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Persian King’s Banquet

This is what happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. At that time King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in the castle in Shushan. In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his princes and his servants. The military leaders of Persia and Media plus the nobles and officials of the provinces were present.

He displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty for many days, 180 days. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the garden court of the king’s palace for all the people who were present in the palace at Shushan, for both the greatest to the least. There were white and blue linen curtains hung by cords of fine linen and purple on silver rings and marble columns, gold and silver couches on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, marble, mother-of-pearl and minerals. Wine was served in golden goblets, each of which was different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant according to the king’s wealth. In keeping with the law, there were no restrictions on drinking for the king had instructed the supervisors of his household to comply with each person’s desire. In addition Queen Vashti held a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Ahasuerus.

Vashti Refuses to Appear

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry from the wine, he commanded Mehuman, Bizzetha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas—the seven eunuchs who attended Ahasuerus the king— 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king wearing the royal crown. He wanted to show the peoples and the officials her beauty, for she was very attractive. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. Then the king became furious, and burned with anger.

13 So the king consulted the wise men who discerned the times, for it was the king’s practice to consult experts in matters of law and justice. 14 Those closest to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who had access to the king’s presence and were the highest in the kingdom.

15 “By law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, for failing to obey the command of King Ahasuerus conveyed by the eunuchs?”

16 Then Memucan answered in the presence of the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king, but also all the princes and peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will go out to all the women making their husbands contemptible in their eyes, by saying, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she would not come!’ 18 This very day the noblewomen of Persia and Media who have heard of the matter concerning the queen will respond similarly to all the king’s princes and there will be no end to the contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal commandment go forth from him, and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti may not come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal status to another who is more worthy than she. 20 Then the king’s edict, which he will enact, will be proclaimed throughout all his vast kingdom, and all the wives will give their husbands honor from the greatest to the smallest.”

21 The matter pleased the king and the princes. So the king did according to the word of Memucan. 22 He sent letters throughout all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script, and to each people in its own language, that every man should be in charge of his own household, and speak the language of his own people.