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ESTHER

In the second year of the reign of great Artaxerxes in the first day of the month Nisan, Mardocheus the son of Jarus, the son of Semei, the son of Cis of the tribe of Benjamin had a dream, a Jew dwelling in the city of Susis, a noble man, that bare office in the King’s court. He was also one of the captivity which Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon brought from Jerusalem with Jechonias. And this was his dream, Behold a noise of a tempest with thunders, and earthquakes, and uproar in the land. Behold two great dragons came forth ready to fight one against another. Their cry was great, whereby all the heathen were ready to fight against the righteous people. And the same day was full of darkness and obscurity, and trouble, and anguish: yea, adversity, and great affliction was upon the earth. For then ye righteous fearing their afflictions, were amazed, & being ready to die, cried unto God. And while they were crying, ye little well grew into a great river, and flowed over with great waters. The light and the sun rose up, and the lowly were exalted, and devoured the glorious. Now when Mardocheus had seen this dream, he awoke and rose up and thought in his heart until the night, what God would do, and so he desired to know all the matter.

At the same time dwelt Mardocheus in the kings court with Bagathas, and Thara, the King’s eunuchs and keepers of the palace. But when he heard their purpose, and their imaginations, he perceived that they went about to lay their hands upon the King Artaxerxes, and so he certified the King thereof. Then caused the King to examine the two eunuchs with torments, and when they had confessed it, they were put to death. This the King caused to be put in the Chronicles. Mardocheus also wrote the same thing. So the King commanded that Mardocheus should remain in the court, and for the advertisement, he gave him a reward. But Aman the son of Amadathus the Agagite, which was in great honour and reputation with the King, went about to hurt Mardocheus and his people, because of the two eunuchs of the King that were put to death. In the days of Ahashuerosh (this is Ahashuerosh that reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred, and seven and twenty provinces)

In those days when the King Ahashuerosh sat on his throne, which was in the palace of Shushan, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants, even the power of Persia and Media, and to the captains and governours of the provinces which were before him, that he might shew the riches & glory of his kingdom, and the honour of his great majesty many days, even an hundred and four score days. And when these days were expired, the King made a feast to all the people that were found in the palace of Shushan, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the King’s palace, under an hanging of white, green, & blue clothes, fastened with cords of fine linen & purple, in silver rings, & pillars of marble: the beds were of gold, and of silver upon a pavement of porphire, & marble & alabaster, & blue colour. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, and changed vessel after vessel, and royal wine in abundance according to the power of the King. And the drinking was by an order, none might compel: for so the King had appointed unto all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. The Queen Vashti made a feast also for the women in the royal house of King Ahashuerosh.

Upon the seventh day when the King was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, & Carcas, the seven eunuchs, (that served in the presence of King Ahashuerosh) to bring Queen Vashti before the King with the crown royal, that he might shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look upon. But the Queen Vashti refused to come at the King’s word, which he had given in charge to the eunuchs: therefore the King was very angry, and his wrath kindled in him. Then the King said to the wise men, that knew the times (for so was the King’s manner towards all that knew the law and the judgment: And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the King’s face, and sat the first in the kingdom) what shall we do unto the Queen Vashti according to the law, because she did not according to the word of the King Ahashuerosh by the commission of the eunuchs? Then Memucan answered before the King & the Princes, The Queen Vashti hath not only done evil against the King, but against all the princes, and against all the people that are in all the provinces of King Ahashuerosh. For the act of the Queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their own eyes, & shall say, The King Ahashuerosh commanded Vashti the Queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. So shall the princesses of Persia and Media this day say unto all the King’s Princes, when they hear of the act of the Queen: thus shall there be much despitefulness and wrath. If it please the King, let a royal decree proceed from him, and let it be written among the statutes of Persia, & Media, (& let it not be transgressed) that Vashti come no more before King Ahashuerosh: & let the King give her royal estate unto her companion that is better then she. And when the decree of the King which shall be made, shall be published throughout all his kingdom (though it be great) all the women shall give their husbands honour, both great and small. And this saying pleased the King and the princes, and the King did according to the word of Memucan. For he sent letters into all the provinces of the King, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that he should publish it in the language of that same people.

