ג וּבְכָל–מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה מְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר דְּבַר–הַמֶּלֶךְ וְדָתוֹ מַגִּיעַ אֵבֶל גָּדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים וְצוֹם וּבְכִי וּמִסְפֵּד שַׂק וָאֵפֶר יֻצַּע לָֽרַבִּים
3. And in each and every state – place where the word of the king and his rule reached – was a great mourning to the Yehudim, and fasting, and crying, and eulogy. Sack and ash was spread under most.
On a simple level, the Yad HaMelech brings that, the further away from Shushan that a Jew found himself, the more scared he would be after learning of the decree. After all, the limited power of the king there would make it more difficult to control the anti-Semitic masses eager to jump at the chance to kill Jews in those locations.
The capital city had been Bavel for thousands of years. Achashverosh moved the capital to another city to show his ability to yield his power and influence.
One would expect for the verse to write the number from numerically larger to smaller denominations, as the Torah usually does. However, as the Talmud (Megillah 11a) relates, Achashverosh first conquered seven lands, then twenty more, and finally one hundred more, spreading out his kingdom until he was ruler of 127 provinces. Taking his cue from the earlier mentioned idea that Achashverosh was an unworthy upstart, Rabbi Dovid Feintein writes in Kol Dodi that we are influenced psychologically by the first number we see. This is why marketing executives write $9.99 as the price for an item rather than $10. The 9 that people see first makes 10 seem much larger. This verse, accordingly, is emphasizing again that Achashverosh is an upstart, worthy of only the first seven of his 127 states.
There is an argument in the Talmud (Megillah 11a) regarding whether Hodu and Cush are near each other or far apart. Either way, the Talmud concludes, Achashverosh’s conquest of them was indicative of his great power. If they were far apart, the phrase “from Hodu and until Cush” shows that his kingdom was large geographically. If they were close, “from Hodu and until Cush” shows that his powerful influence was just as strong in Hodu and Cush as it was in the more far-flung provinces of his kingdom. This is unlike even more recent dictatorships like the Soviet Union, where the government’s anti-religious laws were far more influential in the capital, Moscow, than far-away Tashkent. Whereas Moscow Jews did not by and large get circumcisions, did not eat kosher, and could not learn basic Jewish traditions, the situation was markedly different for the Jews of Tashkent and its surrounding environs. The Rema famously writes that the two opinions in the Talmud are not necessarily contradictory. He writes that the distance from Point A to Point B on a sphere depends largely on which direction the line is going. If two people are next-door neighbors, and one takes the long route around the globe to reach the other, that person traveled an unnecessarily circuitous path, covering far more ground. This, according to the Rema, is indicative of the sheer size of Achashverosh’s kingdom – it covered all the the known world.