The Book of Esther (2013) Movie Script

Behold, there were
earthquakes upon the earth,
and in time,
two great dragons came forth,
ready to fight
against one another.
And at their cry,
all nations were stirred up
to fight against
the Nation of the Just,
and the Nation of the Just
was prepared for death.
But the Nation of the Just
cried out to the Lord,
and as they were crying,
the little spring
grew into a great river,
and abounded
into many waters.
The sun rose up
and the humble were exalted,
and they defeated
the haughty.
And that was the
end of the dream.
How can a little spring
turn into a great river?
Have faith, my love.
The Lord, in his infinite mercy,
will reveal its meaning.
Until then, you must promise
never to reveal to anyone
that you are a Jew
from the Tribe of Benjamin.
Never, Uncle?
As God lives, there will
be a time for you to remain silent
and a time for you to speak.
You shall no longer
be called Hadassah;
you shall be called Esther,
a proper Persian name
for a proper Persian girl.
But Uncle...
And you must never
again call me Uncle.
From now on,
you shall call me Teacher,
for that is what I am.
Do you understand,
Yes, Teacher.
You must be careful,
for God has given me
this dream for a reason.
Come to me, my love.
Sing to me, my sweet,
sing to me.
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
Esther, Esther, come quickly!
As royal
as the king himself.
I fear it fits me
not at all.
I am only a modest man.
Well, you're going
to the royal banquet,
and you must honor
the king and his queen.
Howl envy her.
You wish to be queen?
No, I wish to be married.
Esther, my love,
you will marry when
I find a suitable match.
Have I no say
in the matter?
The Lord God
requires of us obedience.
It is he that made us,
not we who have made him.
The Lord will reveal
his will soon enough,
I promise.
A splendid Royal Banquet,
thoroughly cheapened by the
presence of that Jew, Mordecai.
A bit harsh,
don't you think, Lord Haman?
It's not in my nature
to mince words.
Lord Haman.
I was not expecting
to see you here.
I was lead to believe
that only the king's closest
advisors would be invited.
As was I,
but apparently the Majesty
decided to invite you as well.
The king is a most
benevolent man.
Yes, most benevolent,
I fear.
If I had it in my power,
I'd crush you under my heel,
you and your
insidious people.
As my God lives,
that day will never come.
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
Nobles, advisors,
and all royal servants,
I extend to you
my warmest welcome.
I'm indeed pleased
to celebrate with you
the anniversary of my
ascension to the throne.
Queen Vashti, too,
extends her warmest welcome.
And where is
our Queen Vashti?
Does she not find our
celebration rich enough?
Perhaps she is unwell.
Please avail
yourselves of the food and wine,
eat and drink without limit,
for it gives me
great pleasure
to share this
celebration with you.
Let the feasting begin!
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
Keep open your ears,
I wish to know exactly what my
nobles and advisors are saying.
By your word, Majesty.
Mordecai's not
slept well lately.
He speaks of rumors
and threats against the king.
These palace intrigues
are not our concern.
You should think
of pleasant things.
Like marriage?
Don't you agree that a woman
my age should be married by now?.
You ask a difficult question.
A woman should marry as soon as
a suitable match can be found.
Suitable match? Suppose
there is no suitable match?
Well, none of them are
suitable matches, I should know.
But you married Jacob.
Aye, that I did.
Were the two of you
not in love?
If it was love
Jacob was after,
he would have married his donkey
and probably been happier.
And what about you?
If given the choice, I would
have married Jacob's donkey.
In truth,
Jacob was a good match.
He's a hard worker
when he works
and a good provider
when he provides.
Do you love him?
Between children,
and grandchildren,
and all the things a woman
has to take care of these days,
who has time
to think about love?
Queen Vashti is a mystery.
Ever since the royal wedding,
she is seen so rarely.
Pity, she's more
beautiful than any flower.
Yes, Azada,
but flowers fade.
She likewise is more
beautiful than any sunset.
But the sunset eventually
turns to darkness, does it not?
Then again,
His Majesty believes her to be
more beautiful
than any jewel.
But jewels can be
lost or stolen.
All that you say is true,
yet does not Vashti
remain our queen?
Then she should appear
before us and receive our honor.
As it is written, like a
gold ring in a pig's snout,
is a beautiful woman
without discretion?
Yes, come.
What think you
of our Queen Vashti?
The king has called her
the most beautiful
woman in the world.
Then why does
she not appear?
Is our queen suddenly
found unsuitable?
If the king chose her,
then she is suitable.
Even kings have been known
to make mistakes.
Toast to the king!
What news?
Your Majesty's
nobles and advisors
are anxious
to see the queen.
My good people,
as much as I have
endeavored to provide you
with the finest
in food and wine,
I regret that
I have withheld from you
the greatest of all blessings,
Queen Vashti.
I shall therefore
deny you no longer.
And not a moment
too soon.
Sardar, I command
that the Queen Vashti join us here
in the royal hall
and dance for us.
It will please me greatly to
have her join me by my side.
By your word, Majesty.
Permission to enter?
to enter, Royal One.
My queen,
the women wish to know
whether you prefer diamonds
or pearls on your headdress.
Cannot my husband, the king,
afford both diamonds and pearls?
