Esther, Wife and Queen
1 After these things, when the fury of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then said the king’s servants that attended upon him, Let there be maidens, virgins of beautiful countenance, sought for the king; 3 and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the young virgins of beautiful countenance to Shushan the fortress, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hegai the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given. 4 And let the maiden that pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so. 5 There was in Shushan the fortress a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite, 6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter; for she had neither father nor mother — and the maiden was fair and beautiful — and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter. 8 And it came to pass when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the fortress, unto the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was brought into the king’s house, unto the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9 And the maiden pleased him, and obtained favour before him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, and her portions, and the seven maidens selected to be given her, out of the king’s house; and he removed her and her maids to the best place of the house of the women. 10 Esther had not made known her people nor her birth; for Mordecai had charged her that she should not make it known. 11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. 12 And when every maiden’s turn came to go in to king Ahasuerus after that she had been treated for twelve months, according to the manner of the women (for so were the days of their purification accomplished — six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with spices, and with things for the purifying of the women, 13 and thus came the maiden in unto the king), whatever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women to the king’s house. 14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, unto the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the concubines. She came in to the king no more, unless the king delighted in her, and she were called by name. 15 And when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained grace in the sight of all them that saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to king Ahasuerus, into his royal house, in the tenth month, that is, the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins, and he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king made a great feast to all his princes and his servants, Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave presents according to the king’s bounty. 19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. 20 (Esther, as Mordecai had charged her, had not yet made known her birth nor her people; for Esther did what Mordecai told her, like as when she was brought up with him.) 21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the threshold, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 22 And the thing became known to Mordecai, and he related it to Esther the queen, and Esther told it to the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 And the matter was investigated and found out; and they were both hanged on a tree. And it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.