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Esther Wins Favor

After these things when King Ahasuerus’ anger subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let a search be made on the king’s behalf for beautiful young virgins. Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the palace at Shushan in the house of women under the supervision of Hegai the king’s eunuch, who oversees the women. Let them be given beauty treatments. Then let the young woman who pleases the king become queen instead of Vashti.”

This advice pleased the king and he acted accordingly.

There was a Jewish man in the Shushan palace whose name was Mordecai, son of Jair son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjamite, who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives that had been carried away with King Jeconiah of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken away. He had raised Hadassah—that is Esther—his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The girl was attractive and had a beautiful figure. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her to him as his own daughter.

After the king’s order and decree became known, many young women were assembled in the palace of Shushan under the supervision of Hegai. Esther also was taken into the king’s household under the supervision of Hegai, guardian of the women. This young woman pleased him and found favor with him. He quickly arranged her beauty treatments and provided her special food. He also provided her with seven specially chosen young women from the king’s household. Then he moved her and her maids to the best place in the women’s house.

10 Esther had not disclosed her people or her lineage, because Mordecai had commanded her not to make them known. 11 Every day Mordecai walked in front of the women’s courtyard to find out how Esther was, and what might happen to her.

12 When each young woman’s turn came to go to King Ahasuerus at the end of 12 months as prescribed for the women—for in this way they fulfilled their beautification: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and women’s cosmetics— 13 the young woman would go to the king in this way: whatever she asked for was given to her to take with her from the women’s house to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go, and in the morning she would return to the second women’s home under the supervision of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, guardian of the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless the king was pleased with her, and summoned her by name.

15 When the turn came for Esther, the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the women, advised. And Esther won favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tevet, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 Now the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than all the other virgins. So he placed the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

18 Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his princes and servants. He proclaimed a holiday for the provinces and distributed gifts in keeping with the king’s wealth.

19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet made known her lineage or her people, just as Mordecai had told her. Esther continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

Mordecai Foils a Plot

21 In those days while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told it to Queen Esther. Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 When the matter was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a gallows. It was then written in the book of the chronicles in the king’s presence.