Esther 1:1-22

Queen Vashti does not obey the king

1 These things happened when King Xerxes ruled. He was the king who ruled over 127 regions, from India to Ethiopia. 2 King Xerxes lived in the capital, the city of Susa. 3 During the third year that he ruled, he gave a big feast for his leaders and officers. The soldiers from the army of Persia and Media came to the feast. The rulers and leaders of the regions in the kingdom also came.

4 The feast continued for 180 days. King Xerxes wanted to show everyone how rich and powerful he was. He wanted to show that he was a great king. 5 When this feast finished, he gave another feast for everyone who lived in Susa. It was for people who were important, and for ordinary people as well. The feast continued for seven days. It was in part of the garden of the king's palace. 6 The gardens had curtains made of expensive white linen and purple material. They hung from silver rings on white stone pillars. White and purple strings held the curtains. There were seats made from gold and silver. The floor had many kinds of valuable stones to make it beautiful.

7 People at the feast drank from gold cups. Each cup was different. The king gave plenty of his own wine to everyone to drink. 8 Everyone could drink as much wine as they wanted. The king told his officers to give each person what they wanted, no more and no less.

9 At the same time, the king's wife, Queen Vashti, gave a feast for all the women in the palace.

1:9Queen Vashti had her feast in a different part of the palace than the king's feast.

10 On the seventh day of the feast, King Xerxes was feeling happy, because he had drunk so much wine. He had seven eunuchs who served him in the palace. Their names were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas. 11 He told them to bring Queen Vashti to him. He said that she must wear her royal crown. He wanted to show everyone at his feast how beautiful his queen was. She was a very beautiful woman. 12 The eunuchs told Queen Vashti what the king had commanded. But she refused to go to him. This made the king very angry.

13 The king spoke to his wise advisors about what had happened. These men understood the laws and customs of Persia. When something like this happened, the king would ask them what he should do. 14 The seven advisors who were often with the king were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan. These men were the most important officers in the kingdom.

15 The king asked them, ‘What should we do with Queen Vashti? What does our law say about this? The eunuchs took my message to her, but she did not obey my command. And I am the king!’

16 One of the advisors, Memukan, replied to the king and the other officers. He said, ‘Queen Vashti has not only done something wrong against you, the king. She has also done a wrong thing against all the officers and all the people too. That is all the men who live in your kingdom. 17 When other women hear about this, they will not obey their own husbands. All the women will say, “Queen Vashti did not obey her husband, King Xerxes. When he told her to come to him, she refused to do it!” 18 Everywhere in Persia and Media, the wives of the king's officers will know what Queen Vashti has done. From today, they will refuse to obey their husbands. They will no longer respect their husbands, and the men will be very angry.

19 So we suggest this, if you agree as king. You should give a royal command. It should become one of the laws of Persia and Media, so that nobody can change it. This law must say that Vashti must never see you again. Then you should find a woman who deserves to be queen more than Vashti. 20 You must send this command to everyone in your great kingdom. When people know about this law, all the women will respect their husbands. They will obey them, whether they are important people or ordinary people.’

21 The king and his officers liked this idea. So the king did as Memukan had said. 22 He sent letters to all the regions of his kingdom. The letters were in the language of each region, so that all the people could read and understand the law. The law said that every man should be the ruler of his family and he should speak the language of his people.