Mordacai, a Jew
who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was taken into
exile, along with King Johiachin of Judah, when King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia captured Jerusalem. Mordecai
was the son of Jair, a descendant of Kisj and Shimei. He
now lived in the Persian city of Susa, where he was an
important official in the royal court of Xerxes the
 In the second year of the reign of Artaxerxes
the Great, on the first day of Nisan, Mordecai the son
of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, of the tribe of
Benjamin, had a dream.
 He was a Jew, dwelling in the city of Susa, a
great man, serving in the court of the king.
 He was one of the captives whom
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had brought from
Jerusalem with Jeconiah king of Judea. And this was his
 Behold, noise and confusion, thunders and
earthquake, tumult upon the earth!
 And behold, two great dragons came forward,
both ready to fight, and they roared terribly.
 And at their roaring every nation prepared
for war, to fight against the nation of the righteous.
 And behold, a day of darkness and gloom,
tribulation and distress, affliction and great tumult
upon the earth!
 And the whole righteous nation was troubled;
they feared the evils that threatened them, and were
ready to perish.
 Then they cried to God; and from their cry,
as though from a tiny spring, there came a great river,
with abundant water;
 light came, and the sun rose, and the lowly
were exalted and consumed those held in honor.
 Mordecai saw in this dream what God had
determined to do, and after he awoke he had it on his
mind and sought all day to understand it in every
 Now Mordecai
took his rest in the courtyard with Gabatha and Tharra,
the two eunuchs of the king who kept watch in the
 He overheard their conversation and inquired
into their purposes, and learned that they were
preparing to lay hands upon Artaxerxes the king; and he
informed the king concerning them.
 Then the king examined the two eunuchs, and
when they confessed they were led to execution.
 The king made a permanent record of these
things, and Mordecai wrote an account of them.
 And the king ordered Mordecai to serve in the
court and rewarded him for these things.
 But Haman, the son of Hammedatha, a Bougaean,
was in great honor with the king, and he sought to
injure Mordecai and his people because of the two
eunuchs of the king.
 This is a copy
of the letter: "The Great King, Artaxerxes, to the
rulers of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from
India to Ethiopia and to the governors under them,
 "Having become ruler of many nations and
master of the whole world, not elated with presumption
of authority but always acting reasonably and with
kindness, I have determined to settle the lives of my
subjects in lasting tranquillity and, in order to make
my kingdom peaceable and open to travel throughout all
its extent, to re-establish the peace which all men
 "When I asked my counselors how this
might be accomplished, Haman, who excels among us in
sound judgment, and is distinguished for his unchanging
good will and steadfast fidelity, and has attained the
second place in the kingdom,
 pointed out to us that among all the nations
in the world there is scattered a certain hostile
people, who have laws contrary to those of every nation
and continually disregard the ordinances of the kings,
so that the unifying of the kingdom which we honorably
intend cannot be brought about.
 We understand that this people, and it alone,
stands constantly in opposition to all men, perversely
following a strange manner of life and laws, and is
ill-disposed to our government, doing all the harm they
can so that our kingdom may not attain stability.
 "Therefore we have decreed that those
indicated to you in the letters of Haman, who is in
charge of affairs and is our second father, shall all,
with their wives and children, be utterly destroyed by
the sword of their enemies, without pity or mercy, on
the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this
 so that those who have long been and are now
hostile may in one day go down in violence to Hades, and
leave our government completely secure and untroubled
 Then Mordecai prayed to the Lord, calling to
remembrance all the works of the Lord. He said:
 "O Lord, Lord, King who rulest over all
things, for the universe is in thy power and there is no
one who can oppose thee if it is thy will to save
 For thou hast made heaven and earth and
every wonderful thing under heaven,
 and thou art Lord of all, and there is no
one who can resist thee, who art the Lord.
 Thou knowest all things; thou knowest, O
Lord, that it was not in insolence or pride or for any
love of glory that I did this, and refused to bow down
to this proud Haman.
 For I would have been willing to kiss the
soles of his feet, to save Israel!
