This is an account of what happened during the time of King Xerxes, the Xerxes*
who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. 2
At the time King Xerxes was ruling from his royal throne at the fortress in Susa.† 3
In the third year of his reign he organized a feast for his officials and administrators. The army commanders of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the provincial officials were all there with him. 4
He put on display his wealth and the glory of his kingdom, showing how majestic, splendid, and glorious he was, for 180 days.
5 After that the king gave a feast lasting for seven days for all the people, great and small, who were there in the fortress of Susa in the garden courtyard of the king's pavilion. 6 It was decorated with white and blue cotton curtains tied with cords of fine linen and purple thread on silver rings, held up by marble pillars. Gold and silver couches were placed on a pavement made of purple porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and expensive stones. 7 Drinks were served in golden goblets of different kinds, and the royal wine flowed freely because of the king's generosity. 8 The king had ruled that there was to be no limit on how much a guest could drink; he had told his servants to give each guest whatever they wanted. 9 Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women in the palace that belonged to King Xerxes.
On the seventh day of the feast, the king, feeling happy from drinking wine, ordered the seven eunuchs who were his attendants, Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Karkas, 11
to bring Queen Vashti to him wearing her royal headdress,‡
so he could show her beauty to the people and officials, for she was very good-looking. 12
But when the eunuchs delivered the order from the king, Queen Vashti refused to come. The king became extremely angry—he was absolutely furious.
13 Then the king spoke with the wise men who would know what to do, for it was the custom for him to ask the opinion of experts in procedures and legal matters. 14 Those closest to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan. They were the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had frequent meetings with the king and had the highest positions in the kingdom.
15 “What does the law say should be done with Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She refused to obey the direct order of King Xerxes as delivered by the eunuchs!”
16 Memucan gave his answer before the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti hasn't just insulted the king but all the nobles and all the people of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 Once it gets out what the queen has done, all wives will despise their husbands, looking down on them and telling them, ‘King Xerxes ordered Queen Vashti brought to him but she didn't come!’ 18 By the end of the day, the wives of all the nobles throughout Persia and Media who have heard what the queen did will treat their noble husbands with angry contempt!
19 If it please Your Majesty, issue a royal decree, in accordance with the laws of Persia and Media which cannot be changed, that Vashti is banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that Your Majesty will give her royal position to another, one who is better than her. 20 When Your Majesty's decree is proclaimed throughout your vast empire, all wives will respect their husbands, highborn or lowborn.”
This advice looked good to the king and the nobles, so the king did what Memucan had said. 22
He sent letters to all provinces in the empire, in each province's script and language, that every man should rule his own home, and use his own mother tongue.§