Victory for the Jews
1 On the 13th day of the twelfth month (Adar), the people were supposed to obey the king’s command. This was the day the enemies of the Jews hoped to defeat them, but now things had changed. The Jews were stronger than their enemies who hated them. 2 The Jews met together in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes so that they would be strong enough to attack the people who wanted to destroy them. No one was strong enough to stand against them. They were afraid of the Jews. 3 And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the king’s administrators helped the Jews. All the leaders helped them because they were afraid of Mordecai. 4 Mordecai had become a very important man in the king’s palace. Everyone in the provinces knew his name and knew how important he was. And Mordecai became more and more powerful.
5 The Jews defeated all their enemies. They used swords to kill and destroy them. They did what they wanted to the people who hated them. 6 They killed and destroyed 500 men in the capital city of Susa. 7 They also killed these men: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 10 These men were the ten sons of Haman. Haman son of Hammedatha was the enemy of the Jews. The Jews killed all the men, but they didn’t take anything that belonged to them.
11 That day the king heard how many men had been killed in the capital city of Susa. 12 So the king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed 500 men in Susa, including Haman’s ten sons. Now, what do you want done in the other provinces of the king? Tell me, and I will have it done. Ask, and I will do it.”
13 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, please let the Jews in Susa do the same thing again tomorrow. Also, hang the bodies of Haman’s ten sons on posts.”
14 So the king gave the command that it should be done. So the law was given in Susa, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. 15 The Jews in Susa met together on the 14th day of the month of Adar. They killed 300 men in Susa, but they didn’t take the things that belonged to them.
16 At the same time, the Jews living in the other provinces also met together. They met together so that they would be strong enough to protect themselves. And so they got rid of their enemies. They killed 75,000 of their enemies. But the Jews didn’t take anything that belonged to them. 17 This happened on the 13th day of the month Adar. On the 14th day the Jews rested and made that day a happy day of feasting.
The Festival of Purim
18 The Jews in Susa had met together on the 13th and 14th days of the month of Adar. And then on the 15th day they rested. So they made the 15th day a happy day of feasting. 19 So those who live in the country and small villages celebrate Purim on the 14th day of Adar. They keep the 14th day as a happy day of feasting. On this day they have parties and give presents to each other.
20 Mordecai wrote everything down that had happened, and then he sent letters to all the Jews in all of King Xerxes’ provinces. He sent letters far and near. 21 He did this to tell the Jews to celebrate Purim every year on the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar. 22 They were to celebrate those days because on those days the Jews got rid of their enemies. And they were also to celebrate that month as the month when their sadness was turned into joy. It was a month when their crying was changed into a day of celebration. Mordecai wrote letters to all the Jews and told them to celebrate those days as a happy day of feasting. They should have parties, give gifts to each other, and give presents to the poor.
23 So the Jews agreed to do what Mordecai had written to them. And they agreed to continue the celebration they had begun.
24 Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite was the enemy of all the Jews. He had made an evil plan against the Jews to destroy them. And Haman had thrown the lot to choose a day to ruin and to destroy the Jews. At that time the lot was called a “pur.” 25 Haman did this, but Esther went to talk to the king. So he sent out new commands. These commands not only ruined Haman’s plans, but these commands caused those bad things to happen to Haman and his family! So Haman and his sons were hanged on the posts.
26-27 At this time lots were called “purim.” So this festival is called “Purim.” Mordecai wrote a letter and told the Jews to celebrate this festival. And so the Jews started the custom of celebrating these two days every year. 28 They do this to help them remember what they had seen happen to them. The Jews and all the people who join them celebrate these two days every year at the right time in just the right way. Every generation and every family remembers these two days. They celebrate this festival in each and every province and in each and every town. And the Jews will never stop celebrating the days of Purim. Their descendants will always remember this festival.
29 So Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote an official letter about Purim. They wrote with full authority of the king to prove that the second letter was true. 30 So Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of King Xerxes’ kingdom. He told the people that the festival should bring peace and make people trust* peace … trust Or “fellowship and truth.” Zechariah 8:19 teaches that this is how people should celebrate the festivals and why God gave them. each other. 31 He wrote these letters to tell the people to start celebrating Purim. And he told them when to celebrate this new festival. Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had sent out the command for the Jews to establish this two-day festival for themselves and their descendants. They will remember this festival just as they remember the other festivals when they fast and cry about the bad things that had happened. 32 Esther’s letter made the rules for Purim official, and these things were written down in a book.