And so, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month—that is, the month of Adar—when the king’s command and decree were to be executed, the very day on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to get them in their power, the opposite happened, and the Jews got their enemies in their power.
Throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the Jews mustered in their cities to attack those who sought their hurt; and no one could withstand them, for the fear of them had fallen upon all the peoples.
Indeed, all the officials of the provinces—the satraps, the governors, and the king’s stewards—showed deference to the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them.
For Mordecai was now powerful in the royal palace, and his fame was spreading through all the provinces; the man Mordecai was growing ever more powerful.
So the Jews struck at their enemies with the sword, slaying and destroying; they wreaked their will upon their enemies.
In the fortress Shushan the Jews killed a total of five hundred men.
They also killedaMoved up from v. 10 for greater clarity. Parshandatha,
the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the foe of the Jews. But they did not lay hands on the spoil.
When the number of those slain in the fortress Shushan was reported on that same day to the king,
the king said to Queen Esther, “In the fortress Shushan alone the Jews have killed a total of five hundred men, as well as the ten sons of Haman. What then must they have done in the provinces of the realm! What is your wish now? It shall be granted you. And what else is your request? It shall be fulfilled.”
“If it please Your Majesty,” Esther replied, “let the Jews in Shushan be permitted to act tomorrow also as they did today; and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on the stake.”
The king ordered that this should be done, and the decree was proclaimed in Shushan. Haman’s ten sons were impaled:
and the Jews in Shushan mustered again on the fourteenth day of Adar and slew three hundred men in Shushan. But they did not lay hands on the spoil.
The rest of the Jews, those in the king’s provinces, likewise mustered and fought for their lives. They disposed of their enemies, killing seventy-five thousand of their foes; but they did not lay hands on the spoil.
That was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar; and they rested on the fourteenth day and made it a day of feasting and merrymaking. (
But the Jews in Shushan mustered on both the thirteenth and fourteenth days, and so rested on the fifteenth, and made it a day of feasting and merrymaking.)
That is why village Jews, who live in unwalled towns, observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and make it a day of merrymaking and feasting, and as a holiday and an occasion for sending gifts to one another.
Mordecai recorded these events. And he sent dispatches to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, near and far,
charging them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, every year—
the same days on which the Jews enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.
The Jews accordingly assumed as an obligation that which they had begun to practice and which Mordecai prescribed for them.
For Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the foe of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy the Jews, and had cast pur—that is, the lot—with intent to crush and exterminate them.
But when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded: bMeaning of Heb. uncertain.“With the promulgation of this decree,-b let the evil plot, which he devised against the Jews, recoil on his own head!” So they impaled him and his sons on the stake.
For that reason these days were named Purim, after pur.
In view, then, of all the instructions in the said letter and of what they had experienced in that matter and what had befallen them,
the Jews undertook and irrevocably obligated themselves and their descendants, and all who might join them, to observe these two days in the manner prescribed and at the proper time each year.
Consequently, these days are recalled and observed in every generation: by every family, every province, and every city. And these days of Purim shall never cease among the Jews, and the memory of them shall never perish among their descendants.
cForce of vv. 29–31 uncertain in part. Verse 29 reads literally, “Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.”Then Queen Esther daughter of Abihail wrote a second letter of Purim for the purpose of confirming with full authority the aforementioned one of Mordecai the Jew.
Dispatches were sent to all the Jews in the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the realm of Ahasuerus with an ordinance of “equity and honesty:”dI.e., of new holidays, the instituting of which is linked to love of equity and honesty in Zech. 8.19.
These days of Purim shall be observed at their proper time, as Mordecai the Jew—and now Queen Esther—has obligated them to do, and just as they have assumed for themselves and their descendants the obligation of the fasts with their lamentations.eThe Jews had long been observing fast days in commemoration of national calamities; see Zech. 7.5; 8.19.
And Esther’s ordinance validating these observances of Purim was recorded in a scroll.