Esther Is Made Queen
1Later, when King Xerxes was not so angry, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and his order about her. 2Then the king’s personal servants suggested, “Let a search be made for beautiful young girls for the king. 3Let the king choose supervisors in every state of his kingdom to bring every beautiful young girl to the palace at Susa. They should be taken to the women’s quarters and put under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the women. And let beauty treatments be given to them. 4Then let the girl who most pleases the king become queen in place of Vashti.” The king liked this idea, so he did as they said.
5Now there was a Jewish man in the palace of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. Jair was the son of Shimei, the son of Kish. Mordecai was from the tribe of Benjamin, 6which had been taken captive from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. They were part of the group taken into captivity with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, who had no father or mother, so Mordecai took care of her. Hadassah was also called Esther, and she had a very pretty figure and face. Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
8When the king’s command and order had been heard, many girls had been brought to the palace in Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther was also taken to the king’s palace and put under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9Esther pleased Hegai, and he liked her. So Hegai quickly began giving Esther her beauty treatments and special food. He gave her seven servant girls chosen from the king’s palace. Then he moved her and her seven servant girls to the best part of the women’s quarters.
10Esther did not tell anyone about her family or who her people were, because Mordecai had told her not to. 11Every day Mordecai walked back and forth near the courtyard where the king’s women lived to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12Before a girl could take her turn with King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments that were ordered for the women. For six months she was treated with oil and myrrh and for six months with perfumes and cosmetics. 13Then she was ready to go to the king. Anything she asked for was given to her to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace. 14In the evening she would go to the king’s palace, and in the morning she would return to another part of the women’s quarters. There she would be placed under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the slave women. The girl would not go back to the king again unless he was pleased with her and asked for her by name.
15The time came for Esther daughter of Abihail, Mordecai’s uncle, who had been adopted by Mordecai, to go to the king. She asked for only what Hegai suggested she should take. (Hegai was the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women.) Everyone who saw Esther liked her. 16So Esther was taken to King Xerxes in the royal palace in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, during Xerxes’ seventh year as king.
17And the king was pleased with Esther more than with any of the other virgins. He liked her more than any of the others, so he put a royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti. 18Then the king gave a great banquet for Esther and invited all his important men and royal officers. He announced a holiday for all the empire and had the government give away gifts.
Mordecai Discovers an Evil Plan
19Now Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate when the girls were gathered the second time. 20Esther still had not told anyone about her family or who her people were, just as Mordecai had commanded her. She obeyed Mordecai just as she had done when she was under his care.
21Now Bigthana and Teresh were two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the doorway. While Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, they became angry and began to make plans to kill King Xerxes. 22But Mordecai found out about their plans and told Queen Esther. Then Esther told the king how Mordecai had discovered the evil plan. 23When the report was investigated, it was found to be true, and the two officers who had planned to kill the king were hanged. All this was written down in the daily court record in the king’s presence.