ESTHER
CHAPTER 1
In the days of king Ahasuerus, that reigned from India unto Ethiopia, upon an hundred and seven and twenty provinces,
when he sat in the seat of his realm, the city of Susa was the beginning of his realm.
And in the third year of his empire, he made a great feast to all his princes, and to all his children, or servants, to the strongest men of Persia, and to the noble men of Media, and to the prefects, or chief men, of provinces, before himself,
to show the riches of the glory of his realm, and the greatness, and boast of his power in much time, that is, an hundred and eighty days, this feast lasted.
And when the days of the feast were ended, the emperor called to his next feast all the people that was found in the city of Susa, from the most unto the least; and he commanded this feast to be made ready by seven days in the porch of an orchard and of a wood, that was set about with the king’s ornament and with his hand, or works.
And tents of the colour of the air, and of gold, and of jacinth, were held up with cords of bis, and of purple, and they hanged on each side, the which tents were set-in [or in-set] with circles of ivory, and they were underset with pillars of marble; also there were ordained seats, at the manner of beds, of gold and of silver, upon the pavement arrayed with smaragdus and with other diverse and precious stones; the which pavement painture made fair by wonderful diversity.
And they, that were called to meat, drank in golden cups, and meats were borne in to them with one and other vessels; also plenteous wine, and full good was set forth before them, as it was worthy to the great doing, of the king.
And there was no man that constrained them to drink that would not drink; but so the king had ordained, making sovereigns of his princes to all boards, that each man should take that, that he would.
Also Vashti, the queen, made a feast of women in the palace, where king Ahasuerus was wont to dwell.
10 Therefore in the seventh day, when the king was gladder than before, and when he was hot of wine after full much drinking, he commanded to Mehuman, and to Biztha, and to Harbona, and to Bigtha, and to Zethar, and to Abagtha, and to Carcas, seven honest and chaste servants, the which served in his sight,
11 that they should bring in before the king the queen Vashti, with a diadem set upon her head, to show her fairness to all the peoples and princes; for she was full fair.
12 And she forsook, and despised to come at the commandment of the king, which he had sent by the honest and chaste servants. Wherefore the king was angry, and kindled with full great vengeance;
13 and he asked the wise men, which by the king’s custom were ever with him, and he did all things by the counsel of them, that knew the law and the rights of greatest men;
14 forsooth the first and the next were Carshena, and Shethar, Admatha, and Tarshish, and Meres, and Marsena, and Memucan, seven dukes of Persia and of Media, that saw the face of the king, and were wont to sit the first after him;
15  the king asked them, to what sentence the queen Vashti should be subject, that would not do the com-mandment of king Ahasuerus, which he had sent by the honest and chaste servants.
16 And Memucan answered, in audi-ence of the king and of the princes, The queen Vashti hath not only despised the king, but all the princes and peoples, that be in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus.
17 For the word of the queen shall go out to all women, that they also despise their husbands, and say, King Ahasuerus commanded, that the queen Vashti should have come to him, and she would not.
18 And by this ensample all the wives of the princes of Persia and of Media shall despise the behests of their husbands; wherefore the indig-nation of the king is just.
19 If it pleaseth to thee, a command-ment go out from thy face, and be written by the laws of Persia and of Media, which it is unleaveful to be passed by, that Vashti enter [in] no more to the king, but another woman, which is better than she, take her realm.
20 And be this behest published into all the empire of thy provinces, which is full large, that all wives, both of greater men and of less, give honour to their husbands.
21  [And] His counsel pleased the king and the princes, and the king did by the counsel of Memucan;
22 and he sent out letters by all the provinces of his realm, as each folk might hear and read, in diverse languages and letters, that husbands be princes and greater men in their houses; and that this thing be published by all peoples.