New Living Translation

Esther 1

The King’s Banquet

1These events happened in the days of King Xerxes,[a] who reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia.[b] At that time Xerxes ruled his empire from his royal throne at the fortress of Susa. In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces. The celebration lasted 180 days—a tremendous display of the opulent wealth of his empire and the pomp and splendor of his majesty.

When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa. It lasted for seven days and was held in the courtyard of the palace garden. The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones.

Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs, and there was an abundance of royal wine, reflecting the king’s generosity. By edict of the king, no limits were placed on the drinking, for the king had instructed all his palace officials to serve each man as much as he wanted.

At the same time, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.

Queen Vashti Deposed

10 On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas— 11 to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. 12 But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger.

13 He immediately consulted with his wise advisers, who knew all the Persian laws and customs, for he always asked their advice. 14 The names of these men were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan—seven nobles of Persia and Media. They met with the king regularly and held the highest positions in the empire.

15 “What must be done to Queen Vashti?” the king demanded. “What penalty does the law provide for a queen who refuses to obey the king’s orders, properly sent through his eunuchs?”

16 Memucan answered the king and his nobles, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire. 17 Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king. 18 Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger.

19 “So if it please the king, we suggest that you issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes that cannot be revoked. It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she. 20 When this decree is published throughout the king’s vast empire, husbands everywhere, whatever their rank, will receive proper respect from their wives!”

21 The king and his nobles thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel. 22 He sent letters to all parts of the empire, to each province in its own script and language, proclaiming that every man should be the ruler of his own home and should say whatever he pleases.[c]

Footnotes

  1. 1:1a Hebrew Ahasuerus, another name for Xerxes; also throughout the book of Esther. Xerxes reigned 486–465 B.c.
  2. 1:1b Hebrew to Cush.
  3. 1:22 Or and should speak in the language of his own people.

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.