Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
And it happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Cush—over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces. In those days as King Ahasuerus was sitting on the throne of his kingdom, which was in the citadel of Susa, he gave a banquet in the third year of his reign for all his officials and servants. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and officials of the provinces were in his presence as he displayed the wealth of the glory of his kingdom and the glorious splendor of his greatness for many days, one hundred and eighty days.
And when those days were completed, the king gave for all the people that were present at the citadel of Susa, both great and small, a banquet in the courtyard of the king’s palace garden that lasted seven days. There were curtains of finely woven linen and blue cloth tied with cords of fine white linen and purple cloth to silver curtain rings and pillars of alabaster, and couches of gold and silver on a paved floor of alabaster, precious stone, mother-of-pearl, and costly stones. Drinks were served in goblets of gold and goblets of different kinds, and there was plentiful royal wine according to the bounty of the king. There were no restrictions on the drinking, for the king had instructed every official of his palace to do as each one pleased. Furthermore, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he said to Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven of the eunuchs attending King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown to show the people and the officials her beauty, for she was very attractive. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the word of the king that was conveyed by the eunuchs. And the king became very angry, and his anger burned in him.
And the king said to the wise men, the ones who know the times—for it was the procedure of the king before all those who knew law and rights; and those next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, Memucan, the seven officials of Persia and Media who had access to the king and sat first in the kingdom— "According to the law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she has not done the command of King Ahasuerus conveyed by the eunuchs? And Memucan said before the king and the officials, "Not only has Queen Vashti done wrong to the king, but to all the officials and all of the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen will be known to all the women, causing them to look with contempt on their husbands, as they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him but she did not come!’ This day the women of nobility from Persia and Media will respond to all the officials of the king and there will be no end to contempt and anger. If it pleases the king, let a royal edict go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of Persia and Media so that it will not be altered, that Vashti cannot come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to her neighbor who is better than she. And let the king’s decree that he will make be proclaimed in all his kingdom, because it is vast and all the women will honor their husbands, great and small."
This advice pleased the king and the officials, and the king acted according to the word of Memucan. And he sent letters to all the provinces of the king, to each province according to its own script, and to every people in their own language, that every man should be the master of his house and who speaks in the language of his people.
After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. And the king’s servants attending him said, "Let them seek attractive young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint chief officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and let them gather every attractive young virgin to the harem in the citadel of Susa under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let him give them their beauty treatment. And let the young woman who is pleasing in the king’s eyes become queen in place of Vashti. The thing was good in the king’s eyes, and he acted accordingly.
There was a Jew in the citadel of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, who was deported from Jerusalem with the exiles who were deported with Jeconiah the king of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had deported. He was raising Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she did not have a father or a mother; the young woman had a beautiful figure and was very attractive. When her father and mother died, Mordecai had taken her as his daughter. And it happened, at the proclaiming of the edict of the king and his law, when many young women were being gathered to the citadel of Susa under Hegai’s care, Esther was taken to the king’s palace under the care of Hegai who was in charge of the women. The young woman pleased him and she won favor in his presence, and he quickly provided for her beauty treatment and her portion of food, with seven chosen maids to give to her from the king’s palace, and he advanced her and her maids to the best part of the harem. Esther did not disclose her people and her family because Modecai had charged her that she must not tell. And every day Modecai would walk up and down in front of the courtyard of the harem to learn how Esther was doing.
When the turn came for each girl to go to King Ahasuerus, after the end of twelve months of being under the regulations of the women—for the days of their beauty treatments had to be filled, six months with the oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and women’s cosmetics— in this way, the girl goes to the king and all that she asks is given to her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go and in the morning she would return to the second harem under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was called by name.
When the turn came near for Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as a daughter, to go to the king, she did not ask anything except what Hegai the eunuch of the king who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther carried favor in the eyes of everyone that saw her. Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, to his palace, in the tenth month that is Tebeth in the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won his favor and loyalty more than all the virgins, so he put a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his officials and servants. And he granted a tax amnesty to the provinces and he gave gifts with royal liberality.
