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Bible Commentaries
Esther 5

Ellicott's Commentary for English ReadersEllicott's Commentary

Verse 1


(1) The third day.—That is, of the fast. (See above, Esther 4:16.)

Royal apparel.—Literally, royalty.

Verse 3

(3) To the half of the kingdom.—This tremendous offer occurs in further promises of Ahasuerus (Esther 5:6; Esther 7:2). The same reckless promise is made by Herod Antipas to the daughter of Herodias (Mark 6:23).

Verse 4

(4) Let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet.—It was natural enough that, with so much depending on her request, the queen should show some hesitation: if anything took an untoward turn (for, in spite of the king’s promise, she evidently felt uneasy) it might mean total ruin. She therefore temporises; she at any rate gains time, she secures a specially favourable opportunity for bringing forward the request, and the king clearly sees that she has kept her real petition in reserve by himself again raising the question. It will be noticed that so long as Esther is working her way up to the due vantage-ground, the king is addressed in the third person, let the king come,” but when she makes the decisive appeal, in the second, “in thy sight, O king.”

Verse 6

(6) The banquet of wine.—The continuation of the banquet of Esther 5:5 : the dessert, so to speak.

Verse 9

(9) He stood not up.—In Esther 3:2 we saw that Mordecai refused to bow or prostrate himself to Haman, here he refuses even the slightest sign of respect. The honourable independence of the former case here becomes indefensible rudeness.

Verse 10

(10) Zeresh.—A name probably derived from an old Persian word for “gold.” According to the Targum she was the daughter of Tatnai, “the governour on this side the river,” i.e., of that part of the Persian Empire which lay beyond the Euphrates ( Ezra 5:3).

Verse 11

(11) Told them . . .—As all this was of necessity sufficiently well known to his hearers, this was simply a piece of vain-glorious boasting, the pride that “goeth before destruction.”

The multitude of his children.—He had ten sons (Esther 9:10).

Verse 13

(13) Availeth me nothing.—Better, suiteth, contenteth me not.

Verse 14

(14) Gallows.—Literally, tree; the Hebrew word, as well as the corresponding Greek word used by the LXX., standing both for the living tree and the artificial structure. Doubtless the punishment intended for Mordecai was crucifixion, for hanging, in the common sense of the term, does not seem to have been in use among the Persians. The same Hebrew word occurring above (Esther 2:23) is rendered tree. The Greek word employed is the same as that used in the New Testament for our Saviour’s cross (Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39, &c). The Latin Vulgate here actually renders the word on its last occurrence by crucem.

Fifty cubits high.—That is, about seventy-five feet; the great height being to call as much attention as possible to the execution, that thereby Haman’s glory might be proportionately increased.

Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Esther 5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/esther-5.html. 1905.
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