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additions to Esther


(The Greek Version Containing the Additional Chapters)

Addition A

Mordecai’s Dream

11*2In the second year of the reign of Artaxerxes the Great, on the first day of Nisan, Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei* son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, had a dream. 3He was a Jew living in the city of Susa, a great man, serving in the court of the king. 4He was one of the captives whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had brought from Jerusalem with King Jeconiah of Judea. And this was his dream: 5Noises* and confusion, thunders and earthquake, tumult on the earth! 6Then two great dragons came forward, both ready to fight, and they roared terribly. 7At their roaring every nation prepared for war, to fight against the righteous nation. 8It was a day of darkness and gloom, of tribulation and distress, affliction and great tumult on the earth! 9And the whole righteous nation was troubled; they feared the evils that threatened them,* and were ready to perish. 10Then they cried out to God; and at their outcry, as though from a tiny spring, there came a great river, with abundant water; 11light came, and the sun rose, and the lowly were exalted and devoured those held in honour.

12 Mordecai saw in this dream what God had determined to do, and after he awoke he had it on his mind, seeking all day to understand it in every detail.

A Plot against the King

12Now Mordecai took his rest in the courtyard with Gabatha and Tharra, the two eunuchs of the king who kept watch in the courtyard. 2He overheard their conversation and inquired into their purposes, and learned that they were preparing to lay hands on King Artaxerxes; and he informed the king concerning them. 3Then the king examined the two eunuchs, and after they had confessed it, they were led away to execution. 4The king made a permanent record of these things, and Mordecai wrote an account of them. 5And the king ordered Mordecai to serve in the court, and rewarded him for these things. 6But Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougean, who was held in great honour by the king, determined to injure Mordecai and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king.

End of Addition A

Artaxerxes’ Banquet

1It was after this that the following things happened in the days of Artaxerxes, the same Artaxerxes who ruled over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia.* 2In those days, when King Artaxerxes was enthroned in the city of Susa, 3in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for his Friends and other persons of various nations, the Persians and Median nobles, and the governors of the provinces. 4After this, when he had displayed to them the riches of his kingdom and the splendour of his bountiful celebration during the course of one hundred and eighty days, 5at the end of the festivity* the king gave a drinking-party for the people of various nations who lived in the city. This was held for six days in the courtyard of the royal palace, 6which was adorned with curtains of fine linen and cotton, held by cords of purple linen attached to gold and silver blocks on pillars of marble and other stones. Gold and silver couches were placed on a mosaic floor of emerald, mother-of-pearl, and marble. There were coverings of gauze, embroidered in various colours, with roses arranged around them. 7The cups were of gold and silver, and a miniature cup was displayed, made of ruby, worth thirty thousand talents. There was abundant sweet wine, such as the king himself drank. 8The drinking was not according to a fixed rule; but the king wished to have it so, and he commanded his stewards to comply with his pleasure and with that of the guests.

Meanwhile, Queen Vashti* gave a drinking-party for the women in the palace where King Artaxerxes was.

Dismissal of Queen Vashti

10 On the seventh day, when the king was in good humour, he told Haman, Bazan, Tharra, Boraze, Zatholtha, Abataza, and Tharaba, the seven eunuchs who served King Artaxerxes, 11to escort the queen to him in order to proclaim her as queen and to place the diadem on her head, and to have her display her beauty to all the governors and the people of various nations, for she was indeed a beautiful woman. 12But Queen Vashti* refused to obey him and would not come with the eunuchs. This offended the king and he became furious. 13He said to his Friends, ‘This is how Vashti* has answered me.* Give therefore your ruling and judgement on this matter.’ 14Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, then the governors of the Persians and Medes who were closest to the king—Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, who sat beside him in the chief seats—came to him 15and told him what must be done to Queen Vashti* for not obeying the order that the king had sent her by the eunuchs. 16Then Muchaeus said to the king and the governors, ‘Queen Vashti* has insulted not only the king but also all the king’s governors and officials’ 17(for he had reported to them what the queen had said and how she had defied the king). ‘And just as she defied King Artaxerxes, 18so now the other ladies who are wives of the Persian and Median governors, on hearing what she has said to the king, will likewise dare to insult their husbands. 19If therefore it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree, inscribed in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians so that it may not be altered, that the queen may no longer come into his presence; but let the king give her royal rank to a woman better than she. 20Let whatever law the king enacts be proclaimed in his kingdom, and thus all women will give honour to their husbands, rich and poor alike.’ 21This speech pleased the king and the governors, and the king did as Muchaeus had recommended. 22The king sent the decree into all his kingdom, to every province in its own language, so that in every house respect would be shown to every husband.

Esther Becomes Queen

2After these things, the king’s anger abated, and he no longer was concerned about Vashti* or remembered what he had said and how he had condemned her. 2Then the king’s servants said, ‘Let beautiful and virtuous girls be sought out for the king. 3The king shall appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and they shall select beautiful young virgins to be brought to the harem in Susa, the capital. Let them be entrusted to the king’s eunuch who is in charge of the women, and let ointments and whatever else they need be given them. 4And the woman who pleases the king shall be queen instead of Vashti.’* This pleased the king, and he did so.

