Esther (1999) - full transcript

Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), King of the Persians, whose empire now extends from India to Egypt after the defeat of the Babylonians, is holding a celebratory banquet for his people in the citadel of Susa to display his wealth and splendor. When he summons his attractive wife Vashti, to show off her beauty to the guests, the proud queen refuses to come. The king promptly bans her from ever entering his presence again, and gives orders for the most beautiful young virgins in the land to be brought to him. The young Jewess Esther, adopted daughter of her uncle Mordecai, is among the girls selected; they are told to beautify themselves in the royal harem and prepare to spend the night with the king. Esther succeeds in enchanting the king with her extraordinary beauty and charm, and he makes her his queen. The king promotes his loyal subject Haman - whose family is notably anti-Jewish - to the post of first minister of the kingdom. When the Jew Mordecai fails to kneel down before Haman like all the others, Haman's irritation with him is transformed into a deep hatred of the Jewish people. He manages to get the king to pass a law allowing the Jews of all countries to be persecuted and killed on a certain day. In his desperation, Mordecai seeks help from Esther. She places her life at risk by visiting the king without his consent, and then invites him and Haman to dine with her that evening. By revealing her Jewish origins Esther now succeeds in exposing Haman's evil plan to kill the Jews, and in obtaining the king's pardon for her people. Haman is duly hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. Since the royal decree is irreversible, Ahasuerus passes another one allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies, whom they end up by vanquishing. Many Jews now return to the Holy City and begin rebuilding Jerusalem.

After the destruction of Jerusalem

nearly six centuries
before the birth of Christ,

the Jews were taken into
captivity in Babylon.

But 60 years later, Babylon's territories

were conquered by the Persian Army

and engulfed in a new, vast empire.

By edict of King Cyrus,

all captive peoples were set free

and allowed to return to
their own lands.

But not all the Jews returned
to Judea.

Many decided to remain
in the Persian Empire,

the capital of which was the
magnificent City of Susa.

(Foreign language)

Stop, stop!


Help me, get him!

Get him!

Stop him!

Come here, you!
Hold it!

Let me go!
That's all.

Let me go!

That wretched man will
have his hand cut off.

It's the harsh law of the Persians.

It's not the harshness, Ezra,

it's the absence of clemency.

We Jews should remember
when we write our own law..

People of Susa,

make way for the counselor of
your King!

Just look at him.

Ever since the Kingdom of Saul,

every Jew has known as long

as there's one Amalekite
on earth, we are in danger.

It's been so many years.

Will this feud never end?

Maybe, but I still
refuse to bow before him.

Come, Ezra, we must try to do nothing

which can bring harm to our people.

Haman is just looking for
an excuse to strike us all.

Why can't we get through?

You stupid idiots!

Bow your heads before Haman,

who brings gifts for the great
King of Persia and Media.

How dare he.

What is it, My Lord?


Step right up.

We have everything here, silks.

His riches have opened
too many doors at court.

Soon he may even win the
King's favor.

Well, you know the King.

He may have his indulgences, but..

Well then, it might not be as hard

as we thought to rid
ourselves of that impostor.

(Foreign language)

(Foreign language)

You make me so proud, Hadassah!

You've a true gift for languages,
you learn so quickly.

Well, I do have the best
teacher in Susa, Cousin.

She's so generous and obedient.

That's because she has
the blood of King Saul

from the tribe of Benjamin,
flowing in her veins.

Thank you, Ezra.

But heed my words.

Don't let her marry a foreigner.

Has someone asked for my hand?

No one.

Haven't you some, uh,
some chores to do?


You shouldn't treat her like
the orphan

you took in many years ago.

She's a woman now.

You have to accept that.
I know, I know.

But she is a special girl.

She deserves a man who is
worthy of her.

If it be the will of the Lord.


What is this about a man?


Should someone be asking for
your hand?

Is it anyone in particular?

I don't know.

The man of my dreams, perhaps?

But I will accept whomever
you choose for me.

You know me well,
and you're a wise man.

I know you'll make the right decision.

Today, with Haman,

I was neither wise nor prudent.

Hadassah, Ezra is not wrong.

Living among the Persians so long,

we have become like them.

But we are still Jews.

We are different.

But you've always taught
me that what matters

is what's in a man's heart,
not his blood.


Your father might not have
taught you so.

No father is more
dear to me than you are.

Nehemia, what are you doing?

The King's jewels,

booty from all over the Kingdom.