Yes, that is so,
Royal One.
Then I shall have both.
Yes, Royal One.
It's the least that
foolish man can do for me.
Royal One, I caution you to
choose your words carefully.
And I caution you not
to be so presumptuous.
Yes, Royal One.
The king is a fool,
but he is also in love,
which means I shall
have the upper hand.
Did I not vow to be a queen
unlike any Persia has ever seen?
Yes, my queen, and you have
kept that vow most faithfully.
Who's there?
Sardar, the commander
of His Majesty's royal army.
I honor you, Queen Vashti.
What is the meaning
of this intrusion?
The king has commanded
your presence at once.
You are to wear
your finest garments
and place a jeweled tiara
upon your head.
In such fashion shall you
dance for His Majesty
and for his guests.
Is that what the king asks?
No, Royal One,
it is what the king commands.
Tell him I'm busy.
Royal One, I'm
afraid you misunderstand.
The king has commanded you
to come before him and dance.
Suppose I'm not
in the mood for dancing?
The king is also a warrior.
When he commands his soldiers,
they must obey.
Very well,
have him command his army
to dance for him.
Royal One!
If I return to the king
without you,
my life may be in peril.
For the sake of my head,
I ask that you do
as the king commands.
I care not for your head
nor for anyone else's.
I have made up my mind.
And even if His Majesty himself
came to fetch me,
I would not go.
Now leave me!
I find this
conversation tiresome.
The queen tarries.
Perhaps she needs more time
to make herself presentable.
Perhaps she is deliberately
trying to keep us in suspense.
We soon shall see.
Sardar, what is
the meaning of this?
Who dares disobey the king?
The queen, Your Majesty.
What did she say?
Out with it!
She said she was
not in the mood for dancing.
If this is treason
you speak against the queen...
It is not treason,
Your Majesty, but truth.
Perhaps the
queen misunderstood my command.
No, Majesty.
The queen
understood perfectly.
She said that
even if Your Majesty
came to fetch her yourself,
she would not go.
impertinence shall not stand.
If I allow Queen Vashti
to disobey me,
then what will stop the women
of Persia from doing likewise?
I shall therefore
issue a new command.
By your word, Majesty.
I command that Queen Vashti
be removed from
the palace at once,
and I decree that
my marriage to her
is null and void.
By your word, Majesty.
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
I wish to be alone.
Esther, Esther,
I have terrible news!
What is it?
The king has dissolved
his marriage to Queen Vashti.
It is said that she
wickedly disobeyed a command.
What exactly did the king
command her to do?
She was commanded
to dance for the king
and his guests, and she refused.
And for this reason
she was banished?
Well, a royal command is
not to be taken lightly,
nor should a woman
disobey her husband.
Oh Judith,
you're one to talk.
Would you have me believe
that there is no disobedience
in your marriage?
None whatsoever.
Jacob does exactly
what I tell him to do.
Perhaps it is best
that I'm not married.
It is a
complicated business.
But not without
its rewards.
stop your gossiping.
These palace intrigues
are none of our concern.
Oh, Miriam, Miriam!
I have terrible news!
This is a disaster
for the kingdom.
A fatalist sees a disaster;
a wise man sees opportunity.
But Lord Haman,
Persia is without a queen!
Then His Majesty will simply
have to find a new one!
Yes, Lord Haman, but
from which part of the world?
All of our allies have
run out of eligible brides.
Well, then His Majesty
will have to find a new queen
amongst his own people,
a young woman of nobility,
a daughter of one of
his closest advisors.
What a pity it is that the gods
have favored you with ten sons
and not a single daughter.
But Gaspar,
have you forgotten
that I have daughter
called Zara?
Forgive me, Lord Haman,
but she is but a child.
That was yesterday.
You know children,
they grow up so quickly.
Quickly enough for marriage?
You must take this proposal
to the king at once.
No, no, no, I'm far too
modest to make such a proposal myself.
No, no, that is why I'm relying
upon you to make it for me.
Me? But...
Oh, faithful friend, I want
the honor to be all yours.
But, Lord Haman,
what if His Majesty
receives it badly?
I may lose my head.
But I would be supremely
grateful for your sacrifice.
Now, the king's counsel will
be meeting with the king soon.
I want you to prepare
well your speech,
for my sake,
as well as for yours.
Blessed are you, Lord,
our God, King of the universe,
who sanctifies us
with his commandments
and commands us to light
the Sabbath candles.
We should also give thanks
for our King Xerxes,
for permitting our people to
celebrate the Sabbath in peace.
If the king did not permit us
to celebrate the Sabbath,
we would of course disobey,
would we not?
Yes, my child,
that is true.
It would be better to disobey
the king than to disobey God.
And yet the queen disobeyed
the king and was banished.
The queen was indeed banished
because of her disobedience.
The queen was banished
because she refused to dance
before the king
and make a spectacle of herself.
I cannot find it
in myself to condemn her,
for if I had been commanded so,
I too would have disobeyed.
Esther, you are permitted
many things under my roof,
but treason
is not one of them.
If the king commands it,
you are not to question.
Even if the king
commanded our people
not to obey the Sabbath?
I mean no, I...
