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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Esther 1–2

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Chapter 1

The Banquets of the King

1 Now it took place in the days of aAhasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned bfrom India to 1Ethiopia over c127 provinces, 2 in those days as King Ahasuerus asat on his royal throne which was at the citadel in bSusa, 3 in the third year of his reign ahe gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of his provinces being in his presence. 4 1And he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.

5 When these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the greatest to the least, in the court of athe garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were hangings of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, and acouches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones. 7 Drinks were served in golden vessels of various kinds, and the royal wine was plentiful aaccording to the king’s 1bounty. 8 The drinking was done according to the law, there was no compulsion, for so the king had given orders to each official of his household that he should do according to the desires of each person. 9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the 1palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

Queen Vashti’s Refusal

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was amerry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal acrown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.

13 Then the king said to athe wise men bwho understood the times—for it was the custom of the king so to speak before all who knew law and justice 14 and were close to him: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media awho 1had access to the king’s presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom— 15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she did not 1obey the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 In the presence of the king and the princes, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will 1become known to all the women causing them 2to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ 18 This day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s conduct will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal 1edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so athat it cannot 2be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to 3another who is more worthy than she. 20 When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout all his kingdom, 1great as it is, then aall women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.”

21 This word pleased the king and the princes, and the king did 1as Memucan proposed. 22 So he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, ato each province according to its script and to every people according to their language, that every man should bbe the master in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people.

Chapter 2

Vashti’s Successor Sought

1 After these things awhen the anger of King Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and bwhat had been decreed against her. 2 Then the king’s attendants, who served him, said, “aLet beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. 3 Let the king appoint overseers in aall the provinces of his kingdom that they may gather every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of bHegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and clet their cosmetics be given them. 4 Then let the young lady who pleases the king be queen in place of Vashti.” And the matter pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

5 Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was aMordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6 awho had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had exiled. 7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is aEsther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young lady was beautiful of form and 1face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Esther Finds Favor

8 So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and amany young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the custody of bHegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s 1palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9 Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her acosmetics and 1food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem. 10 aEsther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make them known. 11 Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and how she fared.

12 Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women— 13 the young lady would go in to the king in this way: anything that she 1desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the 1custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

15 Now when the turn of Esther, athe daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what bHegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, 1advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus to his royal palace in the tenth month which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

Esther Becomes Queen

17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that ahe set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then athe king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts baccording to the king’s bounty.

19 aWhen the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai bwas sitting at the king’s gate. 20 aEsther had not yet made known her kindred or her people, even as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther did 1what Mordecai told her as she had done bwhen under his care.

Mordecai Saves the King

21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, aBigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to 1lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 But the 1plot became known to Mordecai and ahe told Queen Esther, and Esther 2informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 Now when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a 1gallows; and it was written in athe Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence.

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