But they are better off here

than in their original places.

Like that gold basin.

It comes from the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Jews used it to gather

the blood during the sacrifices.

Have you washed?

Everything must be purified

before one of the most
important banquets

ever offered by the King.


Tend to the wine.

And taste it before
offering it to the King.

What if I die?

You can, but not the
Great King Ahasuerus.


Parathael, are you
instructing him well?

Remember that at court,

a false move could cost him dearly.

Come with me, Nehemia.

Here is the wine you requested,
my King.

To the health of our wise King.

May he live forever,

by the grace of the god, Ahuramazda,

for the eternal joy of his
loyal subjects.

If you, my subject,
are so full of joy,

why do you look so sad?

Won't you reply?

My Lord.

I was thinking that this
feast will soon end.

Your servant Haman is sad

because he cannot make it
last longer.

You cannot,
but your King has this power.

I, Ahasuerus,
King of Persia and Media

declare that every man here assembled

shall drink without restraint

each to his own desire.

You spoke well, but answer this.

Which of the King's jewels

would you desire for yourself?

They're all equally
magnificent, Shetar.

I wouldn't know which one to choose.

My King, this man finds none

of your jewels worthy of praise.

How brazen.

Haman, you say that the King
of Kings.

doesn't own a jewel splendid enough

to reflect his glory?

My Lord,

the King's most beautiful
jewel isn't among these.

Where is it, then?

Let it be brought.

A man's most precious jewels

are his wife's grace and honor.

There is no other beauty in
your empire

that can rival that of Queen Vashti.

Ishtar, the goddess of love
and war.

She must have her way,

and she is pleased when she
sees the beautiful Princess

and the valiant warrior fall
in love.

But other gods conspire
against the match.

Ishtar, moved to pity,

begins to blow, and blow, and blow,

until the offending gods are
swept away.

Love triumphs,
and the enemies of love

are turned into ugly pigs.

Why do I bother to bring artists

and dancers from faraway lands

if my guests refuse to
show interest in them?

My Queen, we are not used to plays

that ridicule our King's gods.

We are confused.

I am not one of those foolish courtiers

that prostrate themselves
in order to obtain favors.

I am the Queen, and I do
as I please in my chambers.

Harbona, the King's Eunuch,
asks to be received.

Don't just stand there,
Harbona, speak.

The King requires My Lady's presence.

For what purpose?

He makes display of his
most treasured objects.

Am I such an object?

Oh, the most beautiful of all,
My Queen!

It does not befit a lady,
much less a Queen,

to be displayed before a man
quite drunk

after too many days of feasting.

The King wills it.

You are to wear the royal crown.

Say to the King that I refuse.

Queen Vashti!

Queen Vashti wrongs the
King by refusing my command.

Not only the King, but the officials,

and the whole people in every province.

A royal command must be obeyed.

What does the law require?

If it please the King,

let a royal order go out that Vashti

be sent away from palace life

and never return before the
King again.

Let it be written among the laws

of the Persians and the Medes

so that it might not be revoked.

My King, when word gets out,

all women will look upon

their husbands with contempt.

Let her royal position be given

to another who is better than she.

Very well, Memucan.


Let it be written to every
province in its own script

and to every people in its
own language.

Let it be sent by swift couriers

to every province in the empire

that I declare by royal decree

that the King no longer

recognizes Vashti as his Queen

due to her disobedience,

as she dared oppose an
explicit order by the King.

Harbona, go bring the Queen to me.

There is no Queen, My Lord.

A decision made in haste.

It was the wine.

I revoke my command.

Bring Vashti, I want her here!

I want to restore her crown.

It was a royal decree, My Lord.

By law, it cannot be revoked.

And not even the King
can go against the law.

What is your advice?

If it pleases the King.
Speak, Haman.

Let beautiful young virgins
be sought out for the King.

And let the King appoint commissioners

in all the provinces to
gather the virgins

to the harem in the citadel.

And let the girl who pleases
the King

be Queen in Vashti's place.

This suggestion pleases the King.

Let it be as Haman has proposed.

Search every house in the town!

What are they doing?

That's my house!

Wait, wait, please!
Break it down.

Hurry up!

Search those houses over there!

Come on, come on, hurry!
Don't worry, Mother.

Hurry up,
bring them all to the palace!


Any resistance will be punished.

You must obey the King's order!

Look in that direction!
Move on to the next street!


Thank God you're here.

Quickly, quickly, you must hide!


They are taking girls.
What for?

