Chapter 1 serves as a prelude to the Book of Esther. It introduces the motif of feasting, which runs throughout the book;6 it sets the stage for action in the Persian royal courts; and it adds details that explain certain aspects of the story. For example: why Ahasuerus needs to find a new queen (ch. 2); why Esther might fear the king’s anger (ch. 4); the role and significance of royal advisers (chs, 3, 6, 7, and 8); and why the king cannot revoke his decree (ch. 8).
So after 180 days of feasting and drinking, Ahasuerus desired to end his banquet not with fireworks, but with lust and envy: he wanted his guests to envy him and regard him as the only man who had the world by the tail.
In other words, King Ahasuerus had shown his splendor, his wealth, and his power for six months, but he decided that wasn’t good enough. He still had one more prized possession to show off … his wife.
Herodotus, the Greek historian who lived just after the Persian kingdom ended, wrote that this was common practice for Persian kings because the Persian people were so promiscuous. They loved parading their wives and concubines unclothed to show them off to one another. It was a competition—a little game of Let’s See Who Has the Prettiest Wife
This King or The King
Jesus did not see before Him a sinner or a prostitute; He saw a woman who loved, who was forgiven, and who had been saved by her faith (Luke 7:47–50). He did not see an object of lust or scorn, but a person who could give and receive love.