Now there was a Jew in Susa the capital whose name was Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei* son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin; 6he had been taken captive from Jerusalem among those whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had captured. 7And he had a foster-child, the daughter of his father’s brother Aminadab, and her name was Esther. When her parents died, he brought her up to womanhood as his own child. The girl was beautiful in appearance. 8So, when the decree of the king was proclaimed, and many girls were gathered in Susa the capital in the custody of Gai, Esther also was brought to Gai, who had custody of the women. 9The girl pleased him and won his favour, and he quickly provided her with ointments and her portion of food,* as well as seven maids chosen from the palace; he treated her and her maids with special favour in the harem. 10Now Esther had not disclosed her people or country, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. 11And every day Mordecai walked in the courtyard of the harem, to see what would happen to Esther.

12 Now the period after which a girl was to go to the king was twelve months. During this time the days of beautification are completed—six months while they are anointing themselves with oil of myrrh, and six months with spices and ointments for women. 13Then she goes in to the king; she is handed to the person appointed, and goes with him from the harem to the king’s palace. 14In the evening she enters and in the morning she departs to the second harem, where Gai the king’s eunuch is in charge of the women; and she does not go in to the king again unless she is summoned by name.

15 When the time was fulfilled for Esther daughter of Aminadab, the brother of Mordecai’s father, to go in to the king, she neglected none of the things that Gai, the eunuch in charge of the women, had commanded. Now Esther found favour in the eyes of all who saw her. 16So Esther went in to King Artaxerxes in the twelfth month, which is Adar, in the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther and she found favour beyond all the other virgins, so he put on her the queen’s diadem. 18Then the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all his Friends and the officers, to celebrate his marriage to Esther; and he granted a remission of taxes to those who were under his rule.

The Plot Discovered

19 Meanwhile, Mordecai was serving in the courtyard. 20Esther had not disclosed her country—such were the instructions of Mordecai; but she was to fear God and keep his laws, just as she had done when she was with him. So Esther did not change her mode of life.

21 Now the king’s eunuchs, who were chief bodyguards, were angry because of Mordecai’s advancement, and they plotted to kill King Artaxerxes. 22The matter became known to Mordecai, and he warned Esther, who in turn revealed the plot to the king. 23He investigated the two eunuchs and hanged them. Then the king ordered a memorandum to be deposited in the royal library in praise of the goodwill shown by Mordecai.

Mordecai Refuses to Do Obeisance

3After these events King Artaxerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougean, advancing him and granting him precedence over all the king’s* Friends. 2So all who were at court used to do obeisance to Haman,* for so the king had commanded to be done. Mordecai, however, did not do obeisance. 3Then the king’s courtiers said to Mordecai, ‘Mordecai, why do you disobey the king’s command?’ 4Day after day they spoke to him, but he would not listen to them. Then they informed Haman that Mordecai was resisting the king’s command. Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. 5So when Haman learned that Mordecai was not doing obeisance to him, he became furiously angry, 6and plotted to destroy all the Jews under Artaxerxes’ rule.

In the twelfth year of King Artaxerxes Haman* came to a decision by casting lots, taking the days and the months one by one, to fix on one day to destroy the whole race of Mordecai. The lot fell on the fourteenth* day of the month of Adar.

Decree against the Jews

Then Haman* said to King Artaxerxes, ‘There is a certain nation scattered among the other nations in all your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other nation, and they do not keep the laws of the king. It is not expedient for the king to tolerate them. 9If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they are to be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king’s treasury.’ 10So the king took off his signet ring and gave it to Haman to seal the decree* that was to be written against the Jews. 11The king told Haman, ‘Keep the money, and do whatever you want with that nation.’

12 So on the thirteenth day of the first month the king’s secretaries were summoned, and in accordance with Haman’s instructions they wrote in the name of King Artaxerxes to the magistrates and the governors in every province from India to Ethiopia. There were one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, and the governors were addressed each in his own language. 13Instructions were sent by couriers throughout all the empire of Artaxerxes to destroy the Jewish people on a given day of the twelfth month, which is Adar, and to plunder their goods.

Addition B

The King’s Letter

13*This is a copy of the letter: ‘The Great King, Artaxerxes, writes the following to the governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia and to the officials 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 restore the peace desired by all people.

‘When I asked my counsellors how this might be accomplished, Haman—who excels among us in sound judgement, and is distinguished for his unchanging goodwill and steadfast fidelity, and has attained the second place in the kingdom— 4pointed 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 kings, so that the unifying of the kingdom that we honourably intend cannot be brought about. 5We understand that this people, and it alone, stands constantly in opposition to every nation, 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 written by Haman, who is in charge of affairs and is our second father, shall all—wives and children included—be utterly destroyed by the swords of their enemies, without pity or restraint, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year, 7so that those who have long been hostile and remain so may in a single day go down in violence to Hades, and leave our government completely secure and untroubled hereafter.’

End of Addition B

314Copies of the document were posted in every province, and all the nations were ordered to be prepared for that day. 15The matter was expedited also in Susa. And while the king and Haman caroused together, the city of Susa* was thrown into confusion.

