2 The king’s servants who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for Your Majesty.
ב וַיֹּאמְרוּ נַעֲרֵי־הַמֶּלֶךְ מְשָׁרְתָיו יְבַקְשׁוּ לַמֶּלֶךְ נְעָרוֹת בְּתוּלוֹת טוֹבוֹת מַרְאֶה׃
3 Let Your Majesty appoint officers in every province of your realm to assemble all the beautiful young virgins at the fortress Shushan, in the harem under the supervision of Hege, the king’s eunuch, guardian of the women. Let them be provided with their cosmetics.
4 And let the maiden who pleases Your Majesty be queen instead of Vashti.” The proposal pleased the king, and he acted upon it.
ד וְהַנַּעֲרָה אֲשֶׁר תִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ תִּמְלֹךְ תַּחַת וַשְׁתִּי וַיִּיטַב הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּעַשׂ כֵּן׃
2:6 Had been exiled from Yerushalayim
When chanted aloud in the synagogue on Purim, this verse is read in the same solemn tune as Megillat Eicha, since it mentions the exile of the Jewish people. The Vilna Gaon points out that the verb ‘carried away’ (ג-ל-ה) is mentioned three times in this verse, alluding to the fact that Mordechai was actually carried away from Israel three times. At the end of the first Temple period, the Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel in three stages, and Mordechai participated in all three of these. In love with the land, Mordechai returned after being forced to leave, was exiled again, and stubbornly returned once more until he was carried away a third time with the remaining Jews following the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash.
7 He was foster father to Hadassa—that is, Esther—his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was shapely and beautiful; and when her father and mother died, Mordechai adopted her as his own daughter.
8 When the king’s order and edict was proclaimed, and when many girls were assembled in the fortress Shushan under the supervision of Hegai, Esther too was taken into the king’s palace under the supervision of Hegai, guardian of the women.
9 The girl pleased him and won his favor, and he hastened to furnish her with her cosmetics and her rations, as well as with the seven maids who were her due from the king’s palace; and he treated her and her maids with special kindness in the harem.
ט וַתִּיטַב הַנַּעֲרָה בְעֵינָיו וַתִּשָּׂא חֶסֶד לְפָנָיו וַיְבַהֵל אֶת־תַּמְרוּקֶיהָ וְאֶת־מָנוֹתֶהָ לָתֵת לָהּ וְאֵת שֶׁבַע הַנְּעָרוֹת הָרְאֻיוֹת לָתֶת־לָהּ מִבֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיְשַׁנֶּהָ וְאֶת־נַעֲרוֹתֶיהָ לְטוֹב בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים׃
12 When each girl’s turn came to go to King Ahasuerus at the end of the twelve months’ treatment prescribed for women (for that was the period spent on beautifying them: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and women’s cosmetics,
יב וּבְהַגִּיעַ תֹּר נַעֲרָה וְנַעֲרָה לָבוֹא אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ מִקֵּץ הֱיוֹת לָהּ כְּדָת הַנָּשִׁים שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ כִּי כֵּן יִמְלְאוּ יְמֵי מְרוּקֵיהֶן שִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמֹּר וְשִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים בַּבְּשָׂמִים וּבְתַמְרוּקֵי הַנָּשִׁים׃
13 and it was after that that the girl would go to the king), whatever she asked for would be given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.
יג וּבָזֶה הַנַּעֲרָה בָּאָה אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר יִנָּתֵן לָהּ לָבוֹא עִמָּהּ מִבֵּית הַנָּשִׁים עַד־בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
14 She would go in the evening and leave in the morning for a second harem in charge of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, guardian of the concubines. She would not go again to the king unless the king wanted her, when she would be summoned by name.
יד בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה אֶל־בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים שֵׁנִי אֶל־יַד שַׁעֲשְׁגַז סְרִיס הַמֶּלֶךְ שֹׁמֵר הַפִּילַגְשִׁים לֹא־תָבוֹא עוֹד אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּי אִם־חָפֵץ בָּהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְנִקְרְאָה בְשֵׁם׃
15 When the turn came for Esther daughter of Avichayil—the uncle of Mordechai, who had adopted her as his own daughter—to go to the king, she did not ask for anything but what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, guardian of the women, advised. Yet Esther won the admiration of all who saw her.
18 The king gave a great banquet for all his officials and courtiers, “the banquet of Esther.” He proclaimed a remission of taxes for the provinces and distributed gifts as befits a king.
יח וַיַּעַשׂ הַמֶּלֶךְ מִשְׁתֶּה גָדוֹל לְכָל־שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו אֵת מִשְׁתֵּה אֶסְתֵּר וַהֲנָחָה לַמְּדִינוֹת עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן מַשְׂאֵת כְּיַד הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordechai sat in the palace gate.
יט וּבְהִקָּבֵץ בְּתוּלוֹת שֵׁנִית וּמָרְדֳּכַי יֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר־הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
23 The matter was investigated and found to be so, and the two were impaled on stakes. This was recorded in the book of annals at the instance of the king.
כג וַיְבֻקַּשׁ הַדָּבָר וַיִּמָּצֵא וַיִּתָּלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עַל־עֵץ וַיִּכָּתֵב בְּסֵפֶר דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