Esther 2
New American Standard Bible►► 

Vashti’s Successor Sought

1After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what had been decided regarding her. 2Then the king’s attendants, who served him, said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. 3And may the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and have them [a]bring every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their cosmetics be given to them. 4Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen in place of Vashti.” And the [b]suggestion pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

5There was a Jew at the citadel in Susa whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite, 6who had been taken from Jerusalem with the exiles who had been deported with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had deported. 7He was the guardian to Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young woman was beautiful of form and [c]face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Esther Finds Favor

8So it came about, when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the [d]custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s [e]palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and [f]food, gave her seven choice female attendants from the king’s palace, and transferred her and her attendants to the best place in the harem. 10Esther did not reveal her people or her kindred, because Mordecai had instructed her that she was not to reveal them. 11And every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the courtyard of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.

12Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beauty treatment were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with balsam oil and the cosmetics for women13the young woman would go in to the king in this way: anything that she [g]desired was given her to [h]take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14In the evening she would enter and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the [i]custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

15Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, [j]advised. And Esther was finding favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

Esther Becomes Queen

17The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal turban on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti. 18Then the king held a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his officials and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts in proportion to the king’s bounty.

19Now when the virgins were gathered together for the second time, then Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20Esther still had not revealed her relatives or her people, just as Mordecai had instructed her; for Esther did [k]what Mordecai told her just as she had when under his care.

Mordecai Saves the King

21In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to [l]attack King Ahasuerus. 22But the [m]plot became known to Mordecai and he informed Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in Mordecai’s name. 23Then when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a wooden gallows; and it was written in the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence.

[a] 3 Lit gather
[b] 4 Lit word
[c] 7 Lit good of appearance
[d] 8 Lit hand
[e] 8 Lit house
[f] 9 Lit portions
[g] 13 Lit said
[h] 13 Lit come
[i] 14 Lit hand
[j] 15 Lit said
[k] 20 Lit the command of Mordecai
[l] 21 Or kill; lit put out a hand against
[m] 22 Lit matter, so also v 23

New American Standard Bible
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by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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