December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- When the day arrived on which the order decreed by the king was to be carried out, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to become masters of them, the situation was reversed: the Jews became masters of their enemies.
- The Jews mustered in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus to attack those who sought to do them harm, and no one could withstand them, but all peoples were seized with a fear of them.
- Moreover, all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, governors, and royal procurators supported the Jews from fear of Mordecai;
- for Mordecai was powerful in the royal palace, and the report was spreading through all the provinces that he was continually growing in power.
- The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them; they did to their enemies as they pleased.
- In the stronghold of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.
- They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,
- Porathai, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha,
- 1 the ten sons of Haman, son of Hammedatha, the foe of the Jews. However, they did not engage in plundering.
- On the same day, when the number of those killed in the stronghold of Susa was reported to the king,
- he said to Queen Esther: "In the stronghold of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men, as well as the ten sons of Haman. What must they have done in the other royal provinces! You shall again be granted whatever you ask, and whatever you request shall be honored."
- So Esther said, "If it pleases your majesty, let the Jews in Susa be permitted again tomorrow to act according to today's decree, and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on gibbets."
- The king then gave an order to this effect, and the decree was published in Susa. So the ten sons of Haman were hanged,
- 2 and the Jews in Susa mustered again on the fourteenth of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa. However, they did not engage in plundering.
- 3 The other Jews, who dwelt in the royal provinces, also mustered and defended themselves, and obtained rest from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of their foes, without engaging in plunder,
- on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. On the fourteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.
- (The Jews in Susa, however, mustered on the thirteenth and fourteenth of the month. But on the fifteenth they rested, and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.)
- That is why the rural Jews, who dwell in villages, celebrate the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of rejoicing and feasting, a holiday on which they send gifts of food to one another.
- Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews, both near and far, in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
- He ordered them to celebrate every year both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of the month of Adar
- as the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and as the month which was turned for them from sorrow into joy, from mourning into festivity. They were to observe these days with feasting and gladness, sending food to one another and gifts to the poor.
- The Jews took upon themselves for the future this observance which they instituted at the written direction of Mordecai.
- Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the foe of all the Jews, had planned to destroy them and had cast the pur, or lot, for the time of their defeat and destruction.
- Yet, when Esther entered the royal presence, the king ordered in writing that the wicked plan Haman had devised against the Jews should instead be turned against Haman and that he and his sons should be hanged on gibbets.
- And so these days have been named Purim after the word pur. Thus, because of all that was contained in this letter, and because of what they had witnessed and experienced in this affair,
- the Jews established and took upon themselves, their descendants, and all who should join them, the inviolable obligation of celebrating these two days every year in the manner prescribed by this letter, and at the time appointed.
- These days were to be commemorated and kept in every generation, by every clan, in every province, and in every city. These days of Purim were never to fall into disuse among the Jews, nor into oblivion among their descendants.
- 4 Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail and of Mordecai the Jew, wrote to confirm with full authority this second letter about Purim,
- when Mordecai sent documents concerning peace and security to all the Jews in the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of Ahasuerus' kingdom.
- 5 Thus were established, for their appointed time, these days of Purim which Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had designated for the Jews, just as they had previously enjoined upon themselves and upon their race the duty of fasting and supplication.
- The command of Esther confirmed these prescriptions for Purim and was recorded in the book.
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1  They did not engage in plundering: in contrast to the Israelites who fought Agag (1 Sam 15:9); cf also Esther 9:15f.
2  This second slaughter explains the two dates (13th and 14th) of the Purim celebration by Jews in Susa (Esther 9:18).
3  Seventy-five thousand: according to the Greek text this number was fifteen thousand.
4  Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail and of Mordecai: the natural offspring of Abihail and adopted daughter of Mordecai; cf Esther 2:15. This second letter: for the burden of this letter see Esther 9:20ff. It was endorsed by Queen Esther. The first letter, written in the king's name, is referred to in Esther 8:9.
5  Fasting and supplication: as the Jews had previously undertaken the duty of fasting and supplication to prevent the impending disaster, they now observe days of festival to commemorate their deliverance-in both cases (cf Esther 4:3, 15f) at the request of Mordecai and Esther.
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