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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Esther 1:9

Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Feasts;   Food;   Queen;   Vashti;   Thompson Chain Reference - Fellowship, Divine;   Social Fellowship;   Vashti;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Diet of the Jews, the;   Entertainments;   Palaces;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Chamberlain;   Shushan;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Banquets;   Queen;   Shushan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Esther;   Vashti;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Conaniah;   Hashabiah;   Jeconias;   Jeiel;   Joram;   Jozabad;   Nethanel;   Ochielus;   Sabias;   Samaias;   Shemaiah;   Vashti;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Prince, Princess;   Vashti ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Queen;   Vashti;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Purim;   Queen;   Vashti;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Esther, Apocryphal Book of;   Esther Rabbah;   Food;   Simeon ben Yoḥai;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Esther 1:9. Also Vashti the queen — [Persian] Vashti is a mere Persian word; and signifies a beautiful or excellent woman.

Made a feast for the women — The king, having subdued all his enemies, left no competitor for the kingdom; and being thus quietly and firmly seated on the throne, made this a time of general festivity. As the women of the East never mingle with the men in public, Vashti made a feast for the Persian ladies by themselves; and while the men were in the court of the garden, the women were in the royal house.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Officials and leading citizens from all over the Persian Empire had gathered in the winter capital for an exhibition designed to display the riches and magnificence of the royal court. The exhibition lasted six months and was brought to a fitting climax by a lavish seven-day banquet (1:1-9). The week of wine and merriment so excited the king that his sexual urges were in danger of getting out of control. Consequently, when he told his queen Vashti to display her beauty before the crowd of wine-soaked men at the banquet, Vashti refused (10-12). The queen had defied the king’s authority and his pride was hurt. In anger he removed her from being queen (13-22).
For some time the king made no attempt to replace Vashti. He still had plenty of concubines, but his advisers suggested that he appoint an official queen (2:1-4). The most beautiful young women in the land were therefore brought together in the palace, where they were further beautified and trained so that the king might choose one as his queen. Among them was an orphan Jew named Esther, who had been brought up by her cousin Mordecai. But she did not reveal to anyone in the palace that she was a Jew (5-11).
After a year of beauty preparation, all the young women were taken in turn to the king. In the end he chose Esther and crowned her queen (12-18). (This happened four years after he removed Vashti; cf. 1:3; 2:16.)
Mordecai apparently worked in or around the palace (see v. 11,19). When he heard that two of the palace guards were plotting to assassinate the king, he passed on the information to the king by way of Esther. The guards were executed, and Mordecai’s good deed was noted in the official records (19-23).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible


"Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahashuerus. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagthar, Zethur, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that ministered in the presence of Ahashuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the peoples and the princes) her beauty; for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the kinifs commandment by the chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him."

"When the heart of the king was merry with wine" (Esther 1:10). This appears to this writer as a euphemism with the meaning that the king was drunk. That this is true appears from the fact of the king's unreasonable request.

"The seven chamberlains that ministered before the king" (Esther 1:10). The fact of these men having access to the king's harem indicates that all of them were eunuchs. Scholars usually suggest that this request of the king was reasonable, but this writer cannot believe that it was reasonable, else Vashti, knowing the outrageous nature of the king's ungovernable temper, would not have disobeyed him. She most certainly knew that death itself might be the penalty of her refusal.

"But the queen refused to come" (Esther 1:12). Scholars have suggested a number of possible reasons why Vashti would not obey the king, but in all likelihood, Vashti was pregnant with Artaxerxes I. John Bendor-Samuel writes that, "This banquet probably took place just before the birth of Artaxerxes";[10] and her natural modesty rebelled against making a display of herself before the king and his well drunken banqueteers.


What a heartless, evil wretch was Xerxes! "His design was to present Vashti unveiled before a multitude of semi-drunken revelers ... Xerxes' behavior here was a cruel outrage upon one whom he, above all men, was bound to respect and protect."[11] In a few days she would give birth to his son who would succeed him on the throne, but this half-drunken old fool had no honor or respect for anyone on earth except himself!

Some small measure of appreciation for Xerxes may be found in the fact that he did not at once order the death and dismemberment of Vashti, as he would later do for the oldest son of Pythius, for he restrained his anger sufficiently that he took the matter up with his counselors.