Either my words
are failing me,
or the student has indeed
surpassed the teacher.
Esther, my love, you must
follow your conscience,
but obedience to God is the
sure path to righteousness.
Yes, Teacher.
Yes, Lord Haman.
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
There must
be treachery afoot.
How so, Mordecai?
Haman's lips are moving.
Providence has
ordained that my head bears the crown,
but is it also the
design of providence
that I should spend
my life in solitude?
Is there no suitable queen
for the king of Persia?
Your Majesty, if I may
have permission to speak?
Oh great king, it is neither
the design of providence
nor the will of your people that
Your Majesty remain unmarried.
Where, then, would you
have me find a queen?
Do you think we've
not looked everywhere?
His Majesty has
looked everywhere
except from among
his own people.
This eunich
speaks truthfully.
Is it not customary
for the king
to marry the daughter
of one of his allies?
Customary, Majesty,
but not required.
Again, the
eunuch speaks truthfully.
And Majesty,
if I may be so bold,
may I...
may I suggest you look toward
your nobles and advisors
for such a queen?
Gentlemen, what
think you of this proposal?
Your Majesty,
if I may be permitted,
Gaspar's suggestion,
while it is a worthy one,
is not feasible, I fear.
For what reason?
Your Majesty surely knows
that more than half of your
counselors are eunuchs.
That's a great disadvantage,
I'm afraid,
when it comes to
producing offspring.
Your Majesty, my worthy
colleague is mistaken.
One of your counselors
does indeed
have a suitable
candidate for marriage.
Pray tell me Gaspar.
Who is this
suitable candidate?
It is none other than
Zara, the daughter of Lord Haman.
Lord Haman,
does Gaspar speak the truth?
He does indeed,
Your Majesty,
and while I love my daughter
more than my own life,
it would give me great pleasure
to offer her to you as a bride.
I also have another
candidate, Your Majesty.
you have never taken a wife.
Whence comes this candidate?
Your Majesty
speaks the truth,
however it has been my
pleasure to be the guardian
of a young orphan girl
who has grown into an
exceptional young woman,
as fine a daughter
as Persia can produce.
Tell me, Mordecai,
is she beautiful?
As lovely as a
morning star, Your Majesty,
and more importantly,
she is as obedient and modest
as she is beautiful.
Permit me
a word, gracious Majesty.
As you wish,
Lord Haman.
The selection of a bride
is no small matter,
but I would think
you would agree with me
that only women of quality
should be selected.
Did not Gaspar
say that my nobles and advisors
could select a woman
of good standing?
Why then do you disagree
with your own eunuch?
Very well then,
are there any others?
I have a candidate,
Your Majesty.
I also have a candidate,
Your Majesty.
As well do I, Majesty.
I command that the daughters of
Persia be brought to the palace
at the time of my choosing
and presented to me
for my royal perusal.
In such manner
shall I find a new queen.
All hail, King Xerxes!
Hail, King Xerxes!
This is a disaster
for the kingdom.
Oh, a fatalist sees a disaster;
a wise man sees an opportunity.
Oh, silence,
you foolish eunuch.
Didn't I tell you to
prepare well your speech?
Lord Haman,
I had no idea Mordecai
would suggest a contest.
It's insolence,
the nerve of that hapless Jew.
He proposes that a stray,
a cast-off become queen.
Mordecai said
she was an orphan.
We know not the child's
true circumstances,
nor are we likely
to find them out.
Lord Haman, if she
was raised by Mordecai,
she is clearly unsuitable.
What further proof
do you require?
Because Mordecai
is cunning, if nothing else.
Who knows what trickery
this old Jew has up his sleeve?
Lord Haman, I can confidently
predict that whatever candidates
may appear, they will be
no match for your Zara.
What, are you a prophet
suddenly as well as a fool?
Rarely are those two qualities
captured in one man.
Shh, shh.
There we go, there we go.
Keep your head,
Lord Haman.
All will be well, shh.
All better be well,
because it will be
your head that is lost.
Esther, my love.
Oh, forgive me, Teacher.
I must remember not to make
noise while you are studying.
Esther, your singing is sweet
and it bothers me not.
My love, did I not
promise that you would marry
when I found
a suitable match?
Teacher, has the Lord
revealed his will to you?
All my worrying was for naught,
for I know that the Lord
has heard my prayers
and he has answered them.
Tell me, Teacher, tell me.
Who is it that I'm to marry?
It is the king.
The king of what?
Why, the
king of Persia of course.
The same king
who banished the queen
because she refused
to dance?
Esther, my love, I know
this is a difficult thing.
Might I suggest impossible?
Why would the king
choose me as his queen?
He knows me not.
You speak the truth,
my love,
but it is also true the king
may not take you for a queen.
I thought you said
that a match had been made.
Not quite.
Am I to compete,
as in a race?
Esther, the competition
is fierce,
and if you lose it may mean
the death of our people.
This is beyond
my understanding.
My child, listen to me.
Lord Haman, the wicked
man who hates our people
has proposed his own
daughter as a match.
If she becomes queen,
Haman will be the power
behind the throne.
Our king is still young
and requires sound advice.
I worry that Haman's evil
will be unrestricted.
You must pray, Esther.