For the harem of the King, hurry!

Hurry, get in here.

Do you want to spend the
rest of your life in a harem?

Get in!

Be still.

Shh, shh!

Open the door

in the name of King Ahasuerus!

I will send them away.

Come on, open up!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Your daughter must come with us.


I have no daughter.

Your neighbor says there
is a young girl here,

a very beautiful young girl.

My neighbor is old.

He doesn't see well.

You Jews, you think you can outwit

a chamberlain of the
Great King of Persia?

No, no, no, no, perhaps it
was a servant girl he saw.

She just cooks for me,
she doesn't live here.

Look, look, look for yourself.

No daughter?

What is this?

Sir, you were lying to me.
It's not what it seems.

Keep searching and bring her
to me.

Come on, up, up, up.

Leave me.
Let's go, hurry.

She's an orphan and a kinswoman.

See here, perhaps we can
discuss an arrangement, hm?

Say goodbye to your kinsman.

Goodbye, My Dear Cousin.

May the God of our ancestors
reward you

for all your kindnesses.

Tell no one you're a Jew.

You cannot even use your name.

Call yourself Esther,
you know what it means.

Forget your name but
never forget you're a Jew,

except in the silence of your heart.

Be brave, My Child.

This way, quick, quick.

Come on!

Separate them.

Find rooms for them away
from the others from Babylon.

Come, come, enter, My Beauties.

Don't be afraid.



I am Hegai,
in whose charge you will remain

until you move on to the
second harem.

Welcome to your new home.

Today we shall begin
transforming you

for your encounter with the
great King

in the royal bedchamber.

Don't be upset.

We will begin the prescribed treatments

with oil of myrrh,
and later with perfumes..

Little one,
there's no need to cry.

And cosmetics.

You will be taught palace etiquette

and how to conduct yourself
in the presence of the King.

So that, when your turn comes,

you could even become a Queen.

What is this commotion?

Make her be quiet!

If only she could be with her sister,

who was also brought to the palace.

You know this girl?

Not until now.

Then she is no concern of yours.

Shh, shh, shh!

But her distress is my concern,

and easily remedied by
a man of authority here.


You won't find any men here.

I know a man's real strength,

and by your eyes, I see
more strength in you, Hegai,

than in an army of warriors.

Who, who are you?

I am Esther.


A Babylonian name.

Your people are from Babylon?

No, I'm from Susa.

Well, Esther of Susa.

Out, everyone out!

To the second wing, with the Babylonians!

This is the full tribute of ebony?

600 talents, yes.

And next we have incense.
Not you, again.

I told you, don't bother me today.

What happens in the harem
is of no concern to me,

nor of any man, save the King.

If you want a long life,
my friend, forget the girl.

I was charged by her
family to see if she is well.


What's this?
Frankincense, Sir.

You call this incense?

This is second rate.

You know people in the court.

You know the Eunuchs.

You could ask them.

You made an error.

What are you talking about?


So I did.

It's because you need an assistant.

Appoint me.

I am a scribe.

I can read and speak Aramaic,
Babylonian, and Persian.

I could be of great help to you.

All because you know how to count?

That incense,
it isn't actually second rate.


My assistant, hm.

Perhaps you will sit
within the palace gate.

You're a clever man,
Mordecai the Jew.

The King will tell you to rise.


You will not bow with your head,
but with your heart.

You will walk lightly,
as if on water.

And when you do bow, you will smile,

but keep your eyes lowered.


It is forbidden to look
the King in the eyes,

save for the royal princes
and his closest advisors.

It is forbidden to rise
without the King's permission.

It is forbidden to dress carelessly,

and it is forbidden to
scratch yourself.

Forget whatever you
have done up until now.

When it is your night to go
to the King,

you may ask for anything
you want to take with you.

I will ask for a necklace of pearls

that will reach to my feet.

I will have only a
fan of white feathers.

Perhaps the King will never
send me away!


Why has no girl ever
returned from the King?

The first harem is only for virgins.

And after our first night,
what then?

In the morning,
Shaagaz will take you

to the second harem, the Eunuch
in charge of the concubines.

There you will remain,

unless the King delights in
you and calls for you by name.


My Lady?

What is it like?

I mean, to make love to a man?

That depends on the man.

The murder of the
governor of the southlands

is clearly an offense.

Even the King's life could be
in danger.

The assassins must be found
and punished!

Memucan's concern is justified.

We must send someone there immediately.

This is a very serious matter.

