Esther 1:3, Question 1. Why does Achashverosh make a feast in the third year of his reign?

ג בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלוֹשׁ לְמָלְכוֹ עָשָׂה מִשְׁתֶּה לְכָל-שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו חֵיל פָּרַס וּמָדַי הַפַּרְתְּמִים וְשָׂרֵי הַמְּדִינוֹת לְפָנָיו

3. In the third year of his kingship, he made a feast for all officials and servants, the armies of Persia and Medea, the royals, and the officials of the states before him.

The Ibn Ezra in his commentary suggests three reasons for Achashverosh’s feast.

  • as in the Talmud (Megillah 11b), Achashverosh was celebrating the (supposed) dashed hopes of the Jews’ return to Israel
  • he was beginning to enjoy a period of relative peace and
  • he had just married Vashti, heiress to the throne of Balshatzar.

Quite possibly, all three answers are one and the same; once Achashverosh felt safe from the lack of war, and the end of the seventy years prophesied by Yirmiya (29:10) as the length of the Jews’ exile in Babylonia seemingly passed without the Jewish redemption, he felt the only thing left to do in order to further cement his rule would be to marry Vashti, daughter of Balshatzar, monarch of Bavel.

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