1:9 Queen Vashti 1 also gave a banquet for the women in King Ahasuerus’ royal palace.
1:11 to bring Queen Vashti into the king’s presence wearing her royal high turban. He wanted to show the people and the officials her beauty, for she was very attractive. 2 1:12 But Queen Vashti refused 3 to come at the king’s bidding 4 conveyed through the eunuchs. Then the king became extremely angry, and his rage consumed 5 him.
1:15 The king asked, 6 “By law, 7 what should be done to Queen Vashti in light of the fact that she has not obeyed the instructions of King Ahasuerus conveyed through the eunuchs?”
1:16 Memucan then replied to the king and the officials, “The wrong of Queen Vashti is not against the king alone, but against all the officials and all the people who are throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 1:17 For the matter concerning the queen will spread to all the women, leading them to treat their husbands with contempt, saying, ‘When King Ahasuerus gave orders to bring Queen Vashti into his presence, she would not come.’
1 sn Vashti is the name of Xerxes’ queen according to the Book of Esther. But in the Greek histories of this period the queen’s name is given as Amestris (e.g., Herodotus, Histories 9.108-13). The name Vashti does not seem to occur in the nonbiblical records from this period. Apparently the two women are not to be confused, but not enough is known about this period to reconcile completely the biblical and extrabiblical accounts.
2 tn Heb “was good of appearance”; KJV “was fair to look on”; NAB “was lovely to behold.”
3 sn Refusal to obey the king was risky even for a queen in the ancient world. It is not clear why Vashti behaved so rashly and put herself in such danger. Apparently she anticipated humiliation of some kind and was unwilling to subject herself to it, in spite of the obvious dangers. There is no justification in the biblical text for an ancient Jewish targumic tradition that the king told her to appear before his guests dressed in nothing but her royal high turban, that is, essentially naked.
4 tn Heb “at the word of the king”; NASB “at the king’s command.”
5 tn Heb “burned in him” (so KJV).
6 tn These words are not present in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for clarity (cf. NIV, NCV, CEV, NLT, all of which supply similar phrases).
7 tc The location of the prepositional phrase “according to law” is somewhat unusual in the Hebrew text, but not so much so as to require emendation. Some scholars suggest deleting the phrase as an instance of dittography from the final part of the immediately preceding word in v. 14. Others suggest taking the phrase with the end of v. 14 rather than with v. 15. Both proposals, however, lack adequate justification.