1. It was in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus whose empire stretched from India to Ethiopia and comprised one hundred and twenty-seven provinces.
2. In those days, when King Ahasuerus was sitting on his royal throne in the citadel of Susa,
3. in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet at his court for all his officers-of-state and ministers, Persian and Median army-commanders, nobles and provincial governors.
4. Thus he displayed the riches and splendour of his empire and the pomp and glory of his majesty; the festivities went on for a long time, a hundred and eighty days.
5. When this period was over, for seven days the king gave a banquet for all the people living in the citadel of Susa, to high and low alike, on the esplanade in the gardens of the royal palace.
6. There were white and violet hangings fastened with cords of fine linen and purple thread to silver rings on marble columns, couches of gold and silver on a pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones.
7. For drinking there were golden cups of various design and plenty of wine provided by the king with royal liberality.
8. The royal edict did not, however, make drinking obligatory, the king having instructed the officials of his household to treat each guest according to the guest's own wishes.
9. Queen Vashti, for her part, gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Ahasuerus.
10. On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven officers in attendance on the person of King Ahasuerus,
11. to bring Queen Vashti before the king, crowned with her royal diadem, in order to display her beauty to the people and the officers-of-state, since she was very beautiful.
12. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the officers. The king was very angry at this and his rage grew hot.
13. Addressing himself to the wise men who were versed in the law -- it being the practice to refer matters affecting the king to expert lawyers and jurists-
14. he summoned Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, seven Persian and Median officers-of-state who had privileged access to the royal presence and occupied the leading positions in the kingdom.
15. 'According to law,' he said, 'what is to be done to Queen Vashti for not obeying the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the officers?'
16. In the presence of the king and the officers-of-state, Memucan replied, 'Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the officers-of-state and all the peoples inhabiting the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
17. The queen's conduct will soon become known to all the women, who will adopt a contemptuous attitude towards their own husbands. They will say, "King Ahasuerus himself commanded Queen Vashti to appear before him and she did not come."
18. Before the day is out, the wives of the Persian and Median officers-of-state will be telling every one of the king's officers-of-state what they have heard about the queen's behaviour; and that will mean contempt and anger all round.
19. If it is the king's pleasure, let him issue a royal edict, to be irrevocably incorporated into the laws of the Persians and Medes, to the effect that Vashti is never to appear again before King Ahasuerus, and let the king confer her royal dignity on a worthier woman.
20. Let this edict issued by the king be proclaimed throughout his empire -- which is great -- and all the women will henceforth bow to the authority of their husbands, both high and low alike.'
21. This speech pleased the king and the officers-of-state, and the king did as Memucan advised.
22. He sent letters to all the provinces of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each nation in its own language, ensuring that every husband should be master in his own house.