You must ask God for
wisdom and strength.
I will need much
of both, I fear.
Fear not,
they are richly blessed
who put their
trust in God.
I will pray, Teacher, for
both wisdom and for strength.
Pray also for me.
I have lit a fire that
will not be easily put out.
Yes, Father Mordecai.
I honor you, Lord Haman.
Oh, honor me later.
Fetch me my wife
and be quick about it.
your pardon, Lord Haman.
Your wife left word that
she is too busy to see you.
Too busy?
If my wife intends to follow
the example of the queen,
tell her she can
obtain the same results,
only I shall banish her
to the desert,
and when the vultures
have had their fill,
she'll make
a pretty fossil.
Hush Husband, this foolish slave
has taken leave of his senses.
Nasir, return to your chores!
As you command,
Lady Haman.
Oh my husband,
what good news from the palace?
There is none.
Has the king rejected
our daughter as his queen?
He has not as yet.
Then why did you
insist the news is bad.
Because of that Jew,
Thanks to his treachery,
the betrothal is now a contest
in which his own candidate is
a rival to our daughter, Zara.
The impertinence
of that man.
Now, we'll have to
depend on our daughter
to win the affections of the
king with her charm and beauty.
You realize, of course, that
puts us at a great disadvantage.
Oh, have I not eyes,
If only the
king were blind,
then all our troubles
would soon be over.
Our daughter's
not entirely unfair,
and what of
Mordecai's candidate?
Have you seen her?
Then perhaps this
tension is for naught.
Oh, unlikely,
Mordecai's too clever.
Perhaps you
give him too much credit.
All I know is that Zara
was not meant to have a rival.
There, there,
my husband.
Leave it to me.
With some jewels and
cosmetics and fine fabrics,
I shall fashion our Zara
into a worthy queen.
That'll take
an act of the gods.
Is your ambition lacking?
I shall see the
house of Haman rule,
then shall I have my revenge
on those insidious Jews
whose king
exterminated my people.
One task at a time,
my lord.
Incline your ear,
O Lord, and hear me,
for I am poor and needy.
You are my God.
Save your servant
who trusts in you.
Oh God, what you ask
is a difficult thing,
and yet I know that nothing
is impossible with you.
If you will but call me by name,
I will answer and obey.
Hadassah, Hadassah.
Who's there?
Who calls me by that name?
It is I.
Speak, Lord,
for I am listening.
Because I am with
you, you shall not be harmed,
for I am the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
Yes, God.
There will come for
you a time to keep silent,
and a time for you to speak,
for in all things
shall I be glorified.
My God speaks
and I will obey.
Oh, house of Haman,
today shall you
receive your glory.
Where is my wife?
Is it success or failure?
Patience, Husband.
The house of Haman did not
become great in 1 day.
No, but it
can be ruined in 1 day
if my wife
and my daughter fail me.
We shall not fail.
Have a look.
It's a failure.
Oh, why have the gods not
given me a worthy daughter?
She is worthy.
I didn't ask for a daughter
as handsome as myself.
If she had but a fraction of
our beauty, all would be well.
Hush, Husband,
you upset the girl.
I will add a veil.
It will add an air of mystery
for the king.
fetch me my fabrics.
If His Majesty is enchanted
by a bolt of cloth,
then he's a greater fool
than he's been given credit for.
Hush, Husband.
We shall not fail;
all will be well.
All better be well!
I tell you this day
that either my daughter Zara
will be crowned
the queen of Persia
or I will have
no daughter at all.
I may be poorly dressed,
but I am rich in faith.
My child, the palace will
provide you with all the oils
and perfumes
and cosmetics you require.
As much as she
desires and more.
I have everything I need.
If she
captures the king's heart,
his eyes
will not disagree.
Forgive me, I have not
cried so since my wedding day.
Were they not
tears of joy?
Not precisely.
We go to the palace.
And may our God
go with you.
And be with your spirit,
Lord Haman's
daughter, the lady Zara,
is a woman
of great modesty, my king.
She wouldn't dream
of appearing before you
with her face uncovered.
An admirable quality,
I suppose.
Can it be?
Your Majesty?
You there, step forward.
By what name
are you called?
My name is Esther,
Your Majesty.
And who speaks for
this woman, Esther?
I do, Your Majesty.
And what say you
on her behalf?
I can only quote
the writings of my people,
that a virtuous wife
is more precious than rubies.
Your Majesty, my daughter Zara
comes from a noble house
whose lineage goes
back many generations.
She will make
a charming wife
as befits such a
fine and noble king.
It is also written
that charm is deceptive,
but a woman who fears God
will be greatly praised.
Majesty, these
superstitious ramblings
of this Jewish malcontent
should have no impact
on your decision.
Lord Haman, has
it not always been my pleasure
to consider all advice?
Indeed, Majesty, indeed.
Escort these two great daughters
of Persia to my chamber.
I will summon them
at my pleasure.
By your word, Majesty.
All is prepared?
Would not Your Majesty
be better served
by speaking with
each woman directly?
I shall learn
more from this
than I could learn from
a thousand private talks,
for to my face they will
tell me what I wish to hear,
but in secret shall I divine
the true nature of these women.
Yes, my lord.
