389. Drinking Customs

Esther 1:8  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Esther 1:88And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure. (Esther 1:8). The drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure.
Revelers of all nations seem to have had their peculiar drinking customs which were as binding as laws. Among the Egyptians, wine was offered before dinner commenced, and the guests also drank during the repast. Among the Greeks, each guest was obliged to keep the round or leave the company. “Drink, or be gone,” was the proverb. At the Roman feasts, a master of the feast was chosen by throwing dice. He prescribed rules to the company which all were obliged to observe. See note on John 2:88And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. (John 2:8) (#793).
Bishop Patrick, in his note on this place, suggests that the text means that though it was the custom to compel men to drink whether they would or not, yet the king on this occasion directed that each guest be left to his own discretion, and that none were obliged to drink according to this custom. Leaving out the word was, which the translators supplied; rendering the Hebrew word dath, “custom,” instead of “law,” as in our version; and slightly changing the punctuation, the Bishop translates: “The drinking according to custom, none did compel.” Thus no one would incur displeasure who violated the ordinary rule of conviviality.