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Esther 2

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 1 After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what was decreed against her.

 2 Then the king's servants who ministered to him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.

 3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Shushan, to the house of the women [harem] under the care of Hege, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their things for purification be given to them.

 4 And let the maiden, who pleases the king, be queen instead of Vashti." This thing pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

 5 Now in the citadel of Shushan there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,

 6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jeconiah, king of Judah.

 7 And Mordechi had brought up his uncle's daughter for she had neither father or mother, and her name was Hadassah who was known as Esther. The maiden was fair and beautiful, and when her father and mother died, Mordechi took her as his own daughter.

 8 So when the king's command and his decree were heard, and when many maidens were brought to the citadel of Shushan under the custody of Hegai, Esther was also brought to the king's house and entrusted to Hegai, who was in charge of the harem.

 9 And the maiden pleased Hegai, and she obtained his favor. He speedily gave her things for preparation including her special food and the seven maids who were provided to her from the king's house. Then he moved her and her maids to the best place of the harem.

 10 Esther had not revealed her nationality or her kindred for Mordecai had charged her not to do so.

 11 And every day Mordecai walked back and forth before the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what would become of her.

 12 Now each maiden's turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months of preparation according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation accomplished: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet spices and perfumes and with other things for the preparation of the women.

 13 This is the way each maiden came to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem into the king's house.

 14 In the evening she went, and on the next day she returned into another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king again unless the king delighted in her and she was called for by name.

 15 Now when the turn came for Esther, (the daughter of Abihail whom Mordecai had taken for his own daughter), to go to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who saw her.

 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal palace in the tenth month, the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

 17 And the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the maidens, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

 18 Then the king gave a great feast for all his princes and servants, Esther's feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of the king.

 19 And when the maidens were gathered together this second time, Mordecai sat at the king's gate.

 20 Now Esther had not yet revealed her nationality or her kindred, as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai, just as when she was brought up by him.

 21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, of those who guarded the door, were angry and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus.

 22 And this thing became known to Mordecai, who told it to Esther the queen, and Esther informed the king of it in Mordecai's name.

 23 And when inquiry was made of the matter and it was found to be true, they were both hung on a gallows. And it was written in the Book of the Chronicles in the king's presence.

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