1 AFTER THESE things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified, he [earnestly] 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 And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the capital in Shushan, to the harem under the custody of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their things for purification be given them.
4 And let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti. This pleased the king, and he did so.
5 There was a certain Jew in the capital in Shushan whose name was Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,
6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives taken away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried into exile.
7 He had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was beautiful and lovely, and when her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.
8 So when the king's command and his decree were proclaimed and when many maidens were gathered in Shushan the capital under the custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken to the king's house into the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 And the maiden pleased [Hegai] and obtained his favor. And he speedily gave her the things for her purification and her portion of food and the seven chosen maids to be given her from the king's palace; and he removed her and her maids to the best [apartment] in the harem.
10 Esther had not made known her nationality or her kindred, for Mordecai had charged her not to do so.
11 And Mordecai [who was an attendant in the king's court] walked every day before the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what would become of her.
12 Now when the turn of each maiden came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the regulations for the women had been carried out for twelve months–since this was the regular period for their beauty treatments, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet spices and perfumes and the things for the purifying of the women–
13 Then in this way the maiden came to the king: whatever she desired was given her to take with her from the harem into the king's palace.
14 In the evening she went and next day she returned into the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She came to the king no more unless the king delighted in her and she was called for by name.
15 Now when the turn for Esther the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his own daughter, had come to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's attendant, the keeper of the women, suggested. And Esther won favor in the sight of all who saw her.
16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal palace in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 And the king loved Esther more than all the 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 his servants, Esther's feast; and he gave a holiday [or a lessening of taxes] to the provinces and gave gifts in keeping with the generosity of the king.
19 And when the maidens were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.
20 Now Esther had not yet revealed her nationality or her people, for she obeyed Mordecai's command to her [to fear God and execute His commands] just as when she was being brought up by him.
21 In those days, while Mordecai sat at 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 King Ahasuerus.
22 And this was known to Mordecai, who told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in Mordecai's name.
23 When it was investigated and found to be true, both men were hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the Book of the Chronicles in the king's presence.
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