Esther - Page 6

E s t h e r 2 : 1 9
19 Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second
harem* and Mor­de­cai had become a palace official,* 20 Esther continued
to keep her fam­i­ly background and nationality a secret. She was still fol­
lowing Mor­de­cai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home.
Mordecai’s Loyalty to the King
21 One day as Mor­de­cai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s
­eu­nuchs, ­Big­thana* and Te­resh—who were guards at the door of the
king’s private quarters—became angry at King Xer­xes and plotted to
assassinate him. 22 But Mor­de­cai heard about the plot and gave the in­
formation to Queen Esther. She then told the king about it and gave
Mor­de­cai credit for the report. 23 When an investigation was made and
Mor­de­cai’s story was found to be true, the two men were impaled on
a sharpened pole. This was all recorded in The Book of the History of
King Xer­xes’ Reign.
Haman’s Plot against the Jews
S ome time later King Xer­xes promoted Haman son of Ham­me­da­tha
the Ag­ag­ite over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful
official in the empire. 2 All the king’s officials would bow down before
Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had
commanded. But Mor­de­cai refused to bow down or show him respect.
3 Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mor­de­cai, “Why are
you disobeying the king’s command?” 4 They spoke to him day after day,
but still he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman
about this to see if he would tolerate Mor­de­cai’s conduct, since Mor­de­
cai had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mor­de­cai would not bow down or show him
respect, he was filled with rage. 6 He had learned of Mor­de­cai’s nation­
ality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mor­de­cai alone.
Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the ­Jews throughout the entire
empire of Xer­xes.
7 So in the month of April,* during the twelfth year of King Xer­xes’
reign, lots were cast in Haman’s presence (the lots were called purim) to
determine the best day and month to take action. And the day selected
was March 7, nearly a year later.*
8 Then Haman approached King Xer­xes and said, “There is a certain
race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who
keep themselves separate from every­one else. Their laws are different
from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the
king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. 9 If it please the
king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large
sacks* of silver to the government administrators to be deposited in
the royal treasury.”
10 The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet
ring from his finger and giving it to Haman son of Ham­me­da­tha the
Ag­ag­ite, the enemy of the J­ ews. 11 The king said, “The money and the
people are both yours to do with as you see fit.”
12 So on April 17* the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree
was written exactly as Haman dictated. It was sent to the king’s highest
2:19a The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. 2:19b Hebrew and Mordecai was sitting in the gate
of the king. 
2:21 Hebrew Bigthan; compare 6:2. 3:7a Hebrew in the first month, the month of
Nisan. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of April and May
474 b.c.; also see note on 2:16. 3:7b As in 3:13, which reads the thirteenth day of the twelfth month,
the month of Adar; Hebrew reads in the twelfth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. The date
selected was March 7, 473 b.c.; also see note on 2:16. 3:9 Hebrew 10,000 talents, about 375 tons
or 340 metric tons in weight. 3:12 Hebrew On the thirteenth day of the first month, of the ancient
Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was April 17, 474 b.c.; also see note on 2:16. 
17B-ESTH_Inspire_Catholic_NLT.indd 602
5/2/2018 9:06:10 AM

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