Our earliest interpretation of the Book of Esther is the pre-Christian version found in the Septuagint. This version contains not only a Greek translation of the original book, but also extensive textual interpolations that provide, in fact, a theological exposition of the story.
One of these interpolations is the “second decree” of King Ahasuerus, the decree sought by Mordecai in order to “neutralize” the king’s earlier decree authorizing the annihilation of the Jews (Esther 8:9–13). Unlike the original Hebrew account, the Greek version provides a text of the decree itself (which in due course became 16:1–24 in St. Jerome’s unhappy adjustment of the Latin text of Esther in the Vulgate).< . . .