Esther 1:3 Question 6. What does the verse mean to imply by specifying that this feast occurred “before him?”

According to the Malbim, Achashverosh placed these ministers and officials at the party to show them that they were “before him,” no longer contemporary or relevant – mere vestiges of bygone days. Whereas not inviting them at all would have insulted them more, inviting them and making them feel small had the added benefit of strengthening his rule. With this answer, we can perhaps propose a new answer to most of the previous questions. In celebrating a party that boosted the power of his despotism, Achashverosh belittled the officials of his city-states to feel like no more than servants “before him” – a Persian dominating the formerly mighty Medes. Perhaps even the use of the word “partimim,” so antiquated as to no longer be in use, was utilized here to indicate the new king’s desire to make his potential rivals feel outmoded and weak.

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