After these things, when the wrath of King Ahashuerosh was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. And the King’s servants that ministered unto him, said, Let them seek for the King beautiful young virgins, and let the King appoint officers through all the provinces of his kingdom, and let them gather all the beautiful young virgins unto the palace of Shushan, into the house of the women, under the hand of Hege the King’s eunuch, keeper of the women, to give them their things for purification. And the maid that shall please the King, let her reign in the stead of Vashti; this pleased the King, and he did so. In the city of Shushan, there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish a man of Jemini, which had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity that was carried away with Jeconiah King of Judah (whom Nebuchad-nezzar King of Babel had carried away) and he nourished Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, & the maid was fair, and beautiful to look on: & after the death of her father, and her mother, Mordecai took her for his own daughter And when the King’s commandment, and his decree was published, and many maids were brought together to the palace of Shushan, under the hand of Hege, Esther was brought also unto the King’s house under the hand of Hege the keeper of the women. And the maid pleased him, & she found favour in his sight: therefore he caused her things for purification to be given her speedily, and her state, and seven comely maids to be giver her out of the King's house, and he gave change to her and to her maids of the best in the house of the women. But Esther shewed not her people and her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her, that she should not tell it. And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know if Esther did well, and what should be done with her.

And when the course of every maid came, to go in to King Ahashuerosh, after that she had been twelve months according to the manner of the women (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours and in the purifying of the women: And thus went the maids unto the King) whatsoever she required, was given her, to go with her out of the womens house unto ye kings house. In the evening she went, & on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women under the hand of Shaashgaz the King’s eunuch, which kept the concubines: she came in to the King no more, except she pleased the King, and that she were called by name. Now when the course of Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai (which had taken her as his own daughter) came, that she should go in to the King, she desired nothing, but what Hege the King’s eunuch the keeper of the women said: and Esther found favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her. So Esther was taken unto King Ahashuerosh into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. And the King loved Esther above all the women, and she found grace and favour in his sight more then all the virgins: so that he set the crown of the kingdom upon her head, & made her Queen instead of Vashti.

Then the King made a great feast unto all his princes, & his servants, which was the feast of Esther, & gave rest unto the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the power of a King. And when the virgins were gathered ye second time, then Mordecai sat in the King’s gate. Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people, as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did after the word of Mordecai, as when she was nourished with him.

In those days when Mordecai sat in the King’s gate, two of the King’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, which kept the door, were wroth, & sought to lay hand on the King Ahashuerosh. And the thing was known to Mordecai, and he told it unto Queen Esther, and Esther certified the King thereof in Mordecai's name: and when inquisition was made, it was found so: therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the Chronicles before the King.

After these things did King Ahashuerosh promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and exalted him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the King’s servants that were at the King’s gate, bowed their knees, & reverenced Haman: for the King had so commanded concerning him: but Mordecai bowed not the knee, neither did reverence. Then the King’s servants which were at the King’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the King’s commandment? And albeit they spake daily unto him, yet he would not hear them: therefore they told Haman, that they might see how Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them, that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not the knee unto him, nor did reverence unto him, then Haman was full of wrath. Now he thought it too little to lay hands only on Mordecai: & because they had shewed him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahashuerosh, even the people of Mordecai. In the first month (that is the month Nisan) in the twelfth year of King Ahashuerosh, they cast Pur (that is a lot) before Haman, from day to day, & from month to month, unto the twelfth month, that is the month Adar. Then Haman said unto King Ahashuerosh, There is a people scattered, and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom, and their laws are divers from all people, and they do not observe the King’s laws: therefore it is not the King’s profit to suffer them. If it please the King, let it be written that they may he destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver by the hands of them that have the charge of this business to bring it into the King’s treasury. Then the King took his ring from his hand & gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite the Jews adversary. And the King said unto Haman, Let the silver be thine, and the people to do with them as it pleaseth thee.

Then were the King’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written (according to all that Haman commanded) unto the King’s officers, and to the captains that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people, and to every province, according to the writing thereof, and to every people according to their language: in the name of King Ahashuerosh was it written, and sealed with the King’s ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the King’s provinces, to root out, to kill and to destroy all the Jews, both young & old, children and women, in one day upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, (which is the month Adar) and to spoil them as a pray.

