1. Later when his anger had cooled, King Ahasuerus remembered Vashti's disobedience and his decree against her.
2. The king's courtiers proposed, "Let beautiful young girls be chosen for the king.
3. Let him appoint commissioners throughout the provinces of his realm to bring all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa. Let them be put under the care of the royal eunuch Hegai, custodian of women, and let them be given ointments for beauty treatment.
4. Then let the girl who pleases the king take Vashti's place." The king was pleased with the suggestion and he acted on it.
5. Now there lived in Susa a Jew named Mordecai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite
6. who had been exiled from Jerusalem among the captives taken away with King Jeconiah of Judah by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
7. Mordecai was foster father to his cousin Hadassah, that is Esther, who had lost both father and mother. The girl had a lovely face and figure. On the death of her parents, Mordecai had adopted her as his daughter.
8. In compliance with the king's edict, a great number of young girls were brought to Susa and entrusted to Hegai. Esther was among them.
9. Esther pleased the custodian of women and won his favor. He not only promptly provided her with cosmetics and good food but assigned to her seven special maids from the king's household and transferred her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
10. Esther did not reveal her nationality or family, for Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.
11. Each day Mordecai would walk up and down the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was faring.
12. After a preparation of twelve months decreed for the women, each of them had to appear in turn before King Ahasuerus. This preparatory period was for beautifying treatment: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics.
13. Then when the girl was to present herself to the king, she was allowed to take with her from the harem to the king's palace anything she wanted.
14. She would go there in the evening and return the following morning to another harem under the care of the royal eunuch Shaashgaz, custodian of the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15. When the turn came for Esther - the daughter of Abihail whom Mordecai had adopted from his uncle - to go to the king, she asked for nothing beyond what the eunuch Hegai had given her; and yet she won the admiration of all who saw her.
16. Esther was brought to King Ahasuerus in his palace in the tenth month called Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17. The king liked Esther more than any of the other women. Having won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins, she received the royal crown and was made queen in place of Vashti.
18. The king then gave a great banquet in honor of Esther for all his officials and ministers; he proclaimed a holiday for all the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
19. When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.
20. Up to this time Esther had not revealed her family background or nationality, in compliance with Mordecai's instructions. She followed his advice just as she had when she was being brought up by him.
21. It was during the time that Mordecai spent at the king's gate, that Bagathan and Thares, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the entrance, conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus.
22. Mordecai learned of the plot and informed Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mor-decai.
23. The matter was investigated, found to be true, and the two conspirators were hanged on the gallows. The incident was recorded in the Book of Chronicles in the presence of the king.