The title of the decree for the extermination of the Jews (Greek text only)

“This is a copy of the letter. ‘The Great King, Artaxerxes, writes the following to the governors of the one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia and to the officials under them.”

Once again, this appears only in the Greek text and not in the Hebrew text at all. The king is clearly writing to the 127 governors of the various provinces form India to Ethiopia, the great Persian Empire that had been established by King Cyrus the Great. King Cyrus had issued a decree to let the Jewish people return to Jerusalem as in 539 BCE as in Ezra, chapter 1. This would have been around the year 452 BCE, about a hundred years later about 8 years before the time of Nehemiah.

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The sending of the decree (Esth 3:12-3:13)

“The king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month. In accordance with Haman’s instructions, they wrote in the name of King Artaxerxes to the magistrates and the governors in every province from India to Ethiopia. There were one hundred twenty-seven provinces in all. The governors were addressed each in his own language. It was written and sealed with the king’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers throughout all the empire of King Artaxerxes to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jewish people, young and old, women and children, on a given day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar, and to plunder their goods.”

The king’s secretaries were summoned on the next day after the meeting between Haman and the king. They were to follow the instructions of Haman. They wrote in the name of the king to the magistrates and governors of all the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, each in their own language with the royal seal. They were sent by royal couriers throughout the empire. On the 13th day of the 12th month of that year they were to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people and take their goods. This was also the final solution of Hitler some 2500 years before his time.

The kingdom of King Artaxerxes (Esth 1:1-1:4)

“It was after this that the following things happened in the days of King Artaxerxes, the same Artaxerxes who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days, when King Artaxerxes was enthroned in the capital city of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his friends and other persons of various nations, the Persians and the Median nobles, as well as the governors of the provinces. After this, he had displayed to them the wealth of his kingdom and the splendor of his bountiful celebration during the course of one hundred eighty days.”

Now we begin the story of Esther with the Hebrew text. This was the great King Artaxerxes (465-424 BCE) with a huge empire from India to Ethiopia. This Persian king, which is now Iran, had over 127 provinces. So that when we read about Samaria in the Province Beyond the River Euphrates in Nehemiah and Ezra, it was only 1 of 127 provinces. This was the 3rd year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, about 462 BCE. The capital city was Susa, a town that dates back to about 5,000 BCE, about 7, 000 years old. Susa was a major Persian city that went out of favor when it was captured by the Greek Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. King Artaxerxes had invited most of the 127 governors, nobles, and especially the Persian and Median nobles to see the wealth and splendor of his kingdom for about 6 months, 180 days. Persia and Media were old friendly neighboring countries.