In Megillat Esther, Achashverosh asks Esther what he can do for her three times (text and translation from chabad.org):


And the king said to her, "What concerns you, Queen Esther, and what is your petition? Even to half the kingdom, it will be given to you."

ג.וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ מַה לָּךְ אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ:


And the king said to Esther during the wine banquet, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it shall be fulfilled."

ו.וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן מַה שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְתֵעָשׂ:

and 7:2

And the king said to Esther also on the second day during the wine feast, "What is your petition, Queen Esther, and it shall be given to you. And what is your request, even up to half the kingdom, and it shall be granted."

ב.וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר גַּם בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן מַה שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה וְתִנָּתֵן לָךְ וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְתֵעָשׂ

The language is subtly different -- in the second question, he never refers to her as "hamalkah", the second and third introduce the notion of "v'tei'as" and the third has the word ""v'yinatein" turn into "v'tinatein."

Is there any discussion of what the practical differences might be between these three iterations? Is this all just grammar and conversational whim or does the omission of the "Queen" title, or the introduction of "it will be done" or the change in the presentation of the n-t-n root lead to any other interpretations (either as individual concepts or as part of a whole, all pieces creating a different over-arching interpretation)?

1 Answer 1


I have a suspicion that Achashveirosh knew that he didn't know who Esther was, ein Esther magedes vechulei.

And that he thought Esther was now ready to reveal her identity for a price (ad chatzi ha'malchus).

When he addresses Esther in the second tense without using her title he means, 'Go on, tell me the secret.'

When he addresses her as Esther ha'Malkah he means, 'Regardless of who you are, you can carry on being the queen.'

If so, Achashveirosh was right on both accounts because she revealed her identity and this came with a price (both for herself and Achashveirosh, she now became assur to Mordechai.)

I don't know about the other diyukim.

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