The Jews are good people (Greek text only)

“We find that the Jews,

Who were consigned to annihilation

By this thrice accursed man,

They are not evildoers.

They are governed by most righteous laws.

They are children of the most high

And mighty living God,

Who has directed the kingdom

Both for us and for our ancestors in the most excellent order.”

Here the Greek text picks up the Jewish situation. The king, and in fact Mordecai, praise the Jewish laws. The Jews are not evil doers. Interesting enough, this seems to indicate that most high and mighty living God of Israel is also the God of Persia. This is the first instance of a more universal God other than the God of the Universe and the God of heaven and earth. This expands the role of the God of Israel into Persia. He also spoke of his ancestors, a very Jewish theme.

The problem of Haman (Greek text only)

“Haman son of Hammedatha,

A Macedonian,

Had become our guest.

He was really an alien to the Persian blood.

He was quite devoid of our kindliness.

He enjoyed fully the goodwill that we have for every nation.

He was called our father.

He was continually bowed down to by all

As the person second to the royal throne.

But, unable to restrain his arrogance,

He undertook to deprive us

Of our kingdom and our life.

With intricate craft and deceit,

He 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.

He thought that by these methods,

He would catch us undefended.

He would transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedonians.”

Next the Greek text has the king or rather Mordecai taking on Haman. Here he is called a Macedonian. Interesting enough, Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) was a Macedonian who died in Persia. Although the time of this kingdom preceded Alexander in the 5th century BCE, Haman is thrown in with the evil western Greek invaders of the 4th century BCE since he wanted to transfer the power of Persia to Macedonia. There is nothing about Haman being an Agagite here. He was not kind, even though he was the 2nd in command. He tried to take the life of Mordecai and Queen Esther, the blameless one, as well as her whole nation. The Jewish nature of the dispute is toned down in this decree that puts the dispute between Greece and Persia.

The bad behavior of the past (Greek text only)

“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.

In the future,

We will take care to render our kingdom

Quiet and peaceable for all men,

By changing our methods

And always judging

What comes before our eyes

With more equitable consideration.”

Once again, this is the Greek text only and not the Hebrew text of the edict. The king or Mordecai seems to indicate that there has been some bad behavior in the near past, not from some ancient time. In the future, things will be better. The king will change his methods so that he will judge all things that come before him in a more equitable manner.

Those who receive much should be generous (Greek text only)

“Many people,

The more they are honored

With the most generous kindness of their benefactors,

The more proud they become.

They not only seek to injure our subjects,

But in their inability to stand prosperity,

They even undertake to scheme against their own benefactors.

They 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.

Often many of those

Who are set in places of authority

Have been made in part responsible

For the shedding of innocent blood.

They have been involved in irremediable calamities.

By the persuasion of friends

Who have been entrusted

With the administration of public affairs,

These men by the false trickery

Of their evil natures

Beguile the sincere goodwill of their sovereigns.”

Once again, this is found in the Greek text only, not in the Hebrew text. Some people have been blessed by God and benefactors. However, they can become proud. They sought to injure our Persian subjects and even their own benefactors. They are not thankful but evil in the sight of God who sees everything. This is especially bad when irresponsible authorities try to shed blood. By false trickery and their evil nature they beguile the goodwill of kings. This is a veiled reference to Haman, since this and the other decree are both from the same person, King Artaxerxes. He cannot contradict himself, since Haman wrote the first decree and Mordecai wrote this one.

The title of the letter that favors the Jews (Greek text only)

“The following is a copy of this letter.

‘The Great King, Artaxerxes,

To the rulers of the provinces from India to Ethiopia,

One hundred and twenty-seven provinces,

And to those who are loyal to our government,

Greeting!’”

Once again we go to the Greek text. There is no “copy” of the letter that Mordecai sent out under the name of King Artaxerxes in the Hebrew text. This is much the same as the title of the Greek text decree that was inserted after chapter 3. They seemed proud to talk about the 127 provinces.

Mordecai writes the letter about the Jews to the empire (Esth 8:9-8:12)

“The king’s secretaries were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. An edict was written according to all that Mordecai commanded. It was sent to the Jews, to the satraps, the governors, and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces. This went to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. He wrote letters in the name of King Artaxerxes. He sealed them with the king’s ring. He sent them by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal herd. By these letters, the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and defend their lives. They were able to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, with their children and women, and to plunder their goods, on a single day throughout all the provinces of King Artaxerxes, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.”

All the king’s secretaries came to help Mordecai. This took place at Sivan, which is in the May-June time frame. The Persians had something like the later American Pony Express, with horses for their couriers. Notice that it was written in various languages and scripts for the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. This letter had the king’s seal from his ring. This section is like that in chapter 3, when Haman was writing his letter to exterminate the Jews. This letter said that all the Jews could respond when they are attacked on the 13th day of the 12th month of Adar. They were allowed to destroy, kill, and plunder anyone attacking them. The Greek text also says that they should be allowed to follow their own laws.

The response of the king (Esth 8:7-8:8)

“Then King Artaxerxes said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew.

‘See!

I have given Esther the house of Haman.

They have hanged him on the gallows.

Because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews.

You may write as you please with regard to the Jews,

In the name of the king,.

Seal it with the king’s ring.

An edict written in the name of the king

And sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.’”

The king said that he given the house of Haman to Queen Esther. In fact, they had hanged him on his own gallows. She and Mordecai could write what they wanted about the Jews. He was going to give them his signet ring. However, he said that anything that he has written could not be revoked. Therefore, he stood by his original decree that Haman wrote. However, he would stand by anything that they would write also. There could be not revocations. It is interesting to note he took no blame. He seems to say, “Whatever” to every question that comes up.

Haman is hung on his own gallows (Esth 7:8-7:10)

“When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king said.

‘Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?’

As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said.

‘Look!

The very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai,

Whose word saved the king,

This is standing in Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.’

The king said.

‘Hang him on that.’

So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.”

When the king returned from the garden, Haman was still pleading with Queen Esther. In fact, it looked like he was attacking her. The king became angrier since he thought that Haman was assaulting his wife in his own house. One of the eunuchs popped in with the remark that Haman had a gallows built at his house in order to hang Mordecai. Then the king said that Haman should be hung on his own gallows. They did that so that the king was less angry. He may have been disappointed also since he had made Mordecai the second in command in his kingdom.

 

Haman realizes that he is in trouble (Esth 6:12-6:14)

Haman hurried to his house, mourning, with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisors and his wife Zeresh said to him.

‘If Mordecai, before whom you downfall has begun,

Is of the Jewish people,

You will not prevail against him.

But will surely fall before him.’

While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived. They hurried Haman off to the banquet that Queen Esther had prepared.”

Haman went back home with his head covered. He was in mourning for himself. After he told his friends and wife what had happened, they warned him that this might be the beginning of the end. If this Jewish Mordecai prevailed, he would surely fail. Just as they were still talking, the king’s eunuchs arrived to take him to the banquet of Queen Esther. Maybe things will brighten up there.

 

Haman honors Mordecai (Esth 6:11-6:12)

“So Haman took the robes and the horse. He robed Mordecai. He led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming,

‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king wishes to honor.’

Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate.”

Then Haman had to bring Mordecai around the city into the open square. Haman had to proclaim that this is the man who the king wishes to honor. He, the one who hated Mordecai, was now his servant leading Mordecai with the royal robes and royal horse.