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Esther 2:1-23

2  After these events, when King Xerxes’ temper had gone down he remembered Vashti, and what she had done and what decision had been made about her. 2  But the king’s pages who were in attendance on him said “Let handsome maiden girls be hunted up for the king, 3  and let the king appoint commissioners in all the provinces of his realm and let them gather every handsome maiden girl to the women’s house in Susa Citadel, into the hands of the king’s eunuch Hegai the guardian of the women, and cleansing-creams be furnished them, 4  and the girl that the king likes best be queen in Vashti’s place.” And the king approved the idea and did so. 5  There was a certain Jew in Susa Citadel named Mordocai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6  who had been deported from Jerusalem with the deportees that were deported with King Jeconiah of Judah whom King Nebucadnessar of Babylon deported; 7  and he was foster-father to his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther) because she had no father or mother. And the girl was shapely and handsome; and at the death of her father and mother Mordocai had adopted her. 8  And when the king’s announcement and his law were heard of, and when many girls were being gathered in Hegai’s hands in Susa Citadel, Esther was taken to the king’s house into the hands of Hegai the guardian of the women. 9  And he liked the girl and was friendly to her, and made haste to give her her cleansing-creams and her rations and to give her the seven choicest maids out of the king’s house, and gave her and her maids preferential treatment in the women’s house. 10  Esther had not told her nationality and lineage, because Mordocai had charged her not to. 11  But every single day Mordocai walked in front of the court of the women’s house to find out how Esther was and what was being done with her. 12*  And when each girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes at the end of twelve months of the women’s regular treatment (for that was the way their time of cleansing was to be gone through, six months with the oil of myrrh and six months with the spices and the women’s cleansing-creams), 13  the girl went in to the king on these terms: she was given anything that she said, to go in from the women’s house to the king’s house with; 14*  in the evening she went in, and in the morning she came back to the women’s house, a second one, into the hands of the king’s eunuch Shaʽashgaz, the guardian of the concubines; she did not go in to the king again unless the king had taken a fancy to her and she was called for by name. 15  But when it came the turn of Esther the daughter of Mordocai’s uncle Abihail, whom he had adopted, to go in to the king, she did not ask for anything but what the king’s eunuch Hegai, the guardian of the women, said; and Esther won the admiration of all who saw her. 16  And Esther was taken to King Xerxes, into his royal residence, in the tenth month, that is the month of Tebeth, in the year seven of his reign. 17  And the king loved Esther better than any of the women, and she won more admiration and favor from him than any of the maidens; and he set a royal tiara on her head and made her queen in Vashti’s place. 18  And the king gave a great banquet to all his generals and officers, the Banquet for Esther, and enacted a suspension of taxation for the provinces, and gave gifts of food in accordance with the king’s custom. 19  And when maidens were being gathered a second time, Mordocai sitting in the king’s gate, 20  —Esther was not telling her lineage and nationality, as Mordocai had charged her not to, and Esther did as Mordocai said since she had been in his family as foster-daughter, 21  —in those days, Mordocai sitting in the king’s gate, the king’s two eunuchs Bigthan and Teresh, two of the guardians of the threshold, were out of temper and proposed to lay hands on King Xerxes; 22  and the affair became known to Mordocai, and he informed Queen Esther, and Esther told the king, using Mordocai’s name, 23  and the matter was investigated and the facts detected, and they were both impaled; and it was written down in the chronicles before the king.

Footnotes

2:12 Lit. at the end of having it according to the rule for the women twelve months
2:14 (a second one) Susp.