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