2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed down, and prostrated themselves before Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordechai bowed not down, nor prostrated himself before him.
3 Then the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordechai: ‘Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment?’
ג וַיֹּאמְרוּ עַבְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְמָרְדֳּכָי מַדּוּעַ אַתָּה עוֹבֵר אֵת מִצְוַת הַמֶּלֶךְ.
6 But it seemed contemptible in his eyes to lay hands on Mordechai alone; for they had made known to him the people of Mordechai; wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Yehudim that were throughout the whole kingdom of Achashveirosh, even the people of Mordechai.
7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Achashveirosh, they cast pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
8 And Haman said unto king Achashveirosh: ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king’s laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.’
ט אִם עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב יִכָּתֵב לְאַבְּדָם וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכַּר כֶּסֶף אֶשְׁקוֹל עַל יְדֵי עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה לְהָבִיא אֶל גִּנְזֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ.
11 And the king said unto Haman: ‘The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.’
יא וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן הַכֶּסֶף נָתוּן לָךְ וְהָעָם לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ.
12 Then were the king’s scribes called in the first month, on the thirteenth day thereof, and there was written, according to all that Haman commanded, unto the king’s satraps, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the princes of every people; to every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Achashveirosh was it written, and it was sealed with the king’s ring.
יב וַיִּקָּרְאוּ סֹפְרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם בּוֹ וַיִּכָּתֵב כְּכָל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה הָמָן אֶל אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶל הַפַּחוֹת אֲשֶׁר עַל מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה וְאֶל שָׂרֵי עַם וָעָם מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה כִּכְתָבָהּ וְעַם וָעָם כִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ בְּשֵׁם הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרֹשׁ נִכְתָּב וְנֶחְתָּם בְּטַבַּעַת הַמֶּלֶךְ.
13 And letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all Yehudim, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
v’-nish-LO-akh s’-fa-REEM b’-YAD ha-ra-TZEEM el kol m’-dee-NOT ha-ME-lekh l’-hash-MEED la-ha-ROG ul-a-BAYD et kol ha-y’-hu-DEEM mi-NA-ar v’-AD za-KAYN taf v’-na-SHEEM b’-YOM e-KHAD bish-lo-SHAH a-SAR l’-KHO-desh sh’-NAYM a-SAR hu KHO-desh a-DAR ush-la-LAM la-VOZ
יג וְנִשְׁלוֹחַ סְפָרִים בְּיַד הָרָצִים אֶל כָּל מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהַשְׁמִיד לַהֲרֹג וּלְאַבֵּד אֶת כָּל הַיְּהוּדִים מִנַּעַר וְעַד זָקֵן טַף וְנָשִׁים בְּיוֹם אֶחָד בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר לְחֹדֶשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר הוּא חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר וּשְׁלָלָם לָבוֹז.
3:13 To destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all Jews
Usually, the Bible gives us the reason why an individual, or the Jewish people as a whole, are punished. The Book of Esther does not explicitly state what the Jews did to deserve the threat of annihilation. When viewed in historical context, Rabbi Menachem Leibtag suggests that among other reasons, the Jews were guilty for not having returned to the Land of Israel though they had the opportunity to do so. After the Persian king Cyrus conquered the Babylonians, he allowed the Jews to return to Israel and begin the reconstruction of the Temple. However, a mere 42,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem while close to a million remained in Babylon. God punishes them for their lack of enthusiasm regarding the return to the Land of Israel.
14 The copy of the writing, to be given out for a decree in every province, was to be published unto all peoples, that they should be ready against that day.
יד פַּתְשֶׁגֶן הַכְּתָב לְהִנָּתֵן דָּת בְּכָל מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה גָּלוּי לְכָל הָעַמִּים לִהְיוֹת עֲתִדִים לַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.