Esther 3 (The Message)

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1 Some time later, King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, making him the highest-ranking official in the government. 2 All the king's servants at the King's Gate used to honor him by bowing down and kneeling before Haman - that's what the king had commanded. 3 The king's servants at the King's Gate asked Mordecai about it: "Why do you cross the king's command?" 4 Day after day they spoke to him about this but he wouldn't listen, so they went to Haman to see whether something shouldn't be done about it. Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw for himself that Mordecai didn't bow down and kneel before him, he was outraged. 6 Meanwhile, having learned that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman hated to waste his fury on just one Jew; he looked for a way to eliminate not just Mordecai but all Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes. 7 In the first month, the month of Nisan, of the twelfth year of Xerxes, the pur - that is, the lot - was cast under Haman's charge to determine the propitious day and month. The lot turned up the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 8 Haman then spoke with King Xerxes: "There is an odd set of people scattered through the provinces of your kingdom who don't fit in. Their customs and ways are different from those of everybody else. Worse, they disregard the king's laws. They're an affront; the king shouldn't put up with them. 9 If it please the king, let orders be given that they be destroyed. I'll pay for it myself. I'll deposit 375 tons of silver in the royal bank to finance the operation." 10 The king slipped his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, archenemy of the Jews. 11 "Go ahead," the king said to Haman. "It's your money - do whatever you want with those people." 12 The king's secretaries were brought in on the thirteenth day of the first month. The orders were written out word for word as Haman had addressed them to the king's satraps, the governors of every province, and the officials of every people. They were written in the script of each province and the language of each people in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the royal signet ring. 13 Bulletins were sent out by couriers to all the king's provinces with orders to massacre, kill, and eliminate all the Jews - youngsters and old men, women and babies - on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 Copies of the bulletin were to be posted in each province, publicly available to all peoples, to get them ready for that day. 15 At the king's command, the couriers took off; the order was also posted in the palace complex of Susa. The king and Haman sat back and had a drink while the city of Susa reeled from the news.
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