Esther 1

Xerxes' Royal Feast

This is what happened in the days of Xerxes,
Hebrew Ahasuerus; here and throughout Esther
who reigned over 127 provinces from India to Cush.
That is, the upper Nile region
In those days King Xerxes sat on his royal throne in the citadel of Susa. In the third year of his reign, [Xerxes] held a feast for all his officials and servants. The military leaders of Persia and Media [were there] , along with the nobles and princes of the provinces. And for a full 180 days, he displayed the glorious riches of his kingdom and the magnificent splendor of his greatness. At the end of this time, in the garden courtyard of the royal palace, the king held a seven-day feast for all the people in the citadel of Susa, from the least to the greatest. [Hangings of] white and violet linen were fastened with cords of fine white and purple to silver rings on the marble pillars. Gold and silver couches were arranged on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other precious stones. Beverages were served in an array of goblets of gold, each with a different design, and the royal wine flowed freely, according to the king’s bounty. By order of the king, no limit was placed on the drinking, and every wine steward was to serve each man whatever he desired.

Queen Vashti's Refusal

Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes. 10  On the seventh day, when the king's heart was merry with wine, he ordered the seven eunuchs who served him— Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas— 11  to bring Queen Vashti before him, [wearing] her royal crown, to display her beauty to the people and officials. For she [was] beautiful to behold. 12  Queen Vashti, however, refused to come at the king’s command [brought] by [his] eunuchs. And the king became furious, and his anger burned within him.

Queen Vashti Deposed

13  Then the king consulted the wise men who knew the times, for it was customary for him to confer with the experts in law and justice. 14  His closest advisors [were] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who had personal access to the king [and] ranked highest in the kingdom. 15  “According to law,” he asked, “what should be done with Queen Vashti, since she refused to obey the command of King Xerxes delivered by the eunuchs?” 16  And in the presence of the king and his princes, Memucan replied, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king, but all the princes and the peoples in all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17  For the conduct of the queen will become known to all women, causing them to despise their husbands
Or to disdain their husbands in their eyes
and say, ‘King Xerxes ordered Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she did not come.’
18  This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard about the queen's conduct will say the same thing to all the king’s officials, resulting in much contempt and wrath. 19  So if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree, and let it be recorded in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti shall never again enter the presence of King Xerxes, and her royal position shall be given to a woman more worthy than she. 20  The edict the king issues will be heard throughout his vast kingdom— and so all women, from the least to the greatest, will honor their husbands.” 21  The king and his princes were pleased with this counsel; so the king did as Memucan had advised. 22  He sent letters to all the provinces of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be master of his own household.
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