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I was wondering what the difference in meaning (and thus, in the interpretation of Pesukim in the Megillah, as well as various Pesukim in Tanach) between למלכו and למלכותו, specifically according to Rashbam (Esther 1:3), who says:

למלכו – למלך הוא

I will add an answer from another source, but I would like to know if someone can find other explanations, especially one that would explain this Rashbam, or ones that help me understand the Dikduk of these two words.

To be clear, I am looking for this to help me interpret Esther 1:3 and 2:17.

Edit: Some other occurrences of each word:

למלכו:

וַיֵּצֵא יְהוֹיָכִין מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה עַל מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל הוּא וְאִמּוֹ וַעֲבָדָיו וְשָׂרָיו וְסָרִיסָיו וַיִּקַּח אֹתוֹ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל בִּשְׁנַת שְׁמֹנֶה לְמׇלְכוֹ (Melachim B 24:12)

בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת לְמׇלְכוֹ אֲנִי דָּנִיֵּאל בִּינֹתִי בַּסְּפָרִים מִסְפַּר הַשָּׁנִים אֲשֶׁר הָיָה דְבַר י"י אֶל יִרְמְיָה הַנָּבִיא לְמַלֹּאות לְחׇרְבוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַ‍ִם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה (Daniel 9:2)

וַיְהִי בַשָּׁנָה הַתְּשִׁעִית לְמׇלְכוֹ בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִי בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ בָּא נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל הוּא וְכׇל חֵילוֹ עַל יְרוּשָׁלַ‍ִם וַיַּחֲנוּ עָלֶיהָ וַיִּבְנוּ עָלֶיהָ דָּיֵק סָבִיב (Yirrmiyahu 52:4)

למלכותו: (actually, only in Esther and Divrei Hayamim B, I think)

וַ֠יָּ֠חֶל לִבְנ֞וֹת בַּחֹ֤דֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי֙ בַּשֵּׁנִ֔י בִּשְׁנַ֥ת אַרְבַּ֖ע לְמַלְכוּתֽוֹ (Divrei Hayamim B 3:2)

וַיֶּחֱלֶא אָסָא בִּשְׁנַת שְׁלוֹשִׁים וָתֵשַׁע לְמַלְכוּתוֹ בְּרַגְלָיו עַד לְמַעְלָה חׇלְיוֹ וְגַם בְּחׇלְיוֹ לֹא דָרַשׁ אֶת י"י כִּי בָּרֹפְאִים (Divrei Hayamim B 16:12, note that in the next Passuk, about his death, it uses Lemolcho)

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – DanF Jan 24 '18 at 23:32
  • I agree that adding these extra verses would only explain what I placed in the answer in terms of their meanings. As to why Tanac"h decides to use one word vs. the other, I think we need to view commentaries on each one to see if they explain anything. There may be no explanation for some / all of these. – DanF Jan 25 '18 at 20:39
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Rav Eliezer Ashkenazi in his commentary to Esther, Yosef Lekach (2:17, see 1:3 as well), explains that Achashverosh originally was only the King of Persia, and he later took control of all 127 provinces. The word למלכו refers to counting from the his taking control of all 127 provinces, whereas the word למלכותו refers to from the date of his becoming King of Persia.

However, this would not explain the various other places in Tanach where both words are used (a search of Sefaria or Alhatorah yields many results for both words), and no similar situation has taken place with that king.


Edited by DanF:

I asked my shul rav about the difference. He says that there is a slight nuance in meaning with the two words.

מלכו means "his rulership" or "his reign". מלכותו means "his kingdom". Thus, while Achashverosh was the ruler of 127 provinces, it's possible that he may have appointed others to manage those areas. His kingdom was in Persia.

Answer in progress regarding the new verses that you cited. I am concentrating only on the 1st batch למלכו:

Verse 1 - See Rada"k, esp, the end of it. He posits that there is an inconsistency regarding the time that Yohyachin began ruling. But, of interest is the end that says that says that the 18 years refers to the 18th year of Nebuchadneztar's kingdom. Thus, it's possible that he was just a ruler, while not having any title as king.

  • It also doesn't explain why the Pasuk would think to date the different events to different epochs. – Double AA Jan 24 '18 at 3:13
  • @DoubleAA that can be answered by saying that the Mishteh was celebrating his taking over of such a large kingdom (see Ibn Ezra to 1:2-4), in which case it would make sense to date it to his becoming king of the entire large kingdom. I don't know of other occurrences in the Megillah that would disprove this. (Note that Yosef Lekach also uses this to minimize the time between Vashti's death and Esther becoming queen.) (And perhaps in other places in Tanach dating to different events is acceptable as well, such as during the Mabul according to Rashi.) – רבות מחשבות Jan 24 '18 at 3:38
  • Anything can be answered. But the suggestion in this answer does naturally prompt a lot of issues in understanding the text which aren't dealt with. – Double AA Jan 24 '18 at 3:45
  • @DoubleAA in this case, many of the questions are dealt with in the commentary itself, but I agree in principle. This is why I'm looking for better answers... :) – רבות מחשבות Jan 24 '18 at 3:50
  • @DanF edited in to the question – רבות מחשבות Jan 25 '18 at 18:26

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