When the virgins were gathered a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the gate of the king. Esther had not made known her family and her people, just as Mordecai had instructed her; for Esther did what Mordecai told her, just as when she was brought up by him. In those days Mordecai was sitting at the gate of the king. Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs from the keepers of the threshold, became angry and they conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. And the matter became known to Mordecai and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told it to the king in the name of Mordecai. And the matter was investigated and found to be so; and the two of them were hanged on the gallows, and it was written in the scroll of the events of the days before the presence of the king.
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and he exalted him and set his position above all the officials who were with him. And all of the king’s servants who were at the gate of the king were kneeling and bowing down to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him, but Mordecai did not kneel and bow down. And the king’s servants who were at the gate of the king said to Mordecai, "Why are you transgressing the command of the king?" They spoke to him day after day, but he did not listen to them, and they informed Haman to see if Mordecai’s resolve would prevail; for he had told them that he was a Jew. And Haman saw that Mordecai was not kneeling and bowing down to him, and he was filled with anger. But he considered it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai only, for they told him of Mordecai’s people, and Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were in the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
In the first month, that is, the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasurus, he cast pur—that is, the lot—before the presence of Haman for the day and for the month, until the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar. And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all of the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from every other people, and they do not observe the laws of the king; it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to those who do the job, to bring to the treasury of the king." So the king removed his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. And the king said to Haman, "The money is given to you and to the people to do with it as you see fit.
And the king’s secretaries were called in the first month on the thirteenth day, and a decree was issued, according to all that Haman commanded, to the satraps of the king and to the governors who were over all the provinces, and to the officials of all the people, to each province according to its own script and to all people according to their own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and was sealed with the king’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the provinces of the king to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, on one day, the thirteenth day of the month, that is Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the edict was presented as law in every province making it known to all the people to be ready for that day. The couriers went out quickly by order of the king, and the law was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; and the city of Susa was bewildered.
For the music director. Of David. A psalm.
O Yahweh, you have searched me, and you know me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up.
You understand my thought from afar.
You search out my wandering and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word yet on my tongue,
but behold, O Yahweh, you know it completely.
You barricade me behind and in front,
and set your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is set high; I cannot prevail against it.
Where I can go from your Spirit,
or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, there you are,
and if I make my bed in Sheol, look! There you are.
If I lift up the wings of the dawn,
and I alight on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand would lead me,
and your right hand would hold me fast.
And if I should say, "Surely darkness will cover me,
and the light around me will be as night,"
even the darkness is not too dark for you,
and the night shines as the day—
the darkness and the light are alike for you.
Indeed you created my inward parts;
you wove me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works,
and my soul knows it well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was created secretly,
and intricately woven
in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
and in your book they all were written—
days fashioned for me when there was not one of them.
And to me, how precious are your thoughts, O God;
how vast is their sum.
If I should count them,
they would outnumber the sand.
I awaken, and I am still with you.
If only you would kill the wicked, O God—
so get away from me, you bloodthirsty men—
who speak against you deceitfully.
Your enemies take your name in vain.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Yahweh?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with a complete hatred;
they have become my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
And see if there is in me the worship of false gods,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his slaves the things which must take place in a short time, and communicated it by sending it through his angel to his slave John, who testified about the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who hear the words of the prophecy and observe the things written in it, because the time is near!
John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace from the one who is and the one who was and the one who is coming, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To the one who loves us and released us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—to him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even every one who pierced him,
and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, the one who is and the one who was and the one who is coming, the All-Powerful.
I, John, your brother and co-sharer in the affliction and kingdom and steadfastness in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great sound like a trumpet saying, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
And I turned to see the voice which was speaking with me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching to the feet and girded around his chest with a golden belt, and his head and hair were white like wool, white as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame, and his feet were like fine bronze when it has been fired in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters, and he had in his right hand seven stars, and a sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth, and his face was like the sun shining in its strength.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead person, and he placed his right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives, and I was dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades. Therefore, write the things which you saw, and the things which are, and the things which are about to take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands—the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.