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ESTHER / ΕΣΘΗΡ

8

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1 And in that day king Artaxerxes gave to Esther all that belonged to Aman the slanderer: and Mardochaeus was called by the king; for Esther had shewn that he was related to her. 2 And the king took the ring which he had taken away from Aman, and gave it to Mardochaeus: and Esther appointed Mardochaeus over all that had been Aman’s. 3 And she spoke yet again to the king, and fell at his feet, and besought [him] to do away the mischief of Aman, and all that he had done against the Jews. 4 Then the king stretched out to Esther the golden sceptre: and Esther arose to stand near the king. 5 And Esther said, If it seem good to thee, and I have found favour [in thy sight], let an order be sent that the letters sent by Aman may be reversed, that were written for the destruction of the Jews, who are in thy kingdom. 6 For how shall I be able to look upon the affliction of my people, and how shall I be able to survive the destruction of my kindred? 7 And the king said to Esther, If I have given and freely granted thee all that was Aman’s, and hanged him on a gallows, because he laid his hands upon the Jews, what dost thou yet further seek? 8 Write ye also in my name, as it seems good to you, and seal [it] with my ring: for whatever [orders] are written at the command of the king, and sealed with my ring, it is not lawful to gainsay them. 9 So the scribes were called in the first-month, which is Nisan, on the three and twentieth day of the same year; and [orders] were written to the Jews, whatever [the king had] commanded to the local governors and chiefs of the satraps, from India even to Ethiopia, a hundred and twenty-seven satraps, according to the several provinces, according to their dialects. 10 And they were written by order of the king, and sealed with his ring, and they sent the letters by the posts: 11 wherein he charged them to use their [own] laws in every city, and to help each other, and to treat their adversaries, and those who attacked them, as they pleased, 12 on one day in all the kingdom of Artaxerxes, on the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, which is Adar. 13 And the following is the copy of the letter of the orders. The great king Artaxerxes sends greeting to the rulers of provinces [in] a hundred and twenty-seven satrapies, from India to Ethiopia, even to those who are faithful to our interests. Many who have been frequently honoured by the most abundant kindness of their benefactors have conceived ambitious designs, and not only endeavour to hurt our subjects, but moreover, not being able to bear prosperity, they also endeavour to plot against their own benefactors. And they not only would utterly abolish gratitude from among men, but also, elated by the boastings of men who are strangers to all that is good, they suppose that they shall escape the sin-hating vengeance of the ever-seeing God. And oftentimes [evil] exhortation has made partakers of the guilt of shedding innocent blood, and has involved in irremediable calamities, many of those who were appointed to offices of authority, who had been entrusted with the management of their friends’ affairs; while [men], by the false sophistry of an evil disposition, have deceived the simple candour of the ruling powers. And it is possible to see [this], not so much from more ancient traditionary accounts, as it is immediately in your power [to see it] by examining what things have been wickedly perpetrated by the baseness of men unworthily holding power. And [it is right] to take heed with regard to the future, that we may maintain the government in undisturbed peace for all men, adopting [needful] changes, and ever judging those cases which come under [our] notice, with truly equitable decision. For whereas Aman, a Macedonian, the son of Amadathes, in reality an alien from the blood of the Persians, and differing widely from our mild course of government, having been hospitably entertained by us, obtained so large a share of our universal kindness, as to be called our father, and to continue the person next to the royal throne, reverenced of all; [he, however], overcome by the pride [of his station], endeavoured to deprive us of our dominion, and our life; having by various and subtle artifices demanded for destruction both Mardochaeus our deliverer and perpetual benefactor, and Esther the blameless consort of [our] kingdom, with their whole nation. For by these methods; the thought, having surprised us in a defenceless rate, to transfer the dominion of the Persians to the Macedonians. But we find that the Jews, who have been consigned to destruction by the most abominable of men, are not malefactors, but living according to the justest laws, and being the sons of the living God, the most high and mighty, who maintains the kingdom, to us as well as to our forefathers, in the most excellent order. Ye will therefore do well in refusing to obey the letters sent by Aman the son of Amadathes, because he that has done these things, has been hanged with his whole family at the gates of Susa, Almighty God having swiftly returned to him a worth recompence. [We enjoin you] then, having openly published a copy of this letter in every place, t give the Jews permission to use their own lawful customs, and to strengthen them, that on the thirteenth of the twelfth month Adar, on self-same day, they made defend themselves against those who attacked them in a time or affliction. For in the place of the destruction of the chosen race, Almighty God has granted them this [time of] gladness. Do ye therefore also among your [notable] feasts, keep a distinct day with all festivity, that both now and hereafter it may be a day of deliverance to us and those who are well disposed toward the Persians, but to those that plotted against us a memorial of destruction. And every city and province collectively, which shall not do accordingly, shall be consumed with vengeance by spear and fire: it shall be made not only inaccessible to men, but also most hateful to wild beasts and birds forever. And let the copies be posted in conspicuous places throughout the kingdom, and let all the Jews be ready against this day, to fight against their enemies. 14 So the horsemen went forth with haste to perform the king’s commands; and the ordinance was also published in Susa. 15 And Mardochaeus went forth robed in the royal apparel, and wearing a golden crown, and a diadem of fine purple linen: and the people in Susa saw [it] and rejoiced. 16 And the Jews had light and gladness, 17 in every city and province wherever the ordinance was published: wherever the proclamation took place, the Jews had joy and gladness, feasting and mirth: and many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and became Jews, for fear of the Jews. ΚΑΙ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ βασιλεὺς ᾿Αρταξέρξης ἐδωρήσατο ᾿Εσθὴρ ὅσα ὑπῆρχεν ᾿Αμὰν τῷ διαβόλῳ, καὶ Μαρδοχαῖος προσεκλήθη ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως· ὑπέδειξε γὰρ ᾿Εσθήρ, ὅτι ἐνοικείωται αὐτῇ. 2 ἔλαβε δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς τὸν δακτύλιον, ὃν ἀφείλετο ᾿Αμάν, καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν