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:)
Prideaux has shewn satisfactorily that Ahasuerus was the Artaxerxes Longimanus of the Greeks, agreeably to the Septuagint and Josephus. See note on Ezr 6:14.
That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
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:
A. M. 3542. B.C. 462. he made
When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.
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;
Heb. found. seven days.
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.
These were couches, covered with gold and silver cloth, on which the guests reclined; for the Orientals do not sit, but recline at their meals.
or, of porphyre, and marble, and alabaster, and stone of blue colour.
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.
vessels of gold
Heb. wine of the kingdom. state of the king. Heb. hand of the king.
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.
none did compel
Every person drank what he pleased. Among the Greeks, however, each guest was obliged to keep the round, or leave the company: hence the proverb [E pithi, e apithi] Drink, or begone. Mr. Herbert, in his poem entitled "The Church Porch," has severely reprobated this vile custom. In Britain, however, this demoralizing custom is now almost destroyed, and a new era of social pleasure is arising, by temperate habits, increased domestic comforts, and the spread of gospel truths.
Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
chamberlains. or, eunuchs.
To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.
fair to look on
Heb. good of countenance.
But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.
This refusal of Vashti's, to expose herself to the view of such a group of drunken Bacchanalians, was highly praiseworthy, and became the dignity of her rank and the modesty of her sex.
by his chamberlains
Heb. which was by the hand of his eunuchs. was the king.
Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)
What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?
What shall we do
Heb. What to do.
And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
This reasoning was inconsequent and false. Vashti had not generally disobeyed the king, therefore she could be no precedent for the general conduct of the Persian women. She disobeyed only in one particular; and this, to serve a purpose, Memucan draws into a general consequence: and the rest came into the conclusion, being either too intoxicated to be able to discern right from wrong, or too intent on reducing women to a state of vassalage, to neglect the present favourable opportunity.
For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.
Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.
Saroth, the princesses: but the meaning is well expressed by our term ladies.
If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
it please the king
Heb. it be good with the king.
Heb. from before him. it be not altered. Heb. it pass not away.
8:8 Daniel 6:8-15,17 Let it be inserted among the permanent laws, and be made a part of the constitution of the empire. The Persians seem to have affected such a degree of wisdom in the construction of their laws, that they never could be amended, and should never be repealed; and this formed the ground of the saying, "The laws of the Medes and Persians that change not."
Heb. her companion. that is better.
And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.
all the wives
And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
pleased the king
Heb. was good in the eyes of the king.
For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.
into every province
that every man
Both the law of God and common sense taught this from the foundation of the world; and this parade of enactment was only to deprive Vashti of her crown.
it should, etc
Heb. one should publish it according to the language of his country.