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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 15

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1 ON the third day, after ending her prayers, Esther put off the clothes she had worn while she worshipped, and arrayed herself in her robes of state. 2When she was attired in all her splendour and had invoked the all-seeing God, her preserver, she took her two maids with her; 3on one she leaned for support, as befitted a fine lady, 4while the other followed, bearing her train. 5She was radiant and in the height of her beauty; her face was as cheerful as it was lovely, but her heart was constricted with fear. 6She passed through all the doors until she stood in the royal presence. The king was seated on his throne in the full array of his majesty, all gold and precious stones, an aweinspiring figure. 7He looked up, his face aglow with regal dignity, and regarded her with towering anger. The queen sank down, changing colour and fainting, and she swooned on the shoulder of the maid who went before her.

8But the king's mood was changed by God to one of gentleness. In deep concern he started up from his throne and held her in his arms until she came to herself. He soothed her with reassuring words: 9‘Esther, what is it? Have no fear of me, your loving husband; 10you shall not die, for our order is only for our subjects. You may approach.’ 11The king raised his gold sceptre and touched her neck; 12then he kissed her and said, ‘You may speak to me.’ 13She answered, ‘My lord, I saw you like an angel of God; I was awestruck at your glorious appearance. 14Your countenance is so full of grace, my lord, that I look in wonder.’ 15But while she was speaking she sank down fainting; 16the king was distressed, and his attendants all tried to reassure her.

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