Book of Esther (Author Esdras)

4:1¤ Now when Mardochai had heard these things, he rent his garments, and put on sackcloth, strewing ashes on his head and he cried with a loud voice in the street in the midst of the city, shewing the anguish of his mind.

4:2And he came lamenting in this manner even to the gate of the palace: for no one clothed with sackcloth might enter the king's court.

4:3And in all provinces, towns, and places, to which the king's cruel edict was come, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, wailing, and weeping, many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed.

4:4Then Esther's maids and her eunuchs went in, and told her. And when she heard it she was in a consternation and she sent a garment, to clothe him, and to take away the sackcloth: but he would not receive it.

4:5And she called for Athach the eunuch, whom the king had appointed to attend upon her, and she commanded him to go to Mardochai, and learn of him why he did this.

4:6And Athach going out went to Mardochai, who was standing in the street of the city, before the palace gate:

4:7And Mardochai told him all that had happened, how Aman had promised to pay money into the king's treasures, to have the Jews destroyed.

4:8He gave him also a copy of the edict which was hanging up in Susan, that he should shew it to the queen, and admonish her to go in to the king, and to entreat him for her people.

4:9And Athach went back and told Esther all that Mardochai had said.

4:10She answered him, and bade him say to Mardochai:

4:11All the king's servants, and all the provinces that are under his dominion, know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, cometh into the king's inner court, who is not called for, is immediately to be put to death without any delay: except the king shall hold out the golden sceptre to him, in token of clemency, that so he may live. How then can I go in to the king, who for these thirty days now have not been called unto him?

4:12And when Mardochai had heard this,

4:13He sent word to Esther again, saying: Think not that thou mayst save thy life only, because thou art in the king's house, more than all the Jews:

4:14For if thou wilt now hold thy peace, the Jews shall be delivered by some other occasion: and thou, and thy father's house shall perish. And who knoweth whether thou art not therefore come to the kingdom, that thou mightest be ready in such a time as this?

4:15And again Esther sent to Mardochai in these words:

4:16Go, and gather together all the Jews whom thou shalt find in Susan, and pray ye for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days and three nights: and I with my handmaids will fast in like manner, and then I will go in to the king, against the law, not being called, and expose myself to death and to danger.

4:17So Mardochai went, and did all that Esther had commanded him.

5:1¤ And on the third day Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's hall: now he sat upon his throne in the hall of the palace, over against the door of the house.

5:2And when he saw Esther the queen standing, she pleased his eyes, and he held out toward her the golden sceptre, which he held in his hand and she drew near, and kissed the top of his sceptre.

5:3And the king said to her: What wilt thou, queen Esther? what is thy request? if thou shouldst even ask one half of the kingdom, it shall be given to thee.

5:4But she answered: If it please the king, I beseech thee to come to me this day, and Aman with thee to the banquet which I have prepared.

5:5And the king said forthwith: Call ye Aman quickly, that he may obey Esther's will. So the king and Aman came to the banquet which the queen had prepared for them.

5:6And the king said to her, after he had drunk wine plentifully: What dost thou desire should be given thee? and for what thing askest thou? although thou shouldst ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it.

5:7And Esther answered: My petition and request is this:

5:8If I have found favour in the king's sight, and if it please the king to give me what I ask, and to fulfil my petition: let the king and Aman come to the banquet which I have prepared them, and to morrow I will open my mind to the king.

5:9So Aman went out that day joyful and merry. And when he saw Mardochai sitting before the gate of the palace, and that he not only did not rise up to honour him, but did not so much as move from the place where he sat, he was exceedingly angry:

5:10But dissembling his anger, and returning into his house, he called together to him his friends, and Zares his wife:

5:11And he declared to them the greatness of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and with how great glory the king had advanced him above all his princes and servants.

5:12And after this he said: Queen Esther also hath invited no other to the banquet with the king, but me: and with her I am also to dine to morrow with the king:

5:13And whereas I have all these things, I think I have nothing, so long as I see Mardochai the Jew sitting before the king's gate.

