King James Version

Esther 2:1-23

1After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: 3And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:2.3 unto the…: Heb. unto the hand2.3 Hege: also called, Hegai 4And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.

5Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; 6Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.2.6 Jeconiah: also called, Jehoiachin 7And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.2.7 brought…: Heb. nourished2.7 fair…: Heb. fair of form, and good of countenance

8¶ So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.2.9 such…: Heb. her portions2.9 preferred: Heb. changed 10Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it. 11And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.2.11 to know…: Heb. to know the peace

12¶ Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;) 13Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. 14In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.

15¶ Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her. 16So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.2.17 favour: or, kindness2.17 in his…: Heb. before him 18Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.2.18 release: Heb. rest 19And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. 20Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.

21¶ In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.2.21 Bigthan: also called, Bigthana2.21 the door: Heb. the threshold 22And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name. 23And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.

New International Reader's Version

Esther 2:1-23

Esther Becomes Queen of Persia

1Later, the great anger of King Xerxes calmed down. Then he remembered Vashti and what she had done. He also remembered the royal order he had sent out concerning her. 2At that time the king’s personal attendants made a suggestion. They said, “King Xerxes, let a search be made for some beautiful young virgins for you. 3Appoint some officials in every territory in your kingdom. Have them bring all these beautiful young women into the fort of Susa. Put them in the special place where the virgins stay. Then put Hegai in charge of them. He’s the official who serves you. He’s in charge of the women. Let beauty care be given to the new group of women. 4Then let the young woman who pleases you the most become queen in Vashti’s place.” The king liked that advice. So he followed it.

5There was a Jew living in the fort of Susa. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. His name was Mordecai. He was the son of Jair. Jair was the son of Shimei. Shimei was the son of Kish. 6Nebuchadnezzar had forced Mordecai to leave Jerusalem. He was among the prisoners who were carried off along with Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin had been king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. 7Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah. He had raised her because she didn’t have a father or mother. Hadassah was also called Esther. She had a lovely figure and was very beautiful. Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter. He had done it when her father and mother died.

8After the king’s order and law were announced, many young women were brought to the fort of Susa. Hegai was put in charge of them. Esther was also taken to the king’s palace. She was put under the control of Hegai. He was in charge of the place where the virgins stayed. 9Esther pleased him. He showed her how happy he was with her. Right away he provided her with her beauty care and special food. He appointed seven female attendants to help her. They were chosen from the king’s palace. He moved her and her attendants into the best part of the place where the virgins stayed.

10Esther hadn’t told anyone who her people were. She hadn’t talked about her family. That’s because Mordecai had told her not to. 11Mordecai tried to find out how Esther was getting along. He wanted to know what was happening to her. So he walked back and forth near the courtyard by the place where the virgins stayed. He did it every day.

12Each young woman had to complete 12 months of beauty care. They used oil of myrrh for six months. And they used perfume and makeup for the other six months. A virgin’s turn to go in to King Xerxes could come only after a full 12 months had passed. 13And here is how she would go to the king. She would be given anything she wanted from the place where the virgins stayed. She could take it with her to the king’s palace. 14In the evening she would go there. In the morning she would leave. Then she would go to the special place where the king’s concubines stayed. She would be put under the control of Shaashgaz. He was the king’s official who was in charge of the concubines. She would never return to the king unless he was pleased with her. He had to send for her by name before she could go to him again.

15Mordecai had adopted Esther. She had been the daughter of his uncle Abihail. Her turn came to go in to the king. She only asked for what Hegai suggested. He was the king’s official who was in charge of the place where the virgins stayed. Everyone who saw Esther was pleased with her. 16She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal house. It was now the tenth month. That was the month of Tebeth. It was the seventh year of the rule of Xerxes.

17The king liked Esther more than he liked any of the other women. She pleased him more than any of the other virgins. So he put a royal crown on her head. He made her queen in Vashti’s place. 18Then the king gave a feast to honor Esther. All his nobles and officials were invited. He announced a holiday all through the territories he ruled over. He freely gave many gifts in keeping with his royal wealth.

Mordecai Uncovers a Plan to Kill the King

19The virgins were gathered together a second time. At that time Mordecai was sitting at the palace gate. 20Esther had kept her family history a secret. She hadn’t told anyone who her people were. Mordecai had told her not to. She continued to follow his directions. That’s what she had always done when he was bringing her up.

21Bigthana and Teresh were two of the king’s officers. They guarded the door of the royal palace. They became angry with King Xerxes. So they decided to kill him. They made their evil plans while Mordecai was sitting at the palace gate. 22So Mordecai found out about it and told Queen Esther. Then she reported it to the king. She told him that Mordecai had uncovered the plans against him. 23Some people checked Esther’s report. And they found out it was true. So the two officials were put to death. Then poles were stuck through them. They were set up where people could see them. All of that was written in the official records. It was written down while the king was watching.