On the thirteenth day of Adar, the day on which the royal proclamation was to take effect, 1
it was the enemies of the Jews who were wiped out. People everywhere were afraid of the Jews, and no one could stand against them.
In fact, the provincial governors, the administrators, and the royal scribes showed respect for the Jews, because they were all afraid of Mordecai.
The royal decree had made his name known throughout the empire.
In Susa, the capital city itself, the Jews killed five hundred people
and looted their property. Among them were the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougaean, the enemy of the Jews: Pharsannestain, Delphon, Phasga, Pharadatha, Barea, Sarbacha, Marmasima, Arouphaeus, Arsaeus, and Zabouthaeus.
That same day the number of people killed in Susa was reported to the king.
He then said to Esther, "In Susa alone the Jews have killed five hundred people. What must they have done out in the provinces! Tell me what else you want, and you shall have it."
Esther answered, "Let the Jews in Susa do again tomorrow what they were allowed to do today. And have the bodies of Haman's ten sons hung up."
The king agreed and permitted the Jews to put the bodies of Haman's ten sons on public display.
On the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of Susa got together again and killed three hundred more people in the city. But they did no looting.
The Jews in the provinces also organized and defended themselves. They rid themselves of their enemies by killing 15,000 people on the thirteenth day of Adar, but they did no looting.
On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and the Jews made it a joyful holiday of rest and feasting.
The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and did not stop until the fifteenth.
This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a holiday, a time of giving gifts of food to one another, while the Jews in the large cities celebrate the holiday in the same way on the fifteenth.
Mordecai had these events written down in a book and sent it to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire,
telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays.
These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies. The Jews were to observe the whole month as a holiday, for this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to friends and to the poor.
So the Jews accepted all that Mordecai had written.
Mordecai had recorded how Haman son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian, had fought against the Jewish people, how he had made a decree and cast lots to determine the day he would destroy them, 2
and how he had gone to the king to request that Mordecai be hanged. But Haman suffered the same fate he had planned for the Jews - he and his sons were hanged from the gallows.
Because of Mordecai's letter, because of all they had suffered, and because of all that had happened to them, the Jews accepted Mordecai's suggestion and made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone that might become a Jew, that these days should be properly observed as a memorial, generation after generation, in every city, province, and country. The Jews were to remember and observe these days of Purim for all time to come and never neglect them. (The holidays are called Purim because "purim" in their language is the word for "lots.")
Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Aminadab, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote down what they had done, putting the queen's full authority behind the letter about Purim.
They both took responsibility for establishing the festival and made up their minds to observe it at all costs.
Esther established the festival forever, and a written record was made of her official decree.