Mordecai, a Jew who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was taken into exile, along with King Jehoiachin of Judah, when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia captured Jerusalem. Mordecai was the son of Jair, a descendant of Kish and Shimei. He now lived in the Persian city of Susa, where he was an important official in the royal court of Xerxes the great king. 1 During the second year of Xerxes' reign, on the first day of the month of Nisan, Mordecai had a dream.
He dreamed that there was great noise and confusion, loud thunder, and an earthquake, with terrible turmoil on the earth.
Then two huge dragons appeared, ready to fight each other.
They made a dreadful noise, and all the nations got ready to make war against God's nation of righteous people.
For the world it was a day of darkness and gloom, trouble and distress, destruction and ruin.
All of God's righteous people were troubled, in great fear of what was about to happen to them. They prepared for death,
but they cried out to God for help. In the dream their prayer was answered by a great river which came flowing out of a small spring.
The day dawned, the sun rose, and the humble people were made strong and destroyed their arrogant enemies.
Mordecai woke up from this dream in which he saw what God planned to do. He thought about it all day and tried to understand what it meant.
While Mordecai was resting in the courtyard of the palace, where two of the king's eunuchs, Gabatha and Tharra, were on guard,
he overheard them plotting together. He listened carefully to what they were saying and learned that they were making plans to kill the king. So Mordecai went to King Xerxes and told him about the plot of the two eunuchs.
The king had them questioned, and when they confessed, they were led away and executed.
The king had an account of this written in the official records, and Mordecai also wrote an account of it.
Then the king appointed Mordecai to a position at court and gave him many gifts as a reward for what he had done.
But Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bougaean who was respected by the king, tried to cause trouble for Mordecai and his people the Jews, because Mordecai had been responsible for the death of the two eunuchs.
These things happened in the time of King Xerxes, who ruled 127 provinces, all the way from India to Ethiopia, from his royal throne in Susa, Persia's capital city. 2
In the third year of his reign, the king gave a banquet for all his advisers, the representatives of the other countries, the noblemen from Persia and Media, and the governors of the provinces.
For six whole months he made a show of the riches of the imperial court with magnificent and expensive celebrations.
After the feast the king gave a banquet for the people of other nations who were in the city. It lasted a week and was held in the palace courtyard,
which was decorated with linen and cotton curtains, held by cords of purple linen attached to silver and gold blocks on marble and stone columns. Couches made of gold and silver had been placed in the courtyard, which was paved with green and white marble and mother-of-pearl. The couches were spread with a fine, thin fabric of many colors, with roses around the edges.
There were gold and silver cups, and one of them, decorated with jewels worth more than a thousand tons of silver, had been set out for display. There was plenty of good wine from the king's own supply.
There were no limits on the drinks. The king had given orders to the palace servants that they should provide him and his guests with as much as they wanted.
Meanwhile, inside the royal palace Queen Vashti was giving a banquet for the women.
On the seventh day of his banquet the king was feeling happy, so he called in the seven eunuchs who were his personal servants, Haman, Bazan, Tharra, Boraze, Zatholta, Abataza, and Tharaba.
He ordered them to bring in the queen, so that he could place the royal crown on her head and show her off to the officials and all his guests, for she was a beautiful woman.
But Queen Vashti refused to obey and would not come with the servants. This embarrassed the king and made him furious.
He told his advisers about Vashti's reply and asked them to give a legal opinion about what he should do.
Three of them, who were closest to the king and held the highest offices, came and told him what the law required and what should be done to Queen Vashti for disobeying the command he had given her through his servants. They were Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, officials of Persia and Media.
Then the king told his officials and the governors of Media and Persia how the queen had defied him. So Muchaeus said to the king and everyone present: "Queen Vashti has insulted not only you but all of us as well.
As soon as our wives hear what the queen has done, they will be bold enough to defy their husbands and treat them with disrespect in the same way that Vashti has treated you.
If, then, it please Your Majesty, issue a royal proclamation that Vashti may never again appear before the king. Have it written into the laws of Media and Persia. Then give her place as queen to some better woman. There is no other way.
When your proclamation is made known all over this empire, then every woman will treat her husband with proper respect, whether he is rich or poor."
The king and his officials liked this idea, and the king did as Muchaeus suggested.
To each of the royal provinces he sent a message in the language of that province, saying that every husband must be respected in his own home.