v1 The 13th day of the 12th month (the month called Adar) was the day to carry out the king’s law. This was the day when the enemies of the *Jews had hoped to have power over them. But, instead, on that day the *Jews had power over those who hated them. v2 The *Jews gathered in their cities in all the districts of King Xerxes. They attacked those who wanted to kill them. Nobody could oppose them, because the people of all the other nations were afraid of them. v3 All the important people helped the *Jews, including the rulers and the king’s officials. They helped them because they were afraid of Mordecai. v4 Mordecai was very important in the palace. The people in all the districts heard how he became more and more powerful.
Verses 1-4 The day that Haman had chosen for his plan came. The enemies of the *Jews had hoped to kill all the *Jews. But Mordecai’s law allowed the *Jews to defend themselves on that day. Haman’s plot had failed. God’s plan had succeeded. Mordecai was powerful and popular. The important people helped the *Jews and the *Jews overcame their enemies.
v5 So the *Jews attacked all their enemies with swords and killed them. They did whatever they wanted to those who hated them. v6 In the city called Susa, the *Jews killed 500 men. v7-10 The *Jews also killed the 10 sons of Haman, the enemy of the *Jews. They were called Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha. But the *Jews did not take any of their property.
Verses 5-10 The Jews killed many people. This might seem very cruel. But they probably only attacked those who attacked them first. They killed their enemies and those who hated them. Probably they only killed those who tried to obey Haman’s evil law. The new law allowed them to do this. They killed the sons of Haman too. The law allowed them to take the property of their enemies, but they did not. (See also Esther 9:15-16.) They did not kill people to make themselves rich. The other people probably respected the *Jews for this. God’s plan was only to save the lives of the *Jews.
Maybe they did not take the property of their enemies because they remembered the story of King Saul. In 1 Samuel chapter 15, King Saul did not obey God. God told him to kill the people called Amalekites and to destroy all their property. But Saul and his army kept some of the good property and he allowed King Agag to live. (Haman was from the family of Agag, the king of the Amalekites.)
v11 That same day, the king heard how many men the *Jews had killed in Susa. v12 The king said to Queen Esther, ‘The *Jews have killed 500 men in Susa, including the 10 sons of Haman. And the *Jews have done many similar things in the rest of the king’s districts. Now what would you like me to do for you? You shall have it. What is your request? I will grant it.’
v13 Esther answered, ‘Here is an idea that the king might like. Allow the *Jews in Susa to do again tomorrow what the law allowed them to do today. Also hang Haman’s 10 sons on the *gallows.’
v14 And the king gave the command. They issued a law in Susa and hanged Haman’s 10 sons. v15 The *Jews in Susa gathered, on the 14th day of the month called Adar. On that day, they killed 300 men in Susa. But they did not take any of the property.
Verses 11-15 It seems that the king was sad. Perhaps he was sad because the *Jews killed so many people. Or perhaps he was sad because so many people had hated the *Jews. But he allowed Esther to ask for something more. Esther asked the king to allow the *Jews to kill their enemies for one more day. She also asked the king to hang the bodies of Haman’s sons. Haman’s sons were already dead. When people saw their bodies on the *gallows, they would remember wicked Haman. Then they would not attack the *Jews. The king did what Esther asked.
v16-17 The rest of the *Jews in the king’s districts gathered on the 13th day of the month called Adar. They gathered to defend themselves. They got security from their enemies and they killed 75 000 of them. But they did not take any of the property. They rested on the 14th day. They chose that day to eat and to be happy. v18 However, the *Jews in Susa had gathered on the 13th and 14th days. They rested on the 15th day. So they chose that day to eat and to be happy. v19 Therefore the *Jews who live in the country, or in villages, remember the 14th day of the month called Adar. It is a day to eat and to be happy. And it is a good day to give each other presents of food.
Verses 16-19 The king allowed the *Jews in Susa to kill their enemies for two days. The other *Jews only killed their enemies for one day. Then they rested on the second day. They ate together and they were happy. The *Jews in Susa did not rest until the next day.
Some *Jews had a holiday on the 14th day, but other *Jews had a holiday on the 15th day. This tells us why the dates are different.
v20 Mordecai recorded these things. He sent letters to all the *Jews in the districts of King Xerxes, both near and far away. v21 He told them to have special days each year on the 14th and 15th days of the month called Adar. v22 These were the days when the *Jews got relief from their enemies. This was the month when they had been sad. But they became happy in that month. This was the month when bad days became good days. He told them that these dates were days to eat and to be happy. Also, these were days to give each other presents of food and to give gifts to poor people.
Verses 20-22 The *Jews must always remember how God had saved them. That was very important. Mordecai told the *Jews to have two special days every year. On those days the *Jews were to give each other presents of food. And they must also give gifts to poor people. Then the poor people too could eat and be happy on the special days.
v23 The *Jews were already doing these things. So the *Jews agreed to continue to do such things. They agreed to obey what Mordecai had written to them.
v24 Haman (son of Hammedatha, the *descendant of Agag), the enemy of all the *Jews, had plotted against the *Jews. He made a plan to kill them. He used the *Purim (the game of chance) to plot their deaths. v25 But when Esther told the king about the plot, he gave orders in royal letters. He ordered that Haman’s wicked plot against the *Jews should happen to Haman himself. The king ordered that Haman and his sons must die. And the king ordered that their bodies must hang on the *gallows. v26 Therefore the *Jews called these days *Purim. The *Jews made a rule to remember these days because of Mordecai’s letter. They wanted to remember what they had seen. And they wanted to remember the things that had happened. v27 So they decided that they and their children must remember these two days every year. People who became *Jews must also remember these two days every year. They must remember them at the proper time and in the way that Mordecai had written down. v28All the children of every family in every district and every city must remember these days always. They must never stop remembering these days called *Purim.
Verses 23-28 The *Jews agreed to do what Mordecai had written. They were already doing it anyway. They called the holiday *Purim, because of Haman’s use of the *Purim stones. He had wanted to find a lucky day to kill the *Jews. People would tell the story of wicked Haman to their children. Then the *Jews would always remember these special days.
The writer wrote this book to tell us why the *Jews have special days called *Purim. *Jews still remember these special days and they read the book of Esther at that time.
v29 Then Queen Esther, who was the daughter of Abihail, wrote a letter together with Mordecai. They wrote this second letter about *Purim with all Esther’s royal authority. v30 Mordecai sent letters to all the *Jews in the 127 districts of the *kingdom of Xerxes. He wrote so that the people would be confident about their security. v31 He wrote to establish these days of *Purim every year. The letters included what Mordecai the *Jew and Queen Esther had told the *Jews to do. The letters reminded the *Jews and their children when not to eat food and to weep. They had already decided to do that. v32 Esther’s command approved these rules about *Purim. Officials wrote these regulations down in the official records.
Verses 29-32 Esther also wrote to the *Jews in order to tell them to remember the special days called *Purim. She was the queen so the letter had her royal authority.