My lady, is this your
first time to the palace?
Yes, yours as well?
And what
think you of it?
The palace?
It's very...
Yes, yes it is.
My lady, I suspect
you're a woman of great beauty.
Why then do you conceal
yourself with silk cloths?
Alas, I am not
a woman of great beauty.
This I cannot believe.
It is my wicked parents
who have hidden my face.
They are hoping that the
king confuses my disguise
for modesty,
for if he sees my face,
he will be repulsed.
This cannot be.
May I be allowed to
determine this for myself?
You are beautiful!
You mock me.
I do not!
Surely, anyone with eyes
can see you are as lovely
as any daughter of Persia.
You are the first person
to pay me this compliment;
forgive me if
I am suspicious.
Can you not
see for yourself?
I only know that I'm a
disappointment to my family.
Your own parents do not know
what a treasure they possess?
If I'm indeed a treasure,
it is one they are so
desperate to give away.
But surely it is
because they wish to have
a queen as a daughter.
It is because my father
wishes to control the king.
I am only
a means to an end.
Forgive me for asking,
but suppose the king
does not choose you?
Then I shall pay dearly.
I shall be banished
and live on the streets.
No, if the king
does not choose you,
you shall not
live on the streets.
You will live
with me in the palace.
As your slave?
As my lady... in... waiting,
and if there be a more exalted
position, it shall be yours,
you have my word.
Summon Mordecai and Haman,
I have made my choice.
By your word, Majesty.
My good men, what a
pleasant task I have completed this day.
To select a wife from
Persia's finest daughters
has been most agreeable to me.
Though I have chosen quickly, I
am certain I have chosen wisely.
Without further ado,
it is Esther whom
I have chosen to be my queen.
But Your Majesty, a king that
judges quickly judges unwisely.
My eyes have seen
and my heart bares witness.
This is indeed my queen.
It can only
be the work of our God.
I honor you, my lady,
and I only ask that you commit
to your promise that I shall
be your faithful servant.
Consider it done.
I shall therefore
issue a royal proclamation.
By your word,
Great Majesty.
Let the word go forth
that Esther is my queen.
Prepare a feast
and declare a holiday!
Yes, King Xerxes.
I honor you.
Even the gods themselves
are against me.
And why is my
husband roaring about like a lion?
The house of Haman
lies in ruins because of you.
Because of me?
It would be an amazing trick
if I were able ponder it.
Your magic is worthless.
Hush, Husband.
Tell me about our daughter.
We have no daughter.
This is strange news,
I suspect the king
has chosen another.
What, you're mocking me
to my face?
Husband, in love as in war,
to the victor go the spoils.
Then I tell you,
this is war.
With the king?
With Mordecai.
Hear me, woman.
The house of Haman
shall be redeemed.
Do not fear, Esther.
Thou may come closer.
Are you indeed afraid?
No, great king, I'm in awe
of your majesty and of your wisdom.
How so?
You have chosen
me for a bride
without having spoken
a single word to me.
Then come, sit
at my feet and let us talk.
As you wish,
Your Majesty.
Are you comfortable?
I must answer Your Majesty's
question with another question.
Is this always to be my
position, at His Majesty's feet?
You are not
of noble birth,
and therefore you must
take an inferior position.
His Majesty speaks the truth,
but in marriage shall
we not be equally yoked?
My lady...
I cannot raise you above the
circumstances of your birth.
If you are indeed
to be my husband,
then there is only one
solution to this problem.
This is the solution
you had in mind?
The very one, my king.
You are much more beautiful
from this perspective.
And His Majesty's face
is much more dignified
than His Majesty's feet.
Will you be an
obedient queen?
That is all I ask.
Will you be a
faithful husband?
That is all I ask.
My love for you is as great
as my love for Persia.
And I shall obey you
as I would obey my God.
My queen exalts me.
It was Mordecai
who taught me thus.
You have learned well.
I wish our
wedding was tonight.
Patience, my king.
We have only
just engaged.
Is not the king entitled
to get what he desires?
The king desires
virtue above all else,
and shall therefore be content
to wait for his bride.
I will wait, but it will
bring me no happiness.
Happier still will you be
when the day of our
marriage finally arrives.
Indeed, my love,
my Esther.
Now you must go, before
immodesty takes hold of me.
I fear no such thing,
for you are a king.
But I am also a man.
Now go.
As my king commands,
I shall obey.
Good night, sweet king.
Good night, dear Esther.
Walk with me.
This night hurts time.
Yes, my lord, but it
is the dawn that heals.
The time has come
for us to act.
We've delayed long enough
while our foolish king
follows his heart
and not his head.
And Persia grows soft
as the consequence.
I tell you, Teres,
when I seize the crown,
Persia will again be great.
The army stands
behind you, my lord.
It appears.
Their patience
shall be rewarded,
for soon they will dip
their spears in blood.
We strike at midnight.
I honor you, my lord.
Prepare the men.
Lord Haman,
why trouble me at this hour?
Gracious Majesty,
I have a thorn in my side.
Shall I help you remove it
along with your head?
Gracious Majesty,
have I not been a loyal servant?
Your fidelity is
unquestionable, Haman.
Since you have chosen Mordecai's
candidate as your queen,
it occurs to me that I'm less
esteemed as a result.
Your worthiness
is not diminished in my eyes.
Yes, maybe
not in His Majesty's eyes,
but in the eyes
of my peers.
What would
you have me do?
Your Majesty, if it not
be too great a request,
it would please me well
if you could make me
the king's prime minister.
Prime minister?
It is simply another
title, Lord Haman.
Yes, but one
that would require your people
to bow before me.
Very well, Lord Haman.
Is there no peace
for the king?
Who calls?!
Mordecai, Your Majesty.
my friend, enter.
A thousand pardons for
the lateness of the hour,
Your Majesty.
Am I not still awake?
Your Majesty, I have a
matter of great importance to discuss.
Well then, keep us not
in suspense, Mordecai.
It is a matter
that concerns the king.
I am now
the king's prime minister;
what concerns the king
concerns me.
Merely another title.
Yes, but one that
requires that you bow before me, Jew.
There's not time,
Lord Haman.
Great Majesty, moments
ago did I hear Sardar,
the commander of your army;
and Teres, your bodyguard,
plot your assassination.
My assassination?
Your Majesty,
this man has lost his senses.
He's accusing His Majesty's two
of his most faithful servants?
Your Majesty
must act at once.
The plot
commences at midnight.
Your Majesty,
as your prime minister,
I advise you to send this
man back to his bedroom.
Obviously he has had
too much to drink.
We will investigate
these charges,
for Mordecai would have
no cause to deceive me.
Your Majesty.
Send for Sardar and Teres,
we will find the truth
of this matter.
What troubles
my husband now?.
Have another of his
schemes come to naught?
Taunt me no further, woman,
or I shall banish you
as I have banished
my daughter.
Yes, Husband,
banish me to the palace
where I too shall
serve Queen Esther.
Oh, silence.
Am I not the
king's prime minister?
Is not everyone required
to bow before me?
Why does this revolting Jew
Mordecai refuse to pay me honor?
I suspect he has found
favor in the king's eyes.
This Mordecai shall not live
and neither shall his people.
Propose you then... murder?
I shall arrange
for their execution.
A fine, subtle distinction,
but a difficult task,
for the Jewish people are
very loyal to their king.
Then what if they
were found to be disloyal?
An unlikely event.
I must get my hands on
as much of the Jewish writings
as I can find.
Does my husband
wish to turn Hebrew?.
Mordecai, he quotes his
people's writings selectively,
but not fully I suspect.
There's only one way
to discern this.
Will you read all
the writings, Husband?
I won't read any of them.
It shall be done for me.
And suppose
no treason is found?
Then I shall create treason!
We shall gather the
great architects of Persia
and have them design gallows
fit for Mordecai, the Jew.
Finally, my wife comes up
with a sensible idea.
And my dear, sweet Judith.
My darling child,
I mean, my queen.
And what think you
of the palace, Judith?
It has so many rooms,
a person could get lost.
Who is this
lovely young girl?
Oh, this is Zara,
Lord Haman's daughter.
I honor you, Mordecai.
This beautiful woman
is Haman's daughter?
I confess to the truth of it,
but with no gladness of heart.
My lovely girl,
I fear for your life.
Your father is a proud man,
easily angered.
I have no concern
for my life,
for Esther has promised
to take care of me.
My queen, I trust that you
have found marriage agreeable?
In truth, Teacher,
I find it bittersweet.
How so?
My husband, the king,
I so rarely see him.
Surely the queen may see
the king at her pleasure?
Nay, Judith.
A woman is not to enter
the king's presence
unless she be summoned,
even the queen.
Aye, if Jacob
had such a law,
he would spend
even more time alone.
And likely be
grateful for the silence.
I would be put to death
were I too to disobey.
Lord Haman has lately kept
the king heavily engaged
with the affairs of state.
I doubt not the
king's love for me,
but I fear my rival is Persia
for the king's affection.
Fear not, my queen.
If the king loves you
as well as Persia,
then he loves you
well indeed.
As always, my Teacher
speaks the truth.
My queen,
you have learned well.
Come Judith,
I have much to show you.
All hail,
King Xerxes of Persia.
Hail, King Xerxes!
Lord Haman, I should have
chosen you for a consort,
for I spend more time with you
than I spend with the queen.
Your Majesty, this is
a matter of extreme urgency.
For the sake of your
neck, Lord Haman,
I require that it be
a matter of life or death.
Your Majesty,
this is a matter of treason.
Am I surrounded by
nothing but conspirators?
If my throne is in
peril, Lord Haman,
why then are we
completely unaware?
Because, Your Majesty, the
threat comes not from without.
The threat
comes from within.
And only now you
bring this to my attention?
Your Majesty,
there is a group of people in
your kingdom who are disloyal.
And who are
these disloyal people?
The Jews, Your Majesty.
The Jews?
They support another?
The evidence
lies here before you.
Am I Jew, Lord Haman,
that I can read such things?
Then allow us
to translate.
"Sing praises to God.
"Sing praises to our King.
"For God is the King
of all the earth.
"It is God
who reigneth over the people.
It is God
who sitteth upon the throne. "
If this is not proof
of treason, Your Majesty,
then I cannot
produce any.
