Esther, CHAPTER 1
Dream of Mordecai.
In the second year of the reign of Ahasuerus the great, on the first day of Nisan, Mordecai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, had a dream.
He was a Jew residing in the city of Susa, a prominent man who served at the king’s court,
and one of the captives whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had taken from Jerusalem with Jeconiah, king of Judah.
This was his dream. There was noise and tumult, thunder and earthquake―confusion upon the earth.
Two great dragons advanced, both poised for combat. They uttered a mighty cry,
and at their cry every nation prepared for war, to fight against the nation of the just.
It was a dark and gloomy day. Tribulation and distress, evil and great confusion, lay upon the earth.
The whole nation of the just was shaken with fear at the evils to come upon them, and they expected to perish.
Then they cried out to God, and from their crying there arose, as though from a tiny spring, a mighty river, a flood of water.
The light of the sun broke forth; the lowly were exalted and they devoured the boastful.
Having seen this dream and what God intended to do, Mordecai awoke. He kept it in mind, and tried in every way, until night, to understand its meaning.
Mordecai Thwarts an Assassination.
Mordecai lodged in the courtyard with Bigthan and Teresh, two eunuchs of the king who guarded the courtyard.
He overheard them plotting, investigated their plans, and discovered that they were preparing to assassinate King Ahasuerus. So he informed the king about them.
The king had the two eunuchs questioned and, upon their confession, put to death.
Then the king had these things recorded; Mordecai, too, put them into writing.
The king also appointed Mordecai to serve at the court, and rewarded him for his actions.
Haman, however, son of Hammedatha, a Bougean, who was held in high honor by the king, sought to harm Mordecai and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king.
The Banquet of Ahasuerus.
During the reign of Ahasuerus―the same Ahasuerus who ruled over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia―
while he was occupying the royal throne in the royal precinct of Susa,
in the third year of his reign, he gave a feast for all his officials and ministers: the Persian and Median army officers, the nobles, and the governors of the provinces.
For as many as a hundred and eighty days, he displayed the glorious riches of his kingdom and the resplendent wealth of his royal estate.
At the end of this time the king gave a feast of seven days in the garden court of the royal palace for all the people, great and small, who were in the royal precinct of Susa.
There were white cotton draperies and violet hangings, held by cords of fine crimson linen from silver rings on marble pillars. Gold and silver couches were on a mosaic pavement, which was of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and colored stones.
Drinks were served in a variety of golden cups, and the royal wine flowed freely, as befitted the king’s liberality.
By ordinance of the king the drinking was unstinted, for he had instructed all the stewards of his household to comply with the good pleasure of everyone.
Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women in the royal palace of King Ahasuerus.
Refusal of Vashti.
On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, he instructed Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who attended King Ahasuerus,
to bring Queen Vashti into his presence wearing the royal crown, that he might display her beauty to the populace and the officials, for she was lovely to behold.
But Queen Vashti refused to come at the royal order issued through the eunuchs. At this the king’s wrath flared up, and he burned with fury.
He conferred with the sages who understood the times, because the king’s business was conducted in general consultation with lawyers and jurists.
He summoned Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven Persian and Median officials who were in the king’s personal service and held first rank in the realm,
and asked them, “What is to be done by law with Queen Vashti for disobeying the order of King Ahasuerus issued through the eunuchs?”
In the presence of the king and of the officials, Memucan answered: “Queen Vashti has not wronged the king alone, but all the officials and the populace throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and they will look with disdain upon their husbands when it is reported, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded that Queen Vashti be ushered into his presence, but she would not come.’
This very day the Persian and Median noblewomen who hear of the queen’s conduct will recount it to all the royal officials, and disdain and rancor will abound.
If it please the king, let an irrevocable royal decree be issued by him and inscribed among the laws of the Persians and Medes, forbidding Vashti to come into the presence of King Ahasuerus and authorizing the king to give her royal dignity to one more worthy than she.
Thus, when the decree that the king will issue is published throughout his realm, vast as it is, all wives will honor their husbands, from the greatest to the least.”
This proposal pleased the king and the officials, and the king acted on the advice of Memucan.
He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, to the effect that every man should be lord in his own home.