 But I did this, that I might not set the
glory of man above the glory of God, and I will not bow
down to any one but to thee, who art my Lord; and I will
not do these things in pride.
 And now, O Lord God and King, God of
Abraham, spare thy people; for the eyes of our foes are
upon us to annihilate us, and they desire to destroy the
inheritance that has been thine from the beginning.
 Do not neglect thy portion, which thou didst
redeem for thyself out of the land of Egypt.
 Hear my prayer, and have mercy upon thy
inheritance turn our mourning into feasting, that we may
live and sing praise to thy name, O Lord; do not destroy
the mouth of those who praise thee."
 And all Israel cried out mightily, for their
death was before their eyes.
 And Esther the
queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord;
 she took off her splendid apparel and put on
the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of
costly perfumes she covered her head with ashes and
dung, and she utterly humbled her body, and every part
that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled
 And she prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and
said: Lord, thou only art our King; help me, who am
alone and have no helper but thee,
 for my danger is in my hand.
 Ever since I was born I have heard in the
tribe of my family that thou, O Lord, didst take Israel
out of all the nations, and our fathers from among all
their ancestors, for an everlasting inheritance, and
that thou didst do for them all that thou didst promise.
 And now we have sinned before thee, and thou
hast given us into the hands of our enemies,
 because we glorified their gods. Thou art
righteous, O Lord!
 And now they are not satisfied that we are in
bitter slavery, but they have covenanted with their
 to abolish what thy mouth has ordained and to
destroy thy inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who
praise thee and to quench thy altar and the glory of thy
 to open the mouths of the nations for the
praise of vain idols, and to magnify for ever a mortal
 O Lord, do not surrender thy scepter to what
has no being; and do not let them mock at our downfall;
but turn their plan against themselves, and make an
example of the man who began this against us.
 Remember, O Lord; make thyself known in this
time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of
the gods and Master of all dominion!
 Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the
lion, and turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting
against us, so that there may be an end of him and those
who agree with him.
 But save us by thy hand, and help me, who am
alone and have no helper but thee, O Lord.
 Thou hast knowledge of all things; and thou
knowest that I hate the splendor of the wicked and abhor
the bed of the uncircumcised and of any alien.
 Thou knowest my necessity -- that I abhor
the sign of my proud position, which is upon my head on
the days when I appear in public. I abhor it like a
menstruous rag, and I do not wear it on the days when I
am at leisure.
 And thy servant has not eaten at Haman's
table, and I have not honored the king's feast or drunk
the wine of the libations.
 Thy servant has had no joy since the day
that I was brought here until now, except in thee, O
Lord God of Abraham.
 O God, whose might is over all, hear the
voice of the despairing, and save us from the hands of
evildoers. And save me from my fear!"
 On the third
day, when she ended her prayer, she took off the
garments in which she had worshiped, and arrayed herself
in splendid attire.
 Then, majestically adorned, after invoking
the aid of the all-seeing God and Savior, she took her
two maids with her,
 leaning daintily on one,
 while the other followed carrying her train.
 She was radiant with perfect beauty, and she
looked happy, as if beloved, but her heart was frozen
 When she had gone through all the doors, she
stood before the king. He was seated on his royal
throne, clothed in the full array of his majesty, all
covered with gold and precious stones. And he was most
 Lifting his face, flushed with splendor, he
looked at her in fierce anger. And the queen faltered,
and turned pale and faint, and collapsed upon the head
of the maid who went before her.
 Then God changed the spirit of the king to
gentleness, and in alarm he sprang from his throne and
took her in his arms until she came to herself. And he
comforted her with soothing words, and said to her,
 "What is it, Esther? I am your brother.
 you shall not die, for our law applies only
to the people. Come near."
 Then he raised the golden scepter and
touched it to her neck;
 and he embraced her, and said, "Speak
 And she said to him, "I saw you, my
lord, like an angel of God and my heart was shaken with
fear at your glory.
 For you are wonderful, my lord, and your
countenance is full of grace."
 But as she was speaking, she fell fainting.
