Ruler’s governors and supervisors who were over each province, and to the leaders of each people, to every province and people in their own written language. It was written in the name of Ruler Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with the Ruler’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers into all the Ruler’s provinces, to kill, to murder, and to exterminate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the 13th of the 12th month Adar (February/March), and to take whatever they owned. A copy of the letter was published to all the peoples, so that the law should be given out in every province, and that they should be ready for that day. By the Ruler’s judgment, the couriers quickly went, and the law was given out in the royal house ofSusa. The Ruler and Haman sat down to have a drink; but the whole city ofShushan was in confusion.

4[1-4] Now when Mordecai found out what was done, Mordecai tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth covered with ashes, and went out into the middle of the city, and cried very loudly and bitterly. He even came before the Ruler’s gate, though no one was allowed inside the Ruler’s gate clothed with sackcloth. In every province where the Ruler’s judgment and law came, there was great sorrow among the Jews, with mourning and crying; and many lay fasting in sackcloth and ashes. Esther’s young girls and her officers came and told her this, and the queen was very upset. She sent some clothes to Mordecai, to replace his sackcloth; but he wouldn’t take it.

[5-8] Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the Ruler’s officers, whom he had appointed to attend her, and told him to go to Mordecai, to find out what was going on, and why he was acting like this. So Hathach went out to Mordecai, to the city square which was in front of the Ruler’s gate. Mordecai told him what had happened to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the Ruler’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him the copy of the writing of the law that was given out in Shushan to kill them, to show it to Esther, and to tell it to her, and to ask her to go in to the Ruler, to beg and plead with him to save her people.

[9-12] Then Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. When Esther spoke to Hathach, she gave him a message to Mordecai, saying, “Everyone in the Ruler’s provinces know, that whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the Ruler into the inner court without being called, there is a law that they be put to death, except those to whom the Ruler holds out the golden scepter, that they may live. I haven’t been called to come in to the Ruler for thirty days.” He told Mordecai what Esther said.

[13-16] Then Mordecai asked them return his answer to Esther, and said, “Don’t think to yourself that you’ll escape in the Ruler’s house any more than all the rest of the Jews. If you don’t speak up now, then safety and freedom will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will die. Who knows if you’ve come to the realm for just such a time as this?” Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, saying, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are here in Shushan, and fast for me, neither eating nor drinking for three days, night or day. My young girls and I will also fast the same way. Then I’ll go in to the Ruler, which is against the law; and if I die, I die.” So Mordecai went home, and did everything that Esther had told him.

5[1-5] Now on the 3rd  day Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in the inner court of the royal house, next to their house. The Ruler sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the door of the house. When the Ruler saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was happy to see her and held out the golden scepter that was in his hand to Esther. So Esther came near, and touched the top of the scepter. Then the Ruler asked her, “What do you want, queen Esther? What do you ask? It’ll be given to you, even up to the half of the realm.” So Esther said, “If it seems good to you, let the Ruler and Haman come to the dinner that I have made for you, today.” Then the Ruler said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do what Esther has asked.” So the Ruler and Haman came to the dinner that Esther had made.

[6-10] The Ruler said to Esther at the dinner of wine, “What do you want? It’ll be given you. What do you ask? Even up to half of the realm it’ll be done.” Then Esther answered and said, “ This is what I want and what I ask. If you’re happy with me, and if it please you to give me what I want and to do what I ask, you and Haman come to the dinner that I’ll make for you tomorrow, and I’ll tell you tomorrow.” Then Haman went out that day very happy and pleased in his heart, but when Haman saw Mordecai in the Ruler’s gate, and that he didn’t stand up nor move for him, he was filled with great anger against Mordecai. But Haman controlled himself, and went home. There, he sent and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife.

[11-14] Haman told them all about his wealth, how many children he had, and all the things in which the Ruler had promoted him, and how the Ruler had advanced him above all his other leaders and workers. Haman also said, “Yes, even Queen Esther let no one come in with the Ruler to the dinner that she had made but myself; and tomorrow I am also invited back along with the Ruler by her. Yet all this gets me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the Ruler’s gate.” Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made seventy-five feet high, and in the morning speak to the Ruler about hanging Mordecai on it. Then go in happy with the Ruler to the dinner.” This pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.

