Esther Made Queen

Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided,(A) he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.

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,(B) who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a](C) king of Judah.(D) 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,(E) had a lovely figure(F) and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa(G) 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. She pleased him and won his favor.(H) Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food.(I) 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.(J) 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(K) 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.(L) She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.(M)

15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail(N)) to go to the king,(O) 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(P) 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(Q) instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet,(R) Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials.(S) He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.(T)

Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy

19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate.(U) 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.(V)

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers(W) who guarded the doorway, became angry(X) and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled(Y) on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals(Z) in the presence of the king.(AA)

Footnotes

  1. Esther 2:6 Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Esther 2:21 Hebrew Bigthan, a variant of Bigthana

Isaiah’s Commission

In the year that King Uzziah(A) died,(B) I saw the Lord,(C) high and exalted,(D) seated on a throne;(E) and the train of his robe(F) filled the temple. Above him were seraphim,(G) each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet,(H) and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy(I), holy is the Lord Almighty;(J)
    the whole earth(K) is full of his glory.”(L)

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.(M)

“Woe(N) to me!” I cried. “I am ruined!(O) For I am a man of unclean lips,(P) and I live among a people of unclean lips,(Q) and my eyes have seen(R) the King,(S) the Lord Almighty.”(T)

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal(U) in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips;(V) your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.(W)

Then I heard the voice(X) of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?(Y) And who will go for us?(Z)

And I said, “Here am I.(AA) Send me!”

He said, “Go(AB) and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’(AC)
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;(AD)
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.[a](AE)
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,(AF)
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”(AG)

11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”(AH)

And he answered:

“Until the cities lie ruined(AI)
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted(AJ)
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,(AK)
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away(AL)
    and the land is utterly forsaken.(AM)
13 And though a tenth remains(AN) in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.(AO)
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps(AP) when they are cut down,
    so the holy(AQ) seed will be the stump in the land.”(AR)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 6:10 Hebrew; Septuagint ‘You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; / you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ / 10 This people’s heart has become calloused; / they hardly hear with their ears, / and they have closed their eyes

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