Esther 13

 1 "Artaxerxes, the great king from India all the way to Ethiopia, to the generals and leaders of the one hundred twenty-seven provinces that obey our command: greetings, he says 2 In arrogance, many have abused the goodness of leaders and the honor that has been bestowed on them 3 and they strive, not only to oppress the king’s subjects, but, not acting according to the glory given to them, set in motion a plan to ambush those very ones who gave it 4 Neither are they content to withhold thanks for benefits and to violate in themselves the laws of humanity, but they also think they are able to escape from every sentence of the sifting judgment of God 5 And they rush forth in such insanity that they attempt to subvert by filthy lies those who carefully fulfill the offices delegated to them and so perform everything that is deserving of the praise of all 6 Meanwhile, they craftily deceive by fraud the ears of single-minded leaders, and they judge others according to their own nature 7 These things are proven both from the ancient histories and from those things which happen daily: how the zeal of kings can be corrupted by the evil suggestions of such persons 8 Therefore, we will make provision for the peace of all the provinces 9 Neither should you think, if we change our orders, that they come from a fickle mind, but that we draw conclusions from the quality and necessity of the times, just as the expediency of the public good demands 10 And, so that you may more clearly understand what we are saying: Haman the son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian both in mind and ancestry, and foreign to Persian blood, and with his cruelty contaminating our piety, was accepted by us as a sojourner 11 And our humanity proved to be so great towards him that he was called our father and was adored by all as second only to the king 12 But he was so filled with arrogance as to strive to deprive us of our kingdom and our life 13 For example, with certain strange and unheard of machinations, he sought the death of Mordecai, whose faith and kindness kept us alive, and Esther, the partner of our kingdom, and all their people 14 This he planned so that, after they were executed, he might work treason against us in our solitude and transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedonians 15 But we, having been resolved to ruin in death the mortal Jews, discovered no fault within them, but on the contrary, they use just law 16 and are sons of the highest and greatest and ever-living God, by whose kindness the kingdom was handed down both to our fathers and to us, and is cared for even unto this day 17 Therefore, you should understand to be null and void those letters that he administered under our name 18 For this crime, before the gates of this city, that is, Susa, both he who devised it, and all his associates, hang on gallows: not we, but God repaying him as he deserved 19 But this edict, which we now send, shall be displayed in all cities so that the Jews may be allowed to use their own laws 20 You must be a support to them, so that they may be able to execute those, who themselves had prepared to kill them, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is called Adar 21 For the almighty God has turned this day of grief and sorrow into joy for them 22 Therefore, you too will keep this day, along with the other festival days, and celebrate it with all joy, so that it may be known even by future generations 23 All those who faithfully obey the Persians deserve, for their fidelity, to receive a reward, but those who are traitors to their kingdom deserve to be destroyed for their crime 24 But every province and city, which is not willing to participate in this solemnity, must perish by the sword and by fire, and be destroyed in this way so that they will be forever an indisputable example of contempt and disobedience, not only to humans, but even to wild animals. 25 And such was the content of the letter, so that it would be made known in all lands and nations, which are subject to the authority of king Artaxerxes, that the Jews have been made ready to be vindicated of their enemies 26 And so the swift couriers departed in haste, carrying through the announcement, and the king’s edict was hung up in Susa 27 But Mordecai, going forth from the palace and from the king’s presence, shone in royal apparel the color of hyacinth and of the sky, wearing a golden crown on his head, and clothed with a cloak of silk and purple. And all the city rejoiced and was joyful 28 But for the Jews, a new light seemed to rise; there was joy, honor, and dancing 29 With all the peoples, cities, and provinces, wherever the king’s orders arrived, there was wonderful rejoicing, banquets and feasts, and a solemn holy day, so much so that many of the other nations joined themselves to their religious practices and ceremonies. For a great fear of the name of the Jews had overcome them all