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Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over one hundred twenty seven provinces);
2 in those days, when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shusan the palace,
3 in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his princes and servants; the power of Persia and Media; the nobles and the princes of the provinces being before him,
4 when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honor of his excellent majesty, for many days; one hundred and eighty days.
5 And when these days were full, the king gave a feast unto all the people that were in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.
6 There were white, green and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble, with beds of gold and silver upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black marble.
7 And they gave them drinks in vessels of gold; the vessels being unique from one another, and royal wine in abundance, according to the means of the king.
8 And the drinking was according to the law; none were compelled, for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house that they should do according to every person’s pleasure.
9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house, which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas, the seven eunuchs that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal diadem; to show the people and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to look on.
12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his eunuchs. Therefore the king was enraged, and his anger burned in him.
13 Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment,
14 for next to him was: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and who sat in rank in the kingdom),
15 “What shall we do unto Queen Vashti according to law, because she has not performed the commandment of King Ahasuerus by the eunuchs?”
16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, “Vashti the queen has not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
17 For this deed of the queen will spread abroad to all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought before him, but she came not.’
18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, who have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus there shall arise too much contempt and wrath.
19 If it please the king, let a royal commandment from him proceed forth, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it cannot be altered, that Vashti come no more before King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
20 And when the king’s decree, which he will make, is published throughout all his empire, for it is great, all the wives will give to their husbands honor, both to the great and small.”
21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan.
22 For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to its writings, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.
After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
2 Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, “Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king,
3 and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins to Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them.
4 And let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” And the thing pleased the king, and he did so.
5 Now in Shusan the palace there was a certain Yehud whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benyahminite,
6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity, which had been carried away with Jeconiyah king of Yehudah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother; and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and decree was heard, and when many young maidens were gathered unto Shusan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 And the maiden pleased him and received mercy from him, and he hastened to give her the things for purification, and food, and seven maidens from the king’s palace, and moved her and her maids to the best of the house of the women.
10 Esther did not reveal her people or her lineage, for Mordecai had charged her that she should not tell.
11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther prospered, and what had become of her.
12 Now when every maid’s turn had come to go in to King Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women (for so were the days of their purification accomplished; six months with oil of myrrh and six months of sweet fragrances, and with things for the purifying of women;)
13 then came the maiden unto the king, with whatever she desired being given to her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.
14 In the evening she went, and at dawn she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. And she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.
15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she sought nothing except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, the keeper of the women appointed. And Esther found favor in the sight of all who looked upon her.
16 So Esther was taken unto King Ahasuerus, into his royal house, in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight, more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, Esther’s feast, and he gave a rest to the provinces, and gave gifts according to the state of the king.
19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat at the king’s gate.
20 Esther had not yet revealed her lineage or her people, as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, just as when she was brought up by him.
21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
22 And the thing was revealed to Mordecai and he told Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in Mordecai’s name.
23 And when the matter was sought out, and found to be true, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and exalted him and set his authority over all the princes with him.
2 And all the king’s servants that were in the king’s gate bowed and reverenced Haman; for the king had commanded so concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
3 Then the king’s servants, who were at the king’s gate, said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s commandment?”
4 Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s excuse would stand; for he had told them that he was a Yehud.
5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence; Haman was filled with rage.
6 But he refused to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had shown him the people of Mordecai; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Yehudi who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus; even all the people of Mordecai.
7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is the lot), before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, until the twelfth month, that is the month Adar.
8 And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws differ from all the people, nor do they keep the king’s laws, therefore it is not in the king’s profit to sustain them.
9 If it seems good to the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the business, to bring into the king’s treasuries.”
10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Yehudi.
11 And the king said to Haman, “The silver is given to you, and the people also, to do with unto them as seems good to you.”
12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written according to all that Haman commanded to the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the heads of every tribe, according to their writings; according to the language, in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed with the king’s ring.
13 And the letters were sent by runners to all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill and to cause to perish all the Yehudi, both young and old, children and women, in one day, the thirteenth of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the booty of them as spoil.
14 The copy of the writing to be issued as a commandment in every province was published to all the people, so that they should be ready for that day.
15 And the runners went out, hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shusan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shusan was perplexed.
When Mordecai knew all that was done, Mordecai tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and cried out with a loud and bitter outcry,
2 and came even before the king’s gate, for no one was to enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
3 And in every province, wherever the king’s commandment and decree came, there was great mourning among the Yehudi, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 So Esther’s maids and her eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was exceedingly grieved; and she sent apparel to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him, but he did not take them.
5 Then Esther called for Hathach from the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai to know what this was and why it was.
6 So Hathach went forth to Mordecai, unto the street of the city, which is before the king’s gate.
7 And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Yehudi, to destroy them.
8 Also he gave him a copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shusan to destroy them, to show to Esther, and to declare unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.
9 And Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai’s.
10 And Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message in reply to Mordecai:
11 “All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, know that whoever, whether man or woman, shall come to the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is but one law, that they be put to death, except such as to whom the king shall extend forth the golden scepter, that they may live. But I have not been called to come in unto the king for these thirty days.”
12 And they told Mordecai Esther’s words.
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, “Think not in your soul that you will escape in the king’s house, more than all the Yehudi.
14 For if you hold your peace at this time, deliverance and rescue will arise for the Yehudi from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. And who knows whether you have not ascended to rule for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther said in response to Mordecai,
16 “Go, gather together all the Yehudi present in Shusan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so I will go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther commanded him.
Now it came to pass on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.
2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near and touched the top of the scepter.
3 Then the king said to her, “How are you Queen Esther? And what is your request? It shall be given you, even to half of the kingdom.”
