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Esther 3:8-9

Context

3:8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a particular people 1  that is dispersed and spread among the inhabitants 2  throughout all the provinces of your kingdom whose laws differ from those of all other peoples. Furthermore, they do not observe the king’s laws. It is not appropriate for the king to provide a haven for them. 3  3:9 If the king is so inclined, 4  let an edict be issued 5  to destroy them. I will pay ten thousand talents of silver 6  to be conveyed to the king’s treasuries for the officials who carry out this business.”

1 tn Heb “one people.” Note the subtle absence at this point of a specific mention of the Jewish people by name.

2 tn Heb “peoples” (so NASB, NIV); NAB “nations”

3 tn Heb “to cause them to rest”; NASB “to let them remain”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “to tolerate them.”

4 tn Heb “If upon the king it is good”; KJV “If it please the king.”

5 tn Heb “let it be written” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “let it be decreed.”

6 sn The enormity of the monetary sum referred to here can be grasped by comparing this amount (10,000 talents of silver) to the annual income of the empire, which according to Herodotus (Histories 3.95) was 14,500 Euboic talents. In other words Haman is offering the king a bribe equal to two-thirds of the royal income. Doubtless this huge sum of money was to come (in large measure) from the anticipated confiscation of Jewish property and assets once the Jews had been destroyed. That such a large sum of money is mentioned may indicate something of the economic standing of the Jewish population in the empire of King Ahasuerus.



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