December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 During the reign of Ahasuerus-this was the Ahasuerus who ruled over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia-
- 2 while he was occupying the royal throne in the stronghold of Susa,
- in the third year of his reign, he presided over a feast for all his officers and ministers: the Persian and Median aristocracy, the nobles, and the governors of the provinces.
- For as many as a hundred and eighty days, he displayed the glorious riches of his kingdom and the resplendent wealth of his royal estate.
- At the end of this time the king gave a feast of seven days in the garden court of the royal palace for all the people, great and small, who were in the stronghold of Susa.
- There were white cotton draperies and violet hangings, held by cords of crimson byssus from silver rings on marble pillars. Gold and silver couches were on the pavement, which was of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and colored stones.
- Liquor was served in a variety of golden cups, and the royal wine flowed freely, as befitted the king's munificence.
- By ordinance of the king the drinking was unstinted, for he had instructed all the stewards of his household to comply with the good pleasure of everyone.
- 3 Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women inside the royal palace of King Ahasuerus.
- On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, he instructed Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who attended King Ahasuerus,
- to bring Queen Vashti into his presence wearing the royal crown, that he might display her beauty to the populace and the officials, for she was lovely to behold.
- But Queen Vashti refused to come at the royal order issued through the eunuchs. At this the king's wrath flared up, and he burned with fury.
- He conferred with the wise men versed in the law, because the king's business was conducted in general consultation with lawyers and jurists.
- He summoned Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven Persian and Median officials who were in the king's personal service and held first rank in the realm,
- and asked them, "What is to be done by law with Queen Vashti for disobeying the order of King Ahasuerus issued through the eunuchs?"
- In the presence of the king and of the officials, Memucan answered: "Queen Vashti has not wronged the king alone, but all the officials and the populace throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
- For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and they will look with disdain upon their husbands when it is reported, "King Ahasuerus commanded that Queen Vashti be ushered into his presence, but she would not come.'
- This very day the Persian and Median ladies who hear of the queen's conduct will rebel against all the royal officials, with corresponding disdain and rancor.
- 4 If it please the king, let an irrevocable royal decree be issued by him and inscribed among the laws of the Persians and Medes, forbidding Vashti to come into the presence of King Ahasuerus and authorizing the king to give her royal dignity to one more worthy than she.
- Thus, when the decree which the king will issue is published throughout his realm, vast as it is, all wives will honor their husbands, from the greatest to the least."
- This proposal found acceptance with the king and the officials, and the king acted on the advice of Memucan.
- 5 He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, to the effect that every man should be lord in his own home.
Table of Contents Esther A Next Chapter
1  From India to Ethiopia: from western India to Upper Egypt, the greatest extent of the Persian Empire achieved under Darius the Great, father of Ahasuerus.
2  Susa: ancient capital of Elam (Genesis 14:1); under the Achamenid kings, one of the two capitals of the Persian Empire. The other was Persepolis, the summer palace of the kings.
3  Queen Vashti: Herodotus (Histories 7:61) relates that the wife of Ahasuerus was Amestris.
4  Irrevocable royal decree: the historian Siculus Indicates that such a concept of irrevocable laws existed in the time of Darius III (335-331 B.C.), the last of the Persian kings; cf Esther 8:8.
5  To each province . . . script and to each people . . . language: many languages were spoken in the Persian Empire, the principal ones being Persian, Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, Phoenician, Egyptian, and Greek. Each of them had its own script.
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