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Esther 1

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 1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus [Xerxes], the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over a hundred twenty seven provinces,

 2 That when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in the palace of Shushan [or Susa],

 3 In the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his princes and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him

 4 When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.

 5 And when these days were completed, the king gave a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Shushan, both great and small, in the open court of the garden of the king's palace.

 6 There were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other precious stones.

 7 Drinks were served in different kinds of gold vessels, and royal wine was in abundance, in keeping with the generosity of the king.

 8 And the drinking was according to the law; no one was compelled to drink, for so the king had given orders to all the officials of his household, that they should serve only according to each man's desire.

 9 And Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace of King Ahasuerus.

 10 Now on the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,

 11 To bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to look on.

 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. Therefore the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.

 13 Then the king consulted the wise men who understood the times (for it was customary for the king to consult those who knew law and justice),

 14 Who were close to him: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who had access to the king's presence and ranked first place in the kingdom.

 15 He asked, "According to the law, what shall shall be done to Queen Vashti because she has not obeyed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?"

 16 Then Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "Queen Vashti has not only done wrong to the king but also to all the princes and to all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.

 17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands and say, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she would not come.'

 18 Likewise this very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of this deed of the queen will respond to all the king's princes in the same way. Thus much contempt and discord will arise.

 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal command go forth from him and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it cannot be altered, that Vashti shall never again come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.

 20 So when the king's decree is published throughout all his vast empire, all the wives will give honor to their husbands, both great and small."

 21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed.

 22 For he sent letters to all the king's provinces, to every province according to its script and language, that every man should be master in his own house, and that he should speak the language of his own people.


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