Esther 8

1And in that day King Artaxerxes gave to Esther all that belonged to Haman the slanderer. And Mordecai was called by the king; for Esther had shown that he was related to her. 2And the king took the ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed Mordecai over all that had been Haman's. 3And she spoke yet again to the king, and fell at his feet, and beseeched him to do away the mischief of Haman, and all that he had done against the Jews. 4Then the king stretched out to Esther the golden scepter; and Esther arose to stand near the king. 5And Esther said, If it seems good to you, and if I have found favor in your sight, let an order be sent that the letters sent by Haman may be reversed, that were written for the destruction of the Jews, who are in your kingdom. 6For how shall I be able to look upon the affliction of my people, and how shall I be able to survive the destruction of my relatives? 7And the king said to Esther, If I have given and freely granted you all that was Haman's, and hanged him on a gallows, because he laid his hands upon the Jews, what do you yet further seek? 8Write also in my name, as it seems good to you, and seal it with my ring; for whatever orders are written at the command of the king, and sealed with my ring, it is not lawful to revoke them. 9So the scribes were called in the first month, which is Nisan, on the twenty-third day of the same year. And orders were written concerning the Jews, whatever the king had commanded to the local governors and chiefs of the satraps, from India even to Ethiopia, a hundred and twenty-seven satraps, according to the several provinces, according to their dialects. 10And they were written by order of the king, and sealed with his ring, and they sent the letters by couriers. 11In it he charged them to use their own laws in every city, and to help each other, and to treat their adversaries, and those who attacked them, as they pleased, 12on one day in all the kingdom of Artaxerxes, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar. 13And the following is the copy of the letter of the orders: The great King Artaxerxes sends greeting to the rulers of the provinces in a hundred and twenty-seven satraps, from India to Ethiopia, even to those who are faithful to our interests. Many who have been frequently honored by the most abundant kindness of their benefactors have conceived ambitious designs, and not only endeavor to hurt our subjects, but moreover, not being able to bear prosperity, they also endeavor to plot against their own benefactors. And they not only would utterly abolish gratitude from among men, but also, elated by the boastings of men who are strangers to all that is good, they suppose that they shall escape the sin-hating vengeance of the ever-seeing God. And oftentimes evil exhortation has made partakers of the guilt of shedding innocent blood, and has involved in irremediable calamities, many of those who were appointed to offices of authority, who had been entrusted with the management of their friends' affairs. While men, by the false sophistry of an evil disposition, have deceived the simple candor of the ruling powers. And it is possible to see this, not so much from more ancient traditionary accounts, as it is immediately in your power to see it by examining what things have been wickedly perpetrated by the baseness of men holding power in an unworthy manner. And it is right to take heed with regard to the future, that we may maintain the government in undisturbed peace for all men, adopting needful changes, and ever judging those cases which come under our notice, with truly equitable decision. For whereas Haman, a Macedonian, the son of Hammedatha, in reality an alien from the blood of the Persians, and differing widely from our mild course of government, having been hospitably entertained by us, obtained so large a share of our universal kindness, as to be called our father, and to continue the person next to the royal throne, reverenced by all. He, however, overcome by the pride of his station, endeavored to deprive us of our dominion, and our life; having by various and subtle artifices demanded for destruction both Mordecai, our deliverer and perpetual benefactor, and Esther, the blameless consort of our kingdom, with their whole nation. For by these methods, the thought, having surprised us in a defenseless rate, to transfer the dominion of the Persians to the Macedonians. But we find that the Jews, who have been consigned to destruction by the most abominable of men, are not malefactors, but living according to the most just laws, and being the sons of the living God, the Most High and Mighty, who maintains the kingdom, to us as well as to our forefathers, in the most excellent order. You will therefore do well in refusing to obey the letters sent by Haman the son of Hammedatha, because he that has done these things has been hanged with his whole family at the gates of Susa, Almighty God having swiftly returned to him a worthy recompense. We beseech you, therefore, having openly published a copy of this letter in every place, to give the Jews permission to use their own lawful customs, and to strengthen them, that on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar, on that same day, they may defend themselves against those who attacked them in a time of affliction. For in the place of the destruction of the chosen race, Almighty God has granted them this time of gladness. Therefore you also among your notable feasts, keep a distinct day with all festivity, that both now and hereafter it may be a day of deliverance to us and those who are well disposed toward the Persians, but to those that plotted against us a memorial of destruction. And every city and province collectively, which shall not do accordingly, shall be consumed with vengeance by spear and fire. It shall be made not only inaccessible to men, but also most hateful to wild beasts and birds forever. And let the copies be posted in conspicuous places throughout the kingdom, and let all the Jews be ready against this day, to fight against their enemies. 14So the horsemen went forth with haste to perform the king's commands; and the ordinance was also published in Susa. 15And Mordecai went forth clothed in the royal apparel, and wearing a golden crown, and a diadem of fine purple linen. And the people in Susa saw it and rejoiced. 16And the Jews had light and gladness, 17in every city and province wherever the ordinance was published: wherever the proclamation took place, the Jews had joy and gladness, feasting and mirth. And many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and became Jews, for fear of the Jews.
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