The Book of Esther

From the Hebrew Esther means " star "

The 1st Chapter

In the time of Ahaserus, which reigned from India unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty lands, what time as he sat on his seat royal in the castle of Susan in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and servants, namely unto the mighty men of Persia and Media, to the captains and rulers of his countries, that he might show the noble riches of his kingdom, and the glorious worship of his greatness, many days long, even an hundred and fourscore days.

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were in the castle of Susan, both unto great and small, seven days long in the court of the garden by the kings palace: where there hanged white, red and yellow clothes, fastened with cords of linen and scarlet in silver rings, upon pillars of Marble stone.

The benches were of gold and silver made upon a pavement of green, with yellow and black Marble. And the drink was carried in vessels of gold, and there was ever change of vessel, And the kings wine was much according to the power of the king. And no man was appointed what he should drink: for the king had commanded all the officers of his house, that everyone should do as it liked him. And the queen Vasthi made a feast also for the women in the palace of Ahasuerus. And on the seventh day when the king was merry of the wine, he commanded Mehuman, Bartha, Harbona, Bagatha, Abagtha, Zathar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains ( that did served in the presence of king Ahasuerus, to fetch the queen Vashti with the crown regal, that he might show the people and the princes her fairness: for she was beautiful. But the queen Vashti would not come at the kings word by his chamberlains. Then was the king very wroth, and his indignation kindled in him.

And the king spoke to the wise men that had understanding in the ordinances of the land for the kings matters must be handled before all such as have knowledge of the law and judgment: and the next unto him were Carsena, Sethar, Admatha, Tharsis, Mares, Marsana, and Mamucan, the seven princes of the Persians, and Meedes, which saw the kings face, and sat above in the kingdom, What law should be execute upon the queen Vashti, because she did not according to the word of the king by his chamberlains. Then said Mamucan before the king and the princes: the queen Vashti hath not only done evil against the king but also against all the princes and all the people in all the lands of king Ahasuerus for this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands before their eyes, and shall say: the king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to come before him, but she would not. And so shall the princesses in Persia and Media say likewise unto all the kings princes, when they hear of this deed of the queen, thus shall there arise dispitefulness and wrath enough. If it please the king, let there go a commandment from him, and let it be written according to the law of the Persians and Medians (and not to be transgressed ) that Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus, and let the king give the kingdom unto another that is better than she.

And that is this writing of the king which shall be made, be published throughout all his empire, ( which is great ) that all wives may hold their husbands in honor, both among the great and small.

This pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Mamucan. Then were there letters sent forth into all the kings lands, into every land according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should be lord in his own house. And this caused he be spoken after the language of his people.

The 2nd Chapter

After these acts when the displeasure of king Ahasuerus was layed he thought upon Vashti, what she had done, and what was concluded concerning her. Then said the kings servants: Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king, and let the king appoint overseers in all the lands of his empire, that they may bring together all fair young virgins unto the castle Susan to the womens building, under the hand of Hegei the kings chamberlain, that keepeth the Women, and let him give them their apparel. And look which damsel pleaseth the king, let her be queen in Vashtis stead. This pleased the king, and he did so.

In the castle of Susan there was a Jew, whose name was Mardocheus, the son of Jair, the son of Semei, the son of Cis, the son of Jemim, which was carried away from Jerusalem, when Jekoniah the king of Judah was led away, ( whom Nabuchodonozor the king of Babilon carried away ) and he nourished Hadasah,( that is Esther ) his uncles daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and she was a fair and beautiful damsel. And when her father and mother died, Mardocheus received her as his own daughter.

Now when the kings commandment and commission was published, and many damsels were brought together unto the castle of Susan under the hand of Hagei, Esther was taken also unto the kings house under the hand of Hagei, keeper of the women, and the damsel pleased him, and she found grace in his sight. And he caused her ointment to be given her, and her gifts, and gave her seven notable gentle women of the kings house, and arrayed both her and her gentle women very richly in the house of women. But Esther showed not her people nor her kindred: for Mardocheus had charged her, that she should not tell it. And Mardocheus walked every day before the court of the womens building, that he might know how Esther did, and what should become of her.

And when the appointed time of every damsel came that she should come to the king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months in the decking of the women ( for their decking must have so much time, namely six months with Balm and Myrre, and six months with good spices, so were the women beautified ) then went there one damsel unto the king, and whatsoever she required, that must be given her to go with her out of the womens building unto the kings palace. And when one came in the evening, that same went from him on the morrow into the second house of women, under the hand of Sasagas the kings chamberlain, which kept the concubines. And she must come in unto the king no more, except it pleased the king, and that he caused her to be called by name.

