Some time later, King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite to prime minister, making him the most powerful official in the empire next to the king himself.
All 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.
Then the palace officials at the king's gate asked Mordecai, "Why are you disobeying the king's command?"
They 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.
When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.
So he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Since he had learned that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.
So in the month of April, a during the twelfth year of King Xerxes' reign, lots were cast (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. b8
Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, "There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire. Their laws are different from those of any other nation, and they refuse to obey even the laws of the king. So it is not in the king's interest to let them live.
If it please Your Majesty, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 375 tons c of silver to the government administrators so they can put it into the royal treasury."
The 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.
"Keep the money," the king told Haman, "but go ahead and do as you like with these people."
On April 17 d Haman called in the king's secretaries and dictated letters to the princes, the governors of the respective provinces, and the local officials of each province in their own scripts and languages. These letters were signed in the name of King Xerxes, sealed with his ring,
and sent by messengers into all the provinces of the empire. The letters decreed 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 nearly a year later on March 7. e The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them.
A copy of this decree was to be issued in every province and made known to all the people, so that they would be ready to do their duty on the appointed day.
At the king's command, the decree went out by the swiftest messengers, and it was proclaimed in the fortress of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)