Some time later King Xerxes honored a man named Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougaean, by promoting him to the position of prime minister.
The king ordered all the officials in his service to show their respect for Haman by bowing to him. They all did so, except Mordecai, who refused to bow to Haman.
The other officials in the royal service asked him why he was disobeying the king's command.
Day after day they urged him to give in, but he would not listen to them. "I am a Jew," he explained, "and I cannot bow to Haman." So they told Haman how Mordecai was defying the king's orders.
Haman was furious when he realized that Mordecai was not going to bow to him,
and so he made plans to kill every Jew in the whole Persian Empire.
In the twelfth year of King Xerxes' reign, Haman ordered the lots to be cast to find out the right day and month to destroy the Jews, all in a single day. The fourteenth day of the month of Adar was the date chosen.
So Haman told the king, "There is a certain race of people scattered among the nations all over your empire. They observe customs that are not like those of any other people. Moreover, they do not obey the laws of the empire, so it is not in your best interests to tolerate them.
If it please Your Majesty, issue a decree that they are to be put to death. If you do this, I promise to put 375 tons of silver into the royal treasury."
The king took off his ring, which was used to stamp official proclamations, and gave it to Haman to seal the decree that was to be written against the Jews.
The king told him, "Keep the money, and do whatever you want with that race of people."
So on the thirteenth day of the first month, Haman called the king's secretaries and dictated a proclamation to be translated into every language in the empire and to be sent to all the rulers and governors. It was issued in the name of King Xerxes and sent to all the 127 provinces, which stretched from India to Ethiopia.
Runners took this proclamation to every province of the empire. It contained the instructions that on a single day in the twelfth month, the month of Adar, all Jews were to be killed and their belongings confiscated.
This is a copy of the decree: "King Xerxes the Great sends the following decree to the governors of his 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia, and to their subordinate officials:
"After I became ruler of many nations and master of the whole world, I resolved that my subjects should always live at peace. I wanted this, not because of pride in my power but because I was always reasonable and governed my subjects with kindness. I determined to renew the peace that everyone longs for and to do what was necessary to create a civilized kingdom, safe for travel from one border to another.
"I asked my advisers how to accomplish this goal, and Haman made a suggestion. He is distinguished among us as a man of great wisdom, and at all times he has demonstrated his concern for the welfare of the kingdom. Because of his unfailing loyalty, he has been raised to the second highest position in the empire.
Recently Haman told us about a certain unruly people scattered among all the other peoples of the empire. He explained to us that these people have their own laws, are opposed to every other nation, and constantly ignore royal commands. As a result of their attitude, we are not able to establish the kind of unified government which we earnestly intend for the empire.
"These people are hostile to our government and commit terrible crimes which threaten the security of the empire. They follow strange customs, obey their own laws, and stand alone in their constant opposition to all people.
In the light of these facts, we recommend the slaughter of the people referred to by Haman, our prime minister. All of them, including women and children, must be put to death; no one is to be spared. They are our enemies; we will show them no pity. This order is to be carried out this year on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
These people, who have caused so much trouble for so long, will all die a violent death in a single day. From then on, our government will be secure and stable."
The contents of the proclamation were made public in every province, and everyone was ordered to be prepared for that day.
The decree was also rapidly made public in the capital city of Susa. And while the king and Haman got drunk, the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.