 And the king was agitated, and all his
servants sought to comfort her.
 The following is
a copy of this letter: "The Great King, Artaxerxes,
to the rulers of the provinces from India to Ethiopia,
one hundred and twenty-seven satrapies, and to those who
are loyal to our government, greeting.
 "The more often they are honored by the
too great kindness of their benefactors, the more proud
do many men become.
 They not only seek to injure our subjects,
but in their inability to stand prosperity they even
undertake to scheme against their own benefactors.
 They not only take away thankfulness from
among men, but, carried away by the boasts of those who
know nothing of goodness, they suppose that they will
escape the evil-hating justice of God, who always sees
 And often many of those who are set in places
of authority have been made in part responsible for the
shedding of innocent blood, and have been involved in
irremediable calamities, by the persuasion of friends
who have been entrusted with the administration of
 when these men by the false trickery of their
evil natures beguile the sincere good will of their
 "What has been wickedly accomplished
through the pestilent behavior of those who exercise
authority unworthily, can be seen not so much from the
more ancient records which we hand on as from
investigation of matters close at hand.
 For the future we will take care to render
our kingdom quiet and peaceable for all men,
 by changing our methods and always judging
what comes before our eyes with more equitable
 For Haman, the son of Hammedatha, a
Macedonian (really an alien to the Persian blood, and
quite devoid of our kindliness), having become our
 so far enjoyed the good will that we have
for every nation that he was called our father and was
continually bowed down to by all as the person second to
the royal throne.
 But, unable to restrain his arrogance, he
undertook to deprive us of our kingdom and our life,
 and with intricate craft and deceit asked
for the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and
perpetual benefactor, and of Esther, the blameless
partner of our kingdom, together with their whole
 He thought that in this way he would find us
undefended and would transfer the kingdom of the
Persians to the Macedonians.
 "But we find that the Jews, who were
consigned to annihilation by this thrice accursed man,
are not evildoers but are governed by most righteous
 and are sons of the Most High, the most
mighty living God, who has directed the kingdom both for
us and for our fathers in the most excellent order.
 "You will therefore do well not to put
in execution the letters sent by Haman the son of
 because the man himself who did these things
has been hanged at the gate of Susa, with all his
household. For God, who rules over all things, has
speedily inflicted on him the punishment he deserved.
 "Therefore post a copy of this letter
publicly in every place, and permit the Jews to live
under their own laws.
 And give them reinforcements, so that on the
thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, on that very
day they may defend themselves against those who attack
them at the time of their affliction.
 For God, who rules over all things, has made
this day to be a joy to his chosen people instead of a
day of destruction for them.
 "Therefore you shall observe this with
all good cheer as a notable day among your commemorative
 so that both now and hereafter it may mean
salvation for us and the loyal Persians, but that for
those who plot against us it may be a reminder of
 "Every city and country, without
exception, which does not act accordingly, shall be
destroyed in wrath with spear and fire. It shall be made
not only impassable for men, but also most hateful for
all time to beasts and birds."
 And Mordecai
said, "These things have come from God.
 For I remember the dream that I had
concerning these matters, and none of them has failed to
 The tiny spring which became a river, and
there was light and the sun and abundant water -- the
river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen.
 The two dragons are Haman and myself.
 The nations are those that gathered to
destroy the name of the Jews.
 And my nation, this is Israel, who cried out
to God and were saved. The Lord has saved his people;
the Lord has delivered us from all these evils; God has
done great signs and wonders, which have not occurred
among the nations.
 For this purpose he made two lots, one for
the people of God and one for all the nations.
 And these two lots came to the hour and
moment and day of decision before God and among all the
 And God remembered his people and vindicated
 So they will observe these days in the month
of Adar, on the fourteenth and fifteenth of that month,
with an assembly and joy and gladness before God, from
generation to generation for ever among his people
 In the fourth
year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus,
who said that he was a priest and a Levite, and Ptolemy
his son brought to Egypt the preceeding Letter of Purim,
which they said was genuine and had been translated by
Lysimachus the son of Ptolemy, one of the residents of