They repay my generosity
with insolence?
Majesty, if it pleases you,
I have chosen the 13th day of
the 12th month, Your Majesty.
Let on this day
every traitorous Jew,
young, old, women,
children, be annihilated.
Let it be done
as Lord Haman commands.
By your word, Your Majesty.
Who calls?
The lady Zara, Your Majesty.
Enter at once.
A visitor to see
Your Majesty?
I honor you, my queen.
Judith, it's so
good to see you.
But the bad news I bring
will surely hurt
Your Majesty's heart.
I come at the
request of Mordecai.
Why does he
not come himself?
Because, my queen,
Mordecai sits at home
in sackcloth and ashes.
Judith, you must
tell me this news at once.
Shall I speak
freely, my queen?
Lady Zara
has my confidence.
It is the wicked
Lord Haman, my queen.
He has convinced
your husband, the king,
to destroy all the Jews.
No, this cannot be.
On the 13th of this month,
all the Jews
will be put to death,
including you.
I've said too much.
Zara, I beg you
to keep this a secret.
My lady, I would
never betray you.
My father is an evil man and
I beg you a thousand pardons.
It's no fault
of yours, Zara.
There's no need
for forgiveness.
What is Mordecai's advice?
He asks that
you go to the king
to beg him for mercy
and plead for our people.
Judith, I cannot,
for no woman is permitted
to enter the king's presence
without being summoned.
Even the queen
must obey this law.
Then this
is Mordecai's answer...
There is a time
to remain silent
and a time to speak,
but if you
remain silent now,
you and your people
will perish.
Is it not possible that you have
come to your royal position
for such a time as this?
Judith, I...
Go then, and tell Mordecai
to gather all the Jews of Persia
and have them fast for me.
They shall not eat or drink
for 3 days, day or night,
and I shall do the same,
and then I will
go to the king.
And if I perish,
I shall perish.
It will be done
as you say, my queen.
I beg you, my queen,
do not make this mistake.
The king is
a man of his word,
and you will surely
be put to death.
Azada, do not fear.
Now take me at once
to the king.
I honor you,
Queen Esther.
Tell me, Lord Haman,
that this concludes
our business for the day.
If Your Majesty commands it
then we shall
continue at another time.
I do command it.
By your word,
Great Majesty.
I honor you,
King Xerxes.
What is the meaning
of this intrusion?
Lord Haman.
The queen is here to
see you, Your Majesty.
Summoned you the queen,
great king?
I did not.
Esther, my queen.
Forgive my transgression,
Your Majesty,
for I know that
your word is the law.
Forgive my
transgression, my love,
for because of Lord Haman,
I have placed
the affairs of the state
above the affairs
of the heart.
If it pleases Your Majesty,
I would like to make a request.
It does indeed please me.
My petition is this:
Let Your Majesty
come tomorrow
to a banquet
which I will prepare.
You and Lord Haman.
Then I will make
my request known.
What say you, Lord Haman?
Your Majesty...
I wouldn't dream of declining
such a gracious invitation.
Then let it be done.
Thank you, my king.
Does my wife
adore her husband?
Your persistence
exceeds your cruelty,
a quality much
to be admired.
Do we not have everything?
A great name.
Ah, and vast wealth.
And revenge.
And with the king
under my thumb,
the house of Haman
Oh, I forgot to mention,
my dear, beautiful wife,
that I am the only person
the queen has invited
to the royal banquet
for the king.
Queen Esther?
What a bizarre invitation.
Surely she knows
what will become of her
benefactor, Mordecai.
Mention not that name.
His demise
will be soon enough.
It is the queen who
arouses my suspicion.
Harbor no such thoughts,
dear wife.
It is the king who
controls the queen,
but it is I who
controls the king.
Is my husband, the king,
well pleased?
As well pleased
as I am well fed.
And you, Lord Haman?
The pleasure of this meal
is matched only by the pleasure
of the queen's company.
Queen Esther,
what is your petition?
Ask and it shall be granted.
Whatever you request,
even up to half my kingdom,
I will give it to you.
If it pleases
Your Majesty,
grant me my life and spare my
people, for this is my request.
Esther, my love,
you make a strange petition.
Who has threatened your life?
A great enemy,
Your Majesty.
Lord Haman.
Lord Haman, would you
molest a queen in her own home?
Your Majesty,
the queen is surely mistaken.
I would never
lay a hand on her.
Lord Haman speaks falsely,
Your Majesty,
for he has ordered the
destruction of my people
and me.
If he had merely made us slaves,
I would have remained silent,
for there would be no need
to disturb the king.
Lord Haman, have you
an answer to this accusation?
Your Majesty, I know not
of what this queen speaks of.
Lord Haman knows full well,
Your Majesty,
for did he not cause you
to order the destruction
of the Jews?
The Jews?
They are a treacherous
people, my queen.
Lord Haman has
shown me the evidence.
Has he indeed?
Your Majesty, may I ask,
what has this matter
got to do with the other?
Only that the Jews
are my people.
If they be found traitors,
let me be guilty as well.
This cannot be.
Your Majesty,
perhaps the queen is unwell.
Please, I beg you
to have mercy on her.