Μαρδοχαίῳ, καὶ κατέστησεν ᾿Εσθὴρ Μαρδοχαῖον ἐπὶ πάντων τῶν ᾿Αμάν. 3 καὶ προσθεῖσα ἐλάλησε πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα καὶ προσέπεσε πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἠξίου ἀφελεῖν τὴν ᾿Αμὰν κακίαν καὶ ὅσα ἐποίησε τοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις. 4 ἐξέτεινε δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς ᾿Εσθὴρ τὴν ῥάβδον τὴν χρυσῆν, ἐξηγέρθη δὲ ᾿Εσθὴρ παρεστηκέναι τῷ βασιλεῖ, 5 καὶ εἶπεν ᾿Εσθήρ· εἰ δοκεῖ σοι καὶ εὗρον χάριν, πεμφθήτω ἀποστραφῆναι τὰ γράμματα τὰ ἀπεσταλμένα ὑπὸ ᾿Αμάν, τὰ γραφέντα ἀπολέσθαι τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους, οἵ εἰσιν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου· 6 πῶς γὰρ δυνήσομαι ἰδεῖν τὴν κάκωσιν τοῦ λαοῦ μου καὶ πῶς δυνήσομαι σωθῆναι ἐν τῇ ἀπωλείᾳ τῆς πατρίδος μου; 7 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεὺς πρὸς ᾿Εσθήρ· εἰ πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ᾿Αμὰν ἔδωκα καὶ ἐχαρισάμην σοι καὶ αὐτὸν ἐκρέμασα ἐπὶ ξύλου, ὅτι τὰς χεῖρας ἐπήνεγκε τοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις, τί ἔτι ἐπιζητεῖς; 8 γράψατε καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ ὀνόματός μου, ὡς δοκεῖ ὑμῖν, καὶ σφραγίσατε τῷ δακτυλίῳ μου· ὅσα γὰρ γράφετε τοῦ βασιλέως ἐπιτάξαντος καὶ σφραγισθῇ τῷ δακτυλίω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς ἀντειπεῖν. 9 ἐκλήθησαν δὲ οἱ γραμματεῖς ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ μηνί, ὅς ἐστι Νισάν, τρίτῃ καὶ εἰκάδι τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἔτους, καὶ ἐγράφη τοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις ὅσα ἐνετείλατο τοῖς οἰκονόμοις καὶ τοῖς ἄρχουσι τῶν σατραπῶν, ἀπὸ τῆς ᾿Ινδικῆς ἕως τῆς Αἰθιοπίας, ἑκατὸν εἰκοσιεπτὰ σατράπαις κατὰ χώραν καὶ χώραν, κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτῶν λέξιν. 10 ἐγράφη δὲ διὰ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ ἐσφραγίσθη τῷ δακτυλίῳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐξαπέστειλαν τὰ γράμματα διὰ βιβλιοφόρων, 11 ὡς ἐπέταξε αὐτοῖς χρῆσθαι τοῖς νόμοις αὐτῶν ἐν πάσῃ πόλει βοηθῆσαί τε αὐτοῖς καὶ χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἀντιδίκοις αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς ἀντικειμένοις αὐτῶν, ὡς βούλονται, 12 ἐν ἡμέρα μιᾷ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ βασιλείᾳ ᾿Αρταξέρξου, τῇ τρισκαιδεκάτῃ τοῦ δωδεκάτου μηνός, ὅς ἐστιν ᾿Αδάρ. 12α ῟Ων ἐστιν ἀντίγραφον τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τὰ ὑπογεγραμμένα· 12β «βασιλεὺς μέγας ᾿Αρταξέρξης τοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ᾿Ινδικῆς ἕως τῆς Αἰθιοπίας ἑκατὸν εἰκοσιεπτὰ σατραπείαις χωρῶν ἄρχουσι καὶ τοῖς τὰ ἡμέτερα φρονοῦσι, χαίρειν. 12γ πολλοὶ τῇ πλείστῃ τῶν εὐεργετούντων χρηστότητι πυκνότερον τιμώμενοι μεῖζον ἐφρόνησαν καὶ οὐ μόνον τοὺς ὑποτεταγμένους ἡμῖν ζητοῦσι κακοποιεῖν, τόν τε κόρον οὐ δυνάμενοι φέρειν καὶ τοῖς ἑαυτῶν εὐεργέταις ἐπιχειροῦσιν μηχανᾶσθαι· 12δ καὶ τὴν εὐχαριστίαν οὐ μόνον ἐκ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀνταναιροῦντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς τῶν ἀπειραγάθων κόμποις ἐπαρθέντες, τοῦ τὰ πάντα κατοπτεύοντος ἀεὶ Θεοῦ μισοπόνηρον ὑπολαμβάνουσιν ἐκφεύξεσθαι δίκην. 12ε πολλάκις δὲ καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν ἐπ᾿ ἐξουσίαις τεταγμένων τῶν πιστευθέντων χειρίζειν φίλων τὰ πράγματα παραμυθία μετόχους αἱμάτων ἀθώων καταστήσασα, περιέβαλε συμφοραῖς ἀνηκέστοις, 12ζ τῷ τῆς κακοηθείας ψευδεῖ παραλογισμῷ παραλογισαμένων τὴν τῶν ἐπικρατούντων ἀκέραιον εὐγνωμοσύνην. 