6[1-5] On that night, the Ruler couldn’t sleep, so he asked for the book of records of the chronicles to be brought, and they were read to him. It was written in it that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the Ruler’s officers, who were doorkeepers, who had tried to kill the Ruler Ahasuerus. So the Ruler asked, “What honor and dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Then the Ruler’s workers who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” Then the Ruler asked, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had come into the outer court of the Ruler’s house, to speak to the Ruler about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had made for him. The workers said to the Ruler, “Behold, Haman is in the court.” So the Ruler said, “Tell him to come in.”

[6-10] So Haman came in and the Ruler asked him, “What should be done to someone whom the Ruler wants to honor?” Now Haman said in his heart, “Who would the Ruler want to honor more than myself?” So Haman said to the Ruler, “For the man whom the Ruler wants to honor, let royal clothing be brought which the Ruler has worn, and a horse that the Ruler has ridden on, and on the head of which a crown royal is set. Let the clothing and the horse be handed over to one of the Ruler’s most noble leaders, that they may clothe the man whom the Ruler wants to honor with them, and have him ride on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘This will be done to the one whom the Ruler wants to honor!’” Then the Ruler said to Haman, “Hurry and take the clothing and the horse, just as you’ve said, and do this for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the Ruler’s gate. Do everything that you’ve said, letting nothing fail.”

[11-14] Then Haman took the clothing and the horse, and clothed Mordecai, and had him ride through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “This will be done to the one whom the Ruler wants to honor!” Then Mordecai came back to the Ruler’s gate, but Haman quickly went back home, having his head covered in shame. Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends what all had happened to him. Then his educated men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai is a Jew, before whom you’ve begun to fall, you won’t overcome him, but you’ll surely fall before him.” While they were still talking with him, the Ruler’s officers came, and hurried to bring Haman to the dinner that Esther had made.

7[1-4] So the Ruler and Haman came to dinner with Queen Esther. The Ruler asked Esther again on the second day at the dinner of wine, “What do you want, queen Esther? It shall be given you. What do you ask? Even to the half of the realm it shall be done.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If you’re happy with me, O Ruler, and if it please you, let my life and the lives of my people be given me at my request. For we’ve been sold, I and my people, to be killed, to be murdered, and to be exterminated. But if we had been sold only for workers, I would’ve held my peace, although the enemy couldn’t have paid for the Ruler’s loss.”

[5-10] Then Ruler Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he who dared to imagine in his heart to do so?” Then Esther answered, “This wicked Haman is the enemy! Then Haman became very afraid before the Ruler and the queen. Then the Ruler arose in his great anger from the dinner of wine and went out to the garden of the royal house. Haman stood up to beg for his life to Queen Esther because he saw that the Ruler was determined to punish him severely. Then the Ruler came back in from the garden of the royal house into the place of the dinner of wine; and Haman had fallen on the couch where Esther was sitting. Then the Ruler asked, “Will he even attack the queen in front of me in the house?” And as the word went out of the Ruler’s mouth, the officers covered Haman’s face. Then Harbonah, one of the officers who were with the Ruler said, “Look, the gallows that is seventy-five feet high, which Haman has made for Mordecai, who spoke good for the Ruler, is standing at Haman’s house.” So the Ruler said, “Hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had made for Mordecai. Then the Ruler’s great anger was calmed down.

8[1-6] On that day, Ruler Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the Jews’ enemy, to Queen Esther. Mordecai was called before the Ruler because Esther had told him what he was to her. The Ruler took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. Esther spoke again to the Ruler, and fell down at his feet, and begged him with tears to stop the trouble caused by Haman the Agagite, and what he had planned against the Jews. Then the Ruler held out the golden scepter to Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the Ruler. She said, “If it pleases the Ruler, and if you’re happy with me, and it seems right to you, and I am pleasing in your eyes, let it be written to change the letters written by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to have all the Jews who are in the Ruler’s provinces killed. How can I go on and see the evil that would come to my people? How can I go on to see the extermination of my family?”

[7-10] Then Ruler Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “See, I’ve given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he planned to kill all the Jews. Write also to the Jews, as it pleases you, in the Ruler’s name, and seal it with the Ruler’s ring because the writing which is written in the Ruler’s name, and sealed with the Ruler’s ring, may not be changed by anyone.” Then the Ruler’s scribes were called at that time, on the 23rd day in the 3rd month Sivan (May/June); and it was written according to all that Mordecai told the Jews, and to the supervisors, and the governors and leaders of the provinces which are from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to every province according to its writing, and to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their writing, and in their language. He wrote in the name of Ruler Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the Ruler’s ring, and sent the letters by courier on horseback, riding on royal horses that were bred from the fastest steeds.