The copy of the letters was this, The great King Artaxerxes writeth these things to the princes and governours that are under him from India unto Ethiopia in an hundred and seven and twenty provinces. When I was made Lord over many people, and had subdued the whole earth unto my dominion, I would not exalt my self by the reason of my power, but purposed with equity alway and gentleness to govern my subjects, and wholly to set them in a peaceable life, and thereby to bring my kingdom unto tranquility, that men might safely go through on every side, and to renew peace again, which all men desire. Now when I asked my counselors how these things might be brought to pass, one that was conversant with us, of excellent wisdom, and constant in good will, and shewed him self to be of sure fidelity, which had the second place in the kingdom, even Aman, declared unto us, that in all nations there was scattered abroad a rebellious people, that had laws contrary to all people, and have alway despised the commandments of King’s, and so that this general empire, that we have begun, cannot be governed without offense. Seeing now we perceive, that this people alone are altogether contrary unto every man, using strange and other manner of laws, and having an evil opinion of our doings, and go about to stablish wicked matters, that our kingdom should not come to good estate, therefore have we commanded, that all they that are appointed in writing unto you by Aman (which is ordained over ye affairs, & is as our second father) shall all with their wives and children be destroyed & rooted out with ye sword of their enemies without all mercy, and that none be spared the fourteenth day of the twelfth month Adar of this year, that they which of old, and now also have ever been rebellious, may in one day with violence be thrust down into the hell, to the intent that after this time our affairs may bee without troubles, and well governed in all points. The contents of the writing was, that there should be given a commandment in all provinces, and published unto all people, that they should be ready against the same day. And the posts compelled by the King’s commandment went forth, and the commandment was given in the palace at Shushan: and the King & Haman sat drinking, but the city of Shushan was in perplexity.

Now when Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a great cry, and a bitter. And he came even before the King’s gate, but he might not enter within the King’s gate, being clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, and place, whither the King’s charge and his commission came, there was great sorrow among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping and mourning, and many lay in sackcloth and in ashes. Then Ester’s maids and her eunuchs came and told it her: therefore the Queen was very heavy, and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him, but he received it not. Then called Esther Hatach one of the King’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to serve her, and gave him a commandment unto Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the King’s gate. And Mordecai told him of all that which had come unto him, and of the sum of the silver that Haman had promised to pay unto the King’s treasures, because of the Jews, for to destroy them. Also he gave him the copy of the writing and commission that was given at Shushan, to destroy them, that he might shew it unto Esther and declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in to the King, and make petition and supplication before him for her people. So when Hatach came, he told Esther the words of Mordecai. Then Esther said unto Hatach, and commanded him to say unto Mordecai, all the King’s servants and the people of the King’s provinces do know, that whosoever, man or woman, that cometh to the King into the inner court, which is not called, there is a law of his, that he shall die, except him to whom the King holdeth out the golden rod, that he may live. Now I have not been called to come unto the King these thirty days. And they certified Mordecai of Ester’s words. And Mordecai said, that they should answer Esther thus, Think not with thy self that thou shalt escape in the King’s house, more then all the Jews. For if thou holdest thy peace at this time, comfort and deliverance shall appear to the Jews out of another place, but thou and thy fathers house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time? Then Esther commanded to answer Mordecai, Go, and assemble all the Jews that are found in Shushan, & fast ye for me, and eat not, nor drink in three days, day nor night. I also and my maids will fast likewise, and so will I go in to the King, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

Then Mardocheus thought upon all ye works and of the Lord, and made his prayer unto him, saying, O Lord, Lord, the King Almighty (for all things are in thy power) & if thou hast appointed to save Israel, there is no man that can withstand thee. For thou hast made heaven and earth, and all the wondrous things under the heaven. Thou art Lord of all things, and there is no man that can resist thee, which art the Lord. Thou knowest all things, and thou knowest, Lord, that it was neither of malice, nor presumption, nor for any desire of glory, that I did this, and not bow down to proud Aman. For I would have been content with good will for the salvation of Israel, to have kissed the sole of his feet. But I did it, because I would not prefer the honour of a man above the glory of God, & would not worship any but only thee, my Lord, and this have I not done of pride. And therefore, O Lord God and King, have mercy upon thy people: for they imagine how they may bring us to naught, yea, they would destroy the inheritance, that hath been thine from the beginning. Despise not the portion, which thou hast delivered out of Egypt for thine own self. Hear my prayer, and be merciful unto thy portion: turn our sorrow into joy, that we may live, O Lord, and praise thy Name: shut not the mouths of them that praise thee. All Israel in like manner cried most earnestly unto the Lord, because that death was before their eyes.

Queen Esther also, being in danger of death, resorted unto the Lord, and laid away her glorious apparel, and put on the garments of sighing, and mourning. In the stead of precious ointment, she scattered ashes, and dung upon her head: and she humbled her body greatly with fasting, and all the places of her joy filled she with the hair that she plucked off. And she prayed unto the Lord God of Israel, saying, O my Lord, thou only art our King: help me desolate woman, which have no helper but thee. For my danger is at hand. From my youth up I have heard in the kindred of my father, that thou, O Lord, tookest Israel from among all people, and our fathers from their predecessors for a perpetual inheritance, and thou hast performed that which thou didst promise them. Now Lord, we have sinned before thee: therefore hast thou given us into ye hands of our enemies. Because we worshiped their gods, O Lord, thou art righteous. Nevertheless, it satisfieth them not, that we are in bitter captivity, but they have stroken hands with their idols, that they will abolish the thing that thou with thy mouth hast ordained, & destroy thine inheritance, to shut up the mouth of them that praise thee, and to quench the glory of thy Temple, and of thine altar, and to open the mouths of the heathen, that they may praise the power of the idols, and to magnify a fleshly King for ever. O Lord, give not thy scepter unto them that be nothing, lest they laugh us to scorn in our misery: but turn their devise upon themselves, and make him an example, that hath begun the same against us. Think upon us, O Lord, and shew thy self unto us in the time of our distress, and strengthen me, O King of gods, and Lord of all power. Give me an eloquent speech in my mouth before the Lion: turn his heart to hate our enemy, to destroy him, and all such as consent unto him. But deliver us with thine hand, and help me that am solitary, which have no defense but only thee. Thou knowest all things, O Lord: thou knowest, that I hate the glory of the unrighteous, and that I abhor the bed of the uncircumcised, and of all the heathen. Thou knowest my necessity: for I hate this token of my preeminence, which I bear upon mine head, what time as I must shew my self, and that I abhor it as a menstruous cloth, and that I wear it not when I am alone by my self, and that I thine handmaid have not eaten at Aman’s table, and that I have had no pleasure in the King’s feast, nor drunk the wine of the drink offerings, and that I thine handmaid have no joy since the day that I was brought hither, until this day, but in thee, O Lord God of Abraham. O thou mighty God above all, hear the voice of them, that have none other hope, & deliver us out of the hand of ye wicked, & deliver me out of my fear.

Mardocheus also bade Esther to go in unto the king, & pray for her people, & for her country. Remember, saith he, the days of thy low estate, how thou wast nourished under mine hand: for Aman which is next unto the King hath given sentence of death against us. Call thou therefore upon the Lord, and speak for us unto the King, and deliver us from death. And upon the third day when she had ended her prayer, she laid away the mourning garments, and put on her glorious apparel, and decked herself goodly, after that she had called upon God, which is the beholder and saviour of all things, and took two handmaids with her. Upon the one she leaned herself, as one that was tender. And the other followed her, and bare the train of her vesture. The shine of her beauty made her face rose coloured: and her face was cheerful and amiable, but her heart was sorrowful for great fear.

Then she went in through all the doors, and stood before the King, and the King sat upon his royal throne, and was clothed in his goodly array, all glittering with gold and precious stones, and he was very terrible. Then he lift up his face, that shown with majesty, and looked fiercely upon her: therefore the Queen fell down, and was pale and faint and leaned her self upon the head of the maid that went with her. Nevertheless, God turned the King’s mind that he was gentle, who being careful, leaped out of his throne, and took her in his arms, till she came to her self again: and comforted her with loving words, and said, Esther, what is the matter? I am thy brother, be of good cheer, thou shalt not die: for our commandment toucheth the commons, and not thee. Come near. And so he held up his golden scepter, and laid it upon her neck, and kissed her, and said, Talk with me. Then said she, I saw thee, O lord, as an Angel of God, and mine heart was troubled for fear of thy majesty. For wonderful art thou, O lord, and thy face is full of grace. And as she was thus speaking unto him, she fell down again for faintness. Then the King was troubled, and all his servants comforted her. Then said the King unto her, What wilt thou, Queen Esther? & what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of ye kingdom. Then said Esther, If it please the King, let the King & Haman come this day unto the banquet, that I have prepared for him. And the King said, Cause Haman to make haste that he may do as Esther hath said. (5:9-21a)

So the King and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. And the King said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, that it may be given thee? and what is thy request? it shall even be performed unto the half of the kingdom. Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is, if I have found favour in the sight of the King, and if it please the King to give me my petition, and to perform my request, let the King and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow according to the King’s saying.

Then went Haman forth the same day joyful and with a glad heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the King’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, then was Haman full of indignation at Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent, and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the King had promoted him, & how that he had set him above the princes and servants of the King. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the Queen did let no man come in with the King to the banquet that she had prepared, save me: and to morrow am I bidden unto her also with the King. But all this doth nothing avail me, as long as I see Mordecai ye Jew sitting at ye King’s gate. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let them make a tree of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the King, that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then shalt thou go joyfully with the King unto the banquet; the thing pleased Haman, and he caused to make the tree.

The same night the King slept not, & he commanded to bring ye book of the records, and the chronicles: & they were read before ye King. Then it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigtana, and Teresh two of the King’s eunuchs, keepers of the door, who sought to lay hands on the King Ahashuerosh. Then the King said, What honour and dignity hath been given to Mordecai for this? And the King’s servants that ministered unto him, said, There is nothing done for him. And the King said, Who is in the court? (Now Haman was come into the inner court of the King’s house, that he might speak unto the King to hang Mordecai on the tree that he had prepared for him.) and the King’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court; the King said, Let him come in. And when Haman came in, the King said unto him, What shall be done unto ye man, whom the King will honour? Then Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the King do honour more then to me? And Haman answered the King, The man whom the King would honour, let them bring for him royal apparel, which the King useth to wear, and the horse that the King rideth upon, and that the crown royal may be set upon his head. And let the raiment and the horse be delivered by the hand of one of the King’s most noble princes, & let them apparel the man (whom the King will honour) and cause him to ride upon the horse through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man, whom the King will honour. Then the King said to Haman, Make haste, take the raiment and the horse as thou hast said, and do so unto Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the King’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. So Haman took the raiment and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horse back through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the King will honour. And Mordecai came again to the King’s gate, but Haman hasted home mourning and his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife, and all his friends all that had befallen him. Then said his wise men, & Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall; thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. And while they were yet talking with him, came the King’s eunuchs & hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

So the King and Haman came to banquet with the Queen Esther. And the King said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, Queen Esther, that it may be given thee? and what is thy request? It shall be even performed unto the half of the kingdom. And Esther the Queen answered, and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O King, and if it please the King, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I, & my people, to be destroyed, to be slain and to perish: but if we were sold for servants, and for handmaids, I would have held my tongue: although the adversary could not recompense the King’s loss. Then King Ahashuerosh answered, and said unto the Queen Esther, Who is he? and where is he that presumeth to do thus? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the King and the Queen. And the King arose from ye banquet of wine in his wrath, and went into the palace garden: but Haman stood up, to make request for his life to the Queen Esther: for he saw that there was a mischief prepared for him of the King. And when the King came again out of the palace garden, into the house where they drank wine, Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther sat! therefore 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. And Harbonah one of the eunuchs, said in the presence of the King, Behold, there standeth yet the tree in Haman's house fifty cubits high, which Haman had prepared for Mordecai, that spake good for the King. Then the King said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the tree, that he had prepared for Mordecai: then was the King’s wrath pacified.

The same day did King Ahashuerosh give the house of Haman the adversary of the Jews unto the Queen Esther; Mordecai came before the King: for Esther told what he was unto her. And the King took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai: and Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. And Esther spake yet more before the King, and fell down at his feet weeping, & besought him that he would put away the wickedness of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had imagined against the Jews. And the King held out the golden scepter toward Esther. Then arose Esther, and stood before the King, and said, If it please the King, & if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing be acceptable before the King, and I please him, let it be written, that the letters of the device of Haman the son of Ammedatha the Agagite may be called again, which he wrote to destroy the Jews, that are in all the King’s provinces. For how can I suffer and see the evil, that shall come unto my people? Or how can I suffer and see the destruction of my kindred? And the King Ahashuerosh said unto the Queen Esther, & to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, whom they have hanged upon the tree, because he laid hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you in the King’s name, and seal it with the King’s ring (for the writings written in the King’s name, and sealed with the King’s ring, may no man revoke) then were the King’s Scribes called at the same time, even in the third month, that is the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof: and it was written, according to all as Mordecai commanded, unto the Jews and to the princes, and captains, and rulers of the provinces, which were from India even unto Ethiopia, an hundred and seven and twenty provinces, unto every province, according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their speech, and to the Jews, according to their writing, and according to their language. And he wrote in the King Ahashuerosh name, and sealed it with the King’s ring: and he sent letters by posts on horseback and that rode on beasts of price, as dromedaries and colts of mares. Wherein the King granted the Jews (in what cities so ever they were) to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, & to root out, to slay & to destroy all the power of the people & of the province that vexed them, both children and women, and to spoil their goods: Upon one day in all the provinces of King Ahashuerosh, even in the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

