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Esther 1:9-12

Context
1:9 Queen Vashti 1  also gave a banquet for the women in King Ahasuerus’ royal palace.

Queen Vashti is Removed from Her Royal Position

1:10 On the seventh day, as King Ahasuerus was feeling the effects of the wine, 2  he ordered Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs who attended him, 3  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. 4  1:12 But Queen Vashti refused 5  to come at the king’s bidding 6  conveyed through the eunuchs. Then the king became extremely angry, and his rage consumed 7  him.

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 “as the heart of the king was good with the wine.” Here the proper name (King Ahasuerus) has been substituted for the title in the translation for stylistic reasons.

3 tn Heb “King Ahasuerus”; here the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun “him” in the translation for stylistic reasons. Cf. similarly NIV, NCV, CEV, NLT “King Xerxes.”

4 tn Heb “was good of appearance”; KJV “was fair to look on”; NAB “was lovely to behold.”

5 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.

6 tn Heb “at the word of the king”; NASB “at the king’s command.”

7 tn Heb “burned in him” (so KJV).



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