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The Book of Esther

Chapter 1

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.


Verses 1-2
1. Ahasuerus is his name.
• Ahasuerus was the title of a Persian ruler.
• It is similar to the word "Czar" or "Shah" or "Pharaoh."
2. Xerxes was his name.
• Xerxes was the grandson of Cyrus the Great (550-530 B.C).
• Xerxes was the son of Darius I, The Great (530-486).
3. Xerxes inherited the great empire of Persia from his father, Darius I.
• History tells us that he was an ruler.
• Xerxes ruled from 486-465 B.C.
4. The vast empire stretched all the way from over to .
5. In the opening verses of Esther, King Xerxes is ruling from the fortress city of Shusan.
• Shushan was Persia’s capital and located c. 250 miles east of Babylon.
• Shushan was located in territory held by modern , just across the border from modern Iraq.

Verses 3-4
1. The phrase in verse 3, In the third year of his reign, gives us a chronological reference – c. B.C.
2. This is the first of feasts (banquets) mentioned in Chapter 1. This was a banquet for the key
and officers of his kingdom.
3. An hundred and fourscore days means days.
• The king probably didn’t assemble all his provincial leaders at one time; that would have kept them away
from their duties for six months and weakened the empire.
• It’s more likely that, over a period of six months, Ahasuerus brought the officers to Shushan on a rotating
• Then, having consulted with them, the king would bring them all together for the seven-day feast so they
could confer collectively. Verse 11 indicates that the princes were also at this week-long festivity.

Verses 5-8
1. This is the second of three feasts (banquets) mentioned in Chapter 1. This was a banquet for the of
the royal palace at Shushan.
2. Ahasuerus was seeking to his nobles and military leaders with his wealth and power in an
effort to boost morale.
3. King Xerxes wanted to “wine & dine” them and allow them to see the marble pillars, the gorgeous drapes hung from
silver rings, the gold and silver couches on beautiful marble mosaic pavements, and the golden table service.
4. A man himself, he knew how to appeal to the pride in others.

Verse 9
1. This is the last of three feasts (banquets) mentioned in Chapter 1. This was a banquet for the wives and
of the royal palace at Shushan.
2. It was hosted by the queen, Vashti.
3. The word, , means beautiful woman.

Verses 10-12
1. It appears that after the different delegations came at different times to the banquet which lasted for months
that everyone was invited to another feast which lasted for days.
2. By this time Xerxes is under the influence after drinking for an extended period - when the heart of the king was
merry with wine.
3. The seven chamberlains were who guarded the king’s harem.
4. The king decided he wanted to display the beauty of his queen so the guests could see an appealing, beautiful woman.
Again, the king hoped they would envy him and his prize possession.
5. The king instructed the queen to wear her . He wanted her to look her
best to show off her dazzling beauty to all the guests.
6. Vashti knew the king and his guests were under the influence of wine and that the banquet hall was no place for a
woman, especially a queen. Vashti !
7. The king was stunned by Vashti’s refusal to cater to his whims.

Verses 13-15
1. Since Vashti had embarrassed the king before his own leaders, the king had to do something to save both his ego and
his .
2. The advisors Xerxes summoned were the highest ranking officials in the empire (which sat
the first in the kingdom).
• They were the closest advisors to the king and had open to the king (which saw
the king's face) in handling matters of state.
• Their importance to the king is seen in that all seven names are listed in Scripture.

Verses 16-22
1. Ahasuerus had spoken of Vashti's refusal only as that of doing wrong to the , but Memucan
exaggerated its importance by implying that she had also wronged the entire .
2. These counselors were playing it smart; for by the problem, they also
inflated their own importance and made the king more dependent on them.
• They were making it sound like the women in the empire would lead a rebellion against their husbands, and
the men in turn would also rebel against the king.
• The word “ ” in verse 17 refers to women in general.
• The word “ ” in verse 18 refers to the women of the upper-class.
3. The king’s word was the law, the bond that held the nation together. For that reason, his word must be upheld as the
law of the land in order to preserve the unity of the empire.
4. The king’s advisors counseled the king to issue a royal decree that could not be repealed or revoked, a royal decree
declaring that Queen Vashti be and forever from the king’s presence.
5. Historians tell us that the Persian “postal system” operated somewhat like the old pony express, with fresh horses and
riders waiting at various points along the route.


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