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Greek Esther 1Common English Bible (CEB)

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Mordecai’s dream

In the second year of the rule of Artaxerxes the Great, on the first day of Nisan,[a] Mordecai had a dream. He was Jair’s son, Shimei’s grandson, and Kish’s great-grandson, from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Jew living in the city of Susa, an important man serving in the royal court. He was one of the prisoners of war whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had brought from Jerusalem along with Judea’s King Jeconiah.

This was his dream:

Look! Noise and confusion, thunder and earthquake, and chaos on the earth.

Look! Two mighty dragons came forward, both ready to fight, and they roared loudly. At their roar every nation got ready for battle, to make war on the righteous nation.

Look! A day of darkness and gloom, misery and suffering, distress and chaos on the earth. The entire righteous nation was thrown into a state of panic, dreading the evil that was coming against them.[b] They expected to die. So they cried out to God. Their cry was small at first, like a little spring, but soon it became loud as a mighty river, an abundance of water. 10 Then the sun with its light shone, the lowly were raised up high, and it devoured those who were held in honor. 11 Then Mordecai, who had this dream and saw what God had planned to do, woke up and kept it secret. He wished to examine it in every detail before nightfall.

12 Mordecai was relaxing in the courtyard with Gabatha and Tharra, two castrated men,[c] attendants of King Artaxerxes who were guarding the courtyard. 13 He overheard their plans and investigated their intentions. He learned that they were preparing to attack King Artaxerxes, so he informed the king about them. 14 The king questioned the two eunuchs. Once they had confessed, they were taken away[d] to be executed. 15 The king wrote these matters down so they would be remembered, and Mordecai also wrote about them. 16 The king appointed Mordecai to serve in the court and gave him gifts for his service. 17 But Haman, Hammedatha’s son, a Bougaean who was greatly respected by the king, sought to injure Mordecai and his people for the sake of the king’s two eunuchs.

Queen Vashti

After these events, this is what happened back during the rule of Artaxerxes, the very one who ruled as far as India, one hundred twenty-seven provinces in all. At that time, Artaxerxes ruled the kingdom from his royal throne in the city of Susa. In the third year of his rule he hosted a feast for all his officials and those from other nations. The leaders of Persia and Media attended, along with his provincial dignitaries and officials. He showed off the awesome riches and beautiful treasures of his kingdom as a reflection of how great he was. The event lasted a long time—six whole months, to be exact! When the days of the wedding feast were over, the king held a six-day wine festival for everyone who remained in the city. They all met in the walled garden of the royal palace. White linen and cotton curtains hung from shining white and red-purple ropes tied to gold and silver rings and marble posts. Gold and silver couches sat on a mosaic floor made of emerald, marble, and mother-of-pearl. The cups were made of gold and silver. There was a miniature cup made of ruby, worth 1,710,000 pounds of silver.[e] The king made sure there was plenty of the best wine, which he himself also drank. The wine festival had no established rules, so the king ordered everyone serving wine in the palace to offer as much as each guest wanted. At the same time, Queen Vashti also held a wine festival of her own for women in King Artaxerxes’ palace.

10 On the seventh day, when wine had put the king in high spirits, the king gave an order to Mehuman, Biztha, Harbonah, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkass,[f] the seven eunuchs who served King Artaxerxes personally. 11 They were to bring Queen Vashti before him so that he could introduce her as queen and place the royal crown upon her head. She was gorgeous, and he wanted to show off her beauty to his important guests and to the general public. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come with the eunuchs. The king was furious, boiling with anger. 13 So he said to his political advisors, “This is what Vashti has said, so give your ruling and make a decision on this situation.” 14 So Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, the rulers of the Persians and Medes who were closest to the king and his chief advisors, came to him. 15 They told him what was appropriate, according to the law, since the queen had disobeyed the king’s order.

16 Then Memucan[g] spoke up in front of the king and the officials. “Queen Vashti,” he said, “has done something wrong not merely to the king himself. She has also done wrong to all the officials and the governors of the king.” 17 (The king had reported to them the queen’s words and how she defied the king.) “Just as she defied King Artaxerxes, 18 after today the important women of Persia and Media who hear about the queen’s actions will dare to dishonor their own husbands. 19 Now, if the king likes this suggestion, he might send out a royal order and have it written into the laws of Persia and Media. It shouldn’t be applied differently for anyone. It should say that the queen should never again be allowed to come before the king. It should also say that King Artaxerxes will give Vashti’s royal place to someone better than she. 20 When the king’s order becomes public through the whole empire, however he decides to put it, all women will treat their husbands properly, whether from an important family or not.”

21 The king liked the plan, as did the governors, and he did just what Memucan[h] said. 22 He sent written orders throughout the kingdom. Each country received the orders written in its own language. Fear and respect were established in every home.

Footnotes:

  1. Greek Esther 1:1 March–April
  2. Greek Esther 1:1 Or dreading their own evils
  3. Greek Esther 1:1 Gk eunuchs; also throughout Esther
  4. Greek Esther 1:1 Gk led off
  5. Greek Esther 1:7 Gk talantas
  6. Greek Esther 1:10 Gk Haman, Bazan, Tharra, Boraze, Zatholtha, Abataza, and Tharaba
  7. Greek Esther 1:16 Gk Mouchaios
  8. Greek Esther 1:21 Gk Mouchaios
Common English Bible (CEB)

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