Perhaps you should go, Carshena.

Everyone knows you've been coveting

the idea of a governorship
in those rich lands.

That is a lie!

Let me go!

I bring a message to the
great King

from the governor of the southlands.

That's impossible.

The governor is dead.

Boy, don't you know no one comes

unsummoned before the King?

The penalty is death.

It's the law.

But I was summoned!
By whom?

He was supposed to be here,
My Lord.

I don't see him,
but I know his name.

It's, it's Carshena.



And, uh, where is he now?

I don't see him.

Execute him!
I'm innocent, My Lord.

I don't want to die!

Be brave.

Your death shall not go unpunished.

If one of you sent for this man,

his blood is on your hands.

There will be an investigation
of this, Carshena.

Esther, what will you wear
when you go into the King?

You have seen to my every
need, Hegai.

You decide.

But it is customary to
request something

to take in with you.

Well, in that case,
I'll rely on your wisdom.

I shall bring whatever
you think I require.

It's for tonight.

May the god, Ahuramazda,
be with you.

Tell us your name.

I'm called Esther.


The name of the goddess Ishtar,
the goddess of love, yes?

In the tongue of my people
it has another meaning.

It means hidden.

So you hide behind a veil?

Are you that ugly?

Rise, so I can see you.

Are you a Mede?

Are you Ionian?


My people are loyal subjects

of the King of Persia, My Lord.

That's not an answer.

Silence is a rare gift in a woman,

but I command you, look at me.

What do you see?

My King.

I see a man with courage
and beauty in his eyes.

You're all the same.

You're lying to me,
just like they taught you to.

Well, let us do what has to
be done.

You picked a rose in the garden.

Is it a gift for your King?

My Lord, I picked it for myself.

Forgive me for taking it.

You are different.

You are courageous.

You're not like the others.


The truth is I've always
been afraid of the unknown.

And I've never known a man.

Esther, no one will hurt you.

Rise, Esther,
Queen of Persia and Media.

Hail to the Queen!

Long life and happiness to
Queen Esther.

You're a Jew who bows
before a pagan king.

Esther is crowned Queen of
all Persia.


How can I rejoice when a
Jewish girl

is wed to an uncircumcised
heathen, King or no King?

Our sons and daughters are
mixing our precious seed with,

with foreigners,
and they take for themselves

foreign names like Esther.

Perhaps there is a hidden
design in this turn of events.

There's one way for us,

the way that leads us back to Jerusalem.

All guards, two steps forward, march!

Are you afraid?
It's not the first time

I've killed a man.

It's set then, tomorrow night.

Here is the poison to slip
into his drink.

You have the dagger?

Tomorrow night.


Send for Harbona.

I must speak with the King immediately.

It's a question of life or death.

Yes, My Queen.

How came this evil news to you?

The man they call Mordecai
the Jew,

who sits within your palace
gate, sent word to me.

A Jew?

Are not the ears of a Jew to
be trusted

to save the life of our King?

Go on.

Mordecai over heard Teresh

and Bigthan planning to kill you.

My Lady, it is the word of a stranger

against that of two of
the most noble members

of the King's household.

Harbona, then why
don't you show the King

your precious dagger?
I can't, My Lady.

I mislaid it several days ago.

It is by the fountain in the garden.

It was to be Bigthan's murder weapon.

But everyone was to believe
Harbona was the real assassin.

And then Teresh was to feign
Harbona's suicide with poison.

You wanted to poison me?

And kill my King?

It's a lie!

We are falsely accused, My King!



Memucan, you conduct a search immediately.


Hold these men prisoner
pending an investigation!

No, please!

It will be done, My Lord,
it will be done.

So they are guilty.

But why did they want to kill me?

This investigation of
yours doesn't say why.

They refused to explain their reasons.

I had entrusted them with my life!

They had my complete trust!

Who is behind this, Memucan?

When will I see an end
to all these intrigues?

Execute them, and let it
be written in the Annals.

Let it be written in
the Annals of Ahasuerus,

the Great King,
that in the month of Tebeth,

Bigthan and Teresh..
My Lord, Haman is here.

Did plot to assassinate the King,

and that the plot was discovered..

Let him in.

By Mordecai the Jew, who
did save the life of the King

with much alacrity and courage.

My King.

If you bring nothing but
bad news, Haman, you may go.

One can hide nothing from you,
My Lord.

Your stupid gifts will get
you nowhere.

I'm patient, Chamberlain.

