1 Now it came about in the days of* A·has·u·eʹrus,*+ that is, the A·has·u·eʹrus who was ruling as king from Inʹdi·a* to E·thi·oʹpi·a,* [over] a hundred and twenty-seven jurisdictional districts,*+ 2 [that] in those days as King A·has·u·eʹrus was sitting upon his royal throne,+ which was in Shuʹshan+ the castle,*+ 3 in the third year of his reigning he held a banquet+ for all his princes and his servants, the military force of Persia+ and Meʹdi·a,+ the nobles+ and the princes of the jurisdictional districts before himself,+ 4 when he showed the riches+ of his glorious kingdom and the honor+ [and] the beauty of his greatness for many days, a hundred and eighty days. 5 And when these days had come to the full, the king held a banquet for seven days for all the people that were found in Shuʹshan the castle, for the great as well as the small, in the courtyard of the garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were linen, fine cotton and blue+ held fast in ropes of fine fabric, and wool dyed reddish purple+ in silver rings and pillars of marble, couches+ of gold and silver upon a pavement of porphyry* and marble and pearl and black marble. 7 And there was a passing of wine to drink* in gold vessels;+ and the vessels were different from one another, and the royal wine+ was in great quantity, according to the means of the king. 8 As regards the time of drinking according to the law, there was no one compelling, for that was the way the king had arranged for every great man of his household, to do according to the liking of each and every one. 9 Also, Vashʹti+ the queen herself held a banquet for the women at the royal house that belonged to King A·has·u·eʹrus.* 10 On the seventh day, when the king’s heart was in a merry mood with wine,+ he said to Me·huʹman, Bizʹtha, Har·boʹna,+ Bigʹtha and A·bagʹtha, Zeʹthar and Carʹkas, the seven court officials that were ministering*+ to the person of King A·has·u·eʹrus, 11 to bring Vashʹti the queen in the royal headdress before the king, to show the peoples and the princes her loveliness; for she was beautiful in appearance.+ 12 But Queen Vashʹti kept refusing+ to come at the king’s word that was [conveyed] by means of the court officials. At this the king grew highly indignant and his very rage flared up within him.+ 13 And the king proceeded to say to the wise+ men having knowledge of the times+ (for in this way the king’s matter [came] before all those versed in law and legal cases, 14 and those closest to him were Car·sheʹna, Sheʹthar, Ad·maʹtha, Tarʹshish, Meʹres, Mar·seʹna, [and] Me·muʹcan, seven+ princes of Persia and Meʹdi·a, having access to the king,*+ [and] who were sitting first in the kingdom): 15 “According to law what is to be done with Queen Vashʹti because she has not performed the saying of King A·has·u·eʹrus by means of the court officials?” 16 To this Me·muʹcan+ said before the king and the princes: “It is not against the king alone that Vashʹti the queen has done wrong,+ but against all the princes and against all the peoples that are in all the jurisdictional districts of King A·has·u·eʹrus. 17 For the affair of the queen will go out to all the wives so that they will despise+ their owners*+ in their own eyes, when they say, ‘King A·has·u·eʹrus himself said to bring in Vashʹti the queen before him, and she did not come in.’ 18 And this day the princesses of Persia and Meʹdi·a, who have heard the affair of the queen, will talk to all the princes of the king, and there will be plenty of contempt and indignation.+ 19 If to the king it does seem good,+ let a royal word go out from his person, and let it be written among the laws+ of Persia and Meʹdi·a, that it may not pass away,+ that Vashʹti may not come in before King A·has·u·eʹrus; and her royal dignity let the king give to a companion of hers, a woman better than she is. 20 And the decree of the king that he will make must be heard in all his realm (for it is vast), and all the wives themselves will give* honor+ to their owners,+ the great as well as the small.” 21 And the thing was pleasing in the eyes of the king+ and the princes, and the king proceeded to do according to the word of Me·muʹcan. 22 So he sent written documents+ to all the king’s jurisdictional districts, to each jurisdictional district+ in its own style of writing and to each people in its own tongue, for every husband to be continually acting as prince in his own house+ and speaking in the tongue of his own people.
^ “Artaxerxes,” LXX. Understood to be Xerxes I, son of Darius the Great (Darius Hystaspis).
^ “From India.” Heb., me·Hodʹdu; Gr., In·di·kesʹ, “Indian [country]”; Syr., Hudh; Lat., Inʹdi·a.
^ “Ethiopia,” Vg; MSy, “Cush.”
^ “Provinces,” Lat., pro·vinʹci·as.
^ Or, “fortress.”
^ A very hard rock often having a dark purplish-red groundmass and containing feldspar crystals.
^ “There was a passing of wine to drink.” In Heb. this is taken to be a verb in the infinitive absolute, indefinite as to time and impersonal.
^ “Artaxerxes,” LXX.
^ Lit., “the ones ministering.” Heb., ham·sha·rethimʹ; Gr., tois di·a·koʹnois; Lat., mi·ni·straʹbant, “they were ministering.”
^ Lit., “seeing the face of the king.”
^ “Their owners.” Heb., baʽ·leh·henʹ.
^ “It . . . and all the wives themselves will give.” Hiʼ Wekhol-Han·na·shimʹ Yit·tenuʹ (Heb.) appears to be a reverse acrostic of the Tetragrammaton, יהוה (YHWH). Three ancient Heb. mss are known that give the letters of the divine name here in acrostic in majuscule letters, as follows: תנוי נשיםהכל־ו יאה. This is the first of four such acrostics of the name “Jehovah,” and the Masorah in a rubric, or in red letters, calls attention to this.