Story of Esther
Book of Eshter > read
ESTHER AND MORDEKHAI
5 There was in Shushan the capital a man who was a Jew, whose name was Mordekhai the son of Ya’ir, the son of Shim‘i, the son of Kish, a Binyamini. 6 He had been exiled from Yerushalayim with the captives exiled with Y’khanyah king of Y’hudah, whom N’vukhadnetzar king of Bavel had carried off.7 He had raised Hadassah, that is, Ester, his uncle’s daughter; because she had neither father nor mother. The girl was shapely and good-looking; after her father’s and mother’s death, Mordekhai had adopted her as his own daughter.
ESTHER PREPARING TO BE PRESENTED TO THE KING
Ester too was taken into the king’s house and put under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9 The girl pleased him and won his favor, so that he lost no time in giving her her cosmetics, her portions [of special food] and seven girls from the king’s palace to attend her; he also promoted her and the girls attending her to the best place in the harem’s quarters.
ESTHER THE QUEEN
Yet Ester was admired by all who saw her. ... 17 The king liked Ester more than any of his wives; none of the other virgins obtained such favor and approval from him. So he put the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.
ESTHER BEFORE THE KING
5 On the third day, Ester put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace, opposite the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the king’s hall, across from the entrance to the hall. 2 When the king saw Ester the queen standing in the courtyard, she won his favor; so the king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Ester. Ester approached and touched the tip of the scepter. 3 “What is it you want, Queen Ester?” the king asked her. “Whatever your request, up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.” 4 “If it is all right with the king,” answered Ester, “let the king and Haman come today to the banquet I have prepared for him.” 5 The king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that what Ester has asked for can be done.” (6) So the king and Haman came to the banquet Ester had prepared.
6 (7) At the banquet of wine the king again said to Ester, “Whatever your request, you will be granted it; whatever you want, up to half the kingdom, it will be done.” 7 (8) Then Ester answered, “My request, what I want, is this: 8 if I have won the king’s favor, if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I want, let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them; and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
TRIUMPH OF MORDEKHAI
ESTHER DENOUNCES HAMAN
“If I have won your favor, king, and if it pleases the king, then what I ask be given me is my own life and the lives of my people. 4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, killed, exterminated. If we had only been sold as men- and women-slaves, I would have remained quiet; since then [our] trouble would not have been worth the damage it would have caused the king [to alter the situation].” 5 King Achashverosh asked Ester the queen, “Who is he? Where is the man who dared to do such a thing?” 6 Ester said, “A ruthless enemy — it’s this wicked Haman!” Haman stood aghast, terrified before the king and queen. 7 In a rage, the king got up from the wine banquet and went out to the palace garden. But Haman remained, pleading with Ester the queen to spare his life; for he could see that the king had decided to do him in.8 Haman had just fallen on the couch where Ester was, when the king returned from the palace garden to the wine banquet. He shouted, “Is he even going to rape the queen here in the palace, before my very eyes?” The moment these words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.9 Harvonah, one of the king’s attendants, said, “Look! The gallows seventy-five feet high that Haman made for Mordekhai, who spoke only good for the king, is standing at Haman’s house.” The king said, “Hang him on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordekhai. Then the king’s anger subsided.