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艾斯德爾傳 Esther
1這些事以後,薛西斯王的盛怒遂平息了,不再回念瓦市提和她所作的事,也不再追究對她所決定的事。1Later when his anger had cooled, King Ahasuerus remembered Vashti's disobedience and his decree against her.
2於是侍奉君王的僕役說:「應為大王另選美貌的年輕處女;2The king's courtiers proposed, "Let beautiful young girls be chosen for the king.
3大王可指派委員到全國各省,把所有美貌的輕處女,都召集到穌撒禁城的後宮來,由管理嬪妃的王家太監赫革負責照應,供給她們美容潤身的香料。3Let him appoint commissioners throughout the provinces of his realm to bring all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa. Let them be put under the care of the royal eunuch Hegai, custodian of women, and let them be given ointments for beauty treatment.
4那中悅君王的處女,就得代瓦市提為后。」這建議正合了王的心,王就照樣進行。4Then let the girl who pleases the king take Vashti's place." The king was pleased with the suggestion and he acted on it.
5在穌撒禁城內,有一個猶太人,名叫摩爾德開,是雅依爾的兒子,史米的孫子,本雅明族人克士的曾孫,5Now there lived in Susa a Jew named Mordecai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite
6克士是巴比倫王拿步高由耶路撒冷將猶大王耶苛尼雅擄去時,被擄的俘虜之一。6who had been exiled from Jerusalem among the captives taken away with King Jeconiah of Judah by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
7摩爾德開撫養了他的堂妹哈達撒,又名叫艾斯德爾,她自幼就喪失父母。這女孩身材標致,容貌美麗,自她父母去世後,摩爾德開就收她作自己的女兒。7Mordecai was foster father to his cousin Hadassah, that is Esther, who had lost both father and mother. The girl had a lovely face and figure. On the death of her parents, Mordecai had adopted her as his daughter.
8不久,皇帝的諭旨和詔令,傳遍了全國,許多少女都被召到穌撒禁城,受赫革的監護,艾斯德爾也被帶到王宮,交與管理嬪妃的赫革看管。8In compliance with the king's edict, a great number of young girls were brought to Susa and entrusted to Hegai. Esther was among them.
9她很討赫革喜悅,大得他的寵愛,遂立即供給她美容潤身的物品和所需食品,並選派了七個美麗的宮女服侍她,又將她和她的侍女遷移到後宮最好的宮院裡。9Esther pleased the custodian of women and won his favor. He not only promptly provided her with cosmetics and good food but assigned to her seven special maids from the king's household and transferred her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
10但艾斯德爾卻沒有說出她自己的民族和身世,因為摩爾德開早已吩咐她不要提及此事。10Esther did not reveal her nationality or family, for Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.
11此後,摩爾德開天天在後宮的庭院前徘徊,好打聽艾斯德爾的消息,想知道她的情形如何。11Each day Mordecai would walk up and down the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was faring.
12在每個處女輪流去見薛西斯王以前,都該先按嬪妃的規則,度過十二個月的「潤身期:」六個月應用沒藥汁,六個月應用香液,以及女人潤身的修飾品。12After a preparation of twelve months decreed for the women, each of them had to appear in turn before King Ahasuerus. This preparatory period was for beautifying treatment: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics.
13有了這樣的準備,少女纔可去見君王;凡她所要求的,都應讓她由後宮帶進王宮去。13Then when the girl was to present herself to the king, she was allowed to take with her from the harem to the king's palace anything she wanted.
14她晚上進去,次日早晨回到另一座後宮,受君王管理嬪妃的太監沙市加次的監護;除非君王寵愛她,提名召她,她不得再親近君王。14She would go there in the evening and return the following morning to another harem under the care of the royal eunuch Shaashgaz, custodian of the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15一輪到摩爾德開的叔父阿彼海耳的女兒──即摩爾德開的養女──艾斯德爾去見君王的時候,除了管理嬪妃的王家太監赫革給她預備的東西以外,她什麼也不要;凡看見艾斯德爾的人,沒有不喜愛她的。15When the turn came for Esther - the daughter of Abihail whom Mordecai had adopted from his uncle - to go to the king, she asked for nothing beyond what the eunuch Hegai had given her; and yet she won the admiration of all who saw her.
16艾斯德爾在薛西斯為王第七年十月即「太貝特」月,被召進王宮。16Esther was brought to King Ahasuerus in his palace in the tenth month called Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17王愛艾斯德爾超過所有的嬪妃。在所有的處女中,她最得君王的歡心和喜愛。王便將后冠戴在她頭上,立她為王后,以代瓦市提。17The king liked Esther more than any of the other women. Having won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins, she received the royal crown and was made queen in place of Vashti.
18於是,王給眾文武官員擺設盛宴,一連七天,號為艾斯德爾宴,又給全國各省頒賜大赦,並按照君王的法度敕贈御品。18The king then gave a great banquet in honor of Esther for all his officials and ministers; he proclaimed a holiday for all the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
19當二次召集處女時,摩爾德開仍在御門供職。19When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.
20那時艾斯德爾,按著摩爾德開事先給她吩咐了的,還沒有透露自己的身世和種族:凡摩爾德開吩咐的,艾斯德爾必盡力遵守,如同昔日受他撫養時一樣。20Up to this time Esther had not revealed her family background or nationality, in compliance with Mordecai's instructions. She followed his advice just as she had when she was being brought up by him.
21摩爾德開在御門供職的時候,王的兩個守門太監,彼革堂和特勒士,因一時忿怒,就設計對薛西斯王下毒手。21It was during the time that Mordecai spent at the king's gate, that Bagathan and Thares, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the entrance, conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus.
22但摩爾德開一發覺了那陰謀,就告知艾斯德爾王后,艾斯德爾便以摩爾德開的名義轉告君王。22Mordecai learned of the plot and informed Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mor-decai.
23那陰謀經過調查證實以後,就將他們二人懸在木架上,處以極刑。此事的原委,當著君王的面,記錄在年鑑內。23The matter was investigated, found to be true, and the two conspirators were hanged on the gallows. The incident was recorded in the Book of Chronicles in the presence of the king.
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