Haman’s Plot against the Jews
1Some 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. 2All 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.
3Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” 4They 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 Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.
5When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. 6He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, 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.
7So in the month of April,*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. 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.*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.
8Then 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. 9If it please the king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large sacks*3:9 Hebrew 10,000 talents, about 375 tons or 340 metric tons in weight. of silver to the government administrators to be deposited in the royal treasury.”
10The 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 Jews. 11The king said, “The money and the people are both yours to do with as you see fit.”
12So on April 17*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. the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Haman dictated. It was sent to the king’s highest officers, the governors of the respective provinces, and the nobles of each province in their own scripts and languages. The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year.*3:13 Hebrew on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. The date selected was March 7, 473 b.c.; also see note on 2:16. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them.
14A copy of this decree was to be issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples, so that they would be ready to do their duty on the appointed day. 15At the king’s command, the decree went out by swift messengers, and it was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion.