New International Reader's Version

Esther 1

Vashti Is Removed From Her Position as Queen

1King Xerxes ruled over the 127 territories in his kingdom. They reached from India all the way to Cush. Here is what happened during the time Xerxes ruled over the whole Persian kingdom. He was ruling from his royal throne in the fort of Susa. In the third year of his rule King Xerxes gave a feast. It was for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media were there. So were the princes and the nobles of the territories he ruled over.

Every day for 180 days he showed his guests the great wealth of his kingdom. He also showed them how glorious his kingdom was. When those days were over, the king gave another feast. It lasted for seven days. It was held in the garden of the king’s courtyard. It was for all the people who lived in the fort of Susa. Everyone from the least important person to the most important was invited. The garden was decorated with white and blue linen banners. They hung from ropes that were made out of white linen and purple cloth. The ropes were connected to silver rings on marble pillars. There were gold and silver couches in the garden. They were placed on a floor that was made out of small stones. The floor had purple crystal, marble, mother-of-pearl and other stones of great value. Royal wine was served in gold cups. Each cup was different from all the others. There was plenty of wine. The king always provided as much as his guests wanted. He commanded that they should be allowed to drink as much or as little as they wished. He directed all his servants to give his guests what they asked for.

Queen Vashti also gave a feast. Only women were invited. It was held in the royal palace of King Xerxes.

10 On the seventh day Xerxes was in a good mood because he had drunk a lot of wine. So he gave a command to the seven officials who served him. They were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas. 11 King Xerxes told them to bring Queen Vashti to him. He wanted her to come wearing her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and nobles. She was lovely to look at. 12 The attendants told Queen Vashti what the king had ordered her to do. But she refused to come. So the king became very angry.

13 It was the king’s practice to ask for advice about matters of law and fairness. So he spoke with the wise men who understood what was going on at that time. 14 They were the men closest to the king. Their names were Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan. They were the seven nobles of Persia and Media. They were the king’s special advisers and the most important men in the kingdom.

15 “You know the law,” the king said. “What should I do to Queen Vashti? She hasn’t obeyed my command. The officials told her what I ordered her to do, didn’t they?”

16 Then Memukan gave a reply to the king and the nobles. He said, “Queen Vashti has done what is wrong. But she didn’t do it only against you, King Xerxes. She did it also against all the nobles. And she did it against the people in all the territories you rule over. 17 All the women will hear about what the queen has done. Then they won’t respect their husbands. They’ll say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought to him. But she wouldn’t come.’ 18 Here is what will start today. The leading women in Persia and Media who have heard about the queen’s actions will act in the same way. They’ll disobey all your nobles, just as she disobeyed you. They won’t have any respect for their husbands. They won’t honor them.

19 “So if it pleases you, send out a royal order. Let it be written down in the laws of Persia and Media. Those laws can never be changed. Let the royal order say that Vashti can never see you again. Also let her position as queen be given to someone who is better than she is. 20 And let your order be announced all through your entire kingdom. Then all women will have respect for their husbands, from the least important to the most important.”

21 The king and his nobles were pleased with that advice. So he did what Memukan had suggested. 22 The king sent messages out to every territory in the kingdom. He sent them to each territory in its own writing. He sent them to every nation in its own language. The messages announced that every man should rule over his own family, using his own language.