The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Esther
That same day, Assuerus made a present to Esther of Aman’s house, that was the Jews’ enemy, and gave audience to Mardochaeus; for now Esther had told him that this was her uncle.
He took back, too, the ring he had bade Aman wear, and gave it to Mardochaeus instead; and Mardochaeus was given charge of Esther’s house.
Nor would Esther be content, till she had fallen weeping at the king’s feet and prayed him to prevent the mischief Aman had thought to do by his false plotting against the Jews.
The golden sceptre was held out, in sign of the royal favour, and she rose to her feet and stood fronting him.
Please it the king’s grace, she said, to look favourably on my suit, and find nothing in it to his disadvantage. I would have new dispatches sent out, to revoke the order made by Aman, our crafty enemy, for the slaying of the Jews in all thy domains.
How can I bear to see my own people exterminated by massacre?
Nay, said the king to Esther and Mardochaeus; Aman’s house I have granted to Esther, and Aman himself I have sent to the gallows, for daring to lift his hand against the Jews.
But letters sent in the king’s name and signed with his ring, by the custom of the realm, none must ever revoke.✻ Write rather in my name, under the royal seal, orders for the Jewish people to obey, in whatever sense likes you best.
So, on the twenty-third day of the third month, Siban, they summoned notary and scribe of the royal household, and at Mardochaeus’ bidding they issued orders to the Jewish people. Letters were sent to all the chieftains, governors and judges who ruled the hundred and twenty-seven provinces between India and Ethiopia, written to each province or tribe in the characters it used and in the language it spoke; to the Jews, in their own characters and their own language.
And these letters, written under the royal seal in the king’s name, were sent out by post-boys, that must carry them from province to province before the earlier decree could be executed.
City by city the Jews must be brought together, so that they could muster their whole number and fight for their lives. They might slay their enemies till they made an end of them, with their wives and children and all their households, and divide their goods as plunder.
The day fixed everywhere for this act of retribution was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar ….
A copy of the letter warning the Jews everywhere in Assuerus’ empire, to be prepared for vengeance ….✻
Swiftly the post-boys went about their errand, and in Susan the royal edict was hung up for all to see.
When Mardochaeus came out from his audience with the king, resplendent in royal robes of violet and white, a gold crown on his head, his cloak of purple and lawn, the whole city welcomed him with rejoicing and applause;
for the Jews, it was a dawn of new hope, a day of gladness and triumphant glory.
As each tribe, city and province received the royal letter, there was feasting and carousal and holiday; and many there were, of alien race and alien creed, that submitted themselves to Jewish rite and observance; such terror the name of Jewry struck into their hearts.
The Holy Bible