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Is this a mistranslation? Surprising line at the end of Chapter 8 in Megillat Esther.

This morning, I was reading the text of the Megillah to myself in English, as I do not speak Hebrew (especially not Biblical Hebrew). According to my JPS translation, the final line in chapter 8 reads,

  • “And many of the people of the land professed to be Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.” *

I checked on Sepharia, and it says the same thing (I think they may also use the JPS translation).

To me, this phrasing makes it sound like people who weren’t Jews started pretending to be Jewish out of fear. (Notably this comes right after the Jews of Persia have been given royal permission to violently fight back against those who had been planning to attack and exterminate them.) I would expect the rabbis over the past couple millennia would have had A LOT to say about nonJews pretending to be Jews, especially in this context. However, I have never heard a drash or any commentary about this line.

So, is the pasuk’s weirdness an artifact of translation, and thus the line has a very different connotation/meaning in Hebrew? If not, can anyone provide me with some insight into how this pasuk has traditionally been interpreted? Or, ‘non-traditional ’ interpretations – I’d be curious about those as well!

Thanks and Happy Purim! Yom Purim Sameach!

submitted by /u/Intelligent_Law1547
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Source: Reditt