Now when the time came of Esther the daughter of Abihail Mardocheus uncle ( whom he had received as his own daughter ) that she should come to the king, she desired nothing but what Hagei the kings chamberlain the keeper of the women, said.

And Esther found favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. And Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus in to the house royal, in the tenth month, which is called Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she found grace and mercy in his sight before all the virgins: and he set the queens crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. And the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, ( which feast was because of Esther ) and let the lands be in quietness, and gave royal gifts.

And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mardocheus sat in the kings gate. And as yet had not Esther showed her kindred and her people, according as Mardocheus had bidden her: for Esther did after the word of Mardocheus, like as when he was her tutor. At the same time while Mardocheus sat in the kings gate, two of the kings chamberlains, Bagathan and Thares which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay their hands on the king Ahasuerus: whereof Mardocheus gat knowledge, and told it unto queen Esther, and Esther certified the king thereof in Mardocheuss name. And when inquisition was made, it was found so. And they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the Chronicles before the king.

The 3rd Chapter

After these acts did the king promote Haman the son of Amadatha the Agagite, and set him high, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the kings servants that were in the gate, bowed their knees, and did reverenced unto Haman: for the king had so commanded. But Mardocheus bowed not the knee, and worshiped him not. Then the kings servants which were in the kings gate, said unto Mardocheus: Why transgressest thou the kings commandment? And when they spake this daily unto him and he followed them not, they told Haman, that they might see whether Mardocheuss *marters would endure: for he had told them, that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw, that Mardocheus bowed not the knee unto him, nor worshipped him, he was full of indignation and thought it too little to lay hands only on Mardocheus: for they had showed him the nation of Mardocheus, but he sought to destroy all the Jewes the nation of Mardocheus, that were in the whole empire of Ahasuerus. *marters = exact spelling, meaning witness of, root of modern word martyr ( where the truth of God meets the wickedness of man )

In the first month ( that is the month Nisan ) in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus they cast Phur,( that is a lot ) before Haman, on what day and what month this should be done: and it went out the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus: There is a people scattered abroad and dispersed among all people in all lands of thy empire, and their law is contrary unto all people, and they do not after the kings laws, neither is it the kings profit to suffer them after this manner. If it please the king, let him write, that they may be destroyed, and so will I weigh down ten thousand talents of silver, under the hands of the workmen, to be brought into the kings chamber. Then took the king his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Amadatha the Agagite, the Jewes enemy. And the king said unto Haman: Let the silver be given thee, and that people also, to do with all what pleaseth thee.

Then were the kings scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written ( according as Haman commanded ) unto the kings princes, and to the captives everywhere in the lands, and to the rulers of every people in the countries on every side, according to the writing of every nation, and after their language in the name of king Ahasuerus, and sealed with the kings ring. And the writings were sent up by posts in to all the kings lands, to root out, to kill, and to destroy all Jewes, both young and old, children and women in one day, ( namely upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar ) and to spoil their goods.

This was the sum of the writing, that there should be a commandment given in all lands, to be published unto all people, that they should be made ready against the same day. And the posts went in all the haste according to the kings commandment. And in the castle of Susan was the commandment devised. But the city Susan was disquieted.

The 4th Chapter

When Mardocheus perceived all that was done, he rent his clothes, and put on sack cloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried loud and lamentably, and came before the kings gate: for there might no man enter within the kings gate, that had sack cloth on. And in all the lands and places, as far as the kings word and commandment extended, there was great lamentation among the *Jewes and many fasted, wept, mourned and lay in sackcloth and ashes. So Esthers damsels and her chamberlains, came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly astounded. And she sent raiment, that Mardocheus should put them on, and lay the sack cloth from him. But Mardocheus would not take them. Then called Esther Hathath one of the kings chamberlains ( which stood before her ) and gave him a commandment to Mardocheus, that he might know what it were, and wherefore he did so. Hathath went forth to Mardocheus unto the street of the city, which was before the kings gate. *Jewes = from the son of Jacob namely Juda, before this, the people were known as Hebrews; from the name of Heber. MN

And Mardocheus told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of silver that Haman had promised to weigh down in the kings chamber because of the Jewes, for to destroy them. ( and he gave him the copy of the commandment, that was devised at Susan to destroy them, that he might show it unto Esther, and to speak to her and charge her, that she should go in unto the king, and make her prayer and supplication unto him for her people.

And when Hathath came in, and told Esther the words of Mardocheus, Esther spake unto Hathath, and commanded him to say unto Mardocheus: all the kings servants, and the people in the lands of the king know, that whosoever cometh within the court unto the king, whether it be man or woman, which is not called, the commandment is that the same shall die immediately, except the king hold out the golden scepter unto him, that he may live. As for me, I have not been called to come in to the king this thirty days.

And when Mardocheus was certified of Esthers words, Mardocheus bade say again unto Esther: think not to save thy own life, while thou art in the kings house before all Jewes: for if thou holdest thy peace at this time, then shall the Jewes have help and deliverance out of another place, and thou and thy fathers house shall be destroyed. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom, for this times sake? Esther bade, give Mardocheus this answer: Go thou thy way then, and gather together all the Jewes that are found at Susan, and fast ye for me, that ye eat not and drink not in three days, neither day nor night. I and my damsels will fast likewise, and so will I go in to the king contrary to the commandment: if I perish, I perish. So Mardocheus went his way, and did all that Esther had commanded him.

The 5th Chapter

And on the third day put Esther on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the kings palace within over against the kings house. And the king sat upon his royal seat in the kings palace over against the gate of the house. And when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she found grace in his sight. And the king held out the golden scepter in his hand toward Esther. So Esther stepped forth, and touched the top of the scepter. Then said the king unto her: What wilt thou queen Esther? and what requesteth thou? ask even to the half of the empire, and it shall be given thee. Esther said If it please the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared. The king said: Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said.

Now when the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared, the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, Esther what is thy petition? and it shall be given thee. If it be even the half of the empire, it shall be done.

Then answered Esther and said: My petition and desire is, if I have found grace in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to give me my petition, and to fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and so will I do tomorrow as the king hath said.

Then went Haman forth the same day joyful and merry in his mind. And when he saw Mardocheus in the kings gate, that he stood not up and kneeled before him, he was full of indignation at Mardocheus. Nevertheless he refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent, and called for his friends, and Zares his wife, and told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children all together how the king had promoted him so greatly, and how that he was taken above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover: Yea and Esther the queen let no man come with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared, except me, and tomorrow am I bidden unto her also with the king. But in all this am I not satisfied as long as I see Mardocheus the Jew sitting at the kings gate. Then said Zares his wife and all his friends unto him: Let them make a gallows of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king, that Mardocheus may be hanged theron, if thou comest merrily with the king unto the banquet. Haman was well content with all, and caused a gallows to be prepared.

The 6th Chapter

*The same night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the Chronicles and the stories: which when they were read before the king, they happened on the place where it was written, how Mardocheus had told, that the kings two chamberlains, ( which kept the thresholds ) sought: to lay hands on king Ahasuerus. And the king said: What worship and good have we done to Mardocheus therefore? Then said the kings servants that ministered unto him, there is nothing done for him. And the king said: Who is in the court? ( for Haman was gone into the court without before the kings house, that he might speak unto the king to hang Mardocheus on the tree, that he had prepared for him.) And the kings servants said unto him: behold, Haman standeth in the court. The king said: let him come in. And when Haman came in, the king said unto him: what shall be done unto the man, whom the king would *faine bring unto worship? But Haman thought in his heart: Whom should the king else be glad to bring unto worship, but me? And Haman said unto the king: Let the man unto whom the king would be glad to do worship, be brought hither, that he may be arrayed in royal garments which the king useth to wear: and the horse that the king rideth upon, and that the crown royal may be set upon his head. And let this raiment and horse be delivered under the hand of one of the kings princes, that he may array the man withal ( whom the king would faine honor ) and carry him upon the horse through the street of the city, and cause it to be proclaimed before him: Thus shall it be done to every man, whom the king would faine honor. * Of the third day *faine = willing / obliged

The king said: make haste, and take as thou hath said, the raiment and the horse: and do even so with Mardocheus the Jew that sitteth before the kings gate, and let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the raiment and the horse, and arrayed him, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him: Even thus shall it be done unto every man whom the king is disposed to honor. And Mardocheus came again to the kings gate, but Haman gat him home in all hast, mourning with bare head, and told Zares his wife and all his friends, every thing that had happened him. Then said his wise men and Zares his wife unto him: If it be Mardocheus of the seed of the Jewes, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou canst do nothing unto him, but shalt fall before him. While they were yet talking with him, came the kings chamberlains, and caused Haman to make hast to come unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

