Then the king went back into the city and called for the official in charge of the treasury. He ordered him to supply the Jews with wines and everything else needed for a seven-day festival. The king decided that the Jews should celebrate their rescue with all joy in the same place where they thought they would meet destruction.
So the people who previously had been disgraced and stood near death—at its very brink!—prepared for a festival of deliverance instead of a bitter and most mournful fate. The place that had been prepared for their ruin and burial was joyfully divided up among people in celebration.
They stopped singing their sad songs of lament and took up an ancient hymn in praise of their rescuer, the wonder-working God.a They threw aside all weeping and wailing and instead sang songs in organized groups as a sign of peaceful joy.
The king also assembled a huge banquet because of these events. He kept giving generous praise to heaven for the remarkable rescue that heb had experienced.
Those who had previously believed that the Jews would be destroyed and would become food for the birds, and who had drawn up the lists of their names and goods with delight, now groaned. For they were clothed with shame, and the fire of their boldness had been thoroughly doused.
The Jews, as we said before, organized singing groups and spent their time in celebration with cheerful thanksgiving psalms.
They decided that this would be a holiday to be observed for generations to come by the Jewish community living in exile there. The festival would be kept in a spirit of celebration, not as an excuse for overeating and getting drunk but because of the rescue that God had accomplished for them.
They appealed to the king, asking for his permission to return to their homes.
The drawing up of the lists of names was conducted from the twenty-fifth of Pachonc to the fourth of Epiphi,d over a period of forty days; and their destruction was planned for the fifth of Epiphi until the seventh, a period of three days.
But also during those days the Lord of all gloriously displayed his mercy and brought them through without harm, each and every one.
So being well supplied by the king, they feasted until the fourteenth day, on which day they made the petition concerning their return.