The Banquets of the King

Now it happened in the days of (A)Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned (B)from India to [a]Cush over (C)127 provinces, in those days as King Ahasuerus (D)sat on his royal throne which was at the citadel in (E)Susa, in the third year of his reign (F)he held a banquet for all his officials and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, the nobles and the officials of his provinces, in his presence. [b]At that time he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.

When these days were finished, the king held a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the greatest to the least, in the courtyard of (G)the garden of the king’s palace. There were curtains of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, and (H)couches of gold and silver on a mosaic floor of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and mineral stones. Drinks were served in golden vessels of various kinds, and the royal wine was plentiful (I)in proportion to the king’s [c]bounty. But the drinking was done according to the royal law; there was no compulsion, for so the king had given orders to each official of his household, that he was to do as each person pleased. Queen Vashti also held a banquet for the women in the [d]palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

Queen Vashti’s Refusal

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was (J)cheerful with wine, he ordered Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal (K)turban in order to display her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s order [e]delivered by the eunuchs. So the king became very angry, and his wrath burned within him.

13 Then the king said to (L)the wise men (M)who understood the times—for it was the custom of the king to speak this way before all who knew Persian law and justice 14 and were close to him, namely, Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven officials of Persia and Media (N)who [f]had access to the king’s presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom— 15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, since she did not [g]obey the command of King Ahasuerus [h]delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 And in the presence of the king and the other officials, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will [i]become known to all the women so as to make their own husbands despicable in their sight, when they say, ‘King Ahasuerus [j]commanded that Queen Vashti be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ 18 And this day the wives of the officials of Persia and Media who have heard about the queen’s conduct will talk about it to all the king’s officials, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [k]edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so (O)that it cannot [l]be repealed, that Vashti may not come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to [m]another who is more worthy than she. 20 When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout his kingdom, [n]great as it is, then (P)all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.”

21 Now this word pleased the king and the officials, and the king did [o]as Memucan proposed. 22 So he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, (Q)to each province according to its script and to every people according to their language, that every man was to (R)be the ruler in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 1:1 Or Ethiopia
  2. Esther 1:4 Lit When
  3. Esther 1:7 Lit hand
  4. Esther 1:9 Lit royal house
  5. Esther 1:12 Lit by the hand of the
  6. Esther 1:14 Lit saw the face of the king
  7. Esther 1:15 Lit do
  8. Esther 1:15 Lit by the hand of the
  9. Esther 1:17 Lit go forth
  10. Esther 1:17 Lit said to bring
  11. Esther 1:19 Lit word go forth from
  12. Esther 1:19 Lit pass by
  13. Esther 1:19 Lit her neighbor
  14. Esther 1:20 Lit for great is it
  15. Esther 1:21 Lit according to the word of

Vashti’s Successor Sought

After these things, (A)when the anger of King Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and (B)what had been decided regarding her. Then the king’s attendants, who served him, said, “(C)Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. And may the king appoint overseers in (D)all the provinces of his kingdom, and have them [a]bring every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of (E)Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and (F)let their cosmetics be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen in place of Vashti.” And the [b]suggestion pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

There was a Jew at the citadel in Susa whose name was (G)Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite, (H)who had been taken from Jerusalem with the exiles who had been deported with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had deported. He was the guardian to Hadassah, that is (I)Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young woman was beautiful of form and [c]face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Esther Finds Favor

So it came about, when the command and decree of the king were heard and (J)many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the [d]custody of (K)Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s [e]palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her (L)cosmetics and [f]food, gave her seven choice female attendants from the king’s palace, and transferred her and her attendants to the best place in the harem. 10 (M)Esther did not reveal her people or her kindred, because Mordecai had instructed her that she was not to reveal them. 11 And every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the courtyard of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.

12 Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beauty treatment were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with balsam oil and the cosmetics for women— 13 the young woman would go in to the king in this way: anything that she [g]desired was given her to [h]take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would enter and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the [i]custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

15 Now when the turn of Esther, (N)the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what (O)Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, [j]advised. And Esther was finding favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

Esther Becomes Queen

17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that (P)he set the royal turban on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti. 18 Then (Q)the king held a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his officials and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts (R)in proportion to the king’s bounty.

19 (S)Now when the virgins were gathered together for the second time, then Mordecai (T)was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 (U)Esther still had not revealed her relatives or her people, just as Mordecai had instructed her; for Esther did [k]what Mordecai told her just as she had (V)when under his care.