The great King Artaxerxes, which reigneth from India unto Ethiopia, over an hundred & seven and twenty provinces, sendeth unto the princes and rulers that have ye charge of our affairs, Salutation. There be many that through the goodness of Princes and honour given unto them, become very proud, and endeavour not only to hurt our subjects, but not content to live in wealth, do also imagine destruction against those that do them good, and take not only all thankfulness away from men, but in pride and presumption, as they that be unmindful of benefits, they think to escape the vengeance of God, that seeth all things, and is contrary to evil. And oft times many, which be set in office, and unto whom their friends causes are committed, by vain enticements do wrap them in calamities, that cannot be remedied: for they make them partakers of innocent blood, and deceitfully abuse the simplicity, and gentleness of Princes with lying tales. This may be proved not only by old histories, but also by those things that are before our eyes, and are wickedly committed of such pestilences as are not worthy to bear rule. Therefore we must take heed hereafter that we may make the kingdom peaceable for all men, what chance soever shall come, and discern the things that are before our eyes, to withstand them with gentleness. For Aman, a Macedonian, the son of Amadathus, being in deed a stranger from the Persians blood, & far from our goodness, was received of us, and hath proved the friendship that we bear toward all nations, so that he was called our father, and was honoured of every man, as the next person unto the King. But he could not use himself soberly in this great dignity, but went about to deprive us of the kingdom, and of our life. With manifold deceit also hath he desired to destroy Mardocheus our preserver, which hath done us good in all things, and innocent Esther the partaker of our kingdom, with all her nation. For his mind was (when he had taken them out of the way) to lay wait for us, and by this means to translate the kingdom of the Persians unto them of Macedonia. But we find that ye Jews (which were accused of this most wicked man that they might be destroyed) are no evil doers, but use most just laws, and that they be the children of the most High and Almighty & everliving God, by whom the kingdom hath been preserved unto us, and our progenitours in very good order. Wherefore ye shall do well, if ye do not put in execution those letters, that Aman the son of Amadathus did write unto you. For he that invented them, hangeth at Susis before the gates with all his family, and God (which hath all things in his power) hath speedily rewarded him after his deserving. Therefore ye shall publish the copy of this letter in all places, that the Jews may freely live after their own Laws. And ye shall aid them, that upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month Adar they may be avenged of them, which in the time of their trouble would have oppressed them. For almighty God hath turned to joy ye day wherein the chosen people should have perished. Moreover, among other solemn days ye shall keep this day with all gladness, that both now and in time to come this day may be a remembrance of deliverance for us and all such as love the prosperity of the Persians, but a remembrance of destruction to those that be seditious unto us. Therefore all cities and countries that do not this, shall horribly be destroyed with sword and fire, and shall not only not be inhabited of men, but be abhorred also of the wild beasts and fowls for ever.

The copy of the writing was, how there should be a commandment given in all & every province, published among all the people, & that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. So the posts rode upon beasts of price, and dromedaries, & went forth with speed, to execute the King’s commandment, and the decree was given at Shushan the palace. And Mordecai went out from the King in royal apparel of blue, and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple, and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. And unto the Jews was come light and joy and gladness, and honour. Also in all and every province, and in all & every city & place, where the King’s commandment and his decree came, there was joy and gladness to the Jews, a feast and good day, and many of the people of the land became Jews: for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

