Queen Vashti Deposed
1This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,1:1 Hebrew Ahasuerus; here and throughout Esther the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush1:1 That is, the upper Nile region: 2At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
4For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. 6The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. 8By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.
9Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times 14and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
15“According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
16Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
19“Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
21The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.
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. 2He was ruling from his royal throne in the fort of Susa. 3In 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.
4Every day for 180 days he showed his guests the great wealth of his kingdom. He also showed them how glorious his kingdom was. 5When 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. 6The 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. 7Royal 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. 8He 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.
9Queen Vashti also gave a feast. Only women were invited. It was held in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10On 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. 11King 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. 12The attendants told Queen Vashti what the king had ordered her to do. But she refused to come. So the king became very angry.
13It 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. 14They 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?”
16Then 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. 17All 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.’ 18Here 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. 20And 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.”
21The king and his nobles were pleased with that advice. So he did what Memukan had suggested. 22The 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.