“But an opportunity came
On his birthday,
Gave a banquet
For his noble courtiers,
His military officers,
And the prominent leaders
Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῖς χιλιάρχοις καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας,
Mark has a long descriptive story about this birthday party of Herod. Matthew, chapter 14:6-12, has a more summary statement about this party, while Luke made no mention of it. Mark explained about the guests at this birthday party. He said that an opportunity arose for a festival day (Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου) on the celebration of King Herod’s birthday (ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ). King Herod gave a banquet dinner (δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν) for his courtiers or noblemen (τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ), his military officers or captains (καὶ τοῖς χιλιάρχοις), and the other prominent leaders of Galilee (καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας). Anybody who was of any importance in Galilee would have been there, since Herod was the tetrarch or so-called king of Galilee, under Roman rule.
“Yahweh has scorned
He has disowned
He has delivered
Of her palaces
Into the hand
Of the enemy.
A clamor was raised
In the house
As on a day
Yahweh has scorned his own altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. He has disowned his own sanctuary. The enemies have taken over the palaces and its walls. There are now clamorous battle cries in the house of Yahweh, as if it was a festival day, but without anyone there. The house of Yahweh has been destroyed. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
“Therefore you shall observe this with all good cheer
As a notable day among your commemorative festivals.
Both now and hereafter it may represent
Deliverance for you and the loyal Persians.
However, this will be a reminder of destruction
For those who plot against us.
Every city and country, without exception,
That does not act accordingly
Shall be destroyed in wrath with spear and fire.
It shall be made not only impassable for human beings,
But also most hateful to wild animals and birds for all time.”
The Greek text of the document concludes that this should be a festival day because it represents deliverance for all loyal Persians. Now this festival is not only a Jewish remembrance but a Persian holiday showing what happens to those who plot against the Persians. Anyone who does not follow this decree will be wiped out, not only the humans there, but also the animals and birds of that area.