Esther 31 In the days of Artaxerxes, who reigned from India to Ethiopia over one hundred twenty-seven provinces, 2 when he sat on the throne of his kingdom, the city of Susa was the root of his kingdom. 3 And so, in the third year of his reign, he made a great feast for all the leaders and his servants, for the most powerful among the Persians and the distinguished among the Medes, and for the rulers of the provinces before him, 4 so that he might show the glorious riches of his kingdom, as well as its greatness, and so boast of his power, for a long time, namely, one hundred and eighty days. 5 And when the days of the feast were nearly completed, he invited all the people, who had been found in Susa, from the greatest even to the least, and he commanded a feast to be prepared, for seven days, in the court of the garden and the arboretum, which had been planted by the care and by the hand of the king. 6 And, in every direction, tents the color of the sky and of flax as well as hyacinth were hung up, suspended by cords of linen and even purple, which had been placed through rings of ivory and were held up with marble columns. The couches also, of gold and silver, had been arranged over a pavement of emerald-green, bearing scattered jewels, which was decorated with a wonderful variety of images. 7 Moreover, those who had been invited drank from golden cups, and dishes of foods were brought in one after another. Likewise, choice wine was presented in abundance, as was worthy of royal magnificence. 8 Nor was anyone compelled to drink who was unwilling, but, just as the king had appointed, one of his nobles was set over each table, so that each one might select what he wanted. 9 Likewise, Vashti the queen made a feast for the women, in the palace where king Artaxerxes was accustomed to stay the night. 10 And so, on the seventh day, when the king was more cheerful, and, after excessive drinking, had become warmed with wine, he ordered Mehuman, and Biztha, and Harbona, and Bigtha, and Abagtha, and Zethar, and Charkas, seven eunuchs who served in his presence, 11 to bring in queen Vashti before the king, with the crown set upon her head, to show her beauty to the whole people and to the leaders, for she was very beautiful. 12 She refused, and she showed contempt towards the king’s command, which he had delivered to her by the eunuchs. Whereupon the king, being angry and inflamed with a very great fury, 13 questioned the wise men, who, according to royal custom were always near him and all he did was by their counsel, who knew the laws as well as the judgments of their ancestors, 14 (but first and foremost were Carshena, and Shethar, and Admatha, and Tarshish, and Meres, and Marsena, and Memucan, seven rulers of the Persians as well as the Medes, who saw the face of the king and who were accustomed to sitting down first after him,) 15 and he sent letters to all the provinces of his kingdom, so that every nation was able to hear and to read, in various languages and letters, that husbands are to be the greater rulers in their own houses, and that this should be published to every people.
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