NKJV - 17 And in every province and city, wherever the king's command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.
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Looking at the various ways in which this verse is translated, it seems that multiple translations and commentators regard these "conversions" as having been expedient actions motivated by fear of harm from the Jewish population, in order to avoid the killings that the Jews carried out against their enemies, as noted in Esther 9:5-7, and Esther 9:15-18. The text of the passage indicating that the Persians became Jews could also apparently be rendered as saying that the Persians united themselves with the Jews (rather than fighting against them), or pretended to be Jews (again, in order to avoid being killed), motivated (as the passage cited in the question says) by fear. I don't believe (given the circumstances) that any similarity can be drawn between these events and the process of conversion of the initial Christians from Judaism or Gentile religions hundreds of years later. (In fact, in the case of the early Christians, they converted in spite of, rather than because of, the fear of the consequences that might result, both from Jewish and Roman authorities.)
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