Ester 2

1 When the king's rage subsided, the thought of Vashti and what she had done and the order he had made against her came back to his mind.

2 Then the servants who were waiting on the king said to him, »Let a search be made for some fair young virgins for the king.

3 »Let the king give authority to some men in all the divisions of his kingdom, to get together all the fair young virgins and send them to Shushan, the king's town. Send them to the women's house. This is under the care of Hegai, the king's servant, the keeper of the women. Let the things needed for making them clean be given to them.

4 »And let the girl who is pleasing to the king be queen in place of Vashti.« The king was pleased with this suggestion; and he did so.

5 There was a Jew in Shushan named Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite.

6 He had been taken away from Jerusalem among those who had been made prisoner with Jeconiah, king of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had taken him away.

7 And he had been a father to Hadassah who is Esther, the daughter of his father's brother: for she had no father or mother. When her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his daughter. She was very beautiful.

8 When the order made by the king was made public a number of girls were placed in the care of Hegai in the king's house in Shushan. Esther was taken to the king's house and put in the care of Hegai, the keeper of the women.

9 He was pleased with the girl and was kind to her. He quickly provided her with cosmetics and food. He gave her seven choice servant girls who were to be hers from the king's house. He had her and her servant-girls moved to the best place in the women's part of the house.

10 Esther had not said what family or people she came from, for Mordecai gave her orders not to do so.

11 Every day Mordecai took his walk before the square of the women's house, to see how Esther was and what would be done to her.

12 Now every girl, when her turn came, had to go in to King Ahasuerus. After undergoing, for a space of twelve months, what was ordered by the law for the women for this was the time necessary for making them clean, that is, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet perfumes and such things as are needed for making women clean.

13 In this way the girl was presented to the king. Whatever she desired was given to her to take with her from the women's house into the house of the king.

14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she would return to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, one of the king's eunuchs who had the care of the king's wives. If the king had delight in her and sent for her by name she would go to him again.

15 When the time came for Esther, the daughter of Abihail, his father's brother, whom Mordecai had taken as his daughter, to go in to the king, she made request for nothing but what Hegai, the king's servant and keeper of the women, had given her. And all who saw her looked on Esther kindly.

16 Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his rule.

17 Esther was more pleasing to the king than all the women. To his eyes she was fairer and more full of grace than all the other virgins. So he put his crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

18 The king gave a great feast for all his captains and his servants and Esther. He gave orders through all the divisions of his kingdom for a release amnestyday of rest to the provinces, and gave wealth from his store.

19 When the virgins came together in the second house of the women, Mordecai took his seat in the gate of the king's house.

20 Esther had still said nothing of her family or her people, as Mordecai had given her orders. Esther did what Mordecai said, as when she was living with him.

21 In those days, while Mordecai was seated at the king's gate two of the king's servants, Bigthan and Teresh, keepers of the gate, being angry, looked for a chance to attack King Ahasuerus.

22 Mordecai had knowledge of their purpose and sent word of it to Esther the queen. Esther gave the news to the king in Mordecai's name.

23 It was investigated and found to be true. The two men were put to death by hanging on a tree: and it was recorded in the records before the king.