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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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1 And it came to pass in the days of Achashverosh the same Achashverosh who ruled from Hodu to Cush, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces. 2 In those days, when King Achashverosh sat on his royal throne, which was in Shushan the capital, 3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his ministers and servants; the army of Persia and Media, the nobles and all the ministers of the provinces in his service. 4 For many days, one hundred and eighty days, he displayed the glorious wealth of his kingdom and the splendorous beauty of his majesty. 5 And when these days came to an end, the king made a seven-day feast in the courtyard of the king's palace garden, for all the people in Shushan the capital, nobleman and commoner alike. 6 There were hangings of white, green and blue, held by cords of linen and purple wool to silver rods and marble pillars. There were divans of gold and silver on a floor of alabaster and marble [arranged in patterns of] rows and circles. 7 Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of assorted design, and the royal wine was in abundance as befitting the king. 8 The drinking was by the law, without force, for so had the king ordered all the stewards of his household, to comply with each man's wish.

9 Queen Vashti, too, made a feast for the women in the royal palace of King Achashverosh. 10 On the seventh day, when the king's heart was merry with wine, he ordered Mehuman, Bizzeta, Charvona, Bigta, Avagta, Zeitar and Charkas, the seven chamberlains who attended King Achashverosh, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king wearing the royal crown, to show her beauty to the nations and ministers, for she was indeed beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to appear by the king's order brought by the chamberlains, and the king grew furious and his wrath seethed within him.

13 So the king conferred with the sages, those knowledgeable of the timesùfor this was the king's custom, to [bring such matters] before those who were versed in every law and statute. 14 Those closest to him were Carshina, Sheitar, Admata, Tarshish, Meress, Marsina and Memuchan. These were the seven ministers of Persia and Media, who had access to the king and ranked highest in the kingdom. 15 [He asked them:] "By law, what should be done with Queen Vashti for failing to obey the order of King Achashverosh, brought by the chamberlains?"

16 Memuchan declared before the king and the ministers: "It is not against the King alone that Queen Vashti has sinned, but against all the ministers and all the nations in all the provinces of King Achashverosh. 17 For word of the queen's deed will reach all the women and it will belittle their husbands in their eyes. For they will say: 'King Achashverosh commanded that Queen Vashti be brought before him, yet she did not come!' 18 This very day, the noblewomen of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's deed will repeat it to all the King's nobles and there will be much disgrace and anger. 19 If it please the King, let a royal edict be issued by him, and let it be written into the laws of Persia and Media and let it not be revoked, that Queen Vashti may never again appear before King Achashverosh, and let the King confer her royal title upon another woman who is better than she. 20 And the King's decree which he shall proclaim will be heard throughout his kingdom, for it is indeed significant, and all the women will respect their husbands, nobleman and commoner alike."

21 The idea pleased the king and the ministers, and the king did as Memuchan had advised. 22 He sent letters to all the king's provincesùto each province in its script and to each nation in its language [saying] that every man shall be master in his home and that he speak the language of his nation.

Yosef Marcus is director of the Chabad center in S. Mateo, California, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is a translator and adaptor of Judaic texts and a contributor to several websites including: Chabad.org, Askmoses.com and Kabbalaonline.com. He can be reached via his website www.chabadnp.com
Megillat Esther - The Book of Esther, Compiled by Rabbi Yosef Marcus. Published by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn, NY
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