Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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:)
1:1 Ahasuerus - Many suppose this to be Darius Hystapas, for his kingdom was thus vast, and he subdued India, as Herodotus reports: and one of his wives was called Atossa, differing little from Hadassah, which is Esther's other name, Esth 2:7. Provinces - So seven new provinces were added to those hundred and twenty mentioned, Dan 6:1.
That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
1:2 Sat - Was settled in the peaceable possession of it. Shushan - The chief or royal city. Shushan might be the proper name of the palace, which thence was given to the whole city. Here the kings of Persia used to keep their courts in winter, as at Exbatana in summer.
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:
When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.
1:4 Many days - Making every day a magnificent feast, either for all his princes, or for some of them, who might come to the feast successively, as the king ordered them to do. The Persian feasts are much celebrated in authors, for their length and luxury.
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;
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.
1:6 Beds - For in those eastern countries, they did not then sit at tables as we do, but rested or leaned upon beds or couches.
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.
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.
1:8 The law - According to this law which the king had now made, that none should compel another to drink more than he pleased. How does this Heathen prince shame many, that are called Christians, who think they do not make their friends welcome, unless they make them drunk, and under pretence of sending the health round, send the sin round, and death with it!
Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
1:9 Women - While the king entertained the men. For this was the common custom of the Persians, that men and women did not feast together.
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,
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.
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.
1:12 Refused - Being favoured in this refusal by the law of Persia, which was to keep mens wives, and especially queens, from the view of other men.
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:
1:13 The times - The histories of former times, what princes have done in such cases as this was.
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;)
1:14 Saw - Who had constant freedom of access to the king, and familiar converse with him: which is thus expressed, because the Persian kings were very seldom seen by their subjects. Sat - Who were his chief counsellors and officers.
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?
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.
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.
1:18 Contempt - Contempt in the wives, and thereupon wrath in the husbands; and consequently strife in families.
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.
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.
And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
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.