Mordecai Saves the King

21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, (W)Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to [l]attack King Ahasuerus. 22 But the [m]plot became known to Mordecai and (X)he informed Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 Then when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a wooden gallows; and it was written in (Y)the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 2:3 Lit gather
  2. Esther 2:4 Lit word
  3. Esther 2:7 Lit good of appearance
  4. Esther 2:8 Lit hand
  5. Esther 2:8 Lit house
  6. Esther 2:9 Lit portions
  7. Esther 2:13 Lit said
  8. Esther 2:13 Lit come
  9. Esther 2:14 Lit hand
  10. Esther 2:15 Lit said
  11. Esther 2:20 Lit the command of Mordecai
  12. Esther 2:21 Or kill; lit put out a hand against
  13. Esther 2:22 Lit matter, so also v 23

Haman’s Plot against the Jews

After these events King Ahasuerus (A)honored Haman, the son of Hammedatha (B)the Agagite, and (C)promoted him and [a]established his authority over all the officials who were with him. All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid [b]homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded regarding him. But (D)Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid [c]homage. Then the king’s servants who were at (E)the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “(F)Why are you violating the king’s command?” Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would [d]stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that (G)Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid [e]homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. But he [f]considered it beneath his dignity to [g]kill Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; so Haman (H)sought to annihilate all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were found throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, [h]Pur, that is the lot, was (I)cast before Haman from day to day and from month to month, [i]until the twelfth month, that is (J)the month Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; (K)their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not [j]comply with the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. If it is pleasing to the king, let it be [k]decreed that they be eliminated, and I will pay [l]ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then (L)the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha (M)the Agagite, (N)the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The silver is [m]yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”

12 (O)Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written just as Haman commanded to (P)the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province and to the officials of each people, each province according to its script, each people according to its language, being written (Q)in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by (R)couriers to all the king’s provinces (S)to annihilate, kill, and destroy all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, (T)in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to (U)seize their possessions as plunder. 14 (V)A copy of the edict to be [n]issued as law in every province was published to all the peoples so that they would be ready for this day. 15 The couriers went out, speeded by the king’s [o]order while the decree was [p]issued at the citadel in Susa; and while the king and Haman sat down to drink, (W)the city of Susa was agitated.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 3:1 Lit set his seat
  2. Esther 3:2 I.e., great respect and honor to a superior
  3. Esther 3:2 I.e., great respect and honor to a superior
  4. Esther 3:4 I.e., as valid
  5. Esther 3:5 I.e., great respect and honor to a superior
  6. Esther 3:6 Lit despised in his eyes
  7. Esther 3:6 Lit send a hand against
  8. Esther 3:7 Lit he cast Pur...before
  9. Esther 3:7 LXX and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of
  10. Esther 3:8 Lit do the
  11. Esther 3:9 Lit written
  12. Esther 3:9 About 375 tons or 340 metric tons
  13. Esther 3:11 Lit given to you
  14. Esther 3:14 Lit given
  15. Esther 3:15 Lit word
  16. Esther 3:15 Lit given

Esther Learns of Haman’s Plot

When Mordecai learned of (A)everything that had been done, [a]he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly. And he came as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. In each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with (B)fasting, weeping, and mourning rites; and many had sackcloth and ashes spread out as a bed.

Then Esther’s attendants and her eunuchs came and informed her, and the queen was seized by great fear. And she sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he would remove his sackcloth from him, but he did not accept them. Then Esther summoned Hathach from the king’s eunuchs, whom [b]the king had appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this mourning was and why it was happening. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square, in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, and (C)the exact amount of money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the elimination of the Jews. He also gave him (D)a copy of the text of the edict which had been issued in Susa for their annihilation, so that he might show Esther and inform her, and to order her to go in to the king to implore his favor and plead with him for her people.

So Hathach came back and reported Mordecai’s words to Esther. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who (E)comes to the king in the inner courtyard, who is not summoned, (F)he has only one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out (G)to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 And they reported Esther’s words to Mordecai.

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, liberation and (H)rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Esther Plans to Intercede

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; (I)do not eat or drink for (J)three days, night or day. I and my attendants also will fast in the same way. And then I will go in to the king, which is not in accordance with the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 4:1 Lit Mordecai
  2. Esther 4:5 Lit he

Esther Plans a Banquet

Now it came about (A)on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood (B)in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace in front of the king’s [a]rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the [b]throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, (C)she obtained favor in his sight; and (D)the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? (E)Up to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

Then the king said, “(F)Bring Haman quickly so that we may do [c]as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. [d]As they drank their wine at the banquet, (G)the king said to Esther, “(H)What is your request, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your wish? Up to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” So Esther replied, “My request and my wish is: (I)if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do [e]what I wish, may the king and Haman come to (J)the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do [f]as the king says.”

Haman’s Pride

Then Haman went out that day joyful and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai (K)at the king’s gate and (L)that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. 10 Haman controlled himself, however, and went to his house. But he [g]sent for his friends and his wife (M)Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and his (N)many sons, and every occasion on which the king had honored him and how he had [h](O)promoted him above the officials and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Even Esther the queen let no one except me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and (P)tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king. 13 Yet all of this [i]does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at (Q)the king’s gate.” 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “(R)Have a wooden gallows [j]fifty cubits high made, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the [k]advice pleased Haman, so he had the wooden gallows made.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 5:1 Lit house
  2. Esther 5:1 Lit royal house
  3. Esther 5:5 Lit the word of Esther
  4. Esther 5:6 Lit At the banquet of wine
  5. Esther 5:8 Lit my wish
  6. Esther 5:8 Lit according to the word of the king
  7. Esther 5:10 Lit sent and brought
  8. Esther 5:11 Lit lifted
  9. Esther 5:13 Lit is not suitable to me
  10. Esther 5:14 About 75 ft. or 23 m
  11. Esther 5:14 Lit word