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The Massacre Reversed. 1a When the day arrived on which the order decreed by the king was to be carried out, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to overpower them, the situation was reversed: the Jews overpowered those who hated them. 2The Jews mustered in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus to attack those who sought to do them harm, and no one could withstand them, for fear of them fell upon all the peoples. 3Moreover, all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, governors, and royal procurators supported the Jews out of fear of Mordecai; 4for Mordecai was powerful in the royal palace, and the report was spreading through all the provinces that he was continually growing in power.
5The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them; they did to those who hated them as they pleased.b 6c In the royal precinct of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred people. 7They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10d the ten sons of Haman, son of Hammedatha, the foe of the Jews. However, they did not engage in plundering.
11On the same day, when the number of those killed in the royal precinct of Susa was reported to the king, 12he said to Queen Esther: “In the royal precinct of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred people, as well as the ten sons of Haman. What must they have done in the other royal provinces! You shall again be granted whatever you ask, and whatever you request shall be honored.” 13So Esther said, “If it pleases your majesty, let the Jews in Susa be permitted again tomorrow to act according to today’s decree, and let the ten sons of Haman be impaled on stakes.” 14The king then gave an order that this be done, and the decree was published in Susa. So the ten sons of Haman were impaled,e 15and the Jews in Susa mustered again on the fourteenth of the month of Adar and killed three hundred people in Susa. However, they did not engage in plundering.f
16The other Jews, who dwelt in the royal provinces, also mustered and defended themselves, and obtained rest from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them, but they did not engage in plunder.g 17This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar.
The Feast of Purim.* On the fourteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.
18The Jews in Susa, however, mustered on the thirteenth and fourteenth of the month. But on the fifteenth they rested, and made it a day of joyful banqueting. 19That is why the rural Jews, who dwell in villages, celebrate the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joyful banqueting, a holiday on which they send food to one another.
20Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews, both near and far, in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 21* He ordered them to celebrate every year both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of the month of Adar 22as the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and as the month which was turned for them from sorrow into joy, from mourning into celebration. They were to observe these days with joyful banqueting, sending food to one another and gifts to the poor. 23* The Jews adopted as a custom what they had begun doing and what Mordecai had written to them.h
Summary of the Story. 24i Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the foe of all the Jews, had planned to destroy them and had cast the pur, or lot, for the time of their defeat and destruction. 25Yet, when the plot became known to the king, the king ordered in writing that the wicked plan Haman had devised against the Jews should instead be turned against Haman and that he and his sons should be impaled on stakes.j 26And so these days have been named Purim after the word pur.
Thus, because of all that was contained in this letter, and because of what they had witnessed and experienced in this event, 27the Jews established and adopted as a custom for themselves, their descendants, and all who should join them, the perpetual obligation of celebrating these two days every year in the manner prescribed by this letter, and at the time appointed.k 28These days were to be commemorated and kept in every generation, by every clan, in every province, and in every city. These days of Purim were never to be neglected among the Jews, nor forgotten by their descendants.
Esther and Mordecai Act in Concert.* 29Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote to confirm with full authority this second letter about Purim, 30and Mordecai sent documents concerning peace and security to all the Jews in the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of Ahasuerus’ kingdom.l 31Thus were established, for their appointed time, these days of Purim which Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had designated for the Jews, just as they had previously enjoined upon themselves and upon their descendants the duty of fasting and supplication. 32The command of Esther confirmed these prescriptions for Purim and was recorded in the book.
* [9:17–19] According to Esther, Jewish feasting on the day after the defeat of their enemies establishes the date of the holiday. Since in Susa the fighting lasts for two days, the Jews of that community initially celebrate Purim a day later than Jews elsewhere.
* [9:21] Mordecai creates a compromise among the Jews by making Purim a two-day festival.
* [9:23] According to the story, the two-day celebration has its roots in popular observance, which Mordecai’s leadership reinforces and regularizes.
* [9:29–32] In attempting to give the impression of concerted action between Esther and Mordecai, the Hebrew text here presents several unresolved difficulties. Verse 29 makes Mordecai and Esther joint authors of a letter that is ascribed in v. 32 to Esther alone. Verse 31 makes Mordecai and Esther joint authors of a letter that is ascribed in vv. 20–22 to Mordecai alone. Finally, it is difficult to see the purpose of confirming a second letter in the second letter itself.
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