Esther 9:1-32

The Jews punish their enemies

1 The 13th day of the 12th month (Adar) was the day when the enemies of the Jews had hoped to attack them. But now the king's new law said that the Jews could fight to keep themselves safe on that day. So the Jews won against their enemies. 2 In all the cities in each region of the kingdom where the Jews lived, they joined together. They punished anybody who tried to hurt them. Nobody could fight against them because all the people were very afraid of them.

3 All the king's officers and the rulers and leaders of each region decided to help the Jews. They did that because they were afraid of Mordecai's power. 4 He was now a very important officer in the king's palace. News about him reached all the regions as he became more and more powerful.

5 So when the day arrived, the Jews could do what they wanted to their enemies. They used their swords to attack them and to kill them.

6 In Susa city, the Jews killed 500 men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha. 10 Those men were the 10 sons of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. But the Jews did not take any of the things that belonged to the people that they killed.

11 On the same day, the king heard how many people they had killed in Susa city. 12 Then the king said to Queen Esther, ‘In Susa the Jews have killed 500 men and also the 10 sons of Haman. So I think that they have killed many more of their enemies in the other regions of my kingdom! Now, what else do you want? If you ask me, I will do anything that you still want me to do.’

13 Esther replied, ‘If the king agrees, please let the Jews who live in Susa do the same thing tomorrow. Let your new law continue for one more day. Also, let them hang the dead bodies of Haman's 10 sons from the wooden tower.’

14 The king agreed and he commanded that this should happen. He made another law so that the Jews in Susa could fight again. They also put the dead bodies of Haman's 10 sons on the tower.

15 On the 14th day of the month called Adar the Jews in Susa all met together again. That day they killed 300 more men in Susa. But they did not take their enemies' things for themselves.

16-17 In the other regions of the kingdom, the Jews came together on the 13th day of Adar. They did that to protect themselves against their enemies. They killed 75,000 of their enemies. But they did not take their enemies' things for themselves. Then, on the 14th day of Adar, the Jews in the regions rested. They ate feasts and they were very happy.

18 But the Jews in Susa did not rest until the 15th day of the month. That was because they killed their enemies on both the 13th day and the 14th day. On the 15th day they ate feasts and they were very happy.

19 That is why the Jews who live in towns and villages in the country have a holiday on the 14th day of Adar. On that day, they have feasts and they give gifts to each other, because they are happy.

20 Mordecai wrote down all these events. He sent letters to all the Jews who were living in all the regions where King Xerxes ruled. 21 He told them that they should have a holiday on the 14th and 15th days of Adar every year. 22 They should do that to remember the time when they became safe from their enemies. That was the month when they became happy and they were no longer sad. They should eat a feast and they should send gifts of food to each other to show their joy. They should also give gifts to poor people.

23 The Jews agreed to do everything that Mordecai had written in the letters. They had a feast every year to remember what had happened. 24 They remembered what Hammedatha's son, Haman, the descendant of Agag, had done. He had been the enemy of the Jews and he had tried to destroy them all. He had thrown dice, called Purim, to choose the day when he would attack them and kill them. 25 But Esther went to tell the king what Haman was doing. Then the king stopped the evil thing that Haman wanted to do against the Jews. The king wrote a command to say that Haman should die. The same thing that Haman wanted to do to the Jews should happen to him instead. The bodies of Haman and his sons hung on the wooden tower that his men had built.

26 So the Jews call the days of their feast ‘Purim’. That was the name of the dice that Haman used. They did this because of what Mordecai wrote in his letter. They wanted to remember everything that had happened to them. 27 They made a rule for all the Jews, their descendants, and any other people who came to join them. The rule said that they must all have a holiday on those two days every year. They must do what Mordecai had written in his letter to them. 28 From that time, every Jew must remember to keep the days of Purim as a holiday. Every Jewish family and their children must continue to do this. They must do it in all the cities and all the regions, wherever they lived. And their descendants must continue to do it every year, to remember what happened.

9:28Even today, Jews have a feast every year to remember everything that happened.

29 Then Abihail's daughter, Queen Esther, and Mordecai wrote another letter. Esther used her authority to say that what Mordecai had written about the feast of Purim was true. 30 So they sent letters to all the Jews who lived in the 127 regions of Xerxes' kingdom. The message was to help them live safely in peace. 31 It told the Jews how to have the days of Purim as a holiday at the right time each year. This was a rule that came from the Jewish man, Mordecai, and from Queen Esther. The message also said that the Jews should remember the sad times, and they should fast.

32 Queen Esther's command made those rules about the feast of Purim. The palace secretaries wrote it down in a book.