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Greek Esther 13-14: The Letter and the Prayer

Greco-Roman Period
13This is a copy of the letter- ‘The Great King, Artaxerxes, writes the following to the
governors of the hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia and to the
officials under them-

2 ‘Having become ruler of many nations and master of the whole world (not elated with
presumption of authority but always acting reasonably and with kindness), I have
determined to settle the lives of my subjects in lasting tranquillity and, in order to make
my kingdom peaceable and open to travel throughout all its extent, to restore the peace
desired by all people.

3 ‘When I asked my counsellors how this might be accomplished, Haman—who excels
among us in sound judgement, and is distinguished for his unchanging goodwill and
steadfast fidelity, and has attained the second place in the kingdom— 4 pointed out to us
that among all the nations in the world there is scattered a certain hostile people, who
have laws contrary to those of every nation and continually disregard the ordinances of
kings, so that the unifying of the kingdom that we honourably intend cannot be brought
about. 5 We understand that this people, and it alone, stands constantly in opposition to
every nation, perversely following a strange manner of life and laws, and is ill-disposed
to our government, doing all the harm they can so that our kingdom may not attain
stability.

6 ‘Therefore we have decreed that those indicated to you in the letters written by Haman,
who is in charge of affairs and is our second father, shall all—wives and children
included—be utterly destroyed by the swords of their enemies, without pity or restraint,
on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year, 7 so that those who
have long been hostile and remain so may in a single day go down in violence to Hades,
and leave our government completely secure and untroubled hereafter.’

14Then Queen Esther, seized with deadly anxiety, fled to the Lord. 2 She took off her
splendid apparel and put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly
perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her body;
every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. 3 She prayed to the
Lord God of Israel, and said- ‘O my Lord, you only are our king; help me, who am alone
and have no helper but you, 4 for my danger is in my hand. 5 Ever since I was born I have
heard in the tribe of my family that you, O Lord, took Israel out of all the nations, and our
ancestors from among all their forebears, for an everlasting inheritance, and that you did
for them all that you promised. 6 And now we have sinned before you, and you have
handed us over to our enemies 7 because we glorified their gods. You are righteous,
O Lord! 8 And now they are not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they have
covenanted with their idols 9 to abolish what your mouth has ordained, and to destroy
your inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to quench your altar and
the glory of your house, 10 to open the mouths of the nations for the praise of vain idols,
and to magnify for ever a mortal king.

11 ‘O Lord, do not surrender your sceptre to what has no being; and do not let them laugh
at our downfall; but turn their plan against them, and make an example of him who began
this against us.

Posted in: Visions of the End

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