December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The following is a copy of the letter:
"King Ahasuerus the Great to the governors of the provinces in the hundred and twenty-seven satrapies from India to Ethiopia, and to those responsible for our interests: Greetings!
- "Many have become the more ambitious the more they were showered with honors through the bountiful generosity of their patrons.
- Not only do they seek to do harm to our subjects; incapable of bearing such greatness, they even begin plotting against their own benefactors.
- Not only do they drive out gratitude from among men; with the arrogant boastfulness of those to whom goodness has no meaning, they suppose they will escape the vindictive judgment of the all-seeing God.
- "Often, too, the fair speech of friends entrusted with the administration of affairs has induced many placed in authority to become accomplices in the shedding of innocent blood, and has involved them in irreparable calamities
- by deceiving with malicious slander the sincere good will of rulers.
- This can be verified in the ancient stories that have been handed down to us, but more fully when one considers the wicked deeds perpetrated in your midst by the pestilential influence of those undeserving of authority.
- We must provide for the future, so as to render the kingdom undisturbed and peaceful for all men,
- taking advantage of changing conditions and deciding always with equitable treatment matters coming to our attention.
- 1 "For instance, Haman, son of Hammedatha, a Macedonian, certainly not of Persian blood, and very different from us in generosity, was hospitably received by us.
- He so far enjoyed the good will which we have toward all peoples that he was proclaimed "father of the king,' before whom everyone was to bow down; he attained the rank second to the royal throne.
- But, unequal to this dignity, he strove to deprive us of kingdom and of life;
- and by weaving intricate webs of deceit, he demanded the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and constant benefactor, and of Esther, our blameless royal consort, together with their whole race.
- For by such measures he hoped to catch us defenseless and to transfer the rule of the Persians to the Macedonians.
- But we find that the Jews, who were doomed to extinction by this archcriminal, are not evildoers, but rather are governed by very just laws
- and are the children of the Most High, the living God of majesty, who has maintained the kingdom in a flourishing condition for us and for our forebears.
- "You will do well, then, to ignore the letter sent by Haman, son of Hammedatha,
- for he who composed it has been hanged, together with his entire household, before the gates of Susa. Thus swiftly has God, who governs all, brought just punishment upon him.
- "You shall exhibit a copy of this letter publicly in every place, to certify that the Jews may follow their own laws,
- and that you may help them on the day set for their ruin, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, to defend themselves against those who attack them.
- For God, the ruler of all, has turned that day for them from one of destruction of the chosen race into one of joy.
- Therefore, you too must celebrate this memorable day among your designated feasts with all rejoicing,
- so that both now and in the future it may be, for us and for loyal Persians, a celebration of victory, and for those who plot against us a reminder of destruction.
- "Every city and province, without exception, that does not observe this decree shall be ruthlessly destroyed with fire and sword, so that it will be left not merely untrodden by men, but even shunned by wild beasts and birds forever."
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1  Macedonian: a redactor of the book in the Hellenistic period used the designation Macedonian, here and in Esther E:14, to express, after Macedonia's conquest of Persia, the most odious kind of man that a Persian ruler could be supposed to think of; the Hebrew text, for a similar reason, called Haman an Agagite. See note on Esther A:17.
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