12η σκοπεῖν δὲ ἔξεστιν, οὐ τοσοῦτον ἐκ τῶν παλαιοτέρων ὧν παρεδώκαμεν ἱστοριῶν, ὅσα ἐστὶ παρὰ πόδας ὑμᾶς ἐκζητοῦντας ἀνοσίως συντετελεσμένα τῇ τῶν ἀνάξια δυναστευόντων λοιμότητι, 12θ καὶ προσέχειν εἰς τὰ μετὰ ταῦτα εἰς τὸ τὴν βασιλείαν ἀτάραχον τοῖς πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις μετ᾿ εἰρήνης παρεξόμεθα, 12ι χρώμενοι ταῖς μεταβολαῖς, τὰ δὲ ὑπὸ τὴν ὄψιν ἐρχόμενα διακρίνοντες ἀεὶ μετ᾿ ἐπιεικεστέρας ἀπαντήσεως. 12κ ὡς γὰρ ᾿Αμὰν ᾿Αμαδάθου Μακεδών, ταῖς ἀληθείας ἀλλότριος τοῦ τῶν Περσῶν αἵματος καὶ πολὺ διεστηκὼς τῆς ἡμετέρας χρηστότητος, ἐπιξενωθεὶς ἡμῖν 12λ ἔτυχεν, ἧς ἔχομεν πρὸς πᾶν ἔθνος φιλανθρωπίας ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον, ὥστε ἀναγορεύεσθαι ἡμῶν πατέρα καὶ προσκυνούμενον ὑπὸ πάντων τὸ δεύτερον τοῦ βασιλικοῦ θρόνου πρόσωπον διατελεῖν· 12μ οὐκ ἐνέγκας δὲ τὴν ὑπερηφανίαν ἐπετήδευσε τῆς ἀρχῆς στερῆσαι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ πνεύματος, 12ν τόν τε ἡμέτερον σωτῆρα καὶ διαπαντὸς εὐεργέτην Μαρδοχαῖον καὶ τὴν ἄμεμπτον τῆς βασιλείας κοινωνὸν ᾿Εσθὴρ σὺν παντὶ τῷ τούτων ἔθνει πολυπλόκοις μεθόδων παραλογισμοῖς αἰτησάμενος εἰς ἀπώλειαν· 12ξ διὰ γὰρ τῶν τρόπων τούτων ᾠήθη λαβὼν ἡμᾶς ἐρήμους, τὴν τῶν Περσῶν ἐπικράτησιν εἰς τοὺς Μακεδόνας μετάξαι. 12ο ἡμεῖς δὲ τοὺς ὑπὸ τοῦ τρισαλιτηρίου παραδεδομένους εἰς ἀφανισμὸν ᾿Ιουδαίους, εὑρίσκομεν οὐ κακούργους ὄντας, δικαιοτάτοις δὲ πολιτευομένους νόμοις, 12π ὄντας δὲ υἱοὺς τοῦ ῾Υψίστου μεγίστου ζῶντος Θεοῦ τοῦ κατευθύνοντος ἡμῖν τε καὶ τοῖς προγόνοις ἡμῶν τὴν βασιλείαν ἐν τῇ καλλίστῃ διαθέσει. 12ρ καλῶς οὗν ποιήσετε μὴ προσχρησάμενοι τοῖς ὑπὸ ᾿Αμὰν ᾿Αμαδάθου ἀποσταλεῖσι γράμμασι διὰ τὸν αὐτὸν τὸν ταῦτα ἐξεργασάμενον πρὸς ταῖς Σούσων πύλαις ἐσταυρῶσθαι σὺν τῇ πανοικίᾳ, τὴν καταξίαν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐπικρατοῦντος Θεοῦ διὰ τάχους ἀποδόντος αὐτῷ κρίσιν. 12σ τὸ δὲ ἀντίγραφον τῆς ἐπιστολῆς ταύτης ἐκθέντες ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ μετὰ παρρησίας, ἐᾶν τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἑαυτῶν νομίμοις καὶ συνεπισχύειν αὐτοῖς, ὅπως τοὺς ἐν καιρῷ θλίψεως ἐπιθεμένους αὐτοῖς ἀμύνωνται τῇ τρισκαιδεκάτῃ τοῦ δωδεκάτου μηνὸς ᾿Αδὰρ τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ· 12τ ταύτην γὰρ ὁ τὰ πάντα δυναστεύων Θεὸς ἀντ᾿ ὀλεθρίας τοῦ ἐκλεκτοῦ γένους ἐποίησεν αὐτοῖς εὐφροσύνην. 12υ καὶ ὑμεῖς οὖν ἐν ταῖς ἐπωνύμοις ὑμῶν ἑορταῖς ἐπίσημον ἡμέραν μετὰ πάσης εὐωχίας ἄγεται, ὅπως καὶ νῦν καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα σωτηρία ᾖ ἡμῖν καὶ τοῖς εὐνοοῦσι Πέρσαις, τοῖς δὲ ἡμῖν ἐπιβουλεύουσι μνημόσυνον τῆς ἀπωλείας. 12φ πᾶσα δὲ πόλις ἢ χώρα τὸ σύνολον, ἥτις κατὰ ταῦτα μὴ ποιήσῃ, δόρατι καὶ πυρὶ καταναλωθήσεται μετ᾿ ὀργῆς· οὐ μόνον ἀνθρώποις ἄβατος, ἀλλὰ καὶ θηρίοις καὶ πετεινοῖς εἰς τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον ἔχθιστος κατασταθήσεται. 13 τὰ δὲ ἀντίγραφα ἐκτιθέσθωσαν ὀφθαλμοφανῶς ἐν πάσῃ τῇ βασιλείᾳ, ἑτοίμους τε εἶναι πάντας τοὺς ᾿Ιουδαίους εἰς ταύτην τὴν ἡμέραν, πολεμῆσαι αὐτῶν τοὺς ὑπεναντίους». 14 Οἱ μὲν οὗν ἱππεῖς ἐξῆλθον σπεύδοντες τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως λεγόμενα ἐπιτελεῖν· ἐξετέθη δὲ τὸ πρόσταγμα καὶ ἐν Σούσοις. 15 ὁ δὲ Μαρδοχαῖος ἐξῆλθεν ἐστολισμένος τὴν βασιλικὴν στολὴν καὶ στέφανον ἔχων χρυσοῦν καὶ διάδημα βύσσινον πορφυροῦν· ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἐν Σούσοις ἐχάρησαν. 16 τοῖς δὲ ᾿Ιουδαίοις ἐγένετο φῶς καὶ εὐφροσύνη· 17 κατὰ πόλιν καὶ χώραν, οὗ ἂν ἐξετέθη τὸ πρόσταγμα, οὗ ἂν ἐξετέθη τὸ ἔκθεμα, χαρὰ καὶ εὐφροσύνη τοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις, κώθων καὶ εὐφροσύνη. καὶ πολλοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν περιετέμνοντο καὶ ἰουδάϊζον διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

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