Esther 3
Contemporary English Version

Haman Plans To Destroy the Jews

1Later, King Xerxes promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha to the highest position in his kingdom. Haman was a descendant of Agag,+ 2and the king had given orders for his officials at the royal gate to honor Haman by kneeling down to him. All of them obeyed except Mordecai. 3When the other officials asked Mordecai why he disobeyed the king's command, 4he said, “Because I am a Jew.” They spoke to him for several days about kneeling down, but he still refused to obey. Finally, they reported this to Haman, to find out if he would let Mordecai get away with it.

5Haman was furious to learn that Mordecai refused to kneel down and honor him. 6And when he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he knew that killing only Mordecai was not enough. Every Jew in the whole kingdom had to be killed.

7It was now the twelfth year of the rule of King Xerxes. During Nisan,+ the first month of the year, Haman said, “Find out the best time for me to do this.”+ The time chosen was Adar,+ the twelfth month.

8 Then Haman went to the king and said:

Your Majesty, there are some people who live all over your kingdom and won't have a thing to do with anyone else. They have customs that are different from everyone else's, and they refuse to obey your laws. We would be better off to get rid of them! 9Why not give orders for all of them to be killed? I can promise that you will get tons of silver for your treasury.

10The king handed his official ring to Haman, who hated the Jews, and the king told him, 11“Do what you want with those people! You can keep their money.”

12On the thirteenth day of Nisan, Haman called in the king's secretaries and ordered them to write letters in every language used in the kingdom. The letters were written in the name of the king and sealed by using the king's own ring.+ At once they were sent to the king's highest officials, the governors of each province, and the leaders of the different nations in the kingdom of Xerxes.

13The letters were taken by messengers to every part of the kingdom, and this is what was said in the letters:

On the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month, all Jewish men, women, and children are to be killed. And their property is to be taken.

14-15King Xerxes gave orders for these letters to be posted where they could be seen by everyone all over the kingdom. The king's command was obeyed, and one of the letters was read aloud to the people in the walled city of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink together, but no one in the city+ could figure out what was going on.


3.1 Agag: Agag was a king who had fought against the Jews long before the time of Esther (see 1 Samuel 15.1-33).
3.7 Nisan: The first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
3.7 Find out … do this: The Hebrew text has “cast lots,” which were pieces of wood or stone used to find out how and when to do something. For “lots” the Hebrew text uses the Babylonian word “purim.”
3.7 Adar: The twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-February to mid-March.
3.12 king's own ring: Melted wax was used to seal a letter, and while the wax was still soft, the king's ring was pressed in the wax to show that the letter was official.
3.14,15 walled city … city: Or “royal fortress … rest of the city.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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