So in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, upon the thirteenth day of the same, when the King’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them (but it turned contrary: for the Jews had rule over them that hated them) the Jews gathered themselves together into their cities throughout all the provinces of the King Ahashuerosh, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt, and no man could withstand them: for the fear of them fell upon all people. And all the rulers of the provinces, and the princes and the captains, and the officers of the King exalted the Jews: for the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the kings house, and the report of him went through all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with strokes of the sword and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. And at Shushan the palace slew the Jews and destroyed five hundred men, and Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, and Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, and Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vaiezatha, the ten sons of Haman, ye son of Ammedatha, the adversary of the Jews slew they: but they laid not their hands on the spoil. On the same day came ye number of those that were slain, unto the palace of Shushan before the King. And the King said unto the Queen Esther, The Jews have slain in Shushan the palace and destroyed five hundred men, & the ten sons of Haman: what have they done in the rest of the King’s provinces? and what is thy petition, that it may be given thee? or what is thy request moreover, that it may be performed? Then said Esther, If it please the King, let it be granted also to morrow to the Jews that are in Shushan, to do according unto this days decree, that they may hang upon ye tree Haman’s ten sons. And the King charged to do so, and the decree was given at Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

So the Jews that were in Shushan, assembled themselves upon the fourteenth day of the month Adar, & slew three hundred men in Shushan, but on the spoil they laid not their hand. And the rest of the Jews that were in the King’s provinces assembled themselves, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of them that hated them, seventy and five thousand: but they laid not their hand on the spoil. This they did on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, & rested the fourteenth day thereof, and kept it a day of feasting and joy. But the Jews that were in Shushan assembled themselves on the thirteenth day, & on the fourteenth thereof, & they rested on the fifteenth of the same, and kept it a day of feasting & joy. Therefore the Jews of the villages that dwelt in the unwalled towns, kept the fourteenth day of the month Adar with joy and feasting, even a joyful day, and every one sent presents unto his neighbour. And Mordecai wrote these words, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were through all the provinces of the King Ahashuerosh, both near and far, enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, every year. According to the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a joyful day, to keep them the days of feasting, and joy, and to send presents every man to his neighbour, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews promised to do as they had begun, & as Mordecai had written unto them.

Because Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite all the Jews adversary, had imagined against the Jews, to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is a lot) to consume and destroy them. And when she came before the King, he commanded by letters, Let this wicked devise (which he imagined against the Jews) turn upon his own head, and let them hang him and his sons on the tree. Therefore they called these days Purim, by the name of Pur, & because of all the words of this letter, & of that which they had seen besides this, and of that which had come unto them. The Jews also ordained, and promised for them and for their seed, and for all that joined unto them, that they would not fail to observe those two days every year, according to their writing, and according to their season, and that these days should be remembered, and kept throughout every generation and every family, and every province, and every city: even these days of Purim should not fail among the Jews, and the memorial of them should not perish from their seed. And the Queen Esther ye daughter of Abihail & Mordecai the Jew wrote with all authority (to confirm this letter of Purim ye second time) and he sent letters unto all the Jews to the hundred and seven and twenty provinces of the kingdom of Ahashuerosh, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim, according to their seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the Queen had appointed them, & as they had promised for them selves and for their seed with fasting and prayer. And the decree of Esther confirmed these words of Purim, and was written in the book.

And the King Ahashuerosh laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power, and of his might, & the declaration of the dignity of Mordecai, wherewith the King magnified him, are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the King’s of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was the second unto King Ahashuerosh, & great among the Jews, and accepted among the multitude of his brethren, who procured the wealth of his people, and spake peaceably to all his seed.

Then Mardocheus said, God hath done these things. For I remember a dream, which I saw concerning these matters, and there was nothing thereof omitted. A little fountain which became a flood, and was a light, and as the sun, and as much water, this flood was Esther whom the King married, and made Queen. And the two dragons are I and Aman. And the people are they that are assembled to destroy the name of the Jews. And my people is Israel, which cried to God, and are saved: for the Lord hath saved his people, & the Lord hath delivered us from all these evils, and God hath wrought signs, & great wonders, which have not been done among the Gentiles. Therefore hath he made two lots, one for the people of God, and another for all ye Gentiles. And these two lots came before God for all nations, at the hour and time appointed, and in the day of judgment. So God remembered his own people, and justified his inheritance. Therefore those days shall be unto them in the month Adar the fourteenth, and fifteenth day of the same month, with an assembly and joy, and with gladness before God, according to the generations for ever among his people. n the fourth year of the reign of Ptolomeus & Cleopatra Dositheus, who said he was a Priest & Levite, and Ptolomeus his son, and brought the former letters of Phrurai, which they said Lysimachus the son of Ptolomeus, which was at Jerusalem, interpreted.

1587 Geneva bible in paragraph format and modernized spelling.