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Esther Becomes Queen

After these things, as the rage of King Ahasuerus abated, he became mindful of Vashti, what she had done and what was decreed against her. So the king’s servants who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king! Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom so that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the harem under the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the harem, and let ointments and cosmetics be given to them. May the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” And the idea pleased the king, so he acted accordingly.

Now in the citadel of Susa, there was a certain Jew named Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. He had been taken away from Jerusalem among the exiles and carried into captivity along with King Jeconiah of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He was the guardian of Hadassah, that is Esther (who was his uncle’s daughter) because she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely to look at and beautiful in form. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

When the king’s notice and his decree were heard, many young women were then gathered to the citadel of Susa and placed under the custody of Hegai. Esther was likewise brought to the king’s house and placed under the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the harem. Because the young lady appeared pleasing to him and had gained favor in his sight, he quickly gave her the ointments and cosmetics, her allotted food, and seven young chosen women from the king’s palace. He also transferred her and her young women to the best place of the harem.

10 Esther had not disclosed her people or her lineage because Mordecai had charged her not to disclose it. 11 Every day Mordecai walked around the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther fared and what might be done with her.

12 The turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women. 13 When the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to take to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she went in, and in the morning she returned to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She did not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name.

15 When the turn came for Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what the king’s eunuch Hegai, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house in the month of Tebeth, which is the tenth month, in the seventh year of his reign.

17 The king loved Esther more than any other woman because she had gained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins. So he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 The king held a great feast for all his officials and servants. It was a feast for Esther. He remitted his provinces from tax payments and gave gifts according to his royal generosity.

Mordecai Uncovers a Plot

19 At the second gathering of the virgins, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet disclosed her lineage or her people, since Mordecai had so commanded her. Esther followed the command of Mordecai just as she had when under his protection.

21 During those days when Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who served as keepers of the door, became angry and sought to attack King Ahasuerus. 22 But the matter became known to Mordecai, and he reported it to Queen Esther, and Esther reported it to the king in the name of Mordecai. 23 When the matter was investigated and confirmed, both men were hanged on the gallows, and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.