Esther 2 The Voice (VOICE)
2 A little while later, when King Ahasuerus was no longer angry, he began thinking about Vashti, her actions that night at the party, and his decision to dismiss her from his presence. 2 Seeing the king’s mood, his servants had a suggestion.
Servants: King Ahasuerus, someone should find beautiful young women who are old enough to be married for you. 3 We suggest you appoint officers in every province of Persia to round up every eligible woman and add her to your harem in the citadel of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch who is in charge of the harem, will see to it that all of the women are properly prepared and receive all the needed cosmetics. 4 Then whichever young woman delights you the most will reign as queen in Vashti’s place.
King Ahasuerus liked the advice of his servants and gave them permission to execute the plan.
5 Meanwhile in the citadel of Susa, there was a Jewish man from the tribe of Benjamin named Mordecai. He was the son of Jair who was a descendent of Shimei and Kish. 6 It was at the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that Jeconiah (king of Judah) and Mordecai’s ancestors had been forced out of the city of Jerusalem to live as exiles in Babylon. 7 Mordecai had a cousin who was a young and beautiful girl named Hadassah, and she was also called Esther. After her mother and father died, Mordecai adopted her into his family as his daughter.
8 As the result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the royal palace in the citadel of Susa, and she was put in the care of Hegai (who was in charge of the harem). 9 Esther soon impressed Hegai and was favored. He arranged that she be given the most lustrous beauty treatments and fed the finest fruits and vegetables from the king’s garden. He assigned to her seven servants and moved her and her servants to the harem’s finest rooms. 10 Mordecai had instructed Esther to keep her Jewish heritage a secret, and so she told no one. Still her cousin worried about her. 11 Every day Mordecai paced back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to see if he could find out some news, any news, about Esther.
12 Before going in to the king, each young woman went through 12 months of beauty treatments, as the harem’s rules prescribed. For the first 6 months the women were treated with the palace’s finest myrrh oil, and that was followed by 6 months in perfume and other women’s cosmetics. 13 This is how a young woman would go in to the king: each woman was allowed to take whatever she wanted or needed from the harem into the king’s rooms. 14 In the evening the woman would go in to King Ahasuerus’ chambers and then, the next morning, she would return to the harem again, but now she would be watched over by Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of his concubines. No woman returned to the king’s rooms unless he was pleased by her and called for her by name.
15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail who in turn was the uncle of Mordecai. When it was time for Esther, whom Mordecai had adopted, to go in to the king, she didn’t ask for anything special. She took only what Hegai suggested. Since he was the king’s eunuch in charge of the women, he would know what was best. Now Esther had some special qualities, and all who met her favored her. 16 In the 10th month (the month of Tebeth) during the 7th year of his reign, four years after King Ahasuerus dethroned Queen Vashti, Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in the king’s rooms. 17 The king found her to be more desirable than all of the other women. Unlike the other young women brought before him, she alone won his heart and his favor. So he made her his queen instead of Vashti and placed the royal crown on her head. 18 King Ahasuerus invited all of the nobles and officials to a state banquet in honor of Esther, his new queen. He declared that day as a holiday throughout his entire kingdom and distributed extravagant gifts.
19 When the young women were gathered together for a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the palace gate where the men gathered for business and legal decisions. 20 Since Mordecai had required Esther to keep her Jewish heritage a secret, she had told no one. She continued to obey him as she did when he took care of her. 21 One day while Mordecai was at the gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the door, were plotting to kill King Ahasuerus. They were angry over some matter. 22 But Mordecai learned of their plan and reported it to Queen Esther who told the king about the plot, giving credit to her cousin. 23 After a thorough investigation, the report was proven true. So the two officers were killed and displayed on a pole. All of this information was chronicled in the presence of the king, in the public record.
Esther 2 New International Version (NIV)
Esther Made Queen
2 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.
5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a] king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to 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 unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy
19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.