4 And Esther said, “If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
5 Then the king said, “Hasten Haman that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
6 And the king said to Esther at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition, and it shall be granted to you, and what is your request, even to half of the kingdom it shall be performed.”
7 Then answered Esther, and said, “My petition and my request,
8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king has said.”
9 Then Haman went forth that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not, nor moved before him, he was enraged against Mordecai.
10 Nevertheless, Haman refrained himself, and when he went home, he sent and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife.
11 And Haman told them the glory of his riches, and the abundance of his children, and how the king had advanced him, and how he had elevated him above the princes and servants of the king.
12 Moreover, Haman said, “Even Esther the queen let no one come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared except me; and tomorrow I am invited unto her also with the king.
13 Yet all this equals nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Yehud sitting at the king’s gate.”
14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak unto the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go gladly with the king unto the banquet.” And the thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made.
On that night the king could not sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king.
2 And it was found written what Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
3 And the king said, “What honor and dignity has been done to Mordecai for this?” Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, “There is nothing done for him.”
4 And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had come into the outer court of the king’s house to speak to the king; to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
5 And the king’s servants said to him, “Behold, Haman stands in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.”
6 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to do honor more than me?”
7 And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor,
8 let the royal apparel be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king rides upon, and the royal crown, which is set upon his head,
9 and let this apparel and horse be delivered into the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man whom the king delights to honor, and bring him on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.'”
10 Then the king said to Haman, “Make haste, take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Yehud that sits at the king’s gate; let nothing fail of all that you have spoken.”
11 Then Haman took the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate, but Haman hastened to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai is of the seed of the Yehudi, before whom you have begun to fall, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him.”
14 And while they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
Now the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.
2 And the king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? It shall be performed, even to half of the kingdom.”
3 Then Esther the queen answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request;
4 for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I would have held my tongue, because the enemy could not compensate the king’s loss.”
5 Then King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would presume in his heart to do this?”
6 And Esther said, “The adversary and the enemy is this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was afraid before the king and queen.
7 And the king rose up from the banquet of wine in his wrath, and went into the palace garden, and Haman stood up to make request for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
8 Then the king returned from the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine, and Haman had fallen on the bed where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he force the queen also before me in the house?” As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.
9 And Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said before the king, “Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standing at the house of Haman.” And the king said, “Hang him on it.”
10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.
On that day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Yehudi, unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had revealed what he was to her.
2 The king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
3 And Esther spoke yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and begged him with tears to put away the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the device that he had plotted against the Yehudi.
4 The king held forth the golden scepter to Esther. So Esther rose up and stood before the king.
5 Then she said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the things seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Yehudi who are in all the king’s provinces.
6 For how can I endure to see the evil that will come upon my people, or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?”
7 Then King Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen, and to Mordecai the Yehud, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Yehudi.
8 “Write you also for the Yehudi, as it seems good to you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring; for the writing that is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no one reverse.”
9 Then were the king’s scribes called at that time, in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Yehudi, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies, and the rulers of the provinces, which are from India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, and to the Yehudi according to their writing, and according to their language.
10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed with the king’s ring, and sent letters by runners on horseback, and riders on swift beasts, mules and young dromedaries.
11 And in them the king granted the Yehudi, which were in every city, to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life; to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them; with little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a booty,
12 on one day, in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus: the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
13 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all the people, and that the Yehudi would be ready against that day, to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14 The posts that rode upon the animals and camels went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace.
15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shusan rejoiced and was glad.
16 The Yehudi had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor.
17 And in every province, and in every city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Yehudi had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Yehudi, for the dread of the Yehudi fell upon them.
Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be executed, on the day that the enemies of the Yehudi hoped to have power over them, it was turned to the contrary, so that the Yehudi had rule over those who hated them.
2 And the Yehudi gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt; and no one could withstand them, for the fear of them had fallen upon all the people.
3 And all the rulers of the provinces, the lieutenants, the deputies, and the officers of the king, helped the Yehudi, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.
4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai grew greater and greater.
5 Thus the Yehudi struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword; with slaughter and destruction they did what they would to those who hated them.
6 And in Shushan the palace, the Yehudi slew and destroyed five hundred men,
7 and Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,
8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,
9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vajezatha,
10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Yehudi; but on the booty they did not lay their hands.
11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.
12 And the king said to Esther the queen, “The Yehudi have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall even be granted you. And what is your further request? It shall also be done.”
13 Then said Esther, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Yehudi who are in Shushan, to do so tomorrow also, according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.”
14 And the king commanded it to be done; and the decree was given at Shusan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.
15 And the Yehudi that were in Shusan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar and slew three hundred men in Shusan, but on the booty they laid not their hands.
16 But the other Yehudi that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy five thousand; but they laid not their hands on the booty,
17 on the thirteenth day of the month Adar. And on the fourteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
18 But the Yehudi that were in Shusan assembled together on the thirteenth, and the fourteenth, and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
19 Therefore the Yehudi of the villages that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions to one another.
20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all the Yehudi that were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far,
21 to establish among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
22 because on those days the Yehudi rested from their enemies, and it was a month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
23 And the Yehudi undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written to them.
24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Yehudi, had devised against the Yehudi to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is the lot), to consume them and destroy them.
25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he had devised against the Yehudi, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
27 the Yehudi ordained and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their time every year.
28 And these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim should not fail from among the Yehudi, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Yehud, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.
30 And he sent the letters to all the Yehudi, to the one hundred twenty seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus; words of peace and truth,
31 to confirm these days of Purim in their times, according as Mordecai the Yehud and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.
32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.
And King Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the coastlands of the sea.
2 And all the acts of his power and his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, unto which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?
3 For Mordecai the Yehud was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the Yehudi, and accepted with the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace unto all his seed.
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD.