I. . After these things, in the days of Artaxerxes the same

2 who reigned from India, over a hundred and twenty seven provinces, when Artaxerxes was settled on his throne in the

3 city Susoi, in the third year of his reign, he made an entertainment for his friends, both for other nations, and for the nobles

4 of the Persians and Medes, and for the governors. And having after this displayed to them the riches of his kingdom, and the transporting glory of his riches, for a hundred and eighty days,

5 when the days of his marriage were fulfilled, the king made an entertainment for all the nations who were in the city, for

6 six days, in the court of die royal palace, which was adorned with painted hangings of cotton, extended with cords of cotton, and purple yarn, to capitals of gold and silver, on pillars of parian marble and alabaster. The couches were of gold and silver, on a pavement of smaragdine, pinine, and parian stone; and their covers were of gause, painted with a variety of flow-

7 ers ; and roses were scattered all around. The goblets of gold and silver, with a small carbuncled cup to each, amounted in value to thirty thousand talents. There was wine in abundance

8 .-and of a sweet quality, such as the king himself drank. Now this entertainment was not according to an established custom ; but the king would have it so, and he commanded the stewards to comply with his pleasure, and that of the guests.

9 Astin the queen also made an entertainment for the women 10 in the royal palace, where king Artaxerxes was. And on the seventh day, the king, in high good humour, ordered Aman and Basan and Tharra and Barazi and Zatholtha and Abataza and Tharaba, the seven chamberlains, who waited on king Artax-

11 erxes, to bring the queen to him to proclaim her queen, and crown her with a diadem, and shew her to the chiefs, and her

12 beauty to the nations; for she was beautiful. But queen Astin hearkened not to him to come with the chamberlain, at which

13 the king was greatly offended and inflamed with anger and he said to his friends, Astin hath spoken so and so ; do you therefore execute law and judgment, touching this matter.

14 Thereupon there came before him, Arkesaius and Sarsathaius and Malisear the chiefs of the Persians and Medes, who were

15 near the king, and had the first seats next him; and told him according to the laws what ought to be done to queen Astin, because she had not done what the king had commanded by

16 the chamberlains. And Muchaius said to the king and to the chiefs, Queen Astin hath wronged, not the king only, but also

17 all the king's chiefs and leaders; for he hath told them the queen's conduct and how she hath contradicted the king.

18 Therefore as she hath contradicted the king Artaxerxes, so will the rest of the ladies now, the wives of the Persian and Medean princes, upon hearing what she hath said to the king,

19 presume in like manner to dishonour their husbands. If therefore it seemeth good to the king, let him pass a royal decree and let it be written according to the laws of the Medes and

20 Persians, and let him not alter it nor suffer the queen any more to approach him ; but let the king give her royalty to another woman, better than her. And let this edict of the king be proclaimed, which if he cause to be done throughout his kingdom, then will all the women both rich and poor, pay

21 respect to their husbands. And the speech pleased the king and the princes; and the king did as Muchaius had spoken, and sent the decree throughout the whole kingdom, into every province in the language and writing thereof, that men might be feared by their own families.

II. After this when the king's wrath was appeased and he no more remembered Astin, nor made any mention of what she 2 had spoken, and how he had condemned her; the king's servants said, Let there be sought for the king a virgin of tin-

3 blemished chastity, and beautiful; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and let them select and send to the city Susoi to the house of the women, virgins remarkable for beauty; and let them be delivered to the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women; and let the things ne-

4 cessary for purification be given them. And let the woman who shall please the king be made queen in the room of Astin. And the proposal pleased the king, and he did so.

5 Now there was at the city of Susoi, a man, a Jew, whose name was Mordecai. He was the son of Jairus, the son of Se-

6 meias, the son of Kisaius, of the tribe of Benjamin. He had been carried away captive from Jerusalem among them whom

7 Nabuchodonosar king of Babylon had captivated. And this man had a foster child, a daughter of Aminadab, his father's brother; and her name was Esther. On the decease of her

8 parents he educated her to be a wife for himself. But as the girl was beautiful, when the decree of the king was published, and many young women were brought to the city Susoi and put under the care of Gai, Esther also was brought to Gai the

9 keeper of the women. And the young woman pleased him and found favour in his sight, so that he hastened to give her the things for purification and the allotted portion; and seven waiting maids were assigned to her out of the king's house: and he treated her and her maids courteously in the house of

10 the women. Now Esther did not disclose her family, nor her

11 country ; for Mordecai had charged her not to tell. But Mordecai walked every day before the court of the womens' house to see what would happen to Esther.

12 Now the time for every young woman to go to the king was when she had compleated twelve months; for thus were the days of their purification fulfilled. Six months they were anointed with oil of myrrh, and six months with aromatics

13 and lotions used by women. Then she goeth into the king. The keeper is to deliver her to whomsoever the king order- eth to go with her from the womens' apartment to the king's

14 house. In the evening she goeth in, and in the morning goeth with all speed to the second house of the women, which is under the care of Gai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, and no more cometh to the king unless called for by

15 name. So when the time was fulfilled for Esther the daughter of Aminadab, Mordecai's uncle, to go to the king, she neglected nothing which the chamberlain the keeper of the women ordered her; for Esther found favour with all who saw her.

16 And Esther went in to Artaxerxes the king, in the twelfth month which is the month Adar in the seventh year of his

17 reign. And the king was enamoured of Esther, and she found

18 favour above all the virgins, so that he set the queen's crown on her head and made an entertainment for all his friends and potentates for seven days, and to celebrate the marriage of Esther he made a release to those under his government.

19 Now Mordecai performed service in the court, and Esther had not yet declared her family, for Mordecai having charged

20 her in this manner to fear God and execute his commands as when she was with him, Esther did not alter her conduct.

21 And two of the king's chamberlains, who were captains of his life guard, being displeased because Mordecai was promoted,

22 sought to kill king Artaxerxes. But the matter being made known to Mordecai, he informed Esther and she disclosed

23 the conspiracy to the king; whereupon the king having examined the chamberlains, caused them to be hanged, and ordered a record to be made in the royal library with an encomium on Mordecai's fidelity.

III. After these things king Artaxerxes honoured Hainan of

2 Amadathus the Bougaian, and promoted him, and seated him first of all his friends, so that all the court bowed down to him

3 for so the king had commanded to be done. But Mordecai did not bow down to him; whereupon they who were in the .king's court said to him, Mordecai, Why transgressest thou

4 the king's commands. And when they spoke to him daily and he hearkened not to them, they told Haman, that Mordecai disobeyed the king's commands. Now Mordecai had told

5 them that he was a Jew. So when Haman understood that

6 Mordecai did not bow down to him, he was greatly inflamed with wrath, and determined to destroy all the Jews throughout

7 the whole kingdom of Artaxerxes. And having drawn up a decree in the twelfth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, he cast lots for one day after another and for one month after another

8 so as to destroy the whole race of Mordecai in one day. And

the lot having fallen on the fourteenth day of the month Adar, he spoke to king Artaxerxes, saying, There is a nation scattered among the nations throughout thy whole kingdom, whose laws differ from all the nations. And as they disobey the king's laws and it is not expedient for the king to let them 9 alone ; if it seemeth good to the king, let him pass a decree to destroy them and I will subscribe ten thousand talents of sil-

10 ver to the king's treasury. Thereupon the king taking off his ring gave it to Haman to seal the writings against the Jews.

11 And the king said to Haman, Keep the money, and do with

12 the nation what thou pleasest. So the king's secretaries were convened on the thirteenth day of the first month, and they wrote as Haman directed to the generals and the governors hi every province, from India to Ethiopia a hundred and twenty seven provinces, and to the chiefs of the nations according to

13 their dialect in the name of king Artaxerxes, and the decree was despatched by posts throughout the whole kingdom of Artaxerxes, to destroy the race of the Jews on a certain day of the twelfth month which is Adar, and to make spoil of

14 their goods. And copies of the decree were to be sent through every province and all the nations were ordered to be ready

15 against that day. And when the business was despatched at Susoi, the king and Haman sat down to revel, but the city was struck with consternation.

IV.. Now when Mordecai knew what was done, he rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and strewed himself with ashes, and running through the street of the city,, he cried with a loud voice, A nation is to be cut off, which hath committed no

2 fault. But when he came to the king's gate, he stopped; for it was not lawful for him to enter the court in sackcloth and

3 ashes. And in every country where the writings were published there was a cry with lamentation and great grief among

4 the Jews, and they put on sackcloth and ashes. When the queen's maids and chamberlains came in and told her, she was troubled at the news, and sent to clothe Mordecai and to take away his sackcloth from him; but he would not be per-

5 suaded. Then Esther called Achrathaius her chamberlain, who attended her, and sent him to learn from Mordecai an ex-

7 act state of the matter. Whereupon Mordecai told him what was done and the promise which Haman had made to the king often thousand talents to the royal treasury, that he might de-

8 stroy the Jews; and he gave him a copy of the decree for their destruction, which was published among the Susians to shew it to Esther, and told him that he charged her to go in and supplicate the king and to entreat him for the people, calling to mind the days of thy humiliation when thou wast brought up by my bounty. Seeing Haman who is second to the king, hath spoken against us to destroy us, call thou upon the Lord

9 and speak to the king for us, to deliver us from death. Accord-

10 ingly Achrathaius went in and told her all these words. There- upon Esther said to him, Go to Mordecai and tell him, that all the

11 nations of the kingdom know, that no man or woman who shall go to the king into the inner court without being sent for, hath any security for life: he only can be saved to whom the king shall stretch forth the golden sceptre. Now I have not been

12 called to go to the king these thirty days. When Achrathaius delivered this message of Esther to Mordecai, Mordecai said

13 to him, Go say to her, Esther, do not flatter thyself that thou

14 alone of all the Jews in the kingdom shall escape. Be assured, that if thou neglectest the present opportunity, help and protection will come to the Jews from some other quarter; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed. Who knoweth but that

15 for this very occasion thou hast been made queen. Then. Esther sent back the messenger to Mordecai, saying, Go and assemble the Jews who are at Susoi and fast for me. You must neither eat nor drink for three days; night nor day; and as for me, I and my maids will fast likewise, and then I will go to the king contrary to law, though perhaps I must die.

17 So Mordecai went and did as Esther commanded him.

V. And on the third day Esther put on her royal apparel and stood in the inner court of the king's palace over against the king's house, when the king was sitting on his royal throne, in

2 the royal house, over against the gate. And when the king saw Esther standing in the court, she obtained favour in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre which was in his hand, and Esther drew near and touched the top of the

3 sceptre. And the king said, What would queen Esther? And what is thy petition? To the half of my kingdom it shall be granted i

4 thee. Thereupon Esther said, To-day is my set day, if therefore it seemeth good to the king, let him come with Haman to

5 the banquet which I will this day prepare. And the king said,

6 Call Haman quickly that we may do as Esther hath said. So they both went to the banquet which Esther had ordered. And at the banquet the king said to Esther,What would queen

7 Esther? Whatever thou askest shall be granted. To which she

8 replied, If I have found favour in the sight of the king, Let the king come again with Haman to-morrow to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and to-morrow I will make my

9 request and my petition. Then Haman went out from the king overjoyed and gladdened, but upon seeing Mordecai the Jew

10 in the court, he was inflamed with great indignation. So go-

11 ing home, he called his friends and his wife Zosara, and having displayed to them his riches and the honour which the king had conferred on him; how he had promoted him to the

12 highest rank and made him ruler of the kingdom, the queen, said he, invited none to the banquet with the king, but only

13 me : and to-morrow I am invited : but these things give me

14 no pleasure, when I see Mordecai the Jew in the court.There- upon Zosara his wife and his friends said to him, Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made for thee, and early in the morning speak to the king and let Mordecai be hanged thereon, then go to the banquet with the king and take thy fill of joy. And the thing pleased Haman. So the gallows was got ready.

VI. Now on that night the Lord removed sleep from the king, therefore he ordered his attendant to bring the book of daily

2 records, and read to him; and finding what was written concerning Mordecai, how he had informed the king of the king's two chamberlains, when they commanded the guard, and sought

3 to lay hands on Artaxerxes, the king said, What honour or favour did we confer on Mordecai ? To which the king's ser-

4 vants replied, Thou hast conferred none. And while the king was making inquiry concerning Mordecai's fidelity behold Haman was in the court. And the king said, Who is in the court ? Now Haman had come to speak to the king, that he might order Mordecai to be l\anged on the gallows which he had

5 prepared. So the king's servants said, Behold Haman is standing

6 in the court, and the king said, Call him in. And the king said

Vol. ir. R r

to Haman, What shall I do to the man whom I wish to honour? Upon this Haman said to himself, Whom doth the king wish

7 to honour but me ? So he said to the king, With regard to the

8 man whom the king wisheth to honour, Let the king's servants bring out the royal robes with which the king is arrayed, and

9 the horse on which the king rideth, and give them to one of the most honourable of the king's friends, and let him array the man whom the king loveth, and mount him on the horse, and make proclamation through the street of the city saying, Thus shall it be done to every man whom the king honoureth.

