1 - After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
2 - Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
3 - And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given [them]:
4 - And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
5 - [Now] in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name [was] Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
6 - Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
7 - And he brought up Hadassah, that [is], Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid [was] fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
8 - So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 - And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, [which were] meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best [place] of the house of the women.
10 - Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew [it].
11 - And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
12 - Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, [to wit], six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with [other] things for the purifying of the women;)
13 - Then thus came [every] maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
14 - In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
15 - Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
16 - So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which [is] the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 - And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 - Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, [even] Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
19 - And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
20 - Esther had not [yet] shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
21 - In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
22 - And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told [it] unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king [thereof] in Mordecai's name.
23 - And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
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|Esther Images and
The Book of Esther
1:16-18 - And Memucan answered before the king and the
princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only,
but also to all the princes, and to all the people that [are] in
all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For [this] deed of the
queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall
despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported,
The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in
before him, but she came not. [Likewise] shall the ladies of
Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which
have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus [shall there arise]
too much contempt and wrath.
6:12-14 - And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But
Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every [thing]
that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his
wife unto him, If Mordecai [be] of the seed of the Jews, before
whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against
him, but shalt surely fall before him. And while they [were] yet
talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to
bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
from the Hall of Xerxes
Esther 1:2-4 "In the third year
of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and
his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles
and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he
shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour
of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and
These two royal Persian
attendants are depicted in a relief scene at the great
hall of Xerxes from the Harem of Xerxes at Persepolis.
This discovery of ancient Persian servants of Xerxes
from the 5th century BC is important in the study of
Biblical Archaeology and the Persian Period.
Summary of The Book of Esther
The book of Esther receives its title from its chief
character, whose name was the Persian word for star. A number of
individuals have been suggested as the author. Among these,
Mordecai's name is most prominent; however, ch. 10 seems to rule
him out as a possibility since it implies that the book was
written after the time of his death. In truth, there is no way
of determining who was the author of the book. His use of
several Persian words and his accurate description of the life
and customs of the Persian court indicate that he was a resident
of Persia at a time not too far removed from that of the events
narrated. It is quite probable that he had access to the
official chronicles of the kings (2:23; 10 :2), as well as to
the writings of Mordecai (9:20).
Since it is almost surely correct to identify Ahasuerus with
the Persian ruler whom the Greeks called Xerxes, the events
described in Esther probably took place between the years 485
and 470 BC. This would mean that Esther reigned about forty
years after the temple was rebuilt and about thirty years before
the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt. It has been suggested by some
that she may have had at least an indirect influence in the
release of the Jews for the purpose of rebuilding Jerusalem.
This book is valuable to us for several reasons. In the first
place, it tells of God's providential care over his people even
though they were in a distant land, far away from the center of
the Hebrew religion. In this connection it is interesting to
note that the name of God is never mentioned in the book.
Neither is there any direct reference to worship of any kind.
The allusions to fasting (5:16) and the "cry" of the people
(9:31), however, seem to have a religious connotation. Likewise,
Mordecai's well-known statement to Esther "who knows whether you
have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (4:14)
surely indicates belief in some type of overruling providence. A
possible explanation is that the book was written at a time when
the mention of the name or religion of the God of Israel was
either unwise or dangerous, or both.
Esther also furnishes an account of the origin of the Jewish
feast of Purim. Finally, the book records a major event in the
history of Israel: their escape from complete extermination at
the hands of the Persians.
In the Septuagint, the book of Esther contains 107 verses
which are not in the Hebrew text. These are preserved in the
apocryphal book called The Rest of Esther, found in some modern
Quick Reference Map
Map of the Persian Empire During
the Time of Esther (Click to Enlarge)
The contents of the book of Esther may be summarized as
Outline of the Book of Esther
1 ) The deposition of Queen Vashti, the wife of the Persian
ruler Ahasuerus, for her refusal to appear before the guests of
the king (Chapter 1). It has often been suggested that the Queen
refused on grounds of modesty, but the tradition which has
arisen around her suggests that her refusal is just as likely to
have been the result of simple spitefulness. In order to keep
such an attitude from becoming general, thus upsetting the
domestic balance, Ahasuerus removed her from the throne and from
2 ) The choice of Esther as Queen, after an involved process of
elimination (Chapter 2:1-20).
3 ) Mordecai discovers a plot against the life of the king
4) Haman's plot to destroy the Jews (Chapters 3-4). Because of
the refusal of Mordecai to pay homage to Haman, a man "above all
the princes" in the Persian government, the latter influenced
the King to issue a decree calling for the extermination of the
Jews. Mordecai persuaded Esther to intervene, at the risk of her
life, on the Jews' behalf.
5 ) Esther's successful petition (Chapter 5-8:2 ) . Finding
favor with Ahasuerus, Esther revealed the heinous plot of Haman.
The result was that Haman was hanged and Mordecai received his
long-deserved honor for having saved the king's life.
6 ) The deliverance of the Jews (Chapter 8:3-9:16). Although the
decree of the King concerning the Jews could not be rescinded,
it was counteracted by the issuing of another decree which
allowed the Jews to defend themselves.
7 ) The Feast of Purim (9:17-32). To celebrate their
deliverance, the Jews instituted the feast of Purim. This feast
is still observed and is a time of great joy among Jews.
8 ) A description of Mordecai's greatness (Chapter 10).
Quick Reference Maps -
The Persian Empire at the Time of Esther - According to
Esther 1:1 King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) ruled over 127 provinces from
India to Ethiopia. The Book of Esther began in the third year of
the reign of Ahasuerus which was around 484 BC during a great
feast in Shushan (Susa). Xerxes had just put down rebellions in
Egypt and Babylon, and was preparing to invade Greece.
Jerusalem Rebuilt by Nehemiah - The book of Nehemiah records
in the third chapter a description of the course of the walls,
beginning on the northeast side of Jerusalem and moving
counterclockwise. His intention was not to be too exhaustive in
Zerubbabel and Ezra's Journey to Restore Jerusalem -
Zerubbabel, of the house of David heeded the decree of Cyrus to
allow the Jews to return and restore Jerusalem and later more
Jews including Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem.
The Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC - The great rulers
of the Persian Empire during the 6th century BC were Cyrus the
Great, Cambyses, and Darius I the Great.
The Persian Empire in the 5th Century BC - During the 5th
centuries BC the Persian Empire expanded under various rulers:
Darius I, Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes I.
The Return From Babylon