It was first printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker and was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first had been the Great Bible, commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second had been the Bishops' Bible of 1568. In January 1604, James I convened the Hampton Court Conference, where a new English version was conceived in response to the problems of the earlier translations perceived by the Puritans, a faction of the Church of England. The translation is widely considered to be both beautiful and scholarly and thus a towering achievement in English literature.
1:1. In the days of Assuerus, who reigned from India to Ethiopia over a hundred and twenty seven provinces:
1:2. When he sat on the throne of his kingdom, the city Susan was the capital of his kingdom.
1:3. Now in the third year of his reign he made a great feast for all the princes, and for his servants, for the most mighty of the Persians, and the nobles of the Medes, and the governors of the provinces in his sight,
1:4. That he might shew the riches of the glory of his kingdom, and the greatness, and boasting of his power, for a long time, to wit, for a hundred and fourscore days.
1:5. And when the days of the feast were expired, he invited all the people that were found in Susan, from the greatest to the least: and commanded a feast to be made seven days in the court of the garden, and of the wood, which was planted by the care and the hand of the king.
1:6. And there were hung up on every side sky coloured, and green, and violet hangings, fastened with cords of silk, and of purple, which were put into rings of ivory, and were held up with marble pillars. The beds also were of gold and silver, placed in order upon a floor paved with porphyry and white marble: which was embellished with painting of wonderful variety.
1:7. And they that were invited, drank in golden cups, and the meats were brought in divers vessels one after another. Wine also in abundance and of the best was presented, as was worthy of a king's magnificence.
1:8. Neither was there any one to compel them to drink that were not willing, but as the king had appointed, who set over every table one of his nobles, that every man might take what he would.
1:9. Also Vasthi the queen made a feast for the women in the palace, where king Assuerus was used to dwell.
1:10. Now on the seventh day, when the king was merry, and after very much drinking was well.