QUEEN ESTHER'S LOVE FOR HER PEOPLE 169
by Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon. He had adopted Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The girl was attractive and beautiful, and after her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.
So when the king's command was made known, and when many girls were brought to the royal palace at Susa, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and placed in the charge of Hegai, who took care of the women. The girl pleased him and won his favor, so that he quickly gave her what she needed to make her more beautiful and her allowance of food and the seven maids chosen from the king's household. He also moved her and her maids to the best place in the women's quarters. Esther had not told who were her people or her family, for Mordecai had told her not to tell. Every day Mordecai used to walk in front of the court of the women's quarters to ask after Esther's health and what had been done with her.
When Esther's turn came to go in to the king, he loved her more than all the other women, and she became his favorite and won his love, so that he placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast to all his officials and servants in honor of Esther.
In those days while Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate, two of the king's servants, who guarded the entrance of the palace, became enraged and tried to kill King Xerxes. But Mordecai learned of the plot and told it to Queen Esther, and she told the king in Mor-decai's name. When the truth was known, the men who plotted against the king were both hanged on a tree; and it was written down in the daily record of events that was kept before the king.
After these events King Xerxes promoted Haman, the Agagite, and gave him a place above all the officials who were with him. All the king's servants who were in the king's gate used to bow down before Haman, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai did not bow down before Haman.
Then the king's servants, who were in the king's gate, said to Mordecai, "Why do you disobey the king's command?" When they had spoken to him day after day without his listening to them, they told Haman, so as to find out whether Mordecai's acts would be permitted, for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down before him, he was very angry; but as they had told him that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided not