The negative response of the Judean refugees (Jer 44:15-44:16)

“Then all the men

Who were aware

That their wives

Had been making offerings

To other gods,

Stood by

With their women.

This was a great assembly.

All the people

Who lived in Pathros

In the land of Egypt,

Answered Jeremiah.

‘As for the word

That you have spoken

To us

In the name of Yahweh,

We are not going

To listen to you.’”

There is an admission at the beginning of this response to Jeremiah that the wives of these men had been offering sacrifices to other gods. There is no attempt to hide this fact. All the people tried to respond, which is a euphemism for a spokesman, at least. They are quite concise and to the point. They are not going to listen to Jeremiah and his oracles about Yahweh. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that these are the people who live in Parthos, the southern part of Egypt, near Nubia, not the northern area around Memphis and the upper Nile of Tahpanhes, where the first refugees stopped at. This might indicate that there were other Israelites or Judeans in Egypt.

Queen Vashti refuses to come to the party (Esth 1:12-1:20)

“However, Queen Vashti refused to obey King Artaxerxes. She would not come with the eunuchs. This offended the king. He became furious. He said to his friends.

‘This is how Queen Vashti had answered me.

Give therefore your ruling and judgment on this matter.’

This was the king’s procedure to consult the sages who knew the law and custom. Arkesaeus, Sarathaeus, and Malesar were the governors of the Persians and the Medes. They were closest to the king as they sat beside him in the chief seats. They told him what must be done to Queen Vashti for not obeying the order that the king had sent her by the eunuchs. Then Muchaeus said to the king and the princes, as he had reported to them what the queen had said and how she had deified the king.

‘Queen Vashti has insulted not only the king,

But also the king’s governors and officials.

Just as she defiled King Artaxerxes,

So now she defiles the other ladies,

The wives of the Persian and Median governors,

On hearing what she said to the king,

They will likewise dare to insult their husbands.

King Artaxerxes commanded Queen Vashti

To be brought before him,

And she did not come.

If, therefore, it pleases the king,

Let him issue a royal decree,

Inscribed with the laws of the Medes and the Persians,

So that it may not be altered.

Queen Vashti may no longer come

Into the presence of King Artaxerxes.

Let the king give her royal rank to a woman better than she.

Let whatever law the king enacts be proclaimed to his kingdom.

Thus all women will give honor to their husbands,

Rich and poor alike.’”

There is a difference between the Hebrew and the Greek text. In the Hebrew text there are 7 princes of Persia and Media instead of 3 governors as here in the Greek text. The names are completely different. In both texts, Memucan, or as here Muchaeus, has a proposal for the king. However, in the Hebrew text, Memucan was one of the 7 princes. Here this Muchaeus just comes on the scene without any identification. The queen has defiled the king by not obeying. She has set a bad example for the wives of the other princes. He wants her dismissed. It is not clear why the king would want to get rid of his wife for just this one incident. There must have been other things going on.