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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Esther - Chapter 1

Esther - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus -- he was the Ahasuerus who reigned from Hodu to Cush, one hundred twenty-seven provinces.   א. וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הוּא אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הַמֹּלֵךְ מֵהֹדּוּ וְעַד כּוּשׁ שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה:
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus: He was the king of Persia who reigned instead of Cyrus at the end of the seventy years of the Babylonian exile.  
he was the Ahasuerus: He was equally wicked from beginning to end.  
who reigned: He reigned on his own, and was not of royal seed.  
from Hodu to Cush, etc.: He reigned over one hundred twenty-seven provinces as he reigned from Hodu to Cush, which are situated alongside one another, and so [we explain] (I Kings 5:4): “For he had dominion over all [the inhabitants of] this side of the river, from Tiphsah even to Gaza,” meaning that he had dominion over all the inhabitants of this side of the river, just as he had dominion from Tiphsah to Gaza.  
2. In those days, when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the capital.   ב. בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם כְּשֶׁבֶת | הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ עַל כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ אֲשֶׁר בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה:
when King Ahasuerus sat, etc.: when the kingdom was firmly established in his hand. Our Sages, however, explained it differently in Tractate Megillah (11b).  
3. In the third year of his reign, he made a banquet for all his princes and his servants, the army of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces [who were] before him.   ג. בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלוֹשׁ לְמָלְכוֹ עָשָׂה מִשְׁתֶּה לְכָל שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו חֵיל | פָּרַס וּמָדַי הַפַּרְתְּמִים וְשָׂרֵי הַמְּדִינוֹת לְפָנָיו:
the nobles: Heb. הַפַּרְתְּמִים, governors in Persian.  
4. When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the splendor of his excellent majesty, many days, yea one hundred and eighty days.   ד. בְּהַרְאֹתוֹ אֶת עשֶׁר כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ וְאֶת יְקָר תִּפְאֶרֶת גְּדוּלָּתוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים שְׁמוֹנִים וּמְאַת יוֹם:
many days: He made a banquet for them.  
5. And when these days were over, the king made for all the people present in Shushan the capital, for [everyone] both great and small, a banquet for seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's orchard.   ה. וּבִמְלאוֹת (וּבִמְלוֹאת כתיב) | הַיָּמִים הָאֵלֶּה עָשָׂה הַמֶּלֶךְ לְכָל הָעָם הַנִּמְצְאִים בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה לְמִגָּדוֹל וְעַד קָטָן מִשְׁתֶּה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בַּחֲצַר גִּנַּת בִּיתַן הַמֶּלֶךְ:
the garden: a place where vegetables are sown.  
orchard: where trees are planted.  
6. [There were spreads of] white, fine cotton, and blue, embroidered with cords of linen and purple, on silver rods and marble columns; couches of gold and silver, on a pavement of green, white, shell, and onyx marble.   ו. חוּר | כַּרְפַּס וּתְכֵלֶת אָחוּז בְּחַבְלֵי בוּץ וְאַרְגָּמָן עַל גְּלִילֵי כֶסֶף וְעַמּוּדֵי שֵׁשׁ מִטּוֹת | זָהָב וָכֶסֶף עַל רִצְפַת בַּהַט וָשֵׁשׁ וְדַר וְסֹחָרֶת:
white, fine cotton, and blue: He spread out various types of colored garments for them for spreads.  
embroidered with cords of linen and purple: embroidered with threads of linen and purple; he spread these out for them on rods of silver and on columns of marble.  
couches of gold and silver: he set [them] up to sit upon for the feast.  
on a pavement of: floors of green and white, etc. Our Sages identified them as kinds of precious stones, and according to the apparent meaning of the verse, these were their names.  
7. And they gave them to drink in golden vessels, and the vessels differed from one another, and royal wine was plentiful according to the bounty of the king.   ז. וְהַשְׁקוֹת בִּכְלֵי זָהָב וְכֵלִים מִכֵּלִים שׁוֹנִים וְיֵין מַלְכוּת רָב כְּיַד הַמֶּלֶךְ:
And they gave them to drink in golden vessels: Heb., like וּלְהַשְּׁקוֹת, and to give to drink.  
and the vessels differed from one another: Heb. שּׁוֹנִים, different from each other, and likewise, (below 3:8) “and their laws differ (שּׁנוֹת),” and our Sages expounded what they expounded.  
and royal wine was plentiful: It was abundant; and our Sages said that he gave each one to drink wine that was older than he.  
8. And the drinking was according to the law [with] no one coercing, for so had the king ordained upon every steward of his house, to do according to every man's wish.   ח. וְהַשְּׁתִיָּה כַדָּת אֵין אֹנֵס כִּי כֵן | יִסַּד הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל כָּל רַב בֵּיתוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת כִּרְצוֹן אִישׁ וָאִישׁ:
according to the law: Because there are feasts in which they coerce those seated to drink [the contents] of a large vessel, and some can drink it only with difficulty, but here, no one coerced [anyone].  
ordained: Heb. יִסַד, an expression referring to a foundation (יְסוֹד); i.e., so he instituted and ordained.  
upon every steward of his house: upon all the stewards of the feast: the chief baker, the chief butcher, and the chief butler.  
to do according to every man’s wish: Heb. אִישּׁ וָאִישּׁ, lit. man and man, for each one his desire.  
9. Also, Vashti the queen made a banquet for the women, in the royal house of King Ahasuerus.   ט. גַּם וַשְׁתִּי הַמַּלְכָּה עָשְׂתָה מִשְׁתֵּה נָשִׁים בֵּית הַמַּלְכוּת אֲשֶׁר לַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ:
10. On the seventh day, when the king's heart was merry with wine, he ordered Mehuman, Bizzetha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains who ministered in the presence of King Ahasuerus.   י. בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי כְּטוֹב לֵב הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּיָּיִן אָמַר לִמְהוּמָן בִּזְּתָא חַרְבוֹנָא בִּגְתָא וַאֲבַגְתָא זֵתַר וְכַרְכַּס שִׁבְעַת הַסָּרִיסִים הַמְשָׁרְתִים אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ:
On the seventh day: Our Rabbis said that it was the Sabbath.  
11. To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal crown, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was of comely appearance.   יא. לְהָבִיא אֶת וַשְׁתִּי הַמַּלְכָּה לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת לְהַרְאוֹת הָעַמִּים וְהַָרִים אֶת יָפְיָהּ כִּי טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה הִיא:
12. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's behest which was [brought] by the hand of the chamberlains, and the king became very wroth, and his anger burnt within him.   יב. וַתְּמָאֵן הַמַּלְכָּה וַשְׁתִּי לָבוֹא בִּדְבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר בְּיַד הַסָּרִיסִים וַיִּקְצֹף הַמֶּלֶךְ מְאֹד וַחֲמָתוֹ בָּעֲרָה בוֹ:
But Queen Vashti refused: Our Rabbis said (Meg. 12b): Because leprosy broke out on her, in order that she should refuse and be killed. Because she would force Jewish girls to undress, and work on the Sabbath, it was decreed that she should be stripped naked on the Sabbath.  
became very wroth: because she sent him shameful words.  
13. And the king said to the wise men who knew the times-for so was the king's custom, [to present the case] before all who knew law and judgment.   יג. וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לַחֲכָמִים יֹדְעֵי הָעִתִּים כִּי כֵן דְּבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לִפְנֵי כָּל יֹדְעֵי דָּת וָדִין:
for so was the king’s custom: For it was the king’s custom in every judgment to present the matter before all who knew law and judgment.  
14. And the nearest to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, who sat first in the kingdom.   יד. וְהַקָּרֹב אֵלָיו כַּרְשְׁנָא שֵׁתָר אַדְמָתָא תַרְשִׁישׁ מֶרֶס מַרְסְנָא מְמוּכָן שִׁבְעַת שָׂרֵי | פָּרַס וּמָדַי רֹאֵי פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַיֹּשְׁבִים רִאשֹׁנָה בַּמַּלְכוּת:
And the nearest to him: to present his words before them were the following: Carshena, Shethar, etc.  
15. "According to the law, what shall be done to Queen Vashti, inasmuch as she did not comply with the order of the king, [brought] by the hand of the chamberlains?"   טו. כְּדָת מַה לַּעֲשׂוֹת בַּמַּלְכָּה וַשְׁתִּי עַל | אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָשְׂתָה אֶת מַאֲמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ בְּיַד הַסָּרִיסִים:
According to the law what [is there] to do: This refers back to “And the king said to the wise men.”  
16. Then Memucan declared before the king and the princes, "Not against the king alone has Vashti the queen done wrong, but against all the princes and all the peoples that are in all King Ahasuerus's provinces.   טז. וַיֹּאמֶר מְמֻכָן (מומכן כתיב) לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַָרִים לֹא עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ לְבַדּוֹ עָוְתָה וַשְׁתִּי הַמַּלְכָּה כִּי עַל כָּל הַָרִים וְעַל כָּל הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ:
has… done wrong: Heb. עָוְתֳה, an expression of iniquity (עָוֹן).  
17. For the word of the queen will spread to all the women, to make them despise their husbands in their eyes, when they say, 'King Ahasuerus ordered to bring Vashti the queen before him, but she did not come.'   יז. כִּי יֵצֵא דְבַר הַמַּלְכָּה עַל כָּל הַנָּשִׁים לְהַבְזוֹת בַּעְלֵיהֶן בְּעֵינֵיהֶן בְּאָמְרָם הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ אָמַר לְהָבִיא אֶת וַשְׁתִּי הַמַּלְכָּה לְפָנָיו וְלֹא בָאָה:
For the word of the queen will spread to all the women: that she disgraced the king- [this will cause] all the women to despise their husbands as well.  
18. And this day, the princesses of Persia and Media who heard the word of the queen will say [the like] to all the princes of the king, and [there will be] much contempt and wrath.   יח. וְהַיּוֹם הַזֶּה תֹּאמַרְנָה | שָׂרוֹת פָּרַס וּמָדַי אֲשֶׁר שָׁמְעוּ אֶת דְּבַר הַמַּלְכָּה לְכֹל שָׂרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וּכְדַי בִּזָּיוֹן וָקָצֶף:
the princesses of Persia and Media, etc. will say: this word to all the princes; this is an ellipsis.  
and much contempt and wrath: And in this matter, there is much contempt and wrath.  
19. If it please the king, let a royal edict go forth from before him, and let it be inscribed in the laws of Persia and Media, and let it not be revoked, that Vashti shall not come before King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to her peer who is better than she.   יט. אִם עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב יֵצֵא דְבַר מַלְכוּת מִלְּפָנָיו וְיִכָּתֵב בְּדָתֵי פָרַס וּמָדַי וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר אֲשֶׁר לֹא תָבוֹא וַשְׁתִּי לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ וּמַלְכוּתָהּ יִתֵּן הַמֶּלֶךְ לִרְעוּתָהּ הַטּוֹבָה מִמֶּנָּה:
a royal edict: a royal edict of revenge, i.e., that he commanded to execute her.  
and let it be inscribed in the laws of Persia and Media: in the books of the statutes and the customs of the kingdom.  
and let it not be revoked: this statute from among them; this should be a statute and a law for anyone who shows contempt for her husband.  
that Vashti did not come: and therefore, she was executed.  
20. And let the verdict of the king be heard throughout his entire kingdom, although it is great, and all the women shall give honor to their husbands, both great and small."   כ. וְנִשְׁמַע פִּתְגָם הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה בְּכָל מַלְכוּתוֹ כִּי רַבָּה הִיא וְכָל הַנָּשִׁים יִתְּנוּ יְקָר לְבַעְלֵיהֶן לְמִגָּדוֹל וְעַד קָטָן:
21. And the matter pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan.   כא. וַיִּיטַב הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַָרִים וַיַּעַשׂ הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּדְבַר מְמוּכָן:
22. And he sent letters to all the king's provinces, to every province according to its script, and to every nationality according to its language, that every man dominate in his household and speak according to the language of his nationality.   כב. וַיִּשְׁלַח סְפָרִים אֶל כָּל מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה כִּכְתָבָהּ וְאֶל עַם וָעָם כִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ לִהְיוֹת כָּל אִישׁ שֹׂרֵר בְּבֵיתוֹ וּמְדַבֵּר כִּלְשׁוֹן עַמּוֹ:
and speak according to the language of his nationality: He can compel his wife to learn his language if her native tongue is different.  
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