Esther 8

The king makes another law

1 That day, King Xerxes took everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. He gave it all to Queen Esther. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin.

So Mordecai came to meet the king. 2 The king had taken back his special ring from Haman. Now he took it off his own finger and he gave it to Mordecai. And Esther gave Mordecai authority over all the things that had belonged to Haman.

3 Then Esther went again to speak to the king. She threw herself down at his feet and she wept. She wanted him to stop Haman's evil idea to kill all the Jews. 4 The king held out his gold sceptre towards Esther. So she stood up to speak to the king.

5 Esther said to the king, ‘I hope that I have pleased the king. If you agree, and if you are pleased with me, please make another law. Stop the command that Haman, the descendant of Agag, wrote. He sent letters to all the regions of your kingdom, because he wanted to destroy all the Jewish people. 6 I cannot let this evil thing happen to my relatives. I have to do something to stop it.’

7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai, ‘You are right! I have already punished Haman with death because he wanted to destroy the Jews. I have also given all of his things to Esther. 8 Now you must use my authority to write another law. Write a law that you think will save your people. Then mark the letters with my special ring. Any letter that has my name and the mark of my ring on it has the king's authority. Nobody can ever change it.’

9 They called the king's secretaries to come and write the new law. They did that on the 23rd day of the third month (Sivan). Mordecai told them what to write. They sent the letters to the Jews, the rulers and the officers in all the regions of the kingdom. There were 127 regions, from India as far as Ethiopia. They wrote the letters in the languages that people spoke in each region. They also wrote to the Jews in their own language. Everyone would know what the new law said. 10 Mordecai used King Xerxes' authority to write the letters. He made a mark on the letters with the king's special ring. Men who rode on the king's fastest horses quickly took the letters everywhere in the kingdom.

11 The king's new law said this: The Jewish people who lived in every city could fight against anyone who attacked them. They could join together to keep themselves safe. If an army of any kind attacked them, the Jews could kill and destroy them completely, as well as their women and children. They could take away their enemies' things for themselves. 12 The law said that the Jews in all the regions of the kingdom could do this on one day. That day was the 13th day of the 12th month (Adar). 13 A copy of the law would go to every region of the kingdom, so that everyone would know what the law said. Then the Jews would be ready on the right day to punish their enemies.

8:11This new law was the opposite to the law that Haman had made. See Esther 3:13.
8:12That was the same day that Haman had wanted to kill all the Jews.

14 The king told his officers that they must ride quickly on the royal horses to take the letters to every region. His officers also read the law aloud to the people in Susa city.

15 Then Mordecai left the king's palace. He was wearing royal clothes that were purple and white. He had a large gold crown on his head. He wore a beautiful coat made from purple linen. The people in Susa city shouted with joy because of the new law.

16 All the Jews were very happy. Everyone respected them and gave them honour. 17 When the new law reached every region and every city, the Jews became very happy. The other people who lived there were now afraid of the Jews. Because of that, many people said that they themselves had become Jews.