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Bible Commentaries

Adam Clarke Commentary
Esther 8




Ahasuerus invests Mordecai with the offices and dignities possessed by Haman, Esther 8:1, Esther 8:2. Esther begs that the decree of destruction gone out against the Jews may be reversed, Esther 8:3-6. He informs her that the acts that had once passed the kings seal cannot be reversed; but he instructs her and Mordecai to write other letters in his name, and seal them with his seal, and send them to all the provinces in the empire, giving the Jews full liberty to defend themselves; which is accordingly done; and the letters are sent off with the utmost speed to all the provinces: in consequence, the Jews prepare for their own defense, Esther 8:8-14. Mordecai appears publicly in the dress of his high office, Esther 8:15. The Jews rejoice in every place; and many of the people become Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them, Esther 8:16, Esther 8:17.

Verse 1

The king - give the house of Haman - As Haman was found guilty of treasonable practices against the peace and prosperity of the king and his empire, his life was forfeited and his goods confiscated. And as Mordecai had been the means of preserving the king's life, and was the principal object of Haman's malice, it was but just to confer his property upon him, as well as his dignity and office, as Mordecai was found deserving of the former, and fit to discharge the duties of the latter.

Verse 2

The king took off his ring - In the ring was the seal of the king. Giving the ring to Mordecai was tantamount to giving him the seal of the kingdom, and constituting him the same as lord chancellor among us.

Verse 6

To see the destruction of my kindred? - She had now informed the king that she was cousin to Mordecai, and consequently a Jewess; and though her own life and that of Mordecai were no longer in danger, Haman being dead, yet the decree that had gone forth was in full force against the Jews; and if not repealed, their destruction would be inevitable.

Verse 8

May no man reverse - Whatever had passed the royal signet could never be revoked; no succeeding edict could destroy or repeal a preceding one: but one of a similar nature to the Jews against the Persians, as that to the Persians was against the Jews, might be enacted, and thus the Jews be enabled legitimately to defend themselves; and, consequently, placed on an equal footing with their enemies.

Verse 9

The month Sivan - This answers to a part of our May and June.

Verse 10

On mules, camels, and young dromedaries - What these beasts were is difficult to say. The word רכש rechesh, which we translate mules, signifies a swift chariot horse.

The strange word אחשתרנים achashteranim is probably a Persian word, but perhaps incurably corrupted. The most likely derivation is that of Bochart, from the Persian akhash, huge, large, rough, and aster, a mule; large mules.

The words הרמכים בני beney harammachim, the sons of mares, which we translate dromedaries, are supposed to signify mules, produced between the he ass and the mare, to distinguish them from those produced between the stallion and the ass, But there is really so much confusion about these matters, and so little consent among learned men as to the signification of these words, and even the true knowledge of them is of such little importance, that we may well rest contented with such names as our modern translations have given us. They were, no doubt, the swiftest and hardiest beasts that the city or country could produce.

Verse 11

To destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish - The same words as in Haman's decree: therefore the Jews had as much authority to slay their enemies, as their enemies had to slay them.

Little ones and women - This was the ordinary custom, to destroy the whole family of those convicted of great crimes; and whether this was right or wrong, it was the custom of the people, and according to the laws. Besides, as this edict was to give the Jews the same power against their enemies as they had by the former decree against them, and the women and children were there included; consequently they must be included here.

Verse 14

The decree was given at Shushan - The contrary effect which it was to produce considered, this decree was in every respect like the former. See Esther 3:8-15.

Verse 15

Blue and white - Probably stripe interchanged with stripe; or blue faced and bordered with white fur.

A great crown of gold - A large turban, ornamented with gold, jewels, etc.

Fine linen and purple - See on Genesis 41:42; (note). The בץ buts, here mentioned, is most probably the same with the byssus of the ancients; supposed to be the beautiful tuft or beard, growing out of the side of the pinna longa, a very large species of muscle, found on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, of which there are a pair of gloves in the British Museum. This byssus I have described elsewhere.

Shushan - was glad - Haman was too proud to be popular; few lamented his fall.

Verse 17

Many - became Jews; for - fear - These were a species of converts not likely to bring much honor to true religion: but the sacred historian states the simple fact. They did profess Judaism for fear of the Jews, whether they continued steady in that faith or not.

It is only the Gospel which will not admit of coercion for the propagation and establishment of its doctrines. It is a spiritual system, and can be propagated only by spiritual influence. As it proclaims holiness of heart and life, which nothing but the Spirit of God can produce, so it is the Spirit of God alone that can persuade the understanding and change the heart. If the kingdom of Christ were of this world, then would his servants fight. But it is not from hence.


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Bibliography Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Esther 8:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

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