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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

[This is the letter which Haman sent (to the nations), for the purpose of causing the house of Jacob to perish.]

LXXXI. (1) 'I, Haman, who am great before the king, and second to him, who am the chief of the potentates, and seventh among the princes, and who am the most favoured in the kingdom—I, Haman, do write with the consent of all the prefects (eparchs), governors, rulers, and of all the kings of the East who lend their aid, and with the consent of all the royal princes. We all with one consent, with one mouth, with one speech, and in one language, write down, with the permission of King Ahasuerus, and seal it with his ring, so that it cannot be retracted, concerning the great eagle, whose wings were spread over the whole world, so that no bird, beast, or animal was able to stand before it, until the great Mede arose and smote it with one great blow, by which its wings were broken, its feathers plucked out, and its legs cut off, thereby giving the whole world rest, peace, and tranquillity, from the time it wandered from its nest until this very day. We now see that it wishes to grow and to increase its feathers and to spread out its wings again to cover us and the whole world, and to rend us in pieces in the same manner as it rent our forefathers who preceded us.

(2) 'On this account all the great men of Media and Persia have here assembled, and with the permission of the king we all of us with one counsel write to you to spread out nets to catch this eagle, whose strength again increases, and bring her back to her nest, to pluck out her feathers and to break her wings, to give her flesh to the birds of the heaven, to destroy her seed, to crush her young, and to root out her memory from the world. Our

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counsel is not like Pharaoh's, who decreed only concerning the males, leaving the females; nor as Esau's, who said, "Now that the days of my father's mourning draw nigh, I will kill my brother Jacob, and make his sons my servants"; nor like Amalek's, who pursued Israel, and slew the weak, but let the strong remain; nor like Nebuchadnezzar's, who exiled them, and, giving them rest, promoted some to the throne of the kingdom; nor like Sennacherib's, who brought them to a land like their own; (3) but with a united wish, we have decided to destroy and to blot out all the Jews, young and old, women and children, and all on one day, so that there be no seed left in the world, that their children act not as they did to our ancestors, to our fathers, and our great men, for those who did good to them they rewarded with evil. We would be justified even if we took only revenge for Pharaoh, who did many good deeds for them, for he made Joseph, a servant, king over them and over all Egypt, and when his father and brothers came to him, he gave them the very best part of the land to dwell in, and maintained them during the years of famine, so that his people increased and multiplied in the land, and a prophet arose among them, Moses by name, the son of Amram. He was a wizard, and brought upon Pharaoh, upon his household, and upon his land, great plagues, awful and extraordinary. The people then rose up in the middle of the night like thieves, and, after robbing their neighbours, went out of the land. But Pharaoh, with his army, pursued them for their property, and they entered the sea through the enchantments of the Israelites; but they did not know by what means they had entered, and they were all drowned in the sea, thus returning evil for good.

(4) 'When they arrived in the wilderness, a certain old man, a descendant of Esau, offered them a feast in honour of their ancestor Jacob, and after they had eaten and drunk and enjoyed his feast—Joshua their wizard did not cease with his enchantments—but they spread their hands and whispered with their lips, until our ancestors

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became weak through him, as it is said, "And Joshua weakened them"; nor was this alone sufficient for them, but they made a decree that our name should be blotted out, as it is said, "Thou shalt destroy the memory of Amalek." They did likewise to the kings of Midian who dwelt there, for they spoiled and slew the Midianite kings, their prophets and their priest they slew at the edge of the sword, and had no mercy upon them, as it is said, "And Balaam, the son of Beor, they slew with the sword, also Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings." Also the thirty-one kings and seventy elders. Then arose their king, Saul, who destroyed all the seed of Amalek, and had not our ancestor Agag been preserved, there would not have been one single survivor. They strengthened themselves against our kingdom, and destroyed us, not by means of the spear or the sword, but, having built a large house, they entered therein, and when they came out, they caused the nations to fall down before their words by means of their wiles.'

(5) When the nations of the world read this writing, they sent back word to Haman, saying, 'Whatever thou hast written we know, but we fear lest they do the same to us as they did to our forefathers and our ancestors, for we shall perish at their hands. Cease, therefore, from them, for whoever touches them touches the apple of God's eye, for they are called "The people near to Him," as it is said, "And the children of Israel are the people near to Him; they are His beloved, His treasure, and His inheritance." Now, Haman, what wilt thou do? for see what happens to those who pursue them, see how the mighty men of the world have fallen beneath them. We therefore do not wish to lay hand upon them, for their God has called them the stone of foundation, and whenever it is moved He shall replace it.'

(6) Haman once more wrote to them, saying that 'their God, whom you fear so much, does not fight their battles, nor does He avenge their wrongs; He only did so in His youth, but now He has become weak, and has no more

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power to wreak vengeance; for if He had, why did He not deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed His house, burnt His temple, and slew His young men, and before whom He had no power, for the remnant was then exiled to his land (Babylon). And now though they are prisoners in our hands, we wish to intermarry with them, but they do not wish it. They, on the contrary, despise us, and account us as reptiles and creeping things; if a fly happens to fall into one of their cups, he throws it out and drinks the wine, and if one of us happens to touch the cup of one of them, he throws it on the ground and breaks it. If we ask them for anything, although we desire to return them double, in order to unite them to us, they do not wish it, but despise us and our kingdom. It is therefore our desire, with the king's consent, as well as the consent of the princes, rulers, governors, and pashas, to destroy them utterly from the world, both young and old, women and children, in one day, as it is said, "Come, and let us destroy them."'

(7) As soon as the surrounding nations heard this, with one accord they consented to destroy the Israelites, as it is said, 'Those kings counselled together,' etc. One day when Haman was walking along, with the princes of the kingdom following him, Mordecai, while walking in front of them, met three children just coming from school, and said to them, 'Tell me each of you what lesson you have learnt to-day.' The first one replied, 'Do not be hastily terrified.' The second replied, 'Take counsel together, and it shall be brought to nought;' and the third said, 'Until old age I am He.' On hearing these replies Mordecai rejoiced, and gave thanks to God. When Haman met him, he said, 'What did these children tell thee?' And he replied, 'They told me good tidings.' At this Haman's anger was kindled, and he commanded the children to be captured, saying, 'I will stretch forth my hand first against these children.' [End of the letter.]