The letter of King Ahasuerus. [UPDATED]
This chapter is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches
VERSE 1. The following is a copy of the letter containing orders: The great king Ahasuerus sends greetings to the rulers of provinces in one hundred twenty-seven local governance regions, from India to Ethiopia, even to those who are faithful to our interests.
VERSE 2. Many who have been frequently honored by the most abundant kindness of their benefactors have conceived ambitious designs,
VERSE 3. and not only endeavor to hurt our subjects, but moreover, not being able to bear prosperity, they also endeavor to plot against their own benefactors.
to hurt our subjects. Haman plotted to exterminate the Jewish people.
plot against their own benefactors. Haman plotted against Queen Esther.
VERSE 4. They not only would utterly abolish gratitude from among men, but also, elated by the boastings of men who are strangers to all that is good, they supposed that they would escape the sin-hating vengeance of the ever-seeing God.
the ever-seeing God. This is a surprising statement from king Ahasuerus.
VERSE 5. And oftentimes evil exhortation has made partakers of the guilt of shedding innocent blood, and has involved in irremediable calamities, many of those who had been appointed to offices of authority, who had been entrusted with the management of their friends’ affairs;
VERSE 6. while men, by the false sophistry of an evil disposition, have deceived the simple candour of the ruling powers.
VERSE 7. And it is possible to see this, not so much from more ancient traditionary accounts, as it is immediately in your power to see it by examining what things have been wickedly perpetrated by the baseness of men unworthily holding power.
men unworthily holding power. Societies are often ruled by the most incompetent people. The most corrupt people. The most narcissistic of people.
VERSE 8. It is right to take heed with regard to the future, that we may maintain the government in undisturbed peace for all men,
VERSE 9. adopting needful changes, and ever judging those cases which come under our notice with truly equitable decisions.
VERSE 10. For whereas Haman, a Macedonian, the son of Hammedatha, in reality an alien from the blood of the Persians, and differing widely from our mild course of government,
Haman, a Macedonian. Now the culprit is named.
VERSE 11. having been hospitable entertained by us, obtained so large a share of our universal kindness as to be called our father, and to continue the person next to the royal throne, reverenced of all;
VERSE 12. he however, overcome by pride, endeavored to deprive us of our dominion, and our life;
VERSE 13. having by various and subtle artifices demanded for destruction both Mordecai our deliverer and perpetual benefactor, and Esther the blameless consort of our kingdom, along with their whole nation.
Mordecai our deliverer. This is a remarkably positive thing for the king to say.
Esther the blameless consort of our kingdom. Again, this is a remarkably positive thing for the king to say.
their whole nation. The king acknowledges the Jewish people as a nation.
VERSE 14. For by these methods he thought, having surprised us in a defenceless state, to transfer the dominion of the Persians to the Macedonians.
VERSE 15. But we find that the Jews, who have been consigned to destruction by the most abominable of men, are not malefactors, but living according to the justest laws,
are not malefactors. The king decrees the Jewish people are not the bad guys.
living according to the justest laws. The king decrees the Jewish people live exemplary lives.
VERSE 16. and being the sons of the living God, the most high and mighty, who maintains the kingdom, to us as well as to our forefathers, in the most excellent order.
the sons of the living God. The king looks up to the Jewish people and their place as the chosen people of the Most High God.
VERSE 17. You will therefore do well in refusing to obey the letter sent by Haman the son of Hammedatha,
VERSE 18. because he who has done these things has been hanged with his whole family at the gates of Susa, Almighty God having swiftly returned to him a worthy punishment.
VERSE 19. We enjoin you then, having openly published a copy of this letter in every place, to give the Jews permission to use their own lawful customs,
VERSE 20. and to strengthen them, that on the thirteenth of the twelfth month Adar, on the self-same day, they may defend themselves against those who attack them in a time of affliction.
to strengthen them. All people of the Empire are to strengthen the Jewish people.
VERSE 21. For in the place of the destruction of the chosen race, Almighty God has granted them this time of gladness.
NAB translation. For God, the ruler of all, has turned that day for them from one of destruction of the chosen race into one of joy.
the chosen race. To our knowledge, this is the first time the Jewish people are referred to as “the chosen race.”
And the title was given to them by king Ahasuerus, who was a Gentile.
1 Peter 2:9. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
VERSE 22. Therefore you also, among your notable feasts, must keep a distinct day with all festivity,
keep a distinct day. All people everywhere are to celebrate the days of Purim.
with all festivity. All people are to celebrate Purim with feasting and gladness.
VERSE 23. that both now and hereafter it may be a day of deliverance to us and who are well disposed toward the Persians, but to those that plotted against us a memorial of destruction.
both now and hereafter. Purim must not fall into disuse. That is true even to this day.
VERSE 24. And every city and province collectively, which shall not do accordingly, shall be consumed with vengeance by spear and fire. It shall be made not only inaccessible to men, but most hateful to wild beasts and birds forever.
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