The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Esther
And what of queen Esther? She too had recourse to the Lord, in her fear of the danger that threatened.
Laid aside were those royal robes of hers, her array must tell only of grief and lament; dust and dung should be all her anointing now. Her body she tamed with fasting; only her torn locks hung where once she had loved to adorn her beauty.
In such guise she made her plea to the Lord, the God of Israel; Lord, our King, thou reignest alone; befriend a lonely heart that can find help nowhere but in thee.
The peril I must take upon me is plain to view.
Lord, my childhood’s lessons are still unforgotten; I know that Israel, for all time, is the people of thy choice, chosen stock of a chosen race; I know that thy warnings have come true,
and if thou hast given our enemies the mastery, it is because we sinned against thee,
by worshipping the gods they worshipped; in all this, Lord, thou art nothing to blame.
But now they are not content with holding us down under a cruel yoke; strong in the fancied protection of these false gods,
they would fain set all thy promises aside, leave thee no possession on earth at all. They would silence the voices that praise thee, dim the glories of thy temple and thy altar;✻
nothing must be heard but the chant of the Gentiles boasting of their false gods, offering their endless praises to a mortal king.
Lord, wilt thou yield thy sceptre to gods that are no gods? Must the heathen laugh over our downfall? Let their own scheming recoil on them; bring him to a swift end, the man who has loosed his fury on us!
Lord, bethink thee of our need, give proof of thy power; Lord, that hast no rival in heaven or earth, grant me confidence.
Frame my utterance, as I speak with this fierce lord of mine, and embitter him against our enemy, bringing ruin on Aman and all that take Aman’s part.
So let thy power deliver us; grant help where help save thine is none. Lord, thou knowest all things;
thou knowest how I hate the splendours of a godless court, how unwillingly I mate with an alien lord, a lord uncircumcised.
The sport of ill-chance, how little I love the proud emblem of royalty I must wear before the world! Loathsome to me as the rags we women cast aside, how gladly I tear it from my brow, in this cool hour!
At Aman’s board I would never sit; even the king’s banquets have no taste for me, nor would I drink the wine from which he pours libation.
Ever since they brought me here, comfort thy handmaid had none, Lord God of Abraham, save in thee!
Lord, that hast power over all men, listen to this cry of despair; save us all from the clutches of our enemies, and rid me of these fears that daunt me!✻
The Holy Bible