[11-14] In those letters, the Ruler let the Jews who were in every city gather themselves together, and defend their lives, to kill, to murder, and to exterminate, all the power of the people and province that would attack them, their little ones, and their women, and to take whatever they owned, on one day in all the provinces of Ruler Ahasuerus, on the 13th day of the 12th month Adar (February/March). A copy of the letter was published to all the peoples that the law should be given out in every province, so that the Jews would be ready for that day to fight against their enemies. So the couriers who rode on the royal horses went out quickly and pressed on by the Ruler’s order. The law was given out in the royal house ofSusa.

[15-17] Mordecai went out of the presence of the Ruler in royal clothing of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine purple linen; and the city ofSusashouted with joy and was happy. The Jews were celebrated with happiness, joy, and honor. In every province, and in every city, wherever the Ruler’s judgment and his law came, the Jews had happiness and joy, a great celebration, and a good day. Many from among the other peoples of the land became Jews because the fear of the Jews was fallen on all of them.

9[1-4] Now on the 13th day in the 12th  month Adar (February/March), when the Ruler’s judgment and his law was near to be put in action, on the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to conquer them, (but it turned out that the opposite happened, and that the Jews conquered those who hated them), the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the Ruler Ahasuerus, to kill those who wanted to harm them. No one could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen on all the people. All the leaders of the provinces, the supervisors, the governors, and those who did the Ruler’s business helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on all of them. Now Mordecai was great in the Ruler’s house, and his fame went throughout all the provinces because Mordecai had grown greater and greater.

[5-10] The Jews struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with a great slaughter and destruction, and did what they wanted to those who hated them. In the royal house ofSusa, the Jews killed 500 men. They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Jew’s enemy, but they didn’t take anything that belonged to them.

[11-14] On that day, the number of those who were killed in the royal house ofSusawas brought before the Ruler. The Ruler said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed 500 men in the royal house ofSusa, including the ten sons of Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the Ruler’s provinces! Now what do you want? It shall be given you. What more do you ask? It shall be done.” Then Esther said, “If it pleases the Ruler, let it be given to the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to this day’s law, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.” The Ruler ordered this to be done. A law was given out in Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

[15-19] The Jews who were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the 14th day also of the month Adar (February/March), and killed 300 men in Shushan; but they didn’t take anything that belonged to them. The other Jews who were in the Ruler’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed 75,000 of those who hated them; but they didn’t take anything that belonged to them. This was done on the 13th day of the month Adar (February/March); and on the 14th day of that month they rested and made it a day of celebration and happiness. But the Jews who were in Shushan gathered together on the 13th and 14th days of the month; and on the 15th day of that month, they rested, and made it a day of celebration and happiness. So the Jews of the villages, who live in the un-walled towns, make the 14th day of the month Adar (February/March) a day of happiness and celebration, a good day, and a day of sending presents of food to one another.

[20-25] Mordecai wrote all these things down, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of the Ruler Ahasuerus, both near and far, to tell them to keep the 14th and 15th days of the month Adar (February/March) yearly, as the days in which the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned from sadness to great happiness for them, and from sorrow into a good day; that they should make them days of celebration and happiness, and of sending presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy. The Jews kept the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them; because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to kill them, and had threw Pur (judgment stones used like dice), to kill and murder them; but when this became known to the Ruler, he told the people by letters that Haman’s evil plan, which he had plotted against the Jews, should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

[26-32] So they called these days “Purim,” from the word “Pur.” So because of all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen of this matter, and that which had come to them, the Jews kept, and obliged themselves, their descendants, and all those who joined with them, so that it wouldn’t fail, that they would keep these two days according to what was written, and according to its appointed time, every year; and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim shouldn’t fail from among the Jews, nor the memory of them be forgotten by their descendants. Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim. He sent letters to all the Jews, to 127 provinces of the realm of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed, and as they had obliged themselves and their descendants, in the matter of fasting and mourning. The judgment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.

10[1-3] Then Ruler Ahasuerus put a tax on the land, and on the islands of the sea. All the acts of his power and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the Ruler advanced him, are written in the book of The Chronicles of the Rulers of Media and Persia. Mordecai the Jew was next to Ruler Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted by the multitude of his brothers, seeking the good of his people, and speaking peace to all his descendants.

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