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Esther (The Greek Version Containing the Additional Chapters): Chapter 16

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a Chapter 16.1–24 corresponds to chapter E 1–24 in some translations. 1The following is a copy of this letter:

“The Great King, Artaxerxes, to the governors of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, and to those who are loyal to our government, greetings.

2“Many people, the more they are honored with the most generous kindness of their benefactors, the more proud do they become, 3and not only seek to injure our subjects, but in their inability to stand prosperity, they even undertake to scheme against their own benefactors. 4They not only take away thankfulness from others, but, carried away by the boasts of those who know nothing of goodness, they even assume that they will escape the evil-hating justice of God, who always sees everything. 5And 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 public affairs, 6when these persons by the false trickery of their evil natures beguile the sincere goodwill of their sovereigns.

7“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 that we hand on, as from investigation of matters close at hand. b Gk matters beside (your) feet 8In the future we will take care to render our kingdom quiet and peaceable for all, 9by changing our methods and always judging what comes before our eyes with more equitable consideration. 10For Haman son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian (really an alien to the Persian blood, and quite devoid of our kindliness), having become our guest, 11enjoyed so fully the goodwill 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. 12But, unable to restrain his arrogance, he undertook to deprive us of our kingdom and our life, c Gk our spirit 13and 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 nation. 14He thought that by these methods he would catch us undefended and would transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedonians.

15“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 laws 16and are children of the living God, most high, most mighty, d Gk greatest who has directed the kingdom both for us and for our ancestors in the most excellent order.

17“You will therefore do well not to put in execution the letters sent by Haman son of Hammedatha, 18since he, the one 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 that he deserved.

19“Therefore post a copy of this letter publicly in every place, and permit the Jews to live under their own laws. 20And 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 oppression. 21For God, who rules over all things, has made this day to be a joy for his chosen people instead of a day of destruction for them.

22“Therefore you shall observe this with all good cheer as a notable day among your commemorative festivals, 23so that both now and hereafter it may represent deliverance for you e Other ancient authorities read for us and the loyal Persians, but that it may be a reminder of destruction for those who plot against us.

24“Every city and country, without exception, that does not act accordingly shall be destroyed in wrath with spear and fire. It shall be made not only impassable for human beings, but also most hateful to wild animals and birds for all time.

END OF ADDITION E

Notes:

a Chapter 16.1–24 corresponds to chapter E 1–24 in some translations.

b Gk matters beside (your) feet

c Gk our spirit

d Gk greatest

e Other ancient authorities read for us

Text Commentary view alone

16.1–24 :

The text of the edict. Since Esther was given authority to draft the edict ( 8.8 ), the lavish praise of the king may be Esther's strategic stroking of the king's ego rather than his own boasting.

5–9 :

The king accepts responsibility only for being insufficiently careful about his “friends.”

10 :

Haman is revealed as a Macedonian, not really a Persian. Alexander the Great, who overthrew the Persian empire, was Macedonian, suggesting a political motive for Haman's plot.

15 :

The very laws that were seen as problematic in 13.4 are here lauded as righteous.

16 :

Elsewhere in the Bible foreign rulers appeal to the God of Israel (Ezra 1.2 ).

17 :

The king advises people not to observe the letters sent by Haman, though they came in his own name (ch. 13 ).

24 :

The threat of uninhabitable land, even hateful to wild animals, is a common curse in the ancient Near East.

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