VASHTI (Heb. וַשְׁתִּי; perhaps "beauty" in Persian), queen of Persia and Media, wife of *Ahasuerus (Xerxes; 485–465 B.C.E.). When King Ahasuerus, in the third year of his reign, held a banquet "for all the people that were found in *Shushan" in the king's gardens, Queen Vashti also held a banquet in the palace. On the seventh day, when the king was drunk from all the wine, he ordered Vashti brought before him "to show the peoples and the princes" her beauty. Vashti refused to appear. At the advice of his counselors the king ordered her deposed from her position and proclaimed that "every man should be lord in his house" (Esth. 1:9–22). Later she was replaced by Esther (Esth. 2). Attempts to identify Vashti with known historical figures have not been persuasive. As a proper name, Vashti has survived in inscriptions.
Cooke, North Semitic Inscriptions (1903), no. 85; L.B. Paton, Esther (ICC, 1908), 66–67, 88–89, 142ff. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, index; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 142.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.