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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Esther 1

Verse 1

Now it came to pass in the days of. See important note of Rabbinical commentators on Genesis 14:1 .

Ahasuerus = the venerable king. An appellative, like Pharaoh, Czar, Shah, &c. See notes on p. 618 and App-57 and App-68 .

this. Implying that others were so called, from whom lie is to be distinguished. This Ahasuerus was Astyages (Greek), Arsames (Persian). See App-67 and App-58 . "This Ahasuerus" emphasizes the one who was specially renowned. Figure of speech Parenthesis.

from India even unto Ethiopia: i.e. the two extreme boundaries of the known world.

an hundred and seven and twenty provinces. Daniel 6:1 says 120 princes. The number continually altered to suit the requirements of government. Only in Daniel 6:1 do we find 120. Plato says that "when Darius (i.e. 'the Maintainer' = Astyages) came to the throne, being one of the seven, he divided the country into seven portions" ( De Legibus iii). These are the seven named in verses: Esther 1:13-14 . When Babylon afterward fell into his hands, he divided his newly acquired kingdom into 120 part3 (Daniel 9:1 . Compare Esther 6:1 ). Why should he not have added these to the seven he already possessed, and thus have made the 127 of Esther 1:1 ; Esther 9:30 ? In the later days of Darius (Hystaspis) these had reduced to twenty-three, as stated and named on the Behistun inscription.

Verse 2

in those days: i.e. the days when these events took place. At other times he dwelt at Ecbatana, or elsewhere. Esther 1:1 mentions the ruler; Esther 1:2 , the place; Esther 1:1 , the time.

sat = took his seat, or came to.

Shushan. Now, the ruins of Susa, on the river Shapur, east of Persian Gulf.

palace = castle, or fortress. Compare Nehemiah 1:1 .

Verse 3

the third year: i.e. in 471; six years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Astyages now seventeen or

commandment. Hebrew. dabar = word, precept. Occurs Esther 1:19 ; Esther 2:8 ; Esther 3:15 ; Esther 8:14 , Esther 8:17 . See note on Esther 1:10 .

eighteen years. See App-50 . In this year Xerxes (who is supposed to be this king), according to Herod. vii. 8, and Diod. Sic. xi. 2, was preparing his expedition against Greece; whereas this chapter presupposes a season of peace and quiet.

a feast. For its own sake. No reason is given.

power. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Effect), App-6 , for those who exercised it: viz. the people of power.

Persia and Media. In this book this is always the order, except Esther 10:2 . In Daniel it is the reverse.

Verse 4

an hundred and fourscore days. This was to allow all peoples to be feasted in turn. Not all at the same time; or one feast of that duration.

Verse 5

palace = house, or, large house.

Verse 6

beds = couches.

Verse 7

the vessels. Note the frequent Parentheses ( App-6 ) in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:7 , Esther 1:13 , Esther 1:14 , Esther 1:20 .

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27 .

Verse 8

law. Heb, dath = royal decree, or special mandate, as in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:13 , Esther 1:15 , Esther 1:19 ; Esther 3:8 ; Esther 4:11 , Esther 4:16 .

Verse 9

Vashti. The daughter of Alyattes (king of Lydia), married by Cyaxares to his son Astyages after the battle of Halys. See App-57 .

Verse 10

commanded. Hebrew. 'amar. So rendered in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:15 , Esther 1:17 ; Esther 2:20 ; Esther 4:13 ; Esther 6:1 ; Esther 9:14 , Esther 9:25 . Note the different words rendered "command" and "decree" in this book.

seven chamberlains = seven eunuchs. This shows the minuteness of the writer's knowledge.

Verse 11

people = peoples.

Verse 12

refused. Probably because sent for by servants; not by the nobles (Esther 1:3 ), and before the "peoples" (Esther 1:5 ).

Verse 13

for. See note on the parentheses, Esther 1:7 .

Verse 18

ladies = princesses.

Verse 19

not altered. Compare Daniel 6:8 .

Verse 20

decree prescript. Only here and Ecclesiastes 8:11 .

it is great: i.e. the decree is important.

ALL THE WIVES SHALL GIVE. This is the first of the five Acrostics ( App-6 ), exhibiting in the initials the Divine name. See App-60 .

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Esther 1". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.