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Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Vashti - If Ahasuerus is Xerxes, Vashti would be Amestris, whom the Greeks regarded as the only legitimate wife of that monarch, and who was certainly married to him before he ascended the throne. The name may be explained either as a corruption of Amestris, or as a title, vahishta, (Sanskrit: vasishtha, the superlative of vasu, “sweet”); and it may be supposed that the disgrace recorded (Esther 1:19-17.1.21, see the note) was only temporary; Amestris in the later part of Xerxes’ reign recovering her former dignity.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Smith's Bible Commentary

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.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1. The king’s feast 1:1-9

Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name of the Persian king, Khshayarsha, whom we know better in ancient history by his Greek name, Xerxes. [Note: Lewis B. Paton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Esther, p. 54. Cf. Ezra 4:5-7; Daniel 11:2.] He reigned over the Persian Empire from 486 to 464 B.C. and was the son of Darius I (521-486 B.C.). Another high-ranking Persian government officer, Artabanus, eventually assassinated him.

Xerxes is famous in secular history for two things: his defeat at the hands of the Greeks, and his building of the royal Persian palace at Persepolis. In 481 B.C. he took about 200,000 soldiers and hundreds of ships to Greece to avenge his father Darius’ loss at the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.). However, he too suffered defeat, in a three-fold manner. His soldiers lost the battle of Thermopylae to the Spartans, his army also lost at the battle of Plataea, and the Greeks destroyed his navy in the battle of Salamis.

The writer mentioned the vast area Xerxes controlled (cf. Esther 8:9; Esther 10:1). Perhaps he did this to avoid confusion with another Ahasuerus (Daniel 9:1) whose son, Darius the Mede, governed the Babylonian provinces under Cyrus the Great from 539 to about 525 B.C. "India" refers to the territory that is now western Pakistan. "Cush" was the upper (southern) Nile region including southern Egypt, the Sudan, Eritrea, and northern Ethiopia, land west of the Red Sea. The 127 "provinces" (Heb. medina) were governmental units of the empire. These were political subdivisions of the satrapies (cf. Esther 3:12). [Note: F. B. Huey Jr., "Esther," in 1 Kings-Job, vol. 4 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 798.]

"Susa" (Esther 1:2) is the Greek name for the Hebrew "Shushan." It was a winter capital and had formerly been the capital of the kingdom of Elam. Susa was the name of both the capital city and the royal fortress that occupied a separate part of the city. [Note: Ibid., p. 298.] Other Persian capitals were Ecbatana (200 miles north of Susa, modern Hamadan, Ezra 6:2), Babylon (200 miles west, Ezra 6:1), Pasargadae, and Persepolis (both 300 miles southeast). [Note: See Edwin M. Yamauchi, "The Achaemenid Capitals," Near Esat Archaeology Society Bulletin, NS8 (1976):5-81.] Persepolis was Xerxes’ main residence. [Note: Breneman, p. 304.] Forty years after the events the writer described in the Book of Esther, Nehemiah served as cupbearer to Artaxerxes, Xerxes’ son (cf. Nehemiah 1:1 to Nehemiah 2:1).

The Hebrew word translated "capital" (NASB) or "citadel" (NIV; habirah) refers to an acropolis or fortified area that stood 72 feet above the rest of the city. A wall two and one-half miles long surrounded it. [Note: Ibid.]

The third year of Ahasuerus’ (Xerxes’) reign (Esther 1:3) was evidently 482 B.C. For 180 days (six months) he entertained his guests (Esther 1:4). This was evidently the military planning session that Ahasuerus conducted to prepare for his campaign against the Greeks. The Greek historian Herodotus referred to this meeting and said it took Ahasuerus four years (484-481 B.C.) to prepare for his Greek campaign. [Note: Herodotus, The Histories, 7:8, 20.] Ahasuerus’ Persian army suffered defeat at the hands of the Greeks at Plataea in 479 B.C.

"While labourers received barely enough to live on, even though they were producing works of art that are still unsurpassed, life at court was extravagant beyond imagining. The more lavish the king’s hospitality, the greater his claim to supremacy." [Note: Baldwin, p. 55.]

White and violet (blue, Esther 1:6) were the royal colors of Persia. [Note: John C. Whitcomb, Esther: Triumph of God’s Sovereignty, p. 37.] This palace burned to the ground about 435 B.C., toward the end of Artaxerxes’ reign. [Note: A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, p. 352.]

Banquets are a prominent feature of this story. At least nine receive mention (Esther 1:1-9; Esther 2:18; Esther 3:15; Esther 5:4; Esther 5:8; Esther 8:17; Esther 9:17-19).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women.... For it was not customary with the Persians, nor other eastern nations, to admit of women to their festivals m, but they feasted by themselves. Who Vashti was is not known with any certainty. Bishop Usher, who takes Ahasuerus to be Darius Hystaspis, thinks Vashti was Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, whom he married. The Targumist says, she was the daughter of Evilmerodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Her name seems to be the same with Vesta, a deity worshipped by the Persians, as Xenophon n, and signifies vehement fire, which was in great veneration with them; and therefore this queen is most likely to be of Persian original: she kept her feast

in the royal house which belonged to Ahasuerus; her guests not being so many, there was room enough in the king's palace for them, and where it was more decent for them to be than in the open air in the garden, and exposed to the sight of men.

m Justin c Trogo, l. 41. c. 3. n Cyropaedia, l. 1. c. 23.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Feast of Ahasuerus. B. C. 519.

      1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)   2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,   3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:   4 When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even a hundred and fourscore days.   5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;   6 Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.   7 And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.   8 And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.   9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

      Which of the kings of Persia this Ahasuerus was the learned are not agreed. Mordecai is said to have been one of those that were carried captive from Jerusalem (Esther 2:5; Esther 2:6), whence it should seem that this Ahasuerus was one of the first kings of that empire. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that he was that Artaxerxes who hindered the building of the temple, who is called also Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6; Ezra 4:7), after his great-grandfather of the Medes, Daniel 9:1. We have here an account,

      I. Of the vast extent of his dominion. In the time of Darius and Cyrus there were but 120 princes ( Daniel 6:1); now there were 127, from India to Ethiopia,Esther 1:1; Esther 1:1. It had become an over-grown kingdom, which in time would sink with its own weight, and, as usual, would lose its provinces as fast as it got them. If such vast power be put into a bad hand, it is able to do so much the more mischief; but, if into a good hand, it is able to do so much the more good. Christ's kingdom is, or shall be, far larger than this, when the kingdoms of the world shall all become his; and it shall be everlasting.

      II. Of the great pomp and magnificence of his court. When he found himself fixed in his throne, the pride of his heart rising with the grandeur of his kingdom, he made a most extravagant feast, wherein he put himself to vast expense and trouble only to show the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty,Esther 1:4; Esther 1:4. This was vain glory, an affection of pomp to no purpose at all; for none questioned the riches of his kingdom, nor offered to vie with him for honour. If he had shown the riches of his kingdom and the honour of his majesty, as some of his successors did, in contributing largely towards the building of the temple and the maintaining of the temple service (Ezra 6:8; Ezra 7:22), it would have turned to a much better account. Two feasts Ahasuerus made:-- 1. One for his nobles and princes, which lasted a hundred and eighty days,Esther 1:3; Esther 1:4. Not that he feasted the same persons every day for all that time, but perhaps the nobles and princes of one province one day, of another province another day, while thus he and his constant attendants fared sumptuously every day. The Chaldee paraphrast (who is very bold in his additions to the story of this book) says that there had been a rebellion among his subjects and that this feast was kept for joy of the quashing of it. 2. Another was made for all the people, both great and small, which lasted seven days, some one day and some another; and, because no house would hold them, they were entertained in the court of the garden,Esther 1:5; Esther 1:5. The hangings with which the several apartments were divided or the tents which were there pitched for the company, were very fine and rich; so were the beds or benches on which they sat, and the pavement under their feet, Esther 1:6; Esther 1:6. Better is a dinner of herbs with quietness, and the enjoyment of one's self and a friend, than this banquet of wine with all the noise and tumult that must needs attend it.

      III. Of the good order which in some respects was kept there notwithstanding. We do not find this like Belshazzar's feast, in which dunghill-gods were praised and the vessels of the sanctuary profaned, Daniel 5:3; Daniel 5:4. Yet the Chaldee paraphrase says that the vessels of the sanctuary were used in this feast, to the great grief of the pious Jews. It was not like Herod's feast, which reserved a prophet's head for the last dish. Two things which are laudable we may gather from the account here given of this feast:-- 1. That there was no forcing of healths, nor urging of them: The drinking was according to the law, probably some law lately made; none did compel, no, not by continual proposing of it (as Josephus explains it); they did not send the glass about, but every man drank as he pleased (Esther 1:8; Esther 1:8), so that if there were any that drank to excess it was their own fault, a fault which few would commit when the king's order put an honour upon sobriety. This caution of a heathen prince, even when he would show his generosity, may shame many who are called Christians, who think they do not sufficiently show their good housekeeping, nor bid their friends welcome, unless they make them drunk, and, under pretence of sending the health round, send the sin round, and death with it. There is a woe to those that do so; let them read it and tremble, Habakkuk 2:15; Habakkuk 2:16. It is robbing men of their reason, their richest jewel, and making them fools, the greatest wrong that can be. 2. That there was no mixed dancing; for the gentlemen and ladies were entertained asunder, not as in the feast of Belshazzar, whose wives and concubines drank with him (Daniel 5:2), or that of Herod, whose daughter danced before him. Vashti feasted the women in her own apartment; not openly in the court of the garden, but in the royal house,Esther 1:9; Esther 1:9. Thus, while the king showed the honour of his majesty, she and her ladies showed the honour of their modesty, which is truly the majesty of the fair sex.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Esther 1:9". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.