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.

Queen Esther faints again (Greek text only)

“Then the king raised the golden scepter. He touched Queen Esther’s neck with it. He embraced her. He said to her. ‘Speak to me.’ She said to him.

‘I saw you, my lord,

Like an angel of God.

My heart was shaken with fear at your glory.

You are wonderful, my lord.

Your countenance is full of grace.’

While she was speaking, she fainted and fell. Then the king was agitated. All his servants sought to comfort her.”

The Greek text continued to show a kind king. The king reached out with the golden scepter and placed on the neck of Queen Esther. He embraced her. She then said that he appeared like an angel and that she was afraid. However, she once again fainted. This made the king angry as everyone wanted to comfort her. Thus this ends the interlude of the 9 little episodes that are found only in the Greek text. The story returns to the Hebrew text which summarizes these events. In fact, they are probably an elaboration of the simple Hebrew text.

Queen Esther asks God for courage (Greek text only)

“O Lord!

Do not surrender your scepter to what has no being!

Do not let them laugh at our downfall!

Turn their plan against them!

Make an example of the man who began this against us.

Remember, O Lord!

Make yourself known in this time of our affliction.

Give me courage!

O King of the gods!

Master of all dominion!

Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion.

Turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us.

Let there be an end of him and those who agree with him!

Save us by your hand!

Help me!

I am alone

I have no helper but you, O Lord.

You have knowledge of all things.

You know that I hate the splendor of the wicked.

I abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any alien.

You know my necessity.

I abhor the sign of my proud position,

That which is upon my head on the days when I appear in public.

I abhor it like a filthy rag.

I do not wear it on the days when I am at leisure.

Your servant has not eaten at Haman’s table.

I have not honored the king’s feast.

I have not drunk the wine of libations.

Your servant has had no joy

Since the day that I was brought here until now,

Except in you, O Lord God of Abraham.

O God, whose might is over all,

Hear the voice of the despairing!

Save us from the hands of evildoers!

Save me from my fear!”

Queen Esther asked God to give her courage in this Greek text. She wanted to turn the plan against the man who was plotting against her and her people.   She wanted God to reveal himself. She wanted his help to give her the strength since she had no one to help her, except God. She said that she hated the uncircumcised bed and the royal position. However, she had agreed to this, in fact sought it out. She said that she had not eaten at Haman’s table or drank at the king’s libations. However, she had been queen for a few years. She proclaimed that she has had no joy since she became queen. She took her joy in the all powerful God of Abraham. In desperation, she wanted to be saved from evildoers and her own fear.

The prayer of Mordecai to God to save Israel (Greek text only)

“Now, O Lord God and King,

God of Abraham,

Spare your people!

The eyes of our foes are upon us

To annihilate us.

They desire to destroy the inheritance

That has been yours from the beginning.

Do not neglect your portion.

You redeemed us for yourself

Out of the land of Egypt.

Hear my prayer!

Have mercy upon your inheritance!

Turn our mourning into feasting,

That we may live and sing praise to your name,

O Lord.

Do not destroy the lips of those who praise you.

All Israel cried out mightily!

Their death was before their eyes.”

Once again the Greek text prayer of Mordecai asked for God’s intervention to save Israel. Here he called God lord and king, the God of Abraham. He pleaded for God to save his people. He used some of the arguments of Moses in Exodus that their foes were trying to eliminate his people. Mordecai said that God had saved them from Egypt. He wanted God to hear his prayer so as to have mercy on his own inheritance. He wanted to turn mourning into feasting so that all Israel could live and sing his praises. He did not want God to destroy the very lips that praised him. All of Israel was crying because death was before their eyes.

The prayer of Mordecai on why he did not bow to Haman (Greek text only)

“You know all things.

You know, O Lord,

That it was not in insolence

Or pride or for any love of glory

That I did this.

I refused to bow down to this proud Haman.

I would have been willing to kiss the soles of his feet,

To save Israel!

But I did this,

That I might not set human glory

Above the glory of God.

I will not bow down to anyone but you.

You are my Lord.

I will not do these things in pride.”

The Greek text prayer of Mordecai continued. The Lord knows all things. He knew that Mordecai did not act out of pride or glory. Mordecai refused to bow to the proud Haman. However, he said that he was willing to kiss the soles of his feet to save Israel. It must be remembered that this whole affair is an off shoot of Mordecai making Haman angry by not offering obeisance. He was not seeking human glory. Mordecai remained adamant that he would not bow down to anyone but the Lord.   Yet without that incident, would Haman have tried to eliminate all the Jews? We will never know.

The prayer of Mordecai to God the creator (Greek text only)

“Then Mordecai prayed to the Lord. He called on the Lord to remember all his works. He said.

‘O Lord, Lord,

You rule as King over all things.

The universe is in your power.

There is no one who can oppose you.

It is your will to save Israel.

You have made heaven and earth.

You have made every wonderful thing under heaven.

You are Lord of all.

There is no one who can resist you.

You are the Lord.’”

Once again, these next sections of Mordecai’s prayer are only in the Greek text and not in the Hebrew text at all. Mordecai proclaimed that the Lord was the ruler of all things. The universe was in his power. No one could oppose God. If he wanted to save Israel he could. He has made heaven and earth and everything that is wonderful. He is the lord of all things. No one can resist this Lord.

Queen Vashti refuses to come to the party (Esth 1:12-1:20)

“However, Queen Vashti refused to obey King Artaxerxes. She would not come with the eunuchs. This offended the king. He became furious. He said to his friends.

‘This is how Queen Vashti had answered me.

Give therefore your ruling and judgment on this matter.’

This was the king’s procedure to consult the sages who knew the law and custom. Arkesaeus, Sarathaeus, and Malesar were the governors of the Persians and the Medes. They were closest to the king as they sat beside him in the chief seats. They told him what must be done to Queen Vashti for not obeying the order that the king had sent her by the eunuchs. Then Muchaeus said to the king and the princes, as he had reported to them what the queen had said and how she had deified the king.

‘Queen Vashti has insulted not only the king,

But also the king’s governors and officials.

Just as she defiled King Artaxerxes,

So now she defiles the other ladies,

The wives of the Persian and Median governors,

On hearing what she said to the king,

They will likewise dare to insult their husbands.

King Artaxerxes commanded Queen Vashti

To be brought before him,

And she did not come.

If, therefore, it pleases the king,

Let him issue a royal decree,

Inscribed with the laws of the Medes and the Persians,

So that it may not be altered.

Queen Vashti may no longer come

Into the presence of King Artaxerxes.

Let the king give her royal rank to a woman better than she.

Let whatever law the king enacts be proclaimed to his kingdom.

Thus all women will give honor to their husbands,

Rich and poor alike.’”

There is a difference between the Hebrew and the Greek text. In the Hebrew text there are 7 princes of Persia and Media instead of 3 governors as here in the Greek text. The names are completely different. In both texts, Memucan, or as here Muchaeus, has a proposal for the king. However, in the Hebrew text, Memucan was one of the 7 princes. Here this Muchaeus just comes on the scene without any identification. The queen has defiled the king by not obeying. She has set a bad example for the wives of the other princes. He wants her dismissed. It is not clear why the king would want to get rid of his wife for just this one incident. There must have been other things going on.