Esther 2:1-23, NLT
Esther Becomes Queen
1But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made.
5At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei.
8As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care.
10Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so.
12Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.
15Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
16Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter*2:16 Hebrew in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth. A number of dates in the book of Esther can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of December 479 b.c. and January 478 b.c. of the seventh year of his reign.
19Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second harem*2:19a The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. and Mordecai had become a palace official,*2:19b Hebrew and Mordecai was sitting in the gate of the king.
Mordecai’s Loyalty to the King
21One day as Mordecai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana*2:21 Hebrew Bigthan; compare 6:2. and Teresh—who were guards at the door of the king’s private quarters—became angry at King Xerxes and plotted to assassinate him.