The son of Shelemiah,
With the priest Zephaniah
The son of Maaseiah,
To the prophet Jeremiah.
‘Please pray for us
Now Jeremiah was still
Going in and out
Among the people.
He had not yet been
Put in prison.”
King Zedekiah sent envoys to Jeremiah to ask him to pray to Yahweh for them. He sent Jehucal, who in the next chapter will turn against Jeremiah, with the priest Zephaniah, to Jeremiah. Zephaniah seemed to be the high priest at the Temple, since he was involved with Pashhur in chapter 21, as well as in chapter 29, as the priest who read the letter from the first exiles. At this time, Jeremiah was still free to roam about his people, since this was before he was put in prison. This was a nice gesture on the part of the king.
‘Surely I know the plans
I have for you.
These are plans
For your welfare,
Not for your harm.
To give you
A future with hope.”
Once again, Yahweh, via the letter of Jeremiah, said that he would take care of their future, since he had plans for them. He would not harm them, but rather watch out for their welfare. He wanted to give them a future with hope.
“Then Queen Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet, weeping. She pleaded with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot which he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther. Esther rose and stood before the king. She said.
‘If it pleases the king,
If I have won his favor,
If the thing seem right before the king,
If I have his approval,
Let an order be written to revoke the letters
Devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha,
Which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews
Who are in all the provinces of the king.
How can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people?
How can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?’”
Queen Esther again pleaded with the king. She wanted him to rescind the order that Haman had sent out about the execution of all the Jews in the provinces of Persia. Once again, she recognized the authority of the king as he placed his golden scepter on her. She wanted orders sent out to revoke the letter of Haman. She wondered how she could bear to see all this bloodshed on her people and relatives. You have to remember that the king had agreed with the letter of Haman.
“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.