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Esther 8:15-17

Context

8:15 Now Mordecai went out from the king’s presence in purple and white royal attire, with a large golden crown and a purple linen mantle. The city of Susa shouted with joy. 1  8:16 For the Jews there was radiant happiness and joyous honor. 2  8:17 Throughout every province and throughout every city where the king’s edict and his law arrived, the Jews experienced happiness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many of the resident peoples 3  pretended 4  to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them. 5 

1 tn Heb “shouted and rejoiced.” The expression is a hendiadys (see the note on 5:10 for an explanation of this figure).

2 tn Heb “light and gladness and joy and honor” (so NASB). The present translation understands the four terms to be a double hendiadys.

3 tn Heb “peoples of the land” (so NASB); NIV “people of other nationalities”; NRSV “peoples of the country.”

4 tn Heb “were becoming Jews”; NAB “embraced Judaism.” However, the Hitpael stem of the verb is sometimes used of a feigning action rather than a genuine one (see, e.g., 2 Sam 13:5, 6), which is the way the present translation understands the use of the word here (cf. NEB “professed themselves Jews”; NRSV “professed to be Jews”). This is the only occurrence of this verb in the Hebrew Bible, so there are no exact parallels. However, in the context of v. 17 the motivation of their conversion (Heb “the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them”) should not be overlooked. The LXX apparently understood the conversion described here to be genuine, since it adds the words “they were being circumcised and” before “they became Jews.”

5 tn Heb “had fallen upon them” (so NRSV); NIV “had seized them.”



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