Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am very puzzled by the whole episode with Bigtan and Teresh (Esther 2:21-23). What exactly made them so mad that they wanted to kill the king? The gemarah (megillah 13b) says they were complaining of not getting any sleep because the king was sleeping with Esther every night. Which I assume means their job was to guard the door? So on a night that the king didn't sleep with the queen they weren't guarding the door? Do they not get to sleep during the day? And if their job was to guard the door how were they planning on poisoning the king? Wouldn't the king summon some other servant to bring him food and drink? see Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 50 for full description of their plot.

share|improve this question
This blog post lists various explanations for their motives. – Fred Dec 22 '13 at 4:23

The basic answer is that because the king was sleeping with Esther so often he became thirsty very often so they were constantly having to bring him water and then later bring him his lavatory. See Rashi's comments on Megillah 13b.

It was their job to both guard the door and supply any of his needs during the night. When he wasn't sleeping with Esther they just guarded the door, but now that he was sleeping with her their workload increased significantly. Since their job was to both guard the door and provide for the kings nighttime needs they were able to have one person slip off to get poison while the other did double duty. See the Ben Yehoyada on the above cited gemarah who goes into great detail of the problem and how the plot was detected.

share|improve this answer
So why not just kill Esther? – Seth J Dec 22 '13 at 2:24
I have seen at least one commentator who explains that they intended to do exactly that. A double homicide. Furthermore, there are those who explain that they were angry with Achashveirosh for having appointed Mordechai to an office of prominence and demoting them which was another reason for targeting him specifically. – not-allowed to change my name Dec 22 '13 at 4:08
[From Me'am Lo'ez] For various reasons there was a lot of hatred inside the palace for Achashveirosh and many people wanted to see him go therefore they knew that the crime would not be investigated to deeply. – eramm Dec 23 '13 at 10:40

The Targum to Esther 2:21 says that Bigtan and Teresh were jealous of the many honors given Mordechai by Esther, and worried that they would be replaced by him.

share|improve this answer
But that doesnnt make sense since Mordecai was only recognized after Bigthan and teresh's death. – TheTribeOfJudah Mar 23 at 19:01
@TheTribeOfJudah by the king – Baby Seal Mar 23 at 20:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.