0 A kingdom-wide kill-the-Jews day (Esther 3-6)

Episode 162: A kingdom-wide kill-the-Jews day

Esther 3-6

Haman and the king schedule a kingdom-wide kill-the-Jews day

3 1 King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite to be the most powerful official in his kingdom. 2 All the king's servants bowed to Haman, except for Mordecai.

5 Haman was angry at Mordecai for refusing to bow. 6 When he heard that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. 7 Now he needed to choose a day on which to do it. So he cast lots ("Pur" means lots) to select the day.

8 Haman said to king Ahasuerus,

There are people scattered throughout your kingdom who refuse to obey your laws.

Let's kill them all.

9 I'll pay for it myself, with 10,000 talents of silver.

The king said to Haman, "Okay, do whatever you think is best."

13 So the king's scribes sent out a decree to all the provinces declaring a kingdom-wide kill-the-Jews day. It was scheduled for the 13th day of the 12th month.

Mordecai asks Esther for help

4 1 When Mordecai heard about the kill-the-Jews decree, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the city and cried out loud. 5 Esther sent her servant, Hatach, to find out what was upsetting Mordecai. 7 Mordecai told Hatach about the king's kill-the-Jews decree. 8 He told him to ask her to persuade the king to repeal the decree.

15 Esther said to Mordecai,

Gather all the Jews in Shushan and tell them not to eat or drink for three days.

I'll go talk to the king. If I die, I die.

17 So Mordecai did as Esther asked.

Esther's dinner party

5 1 Esther put on her royal clothes and went to see the king, who was sitting on his royal throne in his royal house. 3 The king was happy to see her and gave her the golden scepter. 3 He said to her,

What do you want, Esther?

I'll give you up to half my kingdom.

7 She said, "I'd like you and Haman to come to dinner tomorrow night."

Haman plans to hang Mordecai

9 Haman was feeling good until he saw Mordecai at the king's gate, who didn't stand up when he saw him coming. 10 But he felt better when he got home, and began to brag to his wife, Zeresh, and friends about how rich and powerful he was. 12 Haman said to them,

Queen Esther invited only me and the king to a dinner she's having tomorrow night.

13 But I'll not be happy as long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.

14 Then Haman's wife and friends said to him,

Make a 50-cubit high gallows and tell the king to hang Mordecai on it.

And Haman liked the idea, so he made the gallows.

The king honors Mordecai

6 1 That night, the king couldn't fall asleep, so he commanded that the book of records of the chronicles be read to him. 2 The chronicles told how Mordecai had revealed the conspiracy of Bigthana and Teresh. 3 The king asked, "How has Mordecai been honored for this?" His servants said, "He hasn't been honored."

6 The next day, when Haman stopped by, the king said to him,

What should I do to honor someone?

(Haman thought the king wanted to honor him.)

7 Haman said,

Let the person to be honored wear the king's clothes and crown, while riding the king's horse on the streets of the city, while everyone says, "This is how the king honors someone!"

10 The king said to Haman,

Hurry and do that for Mordecai the Jew.

I'd like to honor him in the way that you suggested.

12 So Mordecai came to the palace, while Haman went away mourning.

A few more words about this episode

The king couldn't fall asleep, so he commanded that the book of records of the chronicles be read to him. (6:1)
Now that's a good idea. The books of the chronicles (1 and 2 Chronicles) are the most boring books in all literature. If they don't put you to sleep, nothing will.
Bigthana and Teresh (6:2)
Bigthana and Teresh were eunuchs in the service of the king who had plotted to assassinate the king. Mordecai overheard their plot and informed the king through Esther. Bigthana and Teresh were arrested and hung on a tree. (Esther 2:21-23)
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