Esther 16

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Esther 16

The Decree of Ahasu-erus

1The following is a copy of this letter:

"The Great King, Ahasu-e'rus,a to the rulers of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven satrapies, and to those who are loyal to our government, greeting.

2"The more often they are honored by the too great kindness of their benefactors, the more proud do many men become. 3They not only seek to injure our subjects, but in their inability to stand prosperity they even undertake to scheme against their own benefactors. 4They not only take away thankfulness from among men, but, carried away by the boasts of those who know nothing of goodness, they suppose that they will escape the evil-hating justice of God, who always sees everything. 5And often many of those who are set in places of authority have been made in part responsible for the shedding of innocent blood, and have been involved in irremediable calamities, by the persuasion of friends who have been entrusted with the administration of public affairs, 6when these men by the false trickery of their evil natures beguile the sincere good will of their sovereigns.

7"What has been wickedly accomplished through the pestilent behavior of those who exercise authority unworthily, can be seen not so much from the more ancient records which we hand on as from investigation of matters close at hand. 8For the future we will take care to render our kingdom quiet and peaceable for all men, 9by changing our methods and always judging what comes before our eyes with more equitable consideration. 10For Haman, the son of Hammeda'tha, a Macedo'nian (really an alien to the Persian blood, and quite devoid of our kindliness), having become our guest, 11so far enjoyed the good will that we have for every nation that he was called our father and was continually bowed down to by all as the person second to the royal throne. 12But, unable to restrain his arrogance, he undertook to deprive us of our kingdom and our life, 13and with intricate craft and deceit asked for the destruction of Mor'decai, our savior and perpetual benefactor, and of Esther, the blameless partner of our kingdom, together with their whole nation. 14He thought that in this way he would find us undefended and would transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedo'nians.

15"But we find that the Jews, who were consigned to annihilation by this thrice accursed man, are not evildoers but are governed by most righteous laws 16and are sons of the Most High, the most mighty living God, who has directed the kingdom both for us and for our fathers in the most excellent order.

17"You will therefore do well not to put in execution the letters sent by Haman the son of Hammeda'tha, 18because the man himself who did these things has been hanged at the gate of Susa, with all his household. For God, who rules over all things, has speedily inflicted on him the punishment he deserved.

19"Therefore post a copy of this letter publicly in every place, and permit the Jews to live under their own laws. 20And give them reinforcements, so that on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, on that very day they may defend themselves against those who attack them at the time of their affliction. 21For God, who rules over all things, has made this day to be a joy to his chosen people instead of a day of destruction for them.

22"Therefore you shall observe this with all good cheer as a notable day among your commemorative festivals, 23so that both now and hereafter it may mean salvation for us and the loyal Persians, but that for those who plot against us it may be a reminder of destruction.

24"Every city and country, without exception, which does not act accordingly, shall be destroyed in wrath with spear and fire. It shall be made not only impassable for men, but also most hateful for all time to beasts and birds."