The Book of Esther
1 And in Xerxes’ days—that was the Xerxes who reigned from India to Nubia, a hundred and twenty-seven provinces 2 —in those days, when King Xerxes took his seat on his royal throne in Susa Citadel 3 in the year three of his reign, he gave a banquet to all his generals and officers, having before him the troops of Persia and Media, the highest nobles, and the provincial generals, 4 exhibiting his glorious royal wealth and the exquisite magnificence of his greatness for a long time, a hundred and eighty days; 5 and when these days were completed the king gave a banquet to all the people that were to be found in Susa Citadel, great and small, for seven days in the garden court of the royal palace. 6* White muslin and violet cloth was fastened with white linen and purple cords to silver rods and marble columns; couches of gold and silver stood on a floor paved with four colors of marble; 7 and drinks were poured in golden vessels, some vessels different from others, and there was royal wine in abundance in accordance with the king’s custom; 8 and the drinking was on the principle of no compulsion, for the king had given this fundamental order to the head of every department of his household, to do as each man pleased. 9* Queen Vashti also gave a women’s banquet in King Xerxes’ royal residence.
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling jolly with wine, he told Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Vaabagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs in attendance before King Xerxes, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king in her royal tiara to let the people and the generals see her beauty; for she was handsome. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s word by the eunuchs; and the king was much incensed, and his temper fired up, 13* and the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for thus the king’s business came before all who knew law and adjudication) 14* and those who were next to him, Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, those who saw the king’s face and occupied the foremost places in the government, 15 “On what principle is Queen Vashti to be dealt with for her not having done as King Xerxes by the eunuchs told her to?”
16 And Memucan said before the king and the princes “Queen Vashti has misbehaved not only against the king but against all the princes and against the people in all King Xerxes’ provinces; 17 for the queen’s story will go out to all women to bring their husbands into contempt with them, when people say ‘King Xerxes ordered Queen Vashti brought before him and she did not come,’ 18* and this day the princesses of Persia and Media, who will have heard the queen’s story, will be saying plenty of contemptuous and exasperating things to all the king’s princes. 19** If the king thinks best, let an official announcement be issued with your sanction and engrossed in the laws of Persia and Media to be permanent, that Vashti shall never come before King Xerxes, and the king shall give her position as queen to a better, 20 so that the king’s sentence that he has executed shall be heard of throughout his realm, great as it is, and all women shall pay honor to their husbands, great and small.”
21 And the king and the princes approved the idea; and the king did as Memucan had proposed, 22* and sent writs to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own form of writing and to each people in its own language, that every man should be master in his house and talk in his people’s language.