Esther becomes queen
1 Some time after that happened, King Xerxes was not feeling so angry. He thought about Vashti. And he thought about the law that he had made.
2:1King Xerxes could not change the law. Because of this law he no longer had a queen.
2 Some of the king's servants said, ‘We think that the king should ask his servants to look for beautiful young women for him. 3 The king could choose officers from every part of his kingdom to do this. They will take the women to the harem at Susa. Hegai, the king's eunuch, will help them and he will keep them safe. The young women will receive beauty treatments. 4 The young woman who makes the king happy will be queen. She will be queen as Vashti was.’ King Xerxes agreed with the servants. And he did everything that the servants said.
5 In the city called Susa there was a Jew called Mordecai. Mordecai was the son of Jair. Jair was the son of Shimei. Shimei was the son of Kish. Kish was in Benjamin's family.
2:5Mordecai was in Benjamin's family. This was one of the 12 families of Israel. You can read about this in Genesis chapter 35.
6 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had sent Kish (with other Jews) to live away from Jerusalem. That was when Nebuchadnezzar took King Jeconiah of Judah away from Jerusalem. 7 Mordecai had a young cousin called Hadassah. (She was also called Esther.) She lived in his house. Esther's mother and father were dead. Esther was beautiful. Mordecai called Esther his daughter.
2:7Judah had been part of Israel. It had its own king. Some people had two names. Hadassah was a Hebrew name. Hebrew is the language of the Jews. Esther was a Persian name.
8 Esther was with the young women that the officers brought to the city called Susa. The servants brought them to the palace. Hegai had authority over all the young women. 9 Hegai liked Esther. He gave her beauty treatments and special food. He gave her 7 female servants from the king's palace. And he moved Esther and her servants to the best part of the harem.
10 Mordecai said to Esther, ‘Do not tell anyone that you are a Jew.’ So Esther did not tell anyone. 11 Mordecai wanted to know what was happening to Esther. So he walked by the harem many times each day.
12 Before a young woman went to be with the king she had to have beauty treatments. These went on for 12 months. 13 Then she went to be with the king. And she could take whatever she wanted with her then.
2:13A young woman could choose what clothes and other things to wear when she went to be with the king.
14 She would go to be with the king in the evening. She would stay with him during that night. In the morning, she went to the harem where the king's other wives lived. Shaashgaz, a eunuch, kept the women there safe. The young woman would only see the king again if he liked her. If he did like her, he would ask for her by name.
2:14These women did not have any authority in the house. In the king's harem, some of these women did not see the king again. They did not have the authority that the queen had.
15 One evening, it was Esther's time to go to the king. And she asked for the things that Hegai had suggested. Everyone who saw Esther liked her. 16 Esther went to King Xerxes in the 10th month. That is the month Tebeth. King Xerxes had ruled for nearly 7 years.
2:16There is a list of the Jewish months at the end of the book.
17 The king loved Esther more than he loved any of the other women. He was nice to her because he liked her. He put the crown on her head and he made her queen. So, Esther became queen, as Vashti had been queen. 18 The king gave a great feast called Esther's Feast. All his officers and other important men came to the feast. He gave everyone in the kingdom a day to rest. And he gave many gifts to people.
Mordecai saves the king
19 The officers brought the young women together again. At this time, Mordecai sat at the King's Gate.
20 Esther had not told the king that she was a Jew. Mordecai had told her that she should not tell him. She had obeyed Mordecai when she lived with him as his daughter. And now she still obeyed him like that.
21 Mordecai was sitting at the King's Gate. At that time, Bigthana and Teresh, who were two of the king's officers, became angry. And they wanted to kill the king. 22 Mordecai heard about this. So he told Queen Esther that the officers wanted to kill the king. Queen Esther told the king. She said that Mordecai had discovered this. 23 The king discovered that this was true. He told men that they must kill these officers. They must hang them from gallows until they were dead. The king watched while his servant wrote these things in the Book of Years.
2:23At this time, Mordecai had authority in the king's palace. Mordecai would know if anyone wanted to hurt the king. Esther was in the right place to tell the king. The servant recorded that Mordecai saved the king. God had given authority to Esther and Mordecai.