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The g'mara (M'gila 12a) says that the drinking at Achashverosh's party's being described as "no forcing" means that everyone was given wine from his own country (so he'd be accustomed to it, according to Rashi). But this quote is from a description that seems to be of the second party, to which seemingly only Shushan people were invited. So everyone had the same country. What gives?

I can think of two possible answers, and wonder if anyone has a source or evidence for either of them, or for another:

  1. The party is described as being for those "found in Shushan", which includes many non-locals, including, for example, everyone who was at the first party also.
  2. The description of the party is actually meant to apply to both even though it seems to apply only to the second.

Update: Jake has suggested, in a comment on this question, another possibility:

Perhaps many people who lived in Shushan originated in other countries.

(Indeed, we know Mord'chay did.)

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Perhaps many people who lived in Shushan originated in other countries. – jake Mar 15 '11 at 17:38
Aside from Mordechai, so did Haman: the Gemara (Megillah 16a) says that he was a barber in "the village of Kartzum" for 22 years, which probably means that he grew up somewhere in that area. – Alex Mar 16 '11 at 3:44
Just to back up @jake's comment, don't forget that Sanherib King of Ashur messed up and reorganized all the peoples in that area, not too many years previously. – AviD Feb 12 '12 at 20:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The verse actually describes the second party as meant "for all those present in Shushan Habirah." Given that various commentaries distinguish between this and plain Shushan, it's indeed quite likely that people from many different countries in the empire would have been attracted to jobs at the palace.

Though then the question might be what the difference was between this and the first party, to which "all of his... servants" were invited. Maybe "servants" actually means something like the civil service, as opposed to low-level employees like cooks and janitors (who would have been invited to the second party but not the first one)?

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