Esther 3

1After these things happened, King Xerxes honored Haman. Haman was the son of a man named Hammedatha, the Agagite. The king promoted Haman and gave him a place of honor more important than any of the other leaders. 2All of the king’s leaders at the king’s gate would bow down and give honor to Haman. That is what the king commanded those men to do. But Mordecai refused to bow down or give honor to Haman. 3Then the king’s leaders at the gate asked Mordecai, “Why don’t you obey the king’s command to bow down to Haman?” 4Day after day, those king’s leaders spoke to Mordecai. But he refused to obey the command to bow down to Haman. So those leaders told Haman about it. They wanted to see what Haman would do about Mordecai. Mordecai had told those leaders that he was a Jew. 5When Haman saw that Mordecai refused to bow down to him or give him honor, he was very angry. 6Haman had learned that Mordecai was a Jew. But he was not satisfied with killing only Mordecai. Haman also wanted to find a way to destroy all of Mordecai’s people, the Jews, in all of Xerxes’ kingdom. 7In the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ rule, in the first month, the month of Nisan, Haman threw lots to choose a special day and month. And the twelfth month, the month of Adar was chosen. (At that time, the lot was called “pur.”) 8Then Haman came to King Xerxes. He said, “King Xerxes, there is a certain group of people scattered among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom. Those people keep themselves separate from other people. Their customs are different from those of all other people. And those people don’t obey the king’s laws. It is not best for the king to allow those people to continue to live in your kingdom. 9“If it pleases the king, I have a suggestion: Give a command to destroy those people. And I will put 10,000 silver coins into the king’s treasury. That money could be used to pay the men that do these things.” 10So the king took the official ring off his finger and gave it to Haman. Haman was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. Haman was the enemy of the Jews. 11Then the king said to Haman, “Keep the money. Do what you want with those people.” 12Then on the 13th day of the first month the king’s secretaries were called. They wrote out all of Haman’s commands in the language of each province. And they wrote them in the language of each group of people. They wrote to the king’s satraps ˻(leaders)˼, the governors of the different provinces, and the leaders of the different groups of people. They wrote with the authority of King Xerxes himself, and sealed the commands with the king’s own ring. 13Messengers carried the letters to all the king’s provinces. The letters were the king’s command to ruin, kill, and completely destroy all the Jews. That meant young people and old people, women, and little children, too. The command was to kill all the Jews on a single day. That day was to be the 13th day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. And the command was to take all of the things that belonged to the Jews. 14A copy of the letters with that command was to be given as a law. It was to be a law in every province and announced to the people of every nation living in the kingdom. Then all those people would be ready for that day. 15At the king’s command the messengers hurried off. The command was given in the capital city of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was confused.

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