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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update
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