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Bible Commentaries
Esther 1

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Let us turn to the book of Esther for our study.

The book of Esther is not in a chronological order in these books of history. If the book of Esther were placed in a chronological order, it would have to actually come before the book of Nehemiah.

Ezra records the first return from the captivity. Some forty years later Esther came on the scene, and some forty years after that Nehemiah came on the scene. So the book of Esther fits about halfway between the rebuilding of the temple (the decree given by Cyrus) and the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem (the decree given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah). About halfway between fits in the story of the book of Esther.

In the story of the book of Esther, though it doesn't mention the word God, yet God's overruling providence is seen throughout the entire book. The Jews hold this as one of the most important books in the Bible, and it is a very beautiful story of God's preservation of His people.

So, the book of Esther begins with an introduction to her husband who was the ruler of the Persian Empire, ruling over 127 nations of the ancient world. He is the Xerxes of secular history, called Artaxerxes, or called Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes. But he is the Xerxes of secular history.

And he was having a great feast for the lords, the princes and all, that lasted for almost half of a year, about 180 days of feasting. And so you can imagine in that length of time you get pretty well glutted, to where, you know, what's new after that length of time. So, he decided that he would call his wife Vashti into the feasting area. Now in that culture, of course, the women and the men were kept publicly pretty well separated, and the king had his harem and he also had his wife the queen, but along with her was quite a harem. And he decided that he would send for

Vashti that she might come in [and probably without a veil], so that the men could behold her beauty: because she was a very beautiful woman ( Esther 1:11 ).

And so, just sort of seeking, it would seem, to show off her beauty to these other men, he called for her to come on in to the feast.

But Vashti refused to come ( Esther 1:12 )

Which in that culture was just something unheard of. Women were actually considered just one step above a slave. They had very little rights, and when Vashti refused the king's commandment to come in, all of the rest of the fellows said, "Hey king, you're going to have to do something about this, because when we get home and our wives hear that your wife refused to come in at your command, we're not going to be able to handle the women. And so you've got to move dramatically and drastically in this case."

One of the astrologers suggested to him that as a punishment for her disobedience she be deposed from her position as queen, that she be placed out of that royal position and no longer be the queen. And this punishment was decided upon Vashti so that she was deposed from being the queen.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Esther 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/esther-1.html. 2014.
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