Mordecai Seeks Esther’s Aid

4When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled himself with ashes; then he rushed through the street of the city, shouting loudly: ‘An innocent nation is being destroyed!’ 2He got as far as the king’s gate, and there he stopped, because no one was allowed to enter the courtyard clothed in sackcloth and ashes. 3And in every province where the king’s proclamation had been posted there was a loud cry of mourning and lamentation among the Jews, and they put on sackcloth and ashes. 4When the queen’s* maids and eunuchs came and told her, she was deeply troubled by what she heard had happened, and sent some clothes to Mordecai to put on instead of sackcloth; but he would not consent. 5Then Esther summoned Hachratheus, the eunuch who attended her, and ordered him to get accurate information for her from Mordecai.*

So Mordecai told him what had happened and how Haman had promised to pay ten thousand talents into the royal treasury to bring about the destruction of the Jews. 8He also gave him a copy of what had been posted in Susa for their destruction, to show to Esther; and he told him to charge her to go in to the king and plead for his favour on behalf of the people. ‘Remember’, he said, ‘the days when you were an ordinary person, being brought up under my care—for Haman, who stands next to the king, has spoken against us and demands our death. Call upon the Lord; then speak to the king on our behalf, and save us from death.’

Hachratheus went in and told Esther all these things. 10And she said to him, ‘Go to Mordecai and say, 11“All nations of the empire know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is no escape for that person. Only the one to whom the king stretches out the golden sceptre is safe—and it is now thirty days since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Hachratheus delivered her entire message to Mordecai, 13Mordecai told him to go back and say to her, ‘Esther, do not say to yourself that you alone among all the Jews will escape alive. 14For if you keep quiet at such a time as this, help and protection will come to the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Yet, who knows whether it was not for such a time as this that you were made queen?’ 15Then Esther gave the messenger this answer to take back to Mordecai: 16‘Go and gather all the Jews who are in Susa and fast on my behalf; for three days and nights do not eat or drink, and my maids and I will also go without food. After that I will go to the king, contrary to the law, even if I must die.’ 17So Mordecai went away and did what Esther had told him to do.

Addition C

Mordecai’s Prayer

138*Then Mordecai* prayed to the Lord, calling to remembrance all the works of the Lord.

He said, ‘O Lord, Lord, you rule as King over all things, for the universe is in your power and there is no one who can oppose you when it is your will to save Israel, 10for you have made heaven and earth and every wonderful thing under heaven. 11You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can resist you, the Lord. 12You know all things; you know, 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; 13for I would have been willing to kiss the soles of his feet to save Israel! 14But I did this so that I might not set human glory above the glory of God, and I will not bow down to anyone but you, who are my Lord; and I will not do these things in pride. 15And now, O Lord God and King, God of Abraham, spare your people; for the eyes of our foes are upon us* to annihilate us, and they desire to destroy the inheritance that has been yours from the beginning. 16Do not neglect your portion, which you redeemed for yourself out of the land of Egypt. 17Hear my prayer, and have mercy upon your inheritance; turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live and sing praise to your name, O Lord; do not destroy the lips* of those who praise you.’

18 And all Israel cried out mightily, for their death was before their eyes.

Esther’s Prayer

14Then Queen Esther, seized with deadly anxiety, fled to the Lord. 2She 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; every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. 3She prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and said: ‘O my Lord, you only are our king; help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, 4for my danger is in my hand. 5Ever since I was born I have heard in the tribe of my family that you, O Lord, took Israel out of all the nations, and our ancestors from among all their forebears, for an everlasting inheritance, and that you did for them all that you promised. 6And now we have sinned before you, and you have handed us over to our enemies 7because we glorified their gods. You are righteous, O Lord! 8And now they are not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they have covenanted with their idols 9to abolish what your mouth has ordained, and to destroy your inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to quench your altar and the glory of your house, 10to open the mouths of the nations for the praise of vain idols, and to magnify for ever a mortal king.

11 ‘O Lord, do not surrender your sceptre to what has no being; and do not let them laugh at our downfall; but turn their plan against them, and make an example of him who began this against us. 12Remember, O Lord; make yourself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! 13Put 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. 14But save us by your hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, O Lord. 15You have knowledge of all things, and you know that I hate the splendour of the wicked and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any alien. 16You know my necessity—that I abhor the sign of my proud position, which is upon my head on days when I appear in public. I abhor it like a filthy rag, and I do not wear it on the days when I am at leisure. 17And your servant has not eaten at Haman’s table, and I have not honoured the king’s feast or drunk the wine of libations. 18Your servant has had no joy since the day that I was brought here until now, except in you, O Lord God of Abraham. 19O 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!’

End of Addition C

Addition D

Esther Is Received by the King

15On the third day, when she ended her prayer, she took off the garments in which she had worshipped, and arrayed herself in splendid attire. 2Then, majestically adorned, after invoking the aid of the all-seeing God and Saviour, she took two maids with her; 3on one she leaned gently for support, 4while the other followed, carrying her train.

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