In Esther 8:4 it says

וַיּ֤וֹשֶׁט הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ לְאֶסְתֵּ֔ר אֵ֖ת שַׁרְבִ֣ט הַזָּהָ֑ב וַתָּ֣קָם אֶסְתֵּ֔ר וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

The king extended the golden scepter to Esther, and Esther arose and stood before the king.

Earlier (4:11) we are told that extending the scepter showed that a person who had not been called to the king would be allowed to live. Does this imply that after the incident with Haman the king again did not call for Esther for some period of time and that she had to again risk her life to speak to him unbidden? If not, what is the reason for this second episode where the king extends his scepter to Esther?

2 Answers 2


Ralbag on Esther 8:3 that the rule was that any time someone came unsummoned he was in risk of his life unless the king extended the scepter. Note that Haman had come and waited in the outer chamber until the king happened to ask if anyone was waiting to see him. This was the normal procedure and even if the king was glad to see her, or happened to want to see her, he still had to follow the protocol.

Additionally, he had to allow her to stand and speak.


ותוסף אסתר ותדבר לפני המלך וגו׳ – הנה השתדלה עתה להפר עצת המן ועל זה הוצרכה להתיר עצמה למות להכנס אל החצר הפנימית ואם לא נקראת כי בזולת זה לא הועילו לה מעשיה כלל להצלת ישראל.

Rashbam on Esther 8:4 explicitly says

ויושט המלך – להקימה ולהעמידה על רגליה.

To allow her to stand

Malbim says

ויושט – הוא רשות שתקום ותדבר דבריה בפרטות.

This allowed her to stand and speak explicitly.

  • Re Haman - If it was protocol to extend the scepter, we don't see that Achashverush did that with Haman. He just told his servants to allow Haman to enter. Was Haman an exception or was just verbally allowing someone to enter equivalent to the scepter?
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 14:23
  • @DanF It was not just verbally allowing Haman to enter, it was commanding that he be brought in. The scepter was for someone who came in without being called for by the king. Note the first time, Esther say I have not been called to come to the king. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:07
  • So the scepter was a "pardon"?
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:25
  • @DanF basically since it certified that it was with the king's command Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:48

Joseph ibn Yahya explains that this time as well she entered without permission, and the King extended the scepter to indicate that he forgave her for her impudence in coming without permission.

  • So did she put her life on the line to enter?
    – aBochur
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 3:46

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