10 Then the king said to Haman, Thou hast spoken well, Do thou so to Mordecai the Jew, who is an attendant in the court. Let

11 nothing be omitted of what thou hast spoken. So Haman took the robe and the horse, and having arrayed Mordecai he mounted him on the horse, and went through the street of the city and made proclamation saying, Thus shall it be done to every

12 man whom the king wisheth to honour. Then Mordecai returned to the court, and Haman went home in grief with his

13 head covered. And when Haman told his wife and his friends all that had happened to him; his friends and his wife said, If Mordecai be of the race of the Jews thy humiliation before him is begun. Thou shalt continue falling and shalt not be able to

14 have thy revenge of him; for with him is the living God. And while they were speaking the chamberlains came to hasten Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

VII. And when the king came with Haman to banquet with

2 the queen, the king said to Esther the second day at the banquet, What is it queen Esther? What is thy request, and what thy petition? to the half of my kingdom it shall be granted

3 thee. Thereupon she in reply said, If I have found favour in the sight of the king, let my life be granted at my request, and my people at my petition; for I and my people are sold to be

v 4 destroyed. Had it been to be plundered and reduced to slavery—that we and our children should be bondmen and bondwomen, I would have dissembled hearing it, for the accuser

5 is not worthy of the king's court. And the king said, Who is he who hath dared to do such a thing ? To which Esther re-

6 plied, The adversary is Haman, this bad man. At this Haman was struck with consternation for fear of the king and the queen. «

7 Then the king rising from the banquet went into the garden, and Haman supplicated the queen, for he saw himself in a des-

8 perate situation. And on the king's returning out of the garden as Haman had prostrated himself on the sopha to supplicate the queen, the king said, What! would he ofter violence to my wife in my house ? Upon hearing this Haman was con-

9 founded. Then Bugathan one of the chamberlains said to the king, Behold Haman hath prepared a gallows for Mordecai who spoke for the king. There is at Hainan's house a gallows actually erected fifty cubits high. Thereupon the king said, Let

10 him be hanged thereon. So Haman was hanged on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king's anger was

VIII. appeased. And on that same day the king made a present to Esther of all that belonged to Haman the accuser. And the king sent for Mordecai; (for Esther told him that he was

2 her kinsman;) and the king took the ring which he had taken back from Haman and gave it to Mordecai, and Esther set him

3 over all that belonged to Haman. Then she spoke to the king again and fell at his feet and besought him to avert the mischief of Haman, and what he had devised against the Jews.

4 And when the king stretched forth the golden sceptre to Esther,

5 she arose and stood near the king and said, If it seemeth good to thee, and I have found favour, let despatches be sent to reverse the letters sent by Haman, which were written to destroy

6 the Jews who are in thy kingdom. For how can I see the calamity of my people ? or how can I survive the destruction of

7 my kindred? Thereupon the king said to Esther, If I have given thee all the substance of Haman; and to gratify thee have caused him to be hanged on a gallows, because he laid his

8 hands on the Jews, what more dost thou desire ? Write ye yourselves what you please in my name, and seal it with my ring. For what is written by the king's order, and sealed with my ring cannot be reversed.

9 So the secretaries were convened in the first month which is Nisan, on the three and twentieth day thereof in the same year, and a letter was written to the Jews reciting all that had been given in charge to the lieutenants and to the chief governors of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, a hundred and twenty seven provinces, to every province as they could read

10 it, then it was written by the king's command and sealed with his ring, (and these letters were sent by posts) that he ordered

11 them to use their own laws in every city, and to assist each

12 other, and to use their adversaries, and them who assaulted them as they pleased, on a certain day, the thirteenth of the twelfth month Adar, throughout the whole kingdom of

13 Artaxerxes—that these subsequent writings were to counterbalance the former letter; and that these counterbalancing writings should be exposed to publick view throughout the whole kingdom, that the Jews might be ready against

14 that day to combat their adversaries. So the horsemen set out

15 in all haste to execute the king's orders. And when the decree was published at Susoi, Mordecai went forth, arrayed in a royal robe, wearing a crown of gold and a turban of purple

16 cotton. And upon seeing him the inhabitants of Susoi rejoiced.

17 And among the Jews, there was light and joy in every city and province where the decree was published. Wherever proclamation was made, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, feasting and mirth; so that many of the nations were circum-

IX. cised and became Jews, for fear of the Jews. For in the twelfth month, on the thirteenth of the month Adar, the letters of the king having arrived, they who assaulted the Jews on

3 that day were destroyed. For none withstood them and the terror of them continued; for the great lords and petty princes, and the king's secretaries, honoured the Jews; for the dread of

4 Mordecai fell upon them; for the decree of the king had caused his name to be known throughout the whole kingdom.

6 Now in the city Susoi, the Jews slew five hundred men, including Pharsanes and Delphon, and Phasga and Pharadatha, and Barea and Sarbaka, and Marmasima and Ruphaias, and Arsaius and Zabuthaias, the ten sons of Hainan of Amadathu

11 the Bugaian, the enemy of the Jews, and rifled them. On that very day, when a return was made to the .king of the number

12 slain at Susoi, the king said to Esther, The Jews have slain in the city Susoi five hundred men, how then, thinkest thou, have they behaved in the rest of the kingdom ! What there- fore dost thou request farther, and it shall be granted thee ?

13 Thereupon Esther said to the king, Let the Jews be allowed to use to-morrow in like manner, that they may hang up the

14 ten sons of Haman. Accordingly he granted them leave to do

so, and ordered the bodies of the ten sons of Haman, to be

15 thrown out to.the Jews to be hanged up. So the Jews at Susoi assembled on the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men, but took no spoil.

16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the kingdom, assembled and assisted each other, and had rest from their enemies, for they slew fifteen thousand of them on the thirteenth of the

17 month Adar, but took no spoil. And having rested on the fourteenth of the month, they kept it as a day of rest with joy

18 and gladness. But the Jews of Susoi having assembled on the fourteenth and then rested, kept the fifteenth with joy and glad-

19 ness. Therefore because the Jews, who were scattered through all the distant provinces, keep the fourteenth of the month Adar, as a holy day, with joy, sending portions to one another, Mordecai wrote an account of these matters in a book, and sent it to all the Jews who were in the kingdom of Artaxerxes

21 far and near, to set apart as holy days and to keep both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of the month Adar, for in those

22 days the Jews had rest from their enemies: And with regard to the month Adar, in which they had a change from grief to joy and from sorrow to gladness, to keep the whole month as good days of weddings and joy, sending portions to their

23 friends and to the poor. And the Jews took this upon them.

24 As Mordecai wrote to them how Haman of Amadathu, the

25 Macedonian, warred against them—as he made calculations and cast lots to destroy them, and as he went to the king with an intention to hang Mordecai, but all the evils he endeavoured to bring on the Jews, fell upon himself, and he and his sons were

26 hanged; therefore these days were called Phrouri, because of the lots, which in their language are called Phrouri. On the account of the things contained in that letter and of all that they suffered in consequence thereof, and all that happened to

27 them, as he instituted, so the Jews took upon themselves and their posterity, and upon all that joined them, never to use them in any other manner. Therefore let these days be a lasting memorial from generation to generation, in every city,

28 country and province; and let these days of Phrouri be kept forever; and let the memorial of them never perish from among their generations.

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Aminadab, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote all that they did, and a confirmation

30 of the letter respecting the Phrouri, which Mordecai and Esther the queen enjoined on themselves, to their own prejudice, having at that time established their counsel against

31 their health. Thus did Esther actually establish it, and it was written to be kept in remembrance.

X. - Then the king laid a tribute upon the dominion both of the

2 land and the sea. But with regard to his power and his valour and the riches and the glory of his kingdom, behold they are written in the book of the kings of the Persians and the Medes

3 to be kept in remembrance. Now Mordecai was viceroy of king Artaxerxes, and was great in the kingdom, and being honoured by the Jews and beloved, he enforced the observance of their religion on all his nation.