In the Book of Esther (Apocrypha Additions) it says that Haman sent out a decree that Jews were to be "destroyed, root and branch, by the sword of their enemies, without pity or mercy, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month ... and leave our government secure and undisturbed for the future." (Edgar Goodspeed translation) The canonized version of Esther makes the appointed day of massacre the thirteenth day, that is the Ides of the twelfth month (Adar).
Atwill devotes an entire chapter to the phrase "root and branch", although he doesn't specifically cite its occurrence in (Apocrypha) Esther. This expression as applied to the context of Esther would then suggest that not only were original Jews to be targetted but also any derivative/affiliated groups who had adopted Judaism (by being figuratively "grafted" onto to the original Jewish "root" as "branches").
In the Book of Esther, the king Xerxes countermands the first edict by authorizing Jews to organize and defend themselves against any who try to kill them on the 13th of Adar. They were also to kill and plunder these enemies with the help of local Persian officials. The Jews are said to have done this and by request of Esther were allowed to continue on the 14th day. The 14th and 15th of Adar became the sacred holidays of Purim.
Atwill also brings out the symbolic importance of the Jewish War's conclusion at Masada taking place (according to Josephus) on the the Ides of Nissan, the Jewish Passover. Josephus wants the reader to envision the Jewish nation being "liberated" not from the oppression of Rome but from the Scicarii!
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