June 4

Esther 1:1 — 3:15


1 Now it came about in the days of Ahasuerus, that is, the Ahasuerus who was ruling as king from India to Ethiopia, [over] a hundred and twenty-seven jurisdictional districts, 2 [that] in those days as King Ahasuerus was sitting upon his royal throne, which was in Shushan the castle, 3 in the third year of his reigning he held a banquet for all his princes and his servants, the military force of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of the jurisdictional districts before himself, 4 when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor [and] the beauty of his greatness for many days, a hundred and eighty days. 5 And when these days had come to the full, the king held a banquet for seven days for all the people that were found in Shushan the castle, for the great as well as the small, in the courtyard of the garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were linen, fine cotton and blue held fast in ropes of fine fabric, and wool dyed reddish purple in silver rings and pillars of marble, couches of gold and silver upon a pavement of porphyry and marble and pearl and black marble.

7 And there was a passing of wine to drink in gold vessels; and the vessels were different from one another, and the royal wine was in great quantity, according to the means of the king. 8 As regards the time of drinking according to the law, there was no one compelling, for that was the way the king had arranged for every great man of his household, to do according to the liking of each and every one.

9 Also, Vashti the queen herself held a banquet for the women at the royal house that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the king’s heart was in a merry mood with wine, he said to Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven court officials that were ministering to the person of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Vashti the queen in the royal headdress before the king, to show the peoples and the princes her loveliness; for she was beautiful in appearance. 12 But Queen Vashti kept refusing to come at the king’s word that was [conveyed] by means of the court officials. At this the king grew highly indignant and his very rage flared up within him.

13 And the king proceeded to say to the wise men having knowledge of the times (for in this way the king’s matter [came] before all those versed in law and legal cases, 14 and those closest to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, seven princes of Persia and Media, having access to the king, [and] who were sitting first in the kingdom): 15 “According to law what is to be done with Queen Vashti because she has not performed the saying of King Ahasuerus by means of the court officials?”

16 To this Memucan said before the king and the princes: “It is not against the king alone that Vashti the queen has done wrong, but against all the princes and against all the peoples that are in all the jurisdictional districts of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the affair of the queen will go out to all the wives so that they will despise their owners in their own eyes, when they say, ‘King Ahasuerus himself said to bring in Vashti the queen before him, and she did not come in.’ 18 And this day the princesses of Persia and Media, who have heard the affair of the queen, will talk to all the princes of the king, and there will be plenty of contempt and indignation. 19 If to the king it does seem good, let a royal word go out from his person, and let it be written among the laws of Persia and Media, that it may not pass away, that Vashti may not come in before King Ahasuerus; and her royal dignity let the king give to a companion of hers, a woman better than she is. 20 And the decree of the king that he will make must be heard in all his realm (for it is vast), and all the wives themselves will give honor to their owners, the great as well as the small.”

21 And the thing was pleasing in the eyes of the king and the princes, and the king proceeded to do according to the word of Memucan. 22 So he sent written documents to all the king’s jurisdictional districts, to each jurisdictional district in its own style of writing and to each people in its own tongue, for every husband to be continually acting as prince in his own house and speaking in the tongue of his own people.

2 After these things, when the rage of King Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decided against her. 2 Then the king’s attendants, his ministers, said: “Let them seek young women, virgins, beautiful in appearance, for the king, 3 and let the king appoint commissioners in all the jurisdictional districts of his realm, and let them collect together all the young women, virgins, beautiful in appearance, at Shushan the castle, at the house of the women in charge of Hegai the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the women; and let there be a giving of their massages. 4 And that young woman who seems pleasing in the king’s eyes will be queen instead of Vashti.” And the thing was pleasing in the king’s eyes, and he proceeded to do that way.

5 A certain man, a Jew, happened to be in Shushan the castle, and his name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish a Benjaminite, 6 who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the deported people who were taken into exile with Jeconiah the king of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon took into exile. 7 And he came to be the caretaker of Hadassah, that is, Esther, the daughter of his father’s brother, for she had neither father nor mother; and the young woman was pretty in form and beautiful in appearance, and at the death of her father and her mother Mordecai took her as his daughter. 8 And it came about that, when the king’s word and his law were heard, and when many young women were collected together at Shushan the castle in charge of Hegai, then Esther was taken to the king’s house in charge of Hegai the guardian of the women.

