Study Guide

Book of Esther Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

Party Like It's Roughly 500 BCE

  • The first chapter starts off by describing the setting: this all went down in the Persian capital of Susa, where King Ahasuerus was ruling over an empire that extended from India to Ethiopia.
  • Three years into his reign, Ahasuerus throws a huge banquet, showing off his wealth to all of the different governors and officials in his kingdom. It's a massive party that goes on for one hundred and eighty days.
  • Then, he gives another banquet for all the people living in his citadel—both the important people and the unimportant. It lasts for seven days. All of the kings' luxurious couches and curtains are on show, and he amply provides wine for his guests in golden goblets.
  • The queen, Vashti, also provides a separate banquet for all the women in the kingdom.
  • On the seventh day, King Ahasuerus orders the queen to come so that he can show her beauty off to all the people in the kingdom, sending eunuchs to tell her.
  • But the queen refuses to come. Uh-oh.

Sounds like a Case for Judge Judy

  • King Ahasuerus goes into a rage and asks his sages what the law says about this.
  • The sages say that the queen has not only wronged the king but all the people in the kingdom as well, since she's setting a disobedient example for all the wives. They tell him he needs to dismiss the queen.
  • So the king divorces Vashti, strips her of her title, and orders her never to come before him again.
  • He also writes letters to each of his provinces telling everyone that men should be the masters of their houses. (Nice touch, fella.)

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