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Esther - Chapter 3

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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,

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.

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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