You would beg mercy for me
yet deny it to my people
and Mordecai?
Is he a traitor?
Has it not been
recorded in history
that Mordecai
once saved your life?
Does a traitor
conspire against himself?
Great Majesty...
Were not for Mordecai,
Esther would not be my queen.
Yes, that is indeed true.
I have made
a terrible mistake.
One that is
easily rectified, Your Majesty.
You will simply have to
find yourself another queen.
I have condemned
a man to death
without first giving him the
opportunity to defend himself,
he and his people.
Send for Mordecai at once
and summon my counselors.
I wish for everyone to hear
the testimony tomorrow at noon.
By your word, King Xerxes.
Then we shall
know the truth.
All hail,
King Xerxes of Persia!
Hail, King Xerxes!
Men of Persia, this day
I have summoned you to hear the case
against the Jewish people.
I was persuaded
of their guilt
and sentenced them
to a violent death,
all the Jews, all the Jews,
including Mordecai
and my queen.
But as Lord Haman
once pronounced,
the king who judges quickly
judges not wisely.
And in this event,
he is correct.
Therefore I shall
ask Lord Haman again
to present his case
against the Jews.
But this time, Mordecai will
be allowed to defend the Jews.
Lord Haman?
Your Majesty, as I
believe I have so eloquently proven,
that the Jews are
a traitorous people,
who honor their God
and despise their king,
and as their
writings also affirm,
it is their God
who rules them,
and it is their God
who sits upon the throne.
Mordecai, have you
an answer to this charge?
Your Majesty, Lord
Haman does indeed quote the writings
of my people accurately,
but not completely,
for it also written
that God establishes kings.
Therefore to disobey the king
would be to disobey God.
I must ask you in truth
if you are and always have been
an obedient servant to me?
Your Majesty knows
well the answer to that question,
for I have served you
faithfully and obediently
all these years, and
indeed your father before you.
Of this, Mordecai,
I am certain.
But I must also ask you,
are you also an obedient
servant of your God?
Your Majesty also knows well
that as a Jew from
the Tribe of Benjamin,
I am an obedient
servant to my God.
That was
quite elegant, Mordecai,
if not a bit deceptive.
But answer me this,
What if there was
a contradiction?
What if His Majesty
commanded one thing
and your God
commanded another?
Who then, Mordecai,
would you obey?
For many years
I have lived in peace
and prospered in the
service of Your Majesty.
But before Your Majesty
came to be,
my people worshipped
the God of Israel,
a living God who brought
my people out of Egypt
and delivered them
from slavery.
To Your Majesty
I owe my living,
but to my God,
I owe my life.
Order, order!
Mordecai, perhaps
you did not understand my question.
These are words
of treason, Your Majesty,
straight from the
traitor's own lips.
Order, order!
Your Majesty, you
have permitted Mordecai to speak
on behalf of his people.
Permit me now to speak
on behalf of Mordecai.
As you wish, Esther.
Your Majesty, have you not
always granted the Jewish people
the freedom to worship
their God in peace?
My love, it has indeed
been my pleasure,
but it was also the will
of the late king, my father.
Therefore I must ask you,
great king,
when ever did you issue an
order to my Teacher, Mordecai,
which he did not obey?
In truth, dear Esther,
I cannot recall such an event.
Your Majesty cannot recall it
because it has not happened.
Your Majesty, this
Jewish queen pleads too late.
She acts out of preservation for
her title as well as her life.
Did not once
Mordecai save your life?
And did you not reward him with
a royal robe and a royal horse?
And was it not Lord Haman
who recommended it?
Your Majesty,
the question that was asked was
what would be done for the man
that the king wishes to honor?.
I thought His Majesty
was referring to me.
Therefore, Your Majesty,
I pose to you the same
question Lord Haman asks:
If a king commands one thing
and God commands another,
how would you have
this conflict resolved?
I would have a man
follow his own conscience,
for even kings have been
known to make mistakes.
I find no treason
in Mordecai or his people
and he shall continue to serve
me with honor and distinction.
And his people shall live.
Lord Haman, I am not yet
finished with you,
for we must still address
the issue of your treason.
My treason?
For the havoc
you have created
and for the terrible
advice you have rendered
as prime minister,
I hereby
sentence you to death.
And I command that a gallows
be built as quickly as possible
with which to execute you.
Gracious Majesty,
in his infinite wisdom,
Haman has already
prepared such a gallows.
Though it was
tailored for Mordecai,
I am sure you will find it
for him a perfect fit.
I am repaid
with my own coin.
To the gallows at once.
I honor you, King Xerxes.
Remove at once
Haman's royal robe
and place it upon Mordecai,
for it is Mordecai who
will now be my prime minister.
These events shall be
recorded in history.
By your word, Your Majesty.
And henceforth forever
this will be, for the Jews,
a time of joy and happiness,
and let it be written
that it is Queen Esther
who has saved her people
from the villain Haman.
Queen Esther!
Azada, take this man away.
It shall be done
as you say.
Mordecai, now that
you are second in rank to the king,
command a banquet to be held
with much food and wine.
Your Majesty.
For I would command it myself,
but I wish to be alone
with my queen.
Hail, King Xerxes!