New International Version
5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish,(A) 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a](B) king of Judah.(C) 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther,(D) had a lovely figure(E) and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa(F) and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor.(G) Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food.(H) He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.(I) 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes(J) and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines.(K) She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.(L)
15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail(M)) to go to the king,(N) she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor(O) of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen(P) instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet,(Q) Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials.(R) He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.(S)
- Esther 2:6 Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin
New International Version
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs(A) are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey(B) the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.(C) 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[a] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”(D)
10 So the king took his signet ring(E) from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language(F) of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed(G) with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews(H)—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,(I) and to plunder(J) their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.(K)
- Esther 3:9 That is, about 375 tons or about 340 metric tons
New International Version
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes,(A) put on sackcloth and ashes,(B) and went out into the city, wailing(C) loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate,(D) because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.(E) 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned(F) the king has but one law:(G) that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter(H) to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent(I) at this time, relief(J) and deliverance(K) for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”(L)
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast(M) for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”(N)
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
Esther’s Request to the King
5 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes(O) and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s(P) hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.(Q)
3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(R) it will be given you.”
4 “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”
5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”
So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine,(S) the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(T) it will be granted.”(U)
7 Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor(V) and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet(W) I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”
New International Version
7 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet,(A) 2 and as they were drinking wine(B) on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,(C) it will be granted.(D)”
3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor(E) with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.(F) If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.[a]”
5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage,(G) left his wine and went out into the palace garden.(H) But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate,(I) stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”(L)
As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.(M) 9 Then Harbona,(N) one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits[b](O) stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”