The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Esther
The great king Artaxerxes, to the governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces between India and Ethiopia, and to all his vassal chiefs, sends greeting.
Wide as I rule, the world’s conqueror, I would not abuse this great power of mine; mild and indulgent my sway should be, and my subjects live in undisturbed tranquillity; peace is man’s greatest boon.
So I asked my counsellors how this end might best be achieved; and among them Aman, who ranks next to my person; no counsellor so wise or so trusty as he.
He it was told me of a race scattered about the world that lives by strange laws, and usages unknown to the rest of mankind; thinks lightly of the royal decrees, and by dissenting from them mars the concord of nations.
Strange news, that one people should revolt against the whole of mankind; should follow misguided customs, slight our edicts, and disturb the peaceful order of our empire!
This Aman, next to the king in dignity, is one we reverence like a father; in all our provinces, he is supreme. He will name the malefactors, who must be put to death with their wives and children, and no mercy shewn, on the fourteenth of Adar in this present year.
In one day let them all be hurried to the grave, so that our realm may recover the peace they have denied it.
So Mardochaeus bethought him of all the Lord’s great deeds in time past,
and thus he prayed: O Lord, thou art the sovereign Lord and King of all things; nothing but is subject to thy power; who then can withstand thy will, if thou art minded to deliver Israel?
Heaven and earth and all that heaven’s vault contains is thy creation;
thy dominion is universal, thy royalty unchallengeable.
Thou knowest, who knowest all things, that if I refused proud Aman yonder my greeting, it was no pride of mine, no scorn, no ambition of mine that moved me.
For Israel’s sake, willingly enough would I kiss the dust his feet have trodden,
did not fear withhold me from giving man that reverence which is God’s due, from worshipping aught else than thee, my God.
God of Abraham, our Lord and King, now as ever have mercy on thy people, now when our enemies threaten to destroy us, and put an end to thy ancient right.
Wilt thou make so little of the possession thou didst win for thyself in Egypt?
Nay, listen to my prayer, have mercy on the people thou claimest for thy own; turn our sadness, Lord, into rejoicing, and let us live to bless thy name; do not silence the lips that sing thy praise.
Such was the mind, such was the prayer of all Israel, as they cried out to the Lord that day, with doom hanging over their heads.
The Holy Bible