Now the king sat in the winter house, in the ninth month
The month Cisleu, which answers to part of November, and part of December; and so was the midst of winter, and a proper time for the king to be in his winter house; though, as this was a fast day, it would have been more proper for him to have been at the worship of God in the temple, ( Jeremiah 36:9 ) . This winter house probably was a winter parlour, as distinguished from a summer parlour, ( Judges 3:20 ) ; and both might be under the same roof, or parts of the same house; only the one might be more airy and cool, and the other more close and warm. Kings had their summer and winter houses; see ( Amos 3:15 ) ; this circumstance is mentioned for the sake of what follows, the burning of the roll; and accounts for there being a fire at hand to do it: and [there was a fire] on the hearth burning before him;
there was a stove, or some such vessel or instrument, in which a large fire of wood was made, at which the king sat to keep himself warm while the roll was reading, and about which the princes stood.