Haman's Plot to Destroy the Jews
3 1 After these things king Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. 2 And all the king's servants that were in the king's gate bowed and did Haman reverence, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did [him] reverence. 3 Then the king's servants, who were in the king's gate, said to Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment? 4 And it came to pass as they spoke daily to him, and he hearkened not to them, that they informed Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, Haman was full of fury. 6 But he scorned to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had made known to him the people of Mordecai; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were in all the kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.
7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman for each day and for each month, to the twelfth [month], that is, the month Adar. 8 And Haman said to king Ahasuerus, There is a people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from [those of] every people, and they keep not the king's laws; and it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have charge of the affairs, to bring [it] into the king's treasuries. 10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. 11 And the king said to Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as seems good to thee. 12 Then were the king's scribes called, in the first month, on the thirteenth day of the [month], and there was written according to all that Haman commanded unto the king's satraps, and to the governors over every province, and to the princes of every people; to every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people according to their language: in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. 13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, upon the thirteenth of the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, and [to take] the spoil of them for a prey. 14 That the decree might be given in every province, a copy of the writing was published to all peoples, that they should be ready against that day. 15 The couriers went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the fortress. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan was in consternation.
Esther Promises to Intercede for Her People
4 1 And when Mordecai knew all that was done, Mordecai rent his garments, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry, 2 and came even before the king's gate; for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province, wherever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing: many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 And Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told [it] her; and the queen was exceedingly grieved: and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him; but he received [it] not.
5 Then Esther called for Hatach, [one] of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to wait upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. 6 And Hatach went forth to Mordecai, unto the public place of the city which was before the king's gate. 7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened to him, and of the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8 And he gave him a copy of the writing of the decree that had been given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew [it] to Esther, and to declare [it] to her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication to him, and to make request before him, for her people. 9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 And Esther spoke to Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai: 11 All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces do know that whoever, whether man or woman, shall come to the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law, to put [him] to death, except [such] to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live; and I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. 12 And they told Mordecai Esther's words. 13 And Mordecai bade to answer Esther: Imagine not in thy heart that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there arise relief and deliverance to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall perish. And who knows whether thou art [not] come to the kingdom for such a time as this? 15 And Esther bade to answer Mordecai: 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are found in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish. 17 And Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther Invites the King and Haman to a Banquet
5 1 And it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house. And the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the entrance to the house. 2 And it was so, when the king saw the queen Esther standing in the court, that she obtained grace in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand; and Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. 3 And the king said to her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be given thee even to the half of the kingdom. 4 And Esther said, If it seem good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him. 5 And the king said, Hasten Haman, that it may be done as Esther has said. And the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 And the king said to Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee; and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be done. 7 And Esther answered and said, My petition and my request is, 8 If I have found grace in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to-morrow according to the king's word.
9 And Haman went forth that day joyful and glad of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up nor moved for him, he was full of fury against Mordecai. 10 But Haman controlled himself, and came home; and he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. 11 And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 And Haman said, Yea, Esther the queen let no man come in with the king to the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to-morrow also I am invited to her with the king. 13 Yet all this is of no avail to me so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. 14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends to him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king that Mordecai may be hanged on it: then go in merrily with the king to the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
22 And when the officers were come, they did not find them in the prison; and returned and reported 23 saying, We found the prison shut with all security, and the keepers standing at the doors; but when we had opened [them], within we found no one. 24 And when they heard these words, both the priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests were in perplexity as to them, what this would come to. 25 And some one coming reported to them, Lo, the men whom ye put in the prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people.
26 Then the captain, having gone with the officers, brought them, not with violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And they bring them and set them in the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, We strictly enjoined you not to teach in this name: and lo, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and purpose to bring upon us the blood of this man. 29 But Peter answering, and the apostles, said, God must be obeyed rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers has raised up Jesus, whom ye have slain, having hanged on a cross. 31 Him has God exalted by his right hand as leader and saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are [his] witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit also, which God has given to those that obey him. 33 But they, when they heard [these things], were cut to the heart, and took counsel to kill them. 34 But a certain [man], a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honour of all the people, rose up in the council, and commanded to put the men out for a short while, 35 and said to them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves as regards these men what ye are going to do; 36 for before these days Theudas rose up, alleging himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, were joined; who was slain, and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him rose Judas the Galilean in the days of the census, and drew away [a number of] people after him; and he perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. 38 And now I say to you, Withdraw from these men and let them alone, for if this counsel or this work have its origin from men, it will be destroyed; 39 but if it be from God, ye will not be able to put them down, lest ye be found also fighters against God. 40 And they listened to his advice; and having called the apostles, they beat them, and enjoined them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. 41 They therefore went their way from [the] presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonoured for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and in the houses, they ceased not teaching and announcing the glad tidings that Jesus [was] the Christ.