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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Esther 9

Verse 1

As. Hebrew, "(which is the month of Adar) when the king's command and edict drew near to be executed, in that day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it turned out that the Jews had dominion over those who hated them)" (Haydock) --- To revenge, &c. The Jews, on this occasion, by authority from the king, were made executioners of the public justice, for punishing by death a crime worthy of death, viz., a malicious conspiracy for extripating their whole nation; (Challoner) so inscrutable are the judgments of God, who never wholly abandoned his people! The old Vulgate passes over the first 19 verses, with the 24th, 25th, and 28th. (Calmet) --- In this whole history we cannot but admire the Providence of God. (Worthington)

Verse 3

Extolled. Protestants, "helped." Septuagint, "the king's secretaries honoured the Jews." (Haydock)

Verse 6

Sons. It seems as if they had been slain with their father, ver. 10. See chap. vii. 9. (Calmet) --- Yet, as the contrary would appear from chap. xvi. 18, we may suppose that they were at least (Haydock) imprisoned till this time, for a more exemplary punishment, while all the rest of the family perished with Aman. (Serarius) (Salien) (Menochius) --- These are the kindred, specified nine months before, chap. xvi. (Tirinus) --- Some Masorets childishly (Haydock) write these ten names one over another, and with greater and lesser letters, to shew that they were hung one above another, and that the guilt of all was not the same, but the youngest son was the most malicious. (Kennicott)

Verse 10

Goods, in any place, (Tirinus) that they might not appear to be actuated by the desire of riches, (Calmet) to fall upon the innocent. How often does this fatal cause blind Christian conquerors! The sons of Aman were married, and had separate establishments, chap. viii. 1.

Verse 13

Susan. Aman's influence had been the greatest there, and had stirred up many enemies of the Jews, who were to be carefully sought out. (Haydock) --- If we should consider only the dictates of clemency, we should think that the Jews were too eager in their revenge. But when we reflect, that their enemies had intended to destroy them all, and to seize their effects, we shall allow that they did not exceed the limits of justice, as they acted by royal authority, and abstained from touching any effects of the deceased. (Calmet) --- In the capital, 800 men fell victims to their fury. But as the citizens of that place were probably the most guilty, we must not imagine that other cities would be treated with the like severity. (Haydock) --- Gibbets, for a terror to the wicked. (Menochius) --- This disgrace was not unusual, chap. xvi.18. Polycrates was treated thus. (Herodotus iii. 125.)

Verse 16

Lives. In many cases they would probably be attacked, as Aman's edict was perhaps still in force, as well as that of Mardochai. Hence both parties would be upon the watch. (Haydock) --- Seventy-five. Roman Septuagint has only 15,000. Complutensian, 10,035. (Calmet)

Verse 17


Verse 19

Meats, not only to the poor, but to all their friends, ver. 22., and 2 Esdras viii. 10. (Calmet)

Verse 21

Receive. Protestants, "establish this among them, that they should keep the 14th....yearly," 2 Machabees xv. 37. (Haydock) --- None were obliged to keep more than one of these days, according to their respective dwellings. The 14th was for the provinces, the 15th for the Jews of Susan, ver. 18. (Tirinus) (Calmet) (Worthington) --- Yet it would seem that both days were enjoined, ver. 27, 28. (Haydock) --- The Jews still observe, them, as they gratify their vanity and vindictive spirit. The 13th is kept a rigid fast, for all above sixteen, for twenty-four hours, during which they eat nothing. (Calmet) --- If that day should be a sabbath, or its eve, they fast on the 11th or 12th. (Drusius) --- The day before the festival they give alms to their poor brethren, enjoining them to consume the whole in making good cheer. Each person must then contribute the half sicle, (Exodus xxx. 13.) which is bestowed on those who undertake a pilgrimage to the land of promise. At night, when the feast commences, they light the lamps, and begin to read the Book of Esther, as soon as the stars appear. They use an old parchment manuscript roll, and, in the five places, the reader shouts with all his might, running over the names of the ten sons of Aman with all haste, to shew that they all died in a moment. Whenever Aman is mentioned, the children beat the benches with mallets; and formerly they used to strike at a stone, on which his name was cut, till it broke, ver. 31. After the lecture, they take a repast at home. Early the next morning they return to the synagogue, and read the account of Amalec from the Pentateuch, and repeat the Book of Esther, with the aforesaid ceremonies. The rest of the day they spend in merriment. Their teachers allow them to drink till they are unable to distinguish the name of Aman from that of Mardochai. (Basnage, vi. 15.) --- They also change clothes, in contradiction to the law; (Deuteronomy xxii. 5.) and were formerly accustomed to crucify a man of straw, which they burnt with the cross, till Christian emperors put a stop to them; as it was concluded, from their curses, &c., that they had an eye to our Saviour. (Calmet) See chap. v. 14. (Haydock)

Verse 25

And. Hebrew, "But when she came." Septuagint, "and how he came to the king, asking leave to hang Mardochai. But his machinations against the Jews, turned upon his own head; and so," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 28

Ceremonies. The king also enjoined (chap. xvi. 22.) all his subjects (Tirinus) to keep a day of rejoicing, (Haydock) as the death of Aman was deemed a public benefit. (Calmet)

Verse 29

Second. The first might be the edict, (chap. viii. 9.) or else the provisional establishment of the festival, as it could not have general authority till it was ratified by the high priest; after which, this second letter was dispatched. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "and queen Esther, daughter of Aminadab, &c.,...wrote all that they had done, and also the confirmation of the epistle of Phrourai." They should say Phurim, as the former word means "guards." Hebrew, "wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim;" (Protestants; Haydock) or rather, "this letter, Phurim, of which this is a copy." The Roman Septuagint only add for this and their advice; (Calmet; Ed. Alex.[Alexandrian Edition?], "for their health and counsel.") and Esther established for ever, and wrote as a memorial: My nation," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 30

Peace: receive these glad tidings, and faithfully observe the injunctions. (Calmet)

Verse 31

Fasts and cries. See ver. 21. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "the matters of their fastings and their cry: and the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book." (Haydock) --- This feast, instituted by Mardochai, was accepted and observed by the Jews as a constitution agreeable to, and not contrary to the law, Deuteronomy iv. 2., and xii. 32. (Worthington)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Esther 9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.