And most of all, I've time to wait.


Memucan, I commanded you not
to die.

How dare you leave me!

My Lady, no one is able
to make him see reason.

No, My Lady, no one may come
unsummoned before the King,

not even the Queen.

The penalty is death.

The Queen requests to be received.

She's worried about your health.

Get away, all of you!

He is in pain, My Lady.

He will overcome it.

No one can...

My Lord, you have mourned
him for three whole days.

Do you want Memucan to come back

from the valley of death
to remind you of your duty?

You must go back to governing again.

If the Queen has lost the
King's favor,

there will be sad days ahead.


What do you want?

Help me win back the King's favor.

Speak to him.

I'm not in a position to do so.

You think you can get away
with this?

I got rid of Carshena for you,

and this is how you repay me?

What's the trouble?

What was that all about?

Shut up, you foolish woman!

What more do you want?

The King is about to appoint
me his new Lord Chamberlain.

Are you mad?

You show no respect for
the King's right hand man?

Never will I bow to that man.

The King commands it.

Who are you to disobey?

A Jew who prostrates
himself only before the Lord.
frenzied string music)

It's not so easy as it looks.

It takes time.

It seems I have plenty of time.

If you ask me,
our King should pay

more attention to his
beautiful Queen.

So now you know what the King
should do

better than the King himself?

Can't you see how she suffers

since she lost his affection?

My Queen.

Hegai, am I not still the
same Esther

you took under your wing?


It seems I have lost
favor with the King.

That cannot be.

If I have done anything,
anything that has displeased him.

Why should you think so?

He's not sent for me in weeks.

Please, Hegai, tell me,
what shall I do?

Be patient.

The King attends to many
urgent matters.

He instructs a new Lord
Chamberlain besides.


This man alone does not
show respect to Your Lordship.

His superiors speak
to him day after day,

but he does not listen.

Pay him no heed.

The man is mad.

I cannot be bothered by such foolishness.

I want to talk to the Jew.


Bow your head.

You know I can make you do it.

You know that!

He despises me.

He insults me.

He turns the sweet honey
in my mouth to bitter bile.

You exercise the power of the King.

Do something.

Kill him.

It's beneath me to lay hands
on him.


They cheat us,
then hoard their wealth

to flaunt before us.

They think themselves
better than the rest.


I don't want to hear
anything more about them.

We should destroy them.

Destroy every man, woman,
and child among them.

All of them.

All at once.

Forgive me, My Lord, forgive me.

Haman requests to speak with you.

Let him in.

My Lord, a most urgent
matter that must be discussed

away from indiscreet ears.

A certain people,
scattered and dispersed

among the populace in all the provinces..

Yes, yes, yes, come to the point.

Their laws are different.

There can be only one law.

One day in seven they refuse
to work.

They hoard money and cheat on
their taxes.


How do you suggest we solve
the problem?

Eliminate the problem.

If it pleases the King,

let a decree be issued
for their destruction.

I cannot destroy my own subjects.

If lawbreaking is tolerated,
others will follow.

Tributes and tax revenues decline.

Be logical, Haman.

The dead yield no taxes.

It's not a question of taxes.

I will pay 10,000 talents of silver

into the King's Treasury if
need be.

My Lord, the stability of the
entire Kingdom is in danger.

These people are capable of
far worse.

They can conspire against us.

They already occupy important positions

in every city of the Kingdom.

That's why I insist we
rid ourselves of them.

If what you say is true,

we must act.

Who might these people be?

A small, insignificant clan, My King.

If my King trusts me,

I'll take care of the details personally.

There is no one else I can trust.

You will be granted all the powers.

I want to know nothing about
the matter.

The lot falls to the 13th day.

And now the month.

The month of Adar is propitious.

The 13th of Adar.

Men cast the lots but the
gods decide.

The gods decide.

I shall make ready.


To every province in its own script,

and to every people in its
own language,

by a royal decree of Ahasuerus.

Let them destroy,
kill and annihilate all the Jews,

young and old, women and children.

Young and old,
women and children in one day?

The 13th day of the 12th month,

which is the month of Adar.

And to plunder their goods,

and let this decree be issued

in every province by proclamation,

calling on all the peoples to prepare

and make ready for that day.

Your Persian King is going to
kill us!

No, no.

It cannot be.

We have lived here for years.

They are our friends.

They won't allow this to happen.

They won't.

We must leave before it's too late.

Take this and go.

Hey you, girl!

Come here.
Leave me alone!

