Esther 1:20, Question 5. Why does the verse use the unusual order of “from the great to the small?”

The Vilna Gaon writes that the decree would force all women – greater or lesser than their husbands – to nevertheless give supremacy to their husbands. The Malbim writes that Achashverosh’s decree would require even the greatest of women to give respect to the least of men. Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi points out that this is a perfect reflection of the story that snowballed into this decree, for Vashti was greater than Achashverosh and his feeling disrespected led to this miscarriage of justice.

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