Esther 1:1-5a, 10-19
It was after this that the following things happened in the days of Artaxerxes, the same Artaxerxes who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days, when King Artaxerxes was enthroned in the city of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for his Friends and other persons of various nations, the Persians and Median nobles, and the governors of the provinces.
After this, when he had displayed to them the riches of his kingdom and the splendor of his bountiful celebration during the course of one hundred eighty days, at the end of the festivity the king gave a drinking party for the people of various nations who lived in the city.
Dismissal of Queen Vashti
On the seventh day, when the king was in good humor, he told Haman, Bazan, Tharra, Boraze, Zatholtha, Abataza, and Tharaba, the seven eunuchs who served King Artaxerxes, to escort the queen to him in order to proclaim her as queen and to place the diadem on her head, and to have her display her beauty to all the governors and the people of various nations, for she was indeed a beautiful woman. But Queen Vashti refused to obey him and would not come with the eunuchs. This offended the king and he became furious. He said to his Friends, “This is how Vashtie has answered me. Give therefore your ruling and judgment on this matter.” Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, then the governors of the Persians and Medes who were closest to the king—Arkesaeus, Sarsathaeus, and Malesear, who sat beside him in the chief seats—came to him and told him what must be done to Queen Vashti for not obeying the order that the king had sent her by the eunuchs. Then Muchaeus said to the king and the governors, “Queen Vashti has insulted not only the king but also all the king's governors and officials” (for he had reported to them what the queen had said and how she had defied the king). “And just as she defied King Artaxerxes, so now the other ladies who are wives of the Persian and Median governors, on hearing what she has said to the king, will likewise dare to insult their husbands. If therefore it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree, inscribed in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians so that it may not be altered, that the queen may no longer come into his presence; but let the king give her royal rank to a woman better than she.