You know we can do what we like.

Please, help, somebody help me!

Get him!

You scum.

Leave him be,
we'll deal with him later.

Oh, my God!

Have you forgotten us, Lord?

Have you forgotten us?

Woe to the Jews.

Woe to the children of Israel.

We are undone!

Our enemies sit in ambush.

Woe to the Jews!

Woe to the children of Israel!

We are undone!

Why does our God,
why does our Lord not save us?

Get away you filthy wretch!

Mordecai, be quiet.

Get a hold of yourself, shh!

We are undone!
Quiet, My Friend.

No, no, no!
Quiet, quiet!

You want to make things worse
for you and your people?

Shh, quiet!

Listen to me.

You must not play the fool.


Why won't you listen to me?

He's still there.

But he's been howling for hours.

It is the Jew, My Lady.

Such a racket.

He wails night and day
without ceasing.

He dresses in sackcloth and ashes

and sits outside the King's gate.

What Jew?

Oh, his name is..

It's the man who warned you

of the plot against the King.

Are you sure?

The Queen commands you to
make yourself presentable.

He refused them?


Hathach, return to him, please,

and ask him what afflicts him.

10,000 talents of silver,

that is the price of
our lives for the King.

Tell the Queen that Mordecai

charges her to go before the King

and plead with him for her people.

But why?

Why was I not informed of
this decree?

My Lady, these are
the affairs of the King.

I don't know what gives
this Mordecai the right.

Plead for her people.

But it is forbidden to go before

the King without being called!

On penalty of death, My Queen.

But if the King holds
out the golden scepter,

that person may live.

Maybe the King remembers the
sweet nights he spent with you.

If there ever was such a time

that he felt such tenderness
for me, it is over.

It has been so long since he
sent for me.

I must go to Mordecai myself.

I must make him understand.

If you are found outside the harem,

outside the palace gates
in the company of a man.

Do not think that in the
King's Palace you will escape

any more than all the other Jews.

Because if you keep silent at
such a time,

relief and deliverance will rise

for the Jews from another quarter.

But you, and with you,

your father's family will perish.

Hadassah, perhaps you have
come to royalty

for such a time as this.

Those were his words.

But, I beg of you, My Queen,
do not risk your life.

Seize him.

Come on!

Wait, wait!





Shh, I'm Esther.


Gather all the Jews to be
found in Susa.

Fast on my behalf.

Neither eat nor drink for
three days, night or day.

Esther, if only I could
have spared you with..

Do as I command.

I and my handmaids will fast also.

Then, I will go to the King,

though it is against his law.

If I perish, I perish.

May the Lord protect you, Esther.

Come in aid of your servants.

We are in overwhelming danger.

Father, you who chose our fathers.

You who punished us

and turned us over to our enemies

because we have sinned
against you.

Still not happy, they want us
to be completely annihilated.

Do not allow them to triumph, Lord,

but turn their plans against them,

and strike the first of our persecutors.

Put the words that will touch
the heart

of my King into my mouth.

Let them remind him of the
love he once felt for me

and turn his heart against
those who hate

and battle against us.

Let him be the one to yield.

Free me.

Free me.

Deliver me from my anguish,
oh Lord!

Maimuna, I need to bathe and dress.

Please, lay out my robes.

I am ready.

Next, Great King,

we have the trade delegation
from Bactria.

Have they paid their tribute?

Not yet, Majesty.

Let them wait.

I've been waiting.

I have been waiting for months!

I have no intention...

Do not fear, Esther.

If it pleases the King.

What is your request, beloved Queen?

It shall be given you, even
to the half of my Kingdom.

Let the King, and Haman,

come today to the banquet
I have prepared

in my quarters for the King.

Let it be

as our queen desires.

Now, my delectable Queen,
what is your petition?

Come, come.

Tell me.

What is your request?

It shall be fulfilled.

If I have found favor with you,

and if it pleases the King to grant

my petition and fulfill my request,

then let the King and
Haman come again tomorrow

to the banquet I shall
prepare for them.

This woman tries our patience.

Indeed, My Lord, as do they all.

Then I shall tell my wish.

As my King desires.

Bow before the great Haman!

All this does me no good

as long as I see that
insolent Jew

refusing to acknowledge me.

Vultures will feast on his
insolence soon enough, Father.

Not soon enough for me.

Then build a gallows 50
cubits high.

Get the King's consent,
and hang Mordecai upon it.

I'll have to build it immediately.

My Lord?

I cannot sleep.

Shall I call a scribe,
with your permission, My Lord?

His readings will help you
fall a sleep.

You guards, you step forward.


You guards, take your position!

Now go, march!

In the 10th month, two
eunuchs of the threshold

did conspire to assassinate
the King.

By the grace of the god,
Ahuramazda, the Wise Lord,

the plot was discovered and exposed

by a certain Mordecai, the Jew,
who sat within the gates

and by whose brave action

did save the life of the King.

Is that all?

The Eunuchs were executed
under the laws of Persia.


Ah, My Lord, the King
wants to see you immediately.

Do you know what he wants?

I believe he owes a debt
of gratitude to someone.

I am yours to command,
King of Kings.

Tell me,
what shall be done for a man

the King wishes to honor?

To the man whom the
King wishes to honor,

let royal robes be brought
and the King's horse

with a royal crown on its head,

and let him be conducted on horseback

through the open square of
the city.


Thus shall be done for a man
the King wishes to honor.


I am brought low.

The gods are surely envious
of my glory

to so sorely mock me.

What scoundrel invented
my father's misfortune?

It was I!

I knew not that the King
meant to honor that foul toad.

I thought he wished to honor me!

And thus I proposed a fitting tribute,

which he then charged me to
execute in favor of my enemy!

If that Mordecai is
part of the Jewish people,

I fear this is but the
beginning of your downfall.


Open in the name of the King!

Open up.

My Lord Chamberlain, are you ready?

The Queen's Banquet is prepared.

You see, Good Wife.

I am still the King's right
hand man.

The fowl was excellent.

My Lord,
the Queen looks like a Goddess.

Even if she were to feed me poison,

I would die a happy man.

Take care how you flatter
my wife, Lord Chamberlain.

Your King is a jealous man.

I intend only to praise
My Lord's impeccable taste.


Now, you promised to tell me

your petition and your request.

And it shall be granted?

Even to the half of my Kingdom.

If I have won your favor,

and if it pleases the King,

let my life be given me.

That is my petition.

Your life?

And the lives of my people.

That is my request.

She ensnares me in riddles.

I know nothing about your people.

We are to be sold, I and my people,

not merely as slaves, for then
I would have held my peace.

You cannot be sold.

You're mine!

We have been sold,

to be destroyed, to be killed,
to be annihilated!

My Lord, perhaps I can explain.

And no enemy can compensate

for this damage to our King.

Speak clearly, woman, what damage?

What enemy?


Through his enmity towards
my kinsman, Mordecai.

Your kinsman?

Haman has decreed death to
all the Jews,

every man, woman, and child.

My Lady, I beg you.

I have no wish to harm you.

How could I know?

Have mercy on me, I beseech you,
for the sake of my sons.

I will be your slave if
you but spare my life!



Will he assault the Queen
in my house, in my presence?

It's a misunderstanding,
I can explain.

He insults the Queen and
plots to destroy her people.

The penalty is death!

A gallows 50 cubits high
stands at Haman's house.

He prepared it for Mordecai,
who saved the King.

Hang him on that!

Great Queen, save me!

Tell them the truth!


My ring.

No, have mercy!

Tell them the truth, please!

Please, don't bow before me, Cousin.

You are the most powerful
woman in the Kingdom.

But that doesn't
change the way I see you.

Mordecai, you know me well, remember?

This is the Hadassah I know.

The Lord has granted my request.

But let us not rejoice too soon.

It's not over yet.

Yes, that is why the Jews
put their trust in you.

Let them keep their faith.

The King has come back
to me with his love.

I shall go to him and ask
him to revoke Haman's decree.

I will not let our people down.

Approach, Mordecai.

Give us your hand.

The trust which we unwisely placed

in the hands of your enemy,

we now confer on you.

My Dear Cousin, as my
King sees fit to trust you,

so do I, with all my heart.

I give unto you my property,

and set you over the house of Haman.

So shall it be.

And now, if there be no
other urgent matters.

If it pleases the King,

and if I have won his favor.


My Lord, how can I bear to see

calamity come on my people?

My own kindred.

Let an order be written
to revoke the letters

devised by Haman the Agagite

in which he decreed to
destroy the Jews

in all the provinces.

It was a royal decree.

It cannot be revoked.

It is the law.

The laws are made by the King,

surely they can be unmade by
the King.

An edict sealed with the
King's ring can't be revoked.

Not even by the King himself.

