Esther 1


Vashti Angers the King

1These events took place during the days of Ahasuerus,
= Xerxes; he reigned 486-465 b.c.
b who ruled 127 provinces c from India
= modern Pakistan
Cush/ Cushite: The lands of the Nile in southern Egypt, including Nubia and Northern Sudan; the people who lived in that region
2In those days King Ahasuerus reigned from his royal throne f in the fortress at Susa. g 3He held a feast h in the third year of his reign for all his officials and staff, the army of Persia and Media, i the nobles, j and the officials from the provinces. 4He displayed the glorious wealth of his kingdom and the magnificent splendor of his greatness k for a total of 180 days.

5At the end of this time, the king held a week-long banquet l in the garden courtyard m of the royal palace n for all the people, from the greatest to the least, o who were present in the fortress of Susa. p 6 White and violet linen hangings were fastened with fine white and purple linen cords to silver rods on marble
Or alabaster
columns. Gold and silver couches r were arranged on a mosaic pavement of red feldspar,
Or of porphyry
Or alabaster
mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.

7Beverages were served in an array of gold goblets, u each with a different design. Royal wine flowed freely, according to the king’s bounty v 8and no restraint was placed on the drinking. The king had ordered every wine steward in his household to serve as much as each person wanted. 9 Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women of King Ahasuerus’s palace.

10On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, w Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, x Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs y who personally served him, 11to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful. z 12But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious and his anger burned within him. aa

The King’s Decree

13 The king consulted the wise men ab who understood the times,
Or understood propitious times
ad for it was his normal procedure to confer with experts in law and justice.
14The most trusted ones
Lit Those near him
were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan. They were the seven officials af of Persia and Media ag who had personal access to the king ah and occupied the highest positions in the kingdom. ai
15The king asked, “According to the law, what should be done with Queen Vashti, since she refused to obey King Ahasuerus’s command that was delivered by the eunuchs?”

16 Memucan said in the presence of the king and his officials, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king, but all the officials and the peoples who are in every one of King Ahasuerus’s provinces. aj 17 For the queen’s action will become public knowledge to all the women and cause them to despise their husbands and say, ‘King Ahasuerus ordered Queen Vashti brought before him, but she did not come.’ 18Before this day is over, the noble women of Persia and Media who hear about the queen’s act will say the same thing to all the king’s officials, resulting in more contempt and fury.

19 “If it meets the king’s approval, he should personally issue a royal decree. Let it be recorded in the laws of Persia and Media, so that it cannot be revoked: ak Vashti is not to enter King Ahasuerus’s presence, and her royal position is to be given to another woman who is more worthy than she. al 20The decree the king issues will be heard throughout his vast kingdom, am so all women will honor their husbands, an from the least to the greatest.” ao

21The king and his counselors approved the proposal, and he followed Memucan’s advice. 22He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script and to each ethnic group in its own language, ap that every man should be master of his own house and speak in the language of his own people.
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