1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house; and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the entrance of the house.
א וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וַתִּלְבַּשׁ אֶסְתֵּר מַלְכוּת וַתַּעֲמֹד בַּחֲצַר בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ הַפְּנִימִית נֹכַח בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַמֶּלֶךְ יוֹשֵׁב עַל כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ בְּבֵית הַמַּלְכוּת נֹכַח פֶּתַח הַבָּיִת.
2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
3 Then said the king unto her: ‘What wilt thou, queen Esther? for whatever thy request, even to the half of the kingdom, it shall be given thee.’
va-YO-mer lah ha-ME-lekh mah lakh es-TAYR ha-mal-KAH u-MAH ba-ka-sha-TAYKH ad kha-TZEE ha-mal-KHUT v’-yi-na-TAYN lakh
ג וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ מַה לָּךְ אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ.
5:3 Even to half of the kingdom
When Ahasuerus offered Esther up to half of the kingdom, it was not only an exaggerated show of generosity, but a specific geographic location. The Talmud notes that the half-way mark of Achashverosh’s empire was the site of the Temple. Ahasuerus tells Esther that he is willing to do anything to make her happy short of allowing for the rebuilding of the Temple. Although Cyrus, his predecessor, had allowed the Jews to return to Israel and begin reconstruction of the Temple, Ahasuerus was adamantly against it. Ironically, it was his son Darius, born to him by Esther, who allowed the rebuilding of the Temple.
6 And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine: ‘Whatever thy petition, it shall be granted thee; and whatever thy request, even to the half of the kingdom, it shall be performed.’
ו וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן מַה שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְתֵעָשׂ.
7 Then answered Esther, and said: ‘My petition and my request is–
ז וַתַּעַן אֶסְתֵּר וַתֹּאמַר שְׁאֵלָתִי וּבַקָּשָׁתִי.
8 if I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request–let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to-morrow as the king hath said.’
ח אִם מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאִם עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב לָתֵת אֶת שְׁאֵלָתִי וְלַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת בַּקָּשָׁתִי יָבוֹא הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהָמָן אֶל הַמִּשְׁתֶּה אֲשֶׁר אֶעֱשֶׂה לָהֶם וּמָחָר אֶעֱשֶׂה כִּדְבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ.
11 And Haman recounted unto them the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and everything as to how the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.
יא וַיְסַפֵּר לָהֶם הָמָן אֶת כְּבוֹד עָשְׁרוֹ וְרֹב בָּנָיו וְאֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר גִּדְּלוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר נִשְּׂאוֹ עַל הַשָּׂרִים וְעַבְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ.
יג וְכָל זֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁוֶה לִי בְּכָל עֵת אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי רֹאֶה אֶת מָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ.
14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him: ‘Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak thou unto the king that Mordechai may be hanged thereon; then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet.’ And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.