Esther 2

1Later, King Xerxes stopped being angry. Then he remembered Vashti and what she had done. He remembered his commands about her. 2Then the king’s personal servants had a suggestion. They said, “Search for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3Let the king choose leaders in every province of his kingdom. Then let those leaders bring every beautiful young virgin to the capital city of Susa. Those girls will be put with the group of the king’s women. And they will be under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, that is in charge of the women. Then give beauty treatments to all of them. 4Then let the girl that is pleasing to the king become the new queen in Vashti’s place.” The king liked this suggestion, so he accepted it. 5Now there was a Jew from the family group of Benjamin named Mordecai. Mordecai was the son of Jair, and Jair was the son of Shimei, and Shimei was the son of Kish. Mordecai was in the capital city, Susa. 6Mordecai had been carried into captivity from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He was with the group that was taken into captivity with Jehoiachin, king of Judah. 7Mordecai had a girl cousin named Hadassah. She didn’t have a father or a mother, so Mordecai took care of her. Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. Hadassah was also called Esther. Esther had a very pretty face and a good figure. 8When the king’s command had been heard, many girls were brought to the capital city of Susa. Those girls were put under the care of Hegai. Esther was one of these women. Esther was taken to the king’s palace and put into Hegai’s care. Hegai was in charge of the king’s women. 9Hegai liked Esther. She became his favorite. So Hegai quickly gave Esther beauty treatments and special food. Hegai chose seven women servants from the king’s palace and gave them to Esther. Then Hegai moved Esther and her seven girl servants into the best place where the king’s women lived. 10Esther didn’t tell anyone that she was a Jew. She didn’t tell anyone about her family background, because Mordecai had told her not to. 11Every day Mordecai walked back and forth near the area where the king’s women lived. He did that because he wanted to find out how Esther was, and what was happening to her. 12Before a girl could take her turn to go in before King Xerxes, this is what she had to do: She had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments. That was six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and different kinds of makeup. 13And this is the way a girl would go to the king: They gave her anything she wanted from the house of the king’s women. 14In the evening, the girl would go to the king’s palace. And in the morning, she would return to another area where the king’s women lived. Then she would be placed under the care of a man named Shaashgaz. Shaashgaz was the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. The girl would not go back to the king again unless he was pleased with her. Then he would call her by name to come back to him. 15When the time came for Esther to go to the king, she didn’t ask for anything. She only wanted Hegai, the king’s eunuch that was in charge of the king’s women, to suggest what she should take. (Esther is the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail). Everyone that looked at Esther liked her. 16So Esther was taken to King Xerxes in the palace. This happened in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his rule. 17The king loved Esther more than any of the other girls. And she became his favorite. He approved of her more than any of the other girls. So King Xerxes put a crown on Esther’s head and made her the new queen in Vashti’s place. 18And the king gave a big party for Esther. It was for all his important people and leaders. He announced a holiday in all the provinces. And he sent out gifts to people, because he was a generous king. 19Mordecai was sitting next to the king’s gate at the time the girls were gathered together the second time. 20Esther had still kept it a secret that she was a Jew. She had not told anyone about her family background. That is what Mordecai had told her to do. She still obeyed Mordecai just as she had done when he was taking care of her. 21During the time Mordecai was sitting next to the king’s gate, this happened: Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers that guarded the doorway, became angry at the king. They began to make plans to kill King Xerxes. 22But Mordecai learned about those plans and told Queen Esther. Then Queen Esther told the king. She also told the king that Mordecai was the one that had learned about that evil plan. 23Then the report was checked out. It was learned that Mordecai’s report was true. The two guards that had planned to kill the king were hanged on a post. All these things were written down in a book of the king’s histories in front of the king.

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