On the third day Esther put on her royal robes1 and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's2 hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.
When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.33
Then the king asked, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,4 it will be given you."
"If it pleases the king," replied Esther, "let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him."
"Bring Haman at once," the king said, "so that we may do what Esther asks." So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared.
As they were drinking wine,5 the king again asked Esther, "Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,6 it will be granted."77
Esther replied, "My petition and my request is this:
If the king regards me with favor8 and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet9 I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king's question."