|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 13. - Then the king said to the wise men. Angry as he was, Ahasuerus had still some power of self-restraint. He was in the presence of his whole court, and of a great assembly of the people. It would not be seemly that he should vent his passion in violent words, imprecations, or threats. His dignity required that he should at any rate seem calm, and, instead of issuing any hasty order, should proceed deliberately to consider what were the next steps to be taken. Xerxes appears to have been rather fond of asking advice (Herod., 7:8, 48, 234; 8:101); and he now, in a sufficiently dignified way, required the opinion of his "wise men" on the practical question, What was to be done to Vashti? (see ver. 15). Which knew the times. i.e. persons who were well acquainted with past times, and knew what it was customary to do on each occasion. For so was the king's manner toward all that ]mew law and judgment. Rather, "For so was the business of the king brought before such as knew law and judgment." Each matter which concerned the king was submitted to learned persons for their opinion before any actual step was taken (compare Herod., 3:31, where Cambyses asks the opinion of the royal judges with respect to his proposed marriage with his sister). It is not a special practice of Ahasuerus, but a general usage of the Persian monarchy, which m noticed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the king said to the wise men that knew the times,.... Astrologers, as Aben Ezra, that knew the fit time for doing anything; or that had knowledge of ancient times, historians, well read in history, and knew things that had happened similar to this:
for so was the king's manner towards all that knew law and judgment; it was customary with him in any case of difficulty to have the opinion and advice of those that were expert in the law, and well understood right and wrong. These are called by Herodotus (t) the king's judges.
(t) Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 14, 31. so in Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 1. c. 34.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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