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This is what happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who ruled over 127 parts of the nation from India to Ethiopia. In those days King Ahasuerus sat on the king’s throne in the city of Susa. In the third year of his rule, he gave a special supper for all his princes and leaders. The army captains of Persia and Media, the important men and princes of the many parts of the country were there with him. For 180 days he showed the great riches and honor and power that were his as king of the nation. When all the days were over, the king gave a supper lasting seven days for all the people from the greatest to the least who were in the city of Susa where he ruled. The supper was given in the open space of the garden of the king’s special house. There were curtains of fine white and blue linen held by ropes of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble pillars. There were seats of gold and silver on a floor made of small glass-like pieces, marble, mother-of-pearl, and stones of much worth. Drinks were served in different kinds of gold cups, and there was much wine, because the king was very able and willing to give it. Drinking was done by the law. No one was made to drink. The king had told all the workmen of his house that they should give each person what he wanted. Queen Vashti also gave a special supper for the women in the beautiful house that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day the heart of the king was happy with wine. And he told Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven servants who served King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti to the king with her crown. He wanted to show her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti would not come when the king sent his servants to bring her. So the king became very angry and his anger burned within him. 13 Then the king spoke to the wise men who understood the times. For it was the king’s way to speak with all who knew law and what was right and fair. 14 These men next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media. They were allowed to visit with the king and were next to the king in the nation. 15 He asked them, “By the law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she did not obey what King Ahasuerus sent the servants to tell her?” 16 Then Memucan said in front of the king and the princes, “Queen Vashti has done wrong not only to the king, but to all the princes and all the people in the lands of King Ahasuerus. 17 For what the queen has done will become known to all the women, and will make them hate their husbands. They will say, ‘King Ahasuerus told Queen Vashti to be brought to him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard what the queen has done will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes. And there will be much hate and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let word be sent by him, and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media which cannot be changed, that Vashti should not come again to King Ahasuerus. Let the king give the place of queen to another who is better than she. 20 Then the king’s word will be heard through all his great nation, and all women will give honor to their husbands, from the greatest to the least.” 21 What was said pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan said. 22 So he sent letters to all parts of the king’s nation, to each land in its own writing and to every people in their own language. The letters said that every man should rule in his own house and speak there in the language of his own people.

Esther Becomes Queen

After these things, when King Ahasuerus was no longer angry, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what had been decided against her. Then the king’s servants who served him said, “Let beautiful young women be found for the king. Let the king choose men to watch over all the parts of his nation, that they may gather every beautiful young woman who has never had a man to the city of Susa. Have them brought to the house for the king’s wives, under the care of Hegai, the king’s servant, who takes care of the women. And let their things for making them beautiful be given to them. Then let the young lady who pleases the king be queen in place of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.

Now in the city of Susa where the king lived there was a Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. He had been taken from Jerusalem with the people who had been taken away with King Jeconiah of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon. He had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his father’s brother. For she did not have a father or mother. The young lady was beautiful in body and face. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

The words of the king were made known, and many young ladies were gathered to the city of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. So Esther was taken to the king’s house into the care of Hegai, who cared for the women. Now the young lady pleased Hegai and she found favor with him. He was quick to give her oils and special food, and gave her seven of the best women servants from the king’s special house. He moved her and her women servants to the best place in the house for the king’s wives. 10 Esther had not told who her people or her family were because Mordecai had told her to say nothing. 11 And every day Mordecai walked in front of the open space of the house of the king’s women to learn how Esther was and how she was getting along.

12 The time for each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus after the end of her twelve months of being under the rules for the women. The days of making themselves beautiful were finished after using oil from spices for six months, and perfumes and oils for making themselves beautiful for another six months. 13 When the young woman went in to the king, whatever she wanted was given to her to take from the house of the king’s women to the king’s special house. 14 In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second house for the king’s women, into the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s servant who took care of his women who acted as wives. She would not go in to the king again unless the king was pleased with her and she was called by name. 15 Now the turn came for Esther, the daughter of Abihail, the brother of the father of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king. She did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s servant who took care of the women, said she should take. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.

16 So Esther was taken to the beautiful house of King Ahasuerus in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his rule. 17 And the king loved Esther more than all the women. She found favor and kindness with him more than all the young women, so that he set the queen’s crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king gave a great supper for all his princes and leaders. It was a special supper for Esther. He also made a special day for the nation, and gave many gifts.

Mordecai Saves the King’s Life

19 When the young women were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet told who her family or her people were, as Mordecai had said. For she did what Mordecai told her just as she had done when she was under his care. 21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s servants from those who watched over the door, became angry. And they planned to kill King Ahasuerus. 22 But their plan became known to Mordecai and he told Queen Esther. And Esther told the king what Mordecai had heard. 23 When the plan was learned and found to be true, both men were hanged on a tree. It was written down in the Book of the Chronicles in front of the king.

Haman Wants to Destroy the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus raised Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, to a more important duty. He was made to rule over all the princes who were with him. All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and gave honor to Haman, for the king had said that this should be done. But Mordecai did not bow down or give him honor. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you not obeying the king?” They spoke to him each day, but he would not listen to them. So they told Haman to see if Mordecai’s reason was good enough. For he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or honor him, he was very angry. But he did not want to only hurt Mordecai. They had told him who the people of Mordecai were and Haman wanted to destroy all the Jews. He wanted to destroy all the people of Mordecai in the whole nation of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, names were drawn in front of Haman from day to day and from month to month, until the twelfth month, the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people spread out among the people in all the parts of your nation whose laws are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws. So it is not good for the king to let them stay. If it pleases the king, let it be made known that they should be destroyed. And I will pay silver weighing as much as 10,000 men to those who do the king’s work, to be put into the king’s store-houses.” 10 Then the king took the special ring from his hand that he used for marking his name and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who hated the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also. Do with them as you please.” 12 Then the king’s writers were called on the thirteenth day of the first month. And all that Haman had said was written to the king’s rulers who were over each part of the land, and to the princes of each people. It was written to each part in its own writing, and in the language of each people. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and marked with the king’s special ring. 13 Men were sent with letters to all the king’s lands, to destroy, to kill, and to put an end to all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day. This was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. And they could take the things that belonged to the Jews. 14 The letters were to be made a law in every land to all the people so that they should be ready for this day. 15 The men went out with the letters in a hurry as the king told them. And the law was made known in the city of Susa where the king lived. While the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was troubled.