5:14Then Zares his wife, and the rest of his friends answered him: Order a great beam to be prepared, fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king, that Mardochai may be hanged upon it, and so thou shalt go full of joy with the king to the banquet. The counsel pleased him, and he commanded a high gibbet to be prepared.

6:1¤ That night the king passed without sleep, and he commanded the histories and chronicles of former times to be brought him. And when they were reading them before him,

6:2They came to that place where it was written, how Mardochai had discovered the treason of Bagathan and Thares the eunuchs, who sought to kill king Assuerus.

6:3And when the king heard this, he said: What honour and reward hath Mardochai received for this fidelity? His servants and ministers said to him: He hath received no reward at all.

6:4And the king said immediately: Who is in the court? for Aman was coming in to the inner court of the king's house, to speak to the king, that he might order Mardochai to be hanged upon the gibbet, which was prepared for him.

6:5The servants answered: Aman standeth in the court, and the king said: Let him come in.

6:6And when he was come in, he said to him: What ought to be done to the man whom the king is desirous to honour? But Aman thinking in his heart, and supposing that the king would honour no other but himself,

6:7Answered: The man whom the king desireth to honour,

6:8Ought to be clothed with the king's apparel, and to be set upon the horse that the king rideth upon, and to have the royal crown upon his head,

6:9And let the first of the king's princes and nobles hold his horse, and going through the street of the city, proclaim before him and say: Thus shall he be honoured, whom the king hath a mind to honour.

6:10And the king said to him: Make haste and take the robe and the horse, and do as thou hast spoken to Mardochai the Jew, who sitteth before the gates of the palace. Beware thou pass over any of those things which thou hast spoken.

6:11So Aman took the robe and the horse, and arraying Mardochai in the street of the city, and setting him on the horse, went before him, and proclaimed: This honour is he worthy of, whom the king hath a mind to honour.

6:12But Mardochai returned to the palace gate: and Aman made haste to go to his house, mourning and having his head covered:

6:13And he told Zares his wife, and his friends, all that had befallen him. And the wise men whom he had in counsel, and his wife answered him: If Mardochai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou canst not resist him, but thou shalt fall in his sight.

6:14As they were yet speaking, the king's eunuchs came, and compelled him to go quickly to the banquet which the queen had prepared.

7:1¤ So the king and Aman went in, to drink with the queen.

7:2And the king said to her again the second day, after he was warm with wine: What is thy petition, Esther, that it may be granted thee? and what wilt thou have done: although thou ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it.

7:3Then she answered: If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please thee, give me my life for which I ask, and my people for which I request.

7:4For we are given up, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. And would God we were sold for bondmen and bondwomen: the evil might be borne with, and I would have mourned in silence: but now we have an enemy, whose cruelty redoundeth upon the king.

7:5And king Assuerus answered and said: Who is this, and of what power, that he should do these things?

7:6And Esther said: It is this Aman that is our adversary and most wicked enemy. Aman hearing this was forthwith astonished, not being able to bear the countenance of the king and of the queen.

7:7But the king being angry rose up, and went from the place of the banquet into the garden set with trees. Aman also rose up to entreat Esther the queen for his life, for he understood that evil was prepared for him by the king.

7:8And when the king came back out of the garden set with trees, and entered into the place of the banquet, he found Aman was fallen upon the bed on which Esther lay, and he said: He will force the queen also in my presence, in my own house. The word was not yet gone out of the king's mouth, and immediately they covered his face.

7:9And Harbona, one of the eunuchs that stood waiting on the king, said: Behold the gibbet which he hath prepared for Mardochai, who spoke for the king, standeth in Aman's house, being fifty cubits high. And the king said to him: Hang him upon it.

7:10So Aman was hanged on the gibbet, which he had prepared for Mardochai: and the king's wrath ceased.

Original from Project Gutenberg - Massive cleanup of OCR problems and editing done locally.