Some versions of the Bible include additional text for the book of Esther, which isn’t found in most Protestant versions of the Bible. This additional text rounds out the story and reveals deeper insight into the life of Esther and her guardian, Mordecai.
This complete text of Esther includes five additional sections inserted into Esther’s story:
Prologue: Added prior to Esther 1:1, this section tells of Mordecai’s prophetic dream and his successful efforts to save the king from an assassination attempt. This sparks Haman’s hatred of Mordecai and establishes the reason for the king’s future honoring of Mordecai.
Haman’s Letter: Inserted between Esther 3:14 and 3:15 is the text of Haman’s letter, under the seal of the king, that orders the annihilation of all Jews living across the land.
Prayers: Added after Esther 4:17 are two prayers. Mordecai’s prayer comes first, followed by a longer prayer from Esther. Esther’s prayer reveals her thoughts about her position as queen, which she loathes as an anathema to her devote Jewish faith. This section concludes with Esther approaching the king and God’s provision when she does.
Counter Decree: Inserted between Esther 8:12 and 13 is the decree issued my Mordecai, also under the king’s authority, to allow the Jews to defend themselves and seek revenge against their enemies.
Epilogue: Added after Esther 10:3 is a follow-up text, mostly a quote of Mordecai.
The expanded version of Esther is an Apocrypha text and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Douay-Rheims (DRA), and Eastern Orthodox Bibles all include the expanded version of Esther. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains these additional passages, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the additions of Esther.
For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”
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