9 Now the young woman was pleasing in his eyes, so that she gained loving-kindness before him and he made haste to give her her massages and her appropriate food, and to give her seven selected young women from the king’s house, and he proceeded to transfer her and her young women to the best place of the house of the women. 10 Esther had not told about her people or about her relatives, for Mordecai himself had laid the command upon her that she should not tell. 11 And day after day Mordecai was walking before the courtyard of the house of the women to know of Esther’s welfare and what was being done with her.

12 And when the turn of each young woman arrived to go in to King Ahasuerus after it had happened to her according to the women’s regulation for twelve months, for that was the way the days of their massage procedure were gradually fulfilled, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with balsam oil and with the massages of the women; 13 then on these conditions the young woman herself came in to the king. Everything that she would mention would be given her, to come with her from the house of the women to the king’s house. 14 In the evening she herself came in, and in the morning she herself returned to the second house of the women in charge of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the concubines. She would not come in anymore to the king unless the king had taken delight in her and she had been called by name.

15 And when the turn of Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, whom he had taken as his daughter, arrived to come in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the women, proceeded to mention (all the while Esther was continually gaining favor in the eyes of everyone seeing her). 16 Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house in the tenth month, that is, the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, so that she gained more favor and loving-kindness before him than all the other virgins. And he proceeded to put the royal headdress upon her head and make her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king went on to hold a great banquet for all his princes and his servants, the banquet of Esther; and an amnesty for the jurisdictional districts he granted, and he kept giving presents according to the means of the king.

19 Now when virgins were collected together a second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate. 20 Esther was not telling about her relatives and her people, just as Mordecai had laid the command upon her; and the saying of Mordecai Esther was performing, just as when she happened to be under care by him.

21 In those days while Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two court officials of the king, doorkeepers, became indignant and kept seeking to lay hand on King Ahasuerus. 22 And the thing came to be known to Mordecai, and he immediately told Esther the queen. In turn Esther talked to the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 So the matter was sought out and eventually found out, and both of them got to be hanged on a stake; after which it was written in the book of the affairs of the days before the king.

3 After these things King Ahasuerus magnified Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite and proceeded to exalt him and to put his throne above all the other princes that were with him. 2 And all the king’s servants that were in the king’s gate were bowing low and prostrating themselves to Haman, for so the king had commanded respecting him. But as for Mordecai, he would neither bow low nor prostrate himself. 3 And the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate began to say to Mordecai: “Why are you sidestepping the king’s commandment?” 4 And it came about that, as they talked to him day by day, and he did not listen to them, then they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s affairs would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.

5 Now Haman kept seeing that Mordecai was not bowing low and prostrating himself to him, and Haman became filled with rage. 6 But it was despicable in his eyes to lay hand upon Mordecai alone, for they had told him about Mordecai’s people; and Haman began seeking to annihilate all the Jews who were in all the realm of Ahasuerus, Mordecai’s people.

7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, someone cast Pur, that is, the Lot, before Haman from day to day and from month to month, [to] the twelfth, that is, the month Adar. 8 And Haman proceeded to say to King Ahasuerus: “There is one certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the jurisdictional districts of your realm; and their laws are different from all other people’s, and the king’s own laws they are not performing, and for the king it is not appropriate to let them alone. 9 If to the king it does seem good, let there be a writing that they be destroyed; and ten thousand silver talents I shall pay into the hands of those doing the work by bringing [it] into the king’s treasury.”

10 At that the king removed his signet ring from his own hand and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the one showing hostility to the Jews. 11 And the king went on to say to Haman: “The silver is given to you, also the people, to do with them according to what is good in your own eyes.” 12 The king’s secretaries were then called in the first month on the thirteenth day of it, and writing went on according to all that Haman commanded the king’s satraps and the governors who were over the different jurisdictional districts, and the princes of the different peoples, of each jurisdictional district, in its own style of writing, and each people in its own tongue; in the name of King Ahasuerus it was written and it was sealed with the king’s signet ring.

13 And there was a sending of the letters by means of couriers to all the king’s jurisdictional districts, to annihilate, to kill and to destroy all the Jews, young man as well as old man, little ones and women, on one day, on the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, and to plunder the spoil of them. 14 A copy of the writing to be given as law in all the different jurisdictional districts was being published to all the peoples, [for them] to become ready for this day. 15 The couriers themselves went out, being moved to speed because of the king’s word, and the law itself was given in Shushan the castle. As for the king and Haman, they sat down to drink; but as for the city of Shushan, it was in confusion.