The 7th Chapter

And when the king and Haman came to banquet that queen Esther had prepared, the king said unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine: What is thy petition queen Esther, that it may be given thee? And what requesteth thou? Yee, ask even half of the empire, and it shall be done. Esther the queen answered and said: If I have found grace in thy sight, ( O king ) and if it please the king, then grant me my life at my desire and my people for my petitions sake: for we are sold, I and my people both to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. And would God we were sold to be bondmen and bondwomen, then would I hold my tongue, so should not the enemy be so high to the kings harm. The king Ahasuerus spake and said unto queen Esther: What is he that? Or where is he that dare presume in his mind to do such a thing after that manner? Esther said: The enemy and *adversary is this wicked Haman. *adversary = note this word adversary and the nature of Haman,

As for Haman, he was exceedingly afraid before the king and the queen. And the king arose from the banquet and from the wine in his displeasure and went in to the palace garden. And Haman stood up, and besought queen Esther for his life: for he saw that there was a mischief prepared for him of the king already.

And when the king came again out of the palace garden into the parlor were they had eaten, Haman had layed him upon the bed that Esther sat upon. Then said the king, *Will he force the queen also beside me in the house? As soon as that word went out of the kings mouth, they *covered Hamans face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains that stood before the king, said: Behold, there standeth a gallows in Hamans house fifty cubits high, which he had made for Mardocheus, that spake good for the king. The king said: hang him theron. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had made for Mardocheus. Then was the kings wrath pacified. *Will he force the queen; this is were someone would use a mans wife to try to get to him. *covered Hamans face; an act whereby that person is no more to be looked upon, worthy of death.

The 8th Chapter

The same day did king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jewes enemy unto queen Esther. And Mardocheus came before the king: for Esther had told how that he belonged unto her. And the king put off his finger ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mardocheus. And Esther set Mardocheus over the house of Haman. And Esther spake yet more before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him, that he would put away the wickedness of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had imagined against the Jewes. And the king held out the golden scepter unto Esther. Then rose Esther, and stood before the king, and said: if it please the king, and if I have found grace in his sight, and if it be convenient for the king, and if it be accepted in his sight, then let it be written, that the letters of the devise of Haman the son of Hamadatha the Agagite, may be called again: which letters he wrote, to destroy the Jewes in all the kings lands. For how can I see the evil that shall happen unto my people? and how can I look upon the destruction of my kindred?

Then said the king Ahasuerus unto queen Esther, and to Mardocheus the Jew. Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him have they hanged upon a tree, because he laid hand upon the Jewes. Write ye now therefore for the Jewes, as it liketh you in the kings name, and seal it with the kings ring, ( for the writings that were written in the kings name, and sealed with the kings ring, durst no man disannul) Then were the kings scribes called at the same time in the third month, that is the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day.

And it was written ( as Mardocheus commanded ) unto the Jewes and to the princes, to the Deputies and captains in the lands from India until Ethiopia, namely an hundred and seven and twenty lands, unto every one according to the writing thereof, unto every people after their speach, and to the Jewes according to their writing and language.

And it was written in the king Ahasuerus name, and sealed with the kings ring. And by posts that rode upon swift young Mules, sent he the writings, wherein the king granted the Jewes ( in what cities so ever they were ) to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, and to root out, to slay and to destroy all the power of the people and land that would trouble them, with children and women, and to spoil their good upon one day in all the lands of king Ahasuerus, namely upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

The sum of the writing was, how their was a commandment given in all lands to be published unto all the people, that the Jewes should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. And the posts that rode upon the Mules, made haste with all speed, according to the kings word: and the commandment was devised in the castle of Susan.

As for Mardocheus, he went out from the king in royal apparel of yellow and white, and with a great crown of gold, being arrayed with a garment of linen and purple, and the city of Susan rejoiced and was glad: but unto the Jewes was come light and gladness, and joy, and worship. And in all lands and cities, into what places soever, the kings word and commandment reached, there was joy and mirth, prosperity and good days among the Jewes: insomuch that many of the people of the land became of the Jewes belief, for the fear of the Jewes came upon them.

