Ahasverus, Haman and Esther, RembrandtThe Book of Esther, in a Greek version written in Judah, was introduced into Egypt, probably in 78/77 B.C.E., during the reign of Ptolemy Auletes, the father of the seductive Cleopatra VII. It was accompanied by a letter requesting the Egyptian Jews to join their Judaean brothers in the celebration of the Feast of Purim, commemorating the deliverance of the Persian Jews who had been saved from extermination by the charms of Queen Esther. Warnings against the dangers of excessive acculturation were issued; one example is the Greek translation that the grandson of Jesus ben Sira, a Judaean Jew who had emigrated to Egypt, made of his grandfather’s work, the apocryphal Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus, prescribing traditional Jewish values as a shield against immoderate Hellenization. Fate sometimes plays strange tricks: some parts of the original Hebrew version, lost in the Middle Ages, turned up in the late nineteenth century in the Genizah of the Cairo synagogue, while others were discovered in the ruins of Masada, in 1964; but, as luck would have it, the Greek Siracides is the only complete version of this work that has come down to us intact.

Source: Joseph Mélèze Modrzejewski. The Jews of Egypt. (p. 122-124)