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Esther 1

Queen Vashti does not obey the king

1 This happened when King Xerxes ruled over 127 parts of the kingdom of Persia. He ruled from India to Cush. 2 King Xerxes lived in the capital, the city called Susa. 3 When King Xerxes had ruled for more than 2 years, he gave a big feast. The feast was for all the important men who had authority in the kingdom.

1:3Cush was the Persian name for a certain country. It included almost all the country that is called Sudan today. It also included some of the country called Ethiopia today. Susa was where the kings of Persia lived in the winter.

4 The feast was for 180 days. King Xerxes wanted to show everyone how rich and powerful he was. 5 When this feast finished, he gave another feast. This happened in the palace gardens. It was for 7 days. This feast was for everyone who lived in the city called Susa. It was for people who were important. And it was for people who were not important. 6 The gardens had blue and white curtains. People had made the curtains out of linen. Other curtains were hanging from columns. The colour of those curtains is called purple. There were beds that people had made out of gold and silver. And the floor had many valuable stones in it.

1:6Only rich people would have material of blue and white linen. And only rich people would have purple material.

7 People drank from gold cups. Each cup was different. The king let everyone have his own wine. 8 Each man had as much wine to drink as he wanted. But no man had to drink any wine if he did not want to. That is what the king had said to all his officers.

9 Queen Vashti was the king's wife. She gave a feast for all the women in the palace.

10 On the 7th day, King Xerxes was feeling happy. He told his eunuchs that they must come to him. Their names were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas. 11 He told them that they must bring Queen Vashti to him. He said that she must wear her royal crown. King Xerxes wanted to show everyone how beautiful his queen was. 12 The eunuchs told Queen Vashti what the king had said. But she would not go to him. This made King Xerxes very angry.

13 The king had men who knew the law. He always asked them what to do when someone did not obey him. 14 He trusted these men. Their names were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan. These men always sat next to the king. They had a lot of authority in the kingdom.

15 The king asked them, ‘What must I do with Queen Vashti? The eunuchs told her what I said. But she did not obey me. What is the law about this?’

16 In front of the king and all the important men, Memucan (one of the men) replied, ‘The queen has not only done something wrong to you. She has done something wrong to all the important men in your kingdom. 17 When other wives hear about this, they will not obey their own husbands. All the women in the kingdom will say, “King Xerxes said that Queen Vashti should come to him. But she would not come.” 18 So now, the wives of the king's officers will not obey their husbands. This will make their husbands angry.

19 If it makes the king happy, we suggest this: The king should make a law. Someone should write this law with the other laws of Media and Persia so that nobody can change it. This law should say that Vashti must not stand in front of you again. Then find a better woman to be queen. 20 When people know the law, all women will obey their husbands. They will obey them if they are rich or poor.’

21 The king and his officers liked this idea. And so they did as Memucan said. 22 Men on horses took the law to all the parts of the kingdom. The king said that people must write the law in many languages. They must write it in the languages of all who lived in the kingdom. The law said that every man must rule over his children and his wife.

1:22Queen Vashti had not obeyed her husband. So now, other wives in the kingdom would think that they did not have to obey their own husbands. Other wives would not respect their husbands. The king sent Queen Vashti away because she would not obey him. She would never see the king again. So King Xerxes made this law: All married women must obey and respect their husbands.