The 9th Chapter

In the twelfth month, that is the month Adar, upon the thirteenth day, which the kings word and commandment and appointed, that it should be done, even upon the same day that the enemies should have destroyed the Jewes to have oppressed them, it turned contrary wise, even that the Jewes should subdue their enemies. Then gathered the Jewes together in their cities within all the lands of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as would do them evil, and no man could withstand them: for the fear of them was come over all the people. And all the rulers in the lands, and princes and Deputies, and officers of the king promoted the Jewes: for the fear of Mardocheus came upon them. For Mardocheus was great in the kings house, and the report of him was noised in all lands, how he increased and grew.

Thus the Jewes smote all their enemies with a sore slaughter, and slew and destroyed, and did after their will unto to such as were their adversaries. And at the castle of Susan slew the Jewes and destroyed five hundred men: and slew Pharsandatha, Delphon, Aspatha, Phoratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Pharmastha, Arisai, Aridai, Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammadatha the enemy of the Jewes: but on his goods they layed no hands. At the same time was the king certified of the number of those that were slain at the castle of Susan. And the king said unto queen Esther: The Jewes have slain and destroyed five hundred men at the castle of Susan, and the ten sons of Haman: What shall they do in the other lands of the king? What is thy petition, that it may be given thee? and what requesteth thou more to be done? Esther said: If it please the king, let him suffer {allow] the Jewes tomorrow also to do according unto this days commandment, that they may hang Hamans ten sons upon the tree. And the king charged to do so, and the commandment was devised at Susan, and Hamans ten sons were hanged. And the Jewes gathered themselves together at Susan, upon the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Susan, but on their goods they laid no hands.

As for the other Jewes in the kings lands, they came together, and stood for their lives, and gat rest from their enemies: and slew of their enemies five and seventy thousand, how be it they laid no hands on their goods. This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth day of the same month rested they, which day they ordained to be a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jewes at Susan were come together both on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and on the fifteenth day they rested, and the same day ordained they to be a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jewes that dwelt in the villages and unwalled towns, ordained the fourteenth day of the month Adar, to be a day of feasting and gladness, and sent gifts to another.

And Mardocheus wrote these acts, and sent the writings unto all the Jewes that were in all the lands of the king Ahasuerus, both nye and far, that they should yearly receive and hold the fourteenth and fifteenth day of the month Adar, as the days wherein the Jewes came to rest from their enemies, and as a month wherein their pain was turned to joy, and their sorrow to prosperity: that they should observe the same days of wealth and gladness, and one to send gifts to another, and to distribute unto the poor.

And the Jewes received it that they had begun to do, and that Mardocheus wrote unto them: how that Haman the son of Hamadatha, all the Jewes enemy, had devised to destroy all the Jewes, and caused to cast Phur,( that is Lot ) for to put them in fear, and to bring them to naught: and how * Hester went and spake unto the king, that through letters his wicked device ( which he imagined against the Jewes) might be turned upon his own head, and how he and his sons were hanged on the tree. For the which cause they called this day Phurim after the name of Phur, according to all the words of this writing: and what they themselves have seen, and what had happened unto them. * Hester = the exact spelling here for Esther. RN

And the Jewes set it up, and took upon them and their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, that they would not miss to observe these two days yearly, according as they were written and appointed, how these days are not to be forgotten, but to be kept of the childrens children among all kindreds in all lands and cities. They are the days of Phurim, which are not to be over slipped among the Jewes, and the memorial of them ought not to perish for their seed.

And queen *Hester the daughter of Abihail and Mardocheus the Jewe wrote with all authority, to confirm this second writing of Phurim, and sent the letters unto all the Jewes, in the hundred and seven and twenty lands of the empire of Ahasuerus, with friendly and faithful words, to confirm these days of Phurim, in their time appointed, according as Mardocheus the Jewe and *Hester the queen had ordained concerning them: like as they upon their soul and upon their seed had confirmed the acts of the fasting and of her complaint. And *Hester commanded to establish these acts of this Phurim, and to write them in a book.* Hester = the exact spelling here for Esther. RN

The 10th Chapter

And the king Ahasuerus laid tribute upon the land, and upon the Isles of the sea. As for all the work of his power and authority, and the great worship of Mardocheus, which the king gave him, behold, it is written in the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia. For Mardocheus the Jewe was the second next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jewes, and accepted among the multitude of his brethren, as one that seeketh the wealth of his people, and speaketh the best for all his seed.

The end of the book of Esther