2 Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him: ‘Let there be sought for the king young virgins fair to look on;
ב וַיֹּאמְרוּ נַעֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ מְשָׁרְתָיו יְבַקְשׁוּ לַמֶּלֶךְ נְעָרוֹת בְּתוּלוֹת טוֹבוֹת מַרְאֶה.
3 and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the castle, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hegai the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their ointments be given them;
ג וְיַפְקֵד הַמֶּלֶךְ פְּקִידִים בְּכָל מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתוֹ וְיִקְבְּצוּ אֶת כָּל נַעֲרָה בְתוּלָה טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה אֶל שׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה אֶל בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים אֶל יַד הֵגֶא סְרִיס הַמֶּלֶךְ שֹׁמֵר הַנָּשִׁים וְנָתוֹן תַּמְרֻקֵיהֶן.
4 and let the maiden that pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti.’ And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
ד וְהַנַּעֲרָה אֲשֶׁר תִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ תִּמְלֹךְ תַּחַת וַשְׁתִּי וַיִּיטַב הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּעַשׂ כֵּן.
2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem
This verse is read in the same solemn tune as the Book of Lamentations, since it mentions the exile of the Jewish people. Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer points out that the verb “carried away” is mentioned three times in this verse, alluding to the fact that Mordecai 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 Mordecai participated in all three. In love with the land, Mordecai returned after being forced to leave, was exiled again, and stubbornly returned once more until he was carried away with the remaining Jews following the destruction of the First Temple.
7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter; for she had neither father nor mother, and the maiden was of beautiful form and fair to look on; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordechai took her for his own daughter.
8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was published, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the castle, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken into the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her ointments, with her portions, and the seven maidens, who were meet to be given her out of the king’s house; and he advanced her and her maidens to the best place in the house of the women.
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 Now when the turn of every maiden was come to go in to king Achashveirosh, after that it had been done to her according to the law for the women, twelve months–for so were the days of their anointing accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six month with sweet odours, and with other ointments of the women–
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 when then the maiden came unto the king, whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.
יג וּבָזֶה הַנַּעֲרָה בָּאָה אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר יִנָּתֵן לָהּ לָבוֹא עִמָּהּ מִבֵּית הַנָּשִׁים עַד בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ.
14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, who kept the concubines; she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and she were called by name.
יד בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה אֶל בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים שֵׁנִי אֶל יַד שַׁעַשְׁגַז סְרִיס הַמֶּלֶךְ שֹׁמֵר הַפִּילַגְשִׁים לֹא תָבוֹא עוֹד אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּי אִם חָפֵץ בָּהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְנִקְרְאָה בְשֵׁם.
15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Avichayil the uncle of Mordechai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the bounty of the king.
יח וַיַּעַשׂ הַמֶּלֶךְ מִשְׁתֶּה גָדוֹל לְכָל שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו אֵת מִשְׁתֵּה אֶסְתֵּר וַהֲנָחָה לַמְּדִינוֹת עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן מַשְׂאֵת כְּיַד הַמֶּלֶךְ.
19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, and Mordechai sat in the king’s gate–
יט וּבְהִקָּבֵץ בְּתוּלוֹת שֵׁנִית וּמָרְדֳּכַי יֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ.
21 in those days, while Mordechai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigtan and Teresh, of those that kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Achashveirosh.
23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
כג וַיְבֻקַּשׁ הַדָּבָר וַיִּמָּצֵא וַיִּתָּלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עַל עֵץ וַיִּכָּתֵב בְּסֵפֶר דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ.