Esther 1:21
And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1:10-22 Ahasuerus's feast ended in heaviness, by his own folly. Seasons of peculiar festivity often end in vexation. Superiors should be careful not to command what may reasonably be disobeyed. But when wine is in, men's reason departs from them. He that had rule over 127 provinces, had no rule over his own spirit. But whether the passion or the policy of the king was served by this decree, God's providence made way for Esther to the crown, and defeated Haman's wicked project, even before it had entered into his heart, and he arrived at his power. Let us rejoice that the Lord reigns, and will overrule the madness or folly of mankind to promote his own glory, and the safety and happiness of his people.That it be not altered - Compare the margin reference. This was the theory. Practically, the monarch, if he chose, could always dispense with the law. It was therefore quite within his power to restore Vashti to her queenly dignity notwithstanding the present decree, if he so pleased. 13-19. Then the king said to the wise men—These were probably the magi, without whose advice as to the proper time of doing a thing the Persian kings never did take any step whatever; and the persons named in Es 1:14 were the "seven counsellors" (compare Ezr 7:14) who formed the state ministry. The combined wisdom of all, it seems, was enlisted to consult with the king what course should be taken after so unprecedented an occurrence as Vashti's disobedience of the royal summons. It is scarcely possible for us to imagine the astonishment produced by such a refusal in a country and a court where the will of the sovereign was absolute. The assembled grandees were petrified with horror at the daring affront. Alarm for the consequences that might ensue to each of them in his own household next seized on their minds; and the sounds of bacchanalian revelry were hushed into deep and anxious consultation what punishment to inflict on the refractory queen. But a purpose was to be served by the flattery of the king and the enslavement of all women. The counsellors were too intoxicated or obsequious to oppose the courtly advice of Memucan was unanimously resolved, with a wise regard to the public interests of the nation, that the punishment of Vashti could be nothing short of degradation from her royal dignity. The doom was accordingly pronounced and made known in all parts of the empire. The saying pleased the king and the princes; partly because their own authority and interest was concerned in it; and especially by the singular providence of God, who designed to bring about his own great work by this small occasion. And the saying pleased the king and the princes,.... The king, and the other six princes and counsellors, approved of the proposal, and unanimously agreed to it:

and the king did according to the word of Memucan; passed a law according to his advice, and signed and sealed it, and registered it among the laws of the kingdom, not to be revoked.

And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 21. - The king did according to the word of Memucan. This expression must not be pressed too closely. It does not imply more than that Memucan's advice was followed in a general way - Vashti disgraced, and the grounds of her disgrace published throughout the provinces. We cannot be sure that the decree was "written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes." Even if it was, it was always possible for a Persian king to give himself a dispensation from the law (see Herod., 3:58). The king, greatly incensed at this disobedience to his behest, inquired of his wise men what was to be done to Queen Vashti according to law. These wise men are Esther 1:13 designated as those "who knew the times," i.e., astrologers and magi, who give counsel according to celestial phenomena; comp. the wise men of Babylon, Daniel 2:27; Daniel 5:15; Isaiah 44:25; Isaiah 47:13; Jeremiah 50:35. Of these he inquires, "for thus was the business of the king conducted before all that knew law and judgment." דּבר here does not signify word or speech, but matter, business; and the meaning of this parenthetical sentence is, that in every matter, the king, before deciding, applied to those who were skilled in law and judgment to hear their opinions concerning it. With this is joined a second explanatory parenthetical sentence, Esther 1:14 : "And those next him were Carshena, etc., the seven princes of the Persians and Medes, who behold the king's countenance, who hold the first seat in his kingdom." אליו הקּרב is indefinite, and may be understood as expressing the plural. It is perhaps questionable how this clause should be combined with what precedes, whether with ודין דּת כּל־ידעי, before all that knew law and judgment and those next him, or with לחכמים, Esther 1:13 : he spoke to the wise men ... and those next him. In any case the sense is, that the seven princes of the Persians and Medes were also numbered either among the wise men who knew the times, or those who were skilled in the law. These seven princes are the seven king's counsellors of Ezra 7:14, and by their number of seven form a counterpart to the seven Amshaspands. They who see the face of the king, i.e., are allowed direct intercourse with him. Herod. iii. 84 relates of the seven princes who conspired the overthrow of the pretended Smerdis, that they resolved, that it should be permitted them to present themselves unannounced before the future king. Hence many expositors identify these seven princes with the authorities called the seven counsellors, but without sufficient grounds. The number seven frequently recurs, - comp. the seven eunuchs, Esther 1:5, the seven maidens who waited on Esther 2:9, - and refers in the present case to the seven Amshaspands, in others to the days of the week, or the seven planets. ראשׁנה היּשׁבים, who sit first, i.e., in the highest place, i.e., constitute the highest authority in the realm. What the king said (Esther 1:13) does not follow till Esther 1:15 : "According to law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not done the word of the king," i.e., not obeyed his command by the eunuchs? כּדת, according to law, legally, is placed first because it is intended emphatically to assert that the proceeding is to be in conformity with the law. עשׂה with בּ, to inflict something on any one.
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