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3EstherPassage
1 Shortly afterwards, King Ahasuerus singled out Haman son of Hammedatha, a native of Agag, for promotion. He raised him in rank, granting him precedence over all his colleagues, the other officers-of-state, Haman plots to destroy the Jews. Est.3.1-15          
2 and all the royal officials employed at the Chancellery used to bow low and prostrate themselves whenever Haman appeared—such was the king's command. Mordecai refused either to bow or to prostrate himself.            
3 'Why do you flout the royal command?' the officials of the Chancellery asked Mordecai.            
4 Day after day they asked him this, but he took no notice of them. In the end they reported the matter to Haman, to see whether Mordecai would persist in his attitude, since he had told them that he was a Jew.            
5 Haman could see for himself that Mordecai did not bow or prostrate himself in his presence; he became furiously angry.            
6 And, on being told what race Mordecai belonged to, he thought it beneath him merely to get rid of Mordecai, but made up his mind to wipe out all the members of Mordecai's race, the Jews, living in Ahasuerus' entire empire.            
7 In the first month, that is the month of Nisan, of the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in Haman's presence, to determine the day and the month. The lot falling on the twelfth month, which is Adar,            
8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, 'There is a certain unassimilated nation scattered among the other nations throughout the provinces of your realm; their laws are different from those of all the other nations, and the royal laws they ignore; hence it is not in the king's interests to tolerate them.            
9 If their destruction be signed, so please the king, I am ready to pay ten thousand talents of silver to the king's receivers, to be credited to the royal treasury.'            
10 The king then took his signet ring off his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the persecutor of the Jews.            
11 'Keep the money,' he said, 'and you can have the people too; do what you like with them.'            
12 The royal scribes were therefore summoned for the thirteenth day of the first month, when they wrote out the orders addressed by Haman to the king's satraps, to the governors ruling each province and to the principal officials of each people, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language. The edict was signed in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with his ring,            
13 and letters were sent by runners to every province of the realm, ordering the destruction, slaughter and annihilation of all Jews, young and old, including women and children, on the same day—the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar—and the seizing of their possessions. (a) The text of the letter was as follows: 'The Great King, Ahasuerus, to the governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia, and to their subordinate district commissioners: (b) 'Being placed in authority over many nations and ruling the whole world, I have resolved never to be carried away by the insolence of power, but always to rule with moderation and clemency, so as to assure for my subjects a life ever free from storms and, offering my kingdom the benefits of civilisation and free transit from end to end, to restore that peace which all men desire. (c) In consultation with our advisers as to how this aim is to be effected, we have been informed by one of them, eminent among us for prudence and well proved for his unfailing devotion and unshakeable trustworthiness, and in rank second only to our majesty, Haman by name, (d) that there is, mingled among all the tribes of the earth, a certain ill-disposed people, opposed by its laws to every other nation and continually defying the royal ordinances, in such a way as to obstruct that form of government assured by us to the general good. (e) 'Considering therefore that this people, unique of its kind, is in complete opposition to all humanity from which it differs by its outlandish laws, that it is hostile to our interests and that it commits the most heinous crimes, to the point of endangering the stability of the realm: (f) 'We command that those persons designated to you in the letters written by Haman, who was appointed to watch over our interests and is a second father to us, be all destroyed, root and branch, including women and children, by the swords of their enemies, without any pity or mercy, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of the present year, (g) so that, these past and present malcontents being in one day forcibly thrown down to Hades, our government may henceforward enjoy perpetual stability and peace.'            
14 Copies of this decree, to be promulgated as law in each province, were published to the various peoples, so that each might be ready for the day aforementioned.            
15 At the king's command, the runners set out with all speed; the decree was first promulgated in the citadel of Susa. While the king and Haman gave themselves up to feasting and drinking, consternation reigned in the city of Susa.            
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© Paul Ingram 2019.
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