Esther Chosen Queen

After these things, (A)when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti (B)and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king's young men who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the citadel, under custody of (C)Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women. (D)Let their cosmetics be given them. And let the young woman who pleases the king[a] be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.

Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was (E)Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, (F)who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away. He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, (G)the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and (H)when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of (I)Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her (J)with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king's palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. 10 (K)Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. 11 And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court 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 being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women— 13 when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. 14 In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in 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 When the turn came for Esther (L)the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what (M)Hegai the king's eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17 the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set (N)the royal crown[b] on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king (O)gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther's feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.

Mordecai Discovers a Plot

19 Now when the virgins were gathered together (P)the second time, Mordecai was sitting (Q)at the king's gate. 20 (R)Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just (S)as when she was brought up by him. 21 In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, (T)Bigthan and (U)Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, (V)and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. 23 When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows.[c] And it was recorded in (W)the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Haman Plots Against the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus (X)promoted Haman (Y)the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, (Z)and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. (AA)But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king's servants who were (AB)at the king's gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress (AC)the king's command?” And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai's words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that (AD)Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was (AE)filled with fury. But he disdained[d] to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy[e] all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, (AF)they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is (AG)the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. (AH)Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not to the king's profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents[f] of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king's business, that they may put it into the king's treasuries.” 10 (AI)So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman (AJ)the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, (AK)the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.”

12 (AL)Then the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's (AM)satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, (AN)to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written (AO)in the name of King Ahasuerus (AP)and sealed with the king's signet ring. 13 Letters were sent (AQ)by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction (AR)to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, (AS)in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, (AT)and to plunder their goods. 14 (AU)A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. 15 (AV)The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, (AW)but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes (AX)and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, (AY)with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them (AZ)lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, (BA)and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him (BB)a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction,[g] that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him[h] on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside (BC)the inner court without being called, (BD)there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one (BE)to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for (BF)three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, (BG)and if I perish, I perish.”[i] 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Esther Prepares a Banquet

(BH)On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in (BI)the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, (BJ)she won favor in his sight, (BK)and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even (BL)to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king,[j] let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. (BM)And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, (BN)“What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? (BO)Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”[k] Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: (BP)If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king[l] to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to (BQ)the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Haman Plans to Hang Mordecai

And Haman went out that day (BR)joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai (BS)in the king's gate, (BT)that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and (BU)his wife Zeresh. 11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, (BV)the number of his sons, all the promotions with which (BW)the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting (BX)at the king's gate.” 14 Then (BY)his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, (BZ)“Let a gallows[m] fifty cubits[n] high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

The King Honors Mordecai

On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring (CA)the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how (CB)Mordecai had told about (CC)Bigthana[o] and (CD)Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king's young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered (CE)the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on (CF)the gallows[p] that he had prepared for him. And the king's young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man (CG)whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, (CH)and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head (CI)a royal crown[q] is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, (CJ)proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” 10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits (CK)at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”

12 Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning (CL)and with his head covered. 13 And Haman told (CM)his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”

Esther Reveals Haman's Plot

14 While they were yet talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman (CN)to the feast that Esther had prepared.

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, (CO)“What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? (CP)Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, (CQ)“If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. (CR)For we have been sold, I and my people, (CS)to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared[r] to do this?” And Esther said, (CT)“A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Haman Is Hanged

And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into (CU)the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from (CV)the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on (CW)the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face. Then (CX)Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, (CY)the gallows[s] that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, (CZ)whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman's house, fifty cubits[t] high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10 (DA)So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. (DB)Then the wrath of the king abated.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 2:4 Hebrew who is good in the eyes of the king
  2. Esther 2:17 Or headdress
  3. Esther 2:23 Or wooden beam or stake; Hebrew tree or wood. This Persian execution practice involved affixing or impaling a person on a stake or pole (compare Ezra 6:11)
  4. Esther 3:6 Hebrew disdained in his eyes
  5. Esther 3:6 Or annihilate
  6. Esther 3:9 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  7. Esther 4:8 Or annihilation
  8. Esther 4:8 Hebrew and seek from before his face
  9. Esther 4:16 Hebrew if I am destroyed, then I will be destroyed
  10. Esther 5:4 Hebrew If it is good to the king
  11. Esther 5:6 Or done
  12. Esther 5:8 Hebrew if it is good to the king
  13. Esther 5:14 Or wooden beam; twice in this verse (see note on 2:23)
  14. Esther 5:14 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
  15. Esther 6:2 Bigthana is an alternate spelling of Bigthan (see 2:21)
  16. Esther 6:4 Or wooden beam (see note on 2:23)
  17. Esther 6:8 Or headdress
  18. Esther 7:5 Hebrew whose heart has filled him
  19. Esther 7:9 Or wooden beam; also verse 10 (see note on 2:23)
  20. Esther 7:9 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

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