Esther 1

The King Throws a Lavish Party

1:11 The following events happened2 in the days of Ahasuerus.3 (I am referring to4 that Ahasuerus who used to rule over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces5 extending all the way from India to Ethiopia.6) 1:2 In those days, as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa7 the citadel,8 1:3 in the third9 year of his reign he provided a banquet for all his officials and his servants. The army10 of Persia and Media11 was present,12 as well as the nobles and the officials of the provinces.

1:4 He displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his majestic greatness for a lengthy period of time13 – a hundred and eighty days, to be exact!14 1:5 When those days15 were completed, the king then provided a seven-day16 banquet for all the people who were present17 in Susa the citadel, for those of highest standing to the most lowly.18 It was held in the court located in the garden of the royal palace. 1:6 The furnishings included linen and purple curtains hung by cords of the finest linen19 and purple wool on silver rings, alabaster columns, gold and silver couches20 displayed on a floor made of valuable stones of alabaster, mother-of-pearl, and mineral stone. 1:7 Drinks21 were served in golden containers, all of which differed from one another. Royal wine was available in abundance at the king’s expense. 1:8 There were no restrictions on the drinking,22 for the king had instructed all of his supervisors23 that they should do as everyone so desired.24 1:9 Queen Vashti25 also gave a banquet for the women in King Ahasuerus’ royal palace.

Queen Vashti is Removed from Her Royal Position

1:10 On the seventh day, as King Ahasuerus was feeling the effects of the wine,26 he ordered Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs who attended him,27 1:11 to bring Queen Vashti into the king’s presence wearing her royal high turban. He wanted to show the people and the officials her beauty, for she was very attractive.28 1:12 But Queen Vashti refused29 to come at the king’s bidding30 conveyed through the eunuchs. Then the king became extremely angry, and his rage consumed31 him.

1:13 The king then inquired of the wise men who were discerners of the times – for it was the royal custom to confer with all those who were proficient in laws and legalities.32 1:14 Those who were closest to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan. These men were the seven officials of Persia and Media who saw the king on a regular basis33 and had the most prominent offices34 in the kingdom. 1:15 The king asked,35 “By law,36 what should be done to Queen Vashti in light of the fact that she has not obeyed the instructions of King Ahasuerus conveyed through the eunuchs?”

1:16 Memucan then replied to the king and the officials, “The wrong of Queen Vashti is not against the king alone, but against all the officials and all the people who are throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 1:17 For the matter concerning the queen will spread to all the women, leading them to treat their husbands with contempt, saying, ‘When King Ahasuerus gave orders to bring Queen Vashti into his presence, she would not come.’ 1:18 And this very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard the matter concerning the queen will respond in the same way to all the royal officials, and there will be more than enough contempt and anger! 1:19 If the king is so inclined,37 let a royal edict go forth from him, and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media that cannot be repealed,38 that Vashti39 may not come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king convey her royalty to another40 who is more deserving than she.41 1:20 And let the king’s decision which he will enact be disseminated42 throughout all his kingdom, vast though it is.43 Then all the women will give honor to their husbands, from the most prominent to the lowly.”

1:21 The matter seemed appropriate to the king and the officials. So the king acted on the advice of Memucan. 1:22 He sent letters throughout all the royal provinces, to each province according to its own script and to each people according to its own language,44 that every man should be ruling his family45 and should be speaking the language of his own people.46

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