Esther 8 (New International Reader's Version)

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The King Allows the Jews to Fight for Their Lives

1 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther everything Haman had owned. Haman had been the enemy of the Jews. Esther had told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So Mordecai came to see the king. 2 The king took his ring off. It had his royal seal on it. He had taken it back from Haman. Now he gave it to Mordecai. And Esther put Mordecai in charge of everything Haman had owned. 3 Esther made another appeal to the king. She fell at his feet and sobbed. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman, the Agagite. He had decided to kill the Jews. 4 The king reached out his gold rod toward Esther. She got up and stood in front of him. 5 "King Xerxes, I hope you will show me your favor," she said. "I hope you will think that what I'm asking is the right thing to do. I hope you are pleased with me. If you are, and if it pleases you, let an order be written. Let it take the place of the messages Haman wrote. Haman was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. He planned to kill the Jews. He wrote orders to destroy us in all of your territories. 6 I couldn't stand by and see the horrible trouble that would fall on my people! I couldn't stand to see my family destroyed!" 7 King Xerxes gave a reply to Queen Esther and the Jew Mordecai. He said, "Haman attacked the Jews. So I've given Esther everything he owned. My men have stuck a pole through his dead body. And they've set it up where everyone can see it. 8 "Now write another order in my name. Do it for the benefit of the Jews. Do what seems best to you. Stamp the order with my royal seal. Nothing that is written in my name and stamped with my seal can ever be changed." 9 Right away the king sent for the royal secretaries. It was the 23rd day of the third month. That was the month of Sivan. They wrote down all of Mordecai's orders to the Jews. They also wrote them to the royal officials, the governors and the nobles of the 127 territories in his kingdom. The territories reached from India all the way to Cush. The orders were written down in the writing of each territory. They were written in the language of each nation. They were also written to the Jews in their own writing and language. 10 Mordecai wrote the orders in the name of King Xerxes. He stamped them with the king's royal seal. He sent them by messengers on horseback. They rode fast horses that were raised just for the king. 11 The Jews in every city could now gather together and fight for their lives. The king's order gave them that right. But what if soldiers from any nation or territory attacked them? What if they attacked their women and children? Then the Jews could destroy, kill and wipe out those soldiers. They could also take the goods that belonged to their enemies. 12 A day was appointed for the Jews to do that in all of the king's territories. It was the 13th day of the 12th month. That was the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the order was sent out as law in every territory. It was announced to the people of every nation. So the Jews would be ready on that day. They could pay their enemies back. 14 The messengers rode on the royal horses. They raced along. That's what the king commanded them to do. The order was also sent out in the safest place in Susa. 15 Mordecai left the king and went on his way. Mordecai was wearing royal clothes. They were blue and white. He was also wearing a large gold crown. And he was wearing a purple coat. It was made out of fine linen. The city of Susa celebrated with great joy. 16 The Jews were filled with joy and happiness. They were very glad because now they were being honored. 17 They celebrated and enjoyed good food. They were glad and full of joy. That was true everywhere the king's order went out. It was true in every territory and every city. Many people from other nations announced that they had become Jews. That's because they were so afraid of the Jews.
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