Springboarding off a previous question asked here: Where did King Achashverosh get the clothing of the Kohen Gadol?

The same can be asked about the utensils from the Beis Hamikdash, which were used during the king's grand feast.

(Although it is seemingly more wondrous regarding the priestly garments. There certainly were more utensils available for pillaging than there were sets of Kohen Gadol clothing.)


1 Answer 1


Refer to Rashi on the Gemara there in Megilla 12

בגדי כהונה - שהיו בידו שם בגדי כהן גדול שהביאן מירושלים

The priestly vestments: Since he had in his hand there, the vestments of the high priest that they brought from Jerusalem.

Achashveirosh had access to all these things by virtue of his marriage to Vashti.

Vashti was the granddaughter of Nevuchadnezzar (Megillah 10b) and daughter of Belshazzar. As the Pesikta of Esther Rabbah lays out:

רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל, רַב אָמַר כָּל מַה שֶּׁאָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בּוֹ אָמַר, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ישעיה יד, כב): וְהִכְרַתִּי לְבָבֶל שֵׁם וּשְׁאָר וְנִין וָנֶכֶד, שֵׁם זֶה נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר, וּשְׁאָר זֶה אֱוִיל מְרוֹדַךְ, וְנִין זֶה בֵּלְשַׁצַר, וָנֶכֶד זוֹהִי וַשְׁתִּי.

Rav and Shmuel: Rav said: Everything that the Holy One blessed be He said, He said about him. That is what is written: “I will eliminate from Babylonia name and remnant, child and grandchild” (Isaiah 14:22). “Name,” that is Nebuchadnezzar; “and remnant,” that is Evil Merodach; “child,” that is Belshatzar; “and grandchild,” that is Vashti.

Nevuchadnezzar famously destroyed the Temple. Upon conquering it, he pillaged its contents. In the Pesikta of Eicha Rabbah it writes:

אָמַר רַבִּי סִימוֹן יוֹם שֶׁנִּזְדַּוֵּג נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל הֶעֱדָה מֵהֶן שְׁנֵי לְבוּשִׁין, בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה וּבִגְדֵי מַלְכוּת

Rabbi Simon said: On the day that Nebuchadnezzar waged war against Israel, he removed from them two garments, the priestly garments and royal garments.

When Belshazzar came to the throne he was not shy in openly enjoying the loot they had taken from the Temple.

בֵּלְשַׁאצַּ֞ר אֲמַ֣ר ׀ בִּטְעֵ֣ם חַמְרָ֗א לְהַיְתָיָה֙ לְמָאנֵי֙ דַּהֲבָ֣א וְכַסְפָּ֔א דִּ֤י הַנְפֵּק֙ נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּ֣ר אֲב֔וּהִי מִן־הֵיכְלָ֖א דִּ֣י בִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וְיִשְׁתּ֣וֹן בְּה֗וֹן מַלְכָּא֙ וְרַבְרְבָנ֔וֹהִי שֵׁגְלָתֵ֖הּ וּלְחֵנָתֵֽהּ

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem to be brought so that the king and his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines could drink from them. (Daniel 5:2)

The Midrash Tehillim / Shocher Tov 17:10 thus writes:

אמר דוד לפני הקב"ה מה גבורים הן שנטלו שלטון מתחת ידיך והשלטת אותן בעולמך לשעבד בניך ואיזה זה נבוכדנצר ובלשצאר... שהעשירו מן ההקדשות הצפונות בבית המקדש שנאמר (מלכים-ב כד יג) כל אוצרות בית ה' ואוצרות בית המלך...יתומה אחת שנשתיירה זו ושתי ועשתה אגוסתא במלכות שאינה שלה שנאמר (אסתר א ט) גם ושתי המלכה.

David spoke before the Lord, saying, 'Who are the mighty ones that have taken dominion from under your hand, and you have ruled over them in your world to subjugate them to your children? And who were they? Nevuchadnezzar and Belshazzar... for they were enriched from the hidden treasures of the Temple, as it is said (2 Kings 24:13) 'He carried away all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house.' ...one orphan remained, and she became the queen of a kingdom that was not hers, as it is said (Esther 1:9), 'Also Queen Vashti gave a feast.'

So, in short, the bigdei kehuna and Temple vessels had been kept in the family, and when Achashveirosh married Vashti he had access to them.

  • 2
    As always, on point. +1
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jun 18, 2023 at 16:07

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