Mordecai, you have shown yourself

to be both wise and clever.

Please, please, please!

Just one, just one at a time!

Because if we all speak at once,
then nobody listens.

He's right.

Listen to me.
Why you?

First listen to me!

No, no, no, please, please,
please stop,

because by the time you decide

who is to speak first,
it will be the 13th of Adar

and we shall all be dead.

Now, you said that the
Lord has abandoned us.

What I say is, we have
turned away from the Lord.

Ezra is right.

How can the Lord hear our
prayer so far from Jerusalem?

We should return
while there is yet time.

What safety is there in Jerusalem?

The walls lie in ruins.

Listen, listen, Friends, please!

Please listen to what I have
to say.

You're not one of us!

I am a Jew, just like you.

But how could I survive at the
Persian court if I told them?

He's Nehemia, the King's Cup Bearer.

Let him speak.
Ezra is not wrong.

One day, the Jews must
return to Jerusalem,


Is it so easy to give up what
we have struggled to build?

Our homes and our families
are here.

Our fathers and grandfathers
lie buried in this ground.

Listen to me!

Listen to me!
No, no, let him speak.

You must let him speak!


The King has given
authority to Queen Esther

and Mordecai to find a solution.

Give them time.

Have faith a little longer.

Have faith?

In the laws of Persia?

Or have faith in the Lord?

Salvation for the Jews,
our very survival

dwells in the land promised
to Abraham.

I would sooner live in
a city with no walls

than in the richest empire
that has no true faith.

How will we find a way to
save us?

Oh Lord,
why have you turned away from us?

Please, put the right words
into my mouth

and turn his heart.

Turn his heart.

Turn the heart of he who
battles against us, turn!

Can't you see?

We have asked the Lord to turn
our fate against our enemies,

and in his goodness, he has
given us the means to do so.

The law.

To every province in its own script,

and to every people in its
own language.

And to the Jews in our
script and our language,

by royal decree of Ahasuerus,

King of Kings, to all his
governors and officials.

Let the Jews in every city

assemble and defend their lives,

to destroy, kill and
annihilate any armed force

of any people that might
threaten them on a single day,

the 13th day of the 12th
month of Adar.

And let this decree be
published in every province,

and issued to all peoples,

and let the Jews prepare
and make ready for that day.


Ezra, have you heard the edict?

It doesn't promise triumph,
only bloodshed.

There's no guarantee we will win.

At least we can defend ourselves,

if all we have is tools and stones.

Is this battle the right way?

This battle will keep the
Jews alive.

Let us begin.

Blessed art thou, oh Lord,
whose hand is gracious

to those who seek you.

Protect and defend your people

tomorrow on the day of battle,

and deliver us from our enemies.

The Jews have defended
themselves well.

Hundreds of people have
been killed, on both sides.

We are still awaiting
reports from the provinces.

I wanted to tell you myself.

Rejoice, My Queen.

You have saved your people.

It's over, Esther.

The peril,

the blood, it's all over.

Now I have a request for you.

And I ask you to listen to me,

if I have found favor in your eyes.

Be my Queen.

Share my Kingdom, my nights.

Be the light of my life.

I shall be your lover when
you desire me,

and your counsel when you
need me.

I've never given a woman
the love I feel for you.

It shall be so.

I, Esther, Queen of Persia,
decree that each year

the Jews will commemorate the
14th and 15th days of Adar,

because this was the month in which

their despair was turned into joy,

their mourning into a
feast of celebration,

with exchanging of gifts
and almsgiving to the poor.

And to remember how their fate,

or Pur, was turned around,

it shall be called The Feast
of Purim.

While many Jews
still remained in Persia,

others decided,
under the leadership of Ezra,

to return to the land from which

their ancestors had been deported.

They were sustained on their
long journey

by the desire to rebuild
a nation of their own.

In the Temple of Jerusalem,

which rose again after the destruction,

they would pray together
with those of the Jews

who had returned after King
Cyrus' edict years before.

The walls of Jerusalem
would rise again too,

under the wise ruler, Nehemia,

who was appointed Governor
of Judea by the Persian King.

Ezra, the scribe and priest,

became the spiritual leader
of the people of Israel,

and helped them to preserve
the divine word of the Bible

at the center of their lives

and at the heart of their faith.

(Foreign language)

In the beginning, God created
the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form,

and void and darkness was
upon the face of the deep.

And the spirit of God moved
upon the face of the waters,

and God said, "Let there be light,"

and there was light.