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Friday, May 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 10

Ironside's Notes on Selected BooksIronside's Notes

Verses 1-3

Chapter 10

Speaking Peace

The story of Satan’s effort to destroy the nation of promise, together with the manner in which he was thwarted, having been so minutely told, there remains nothing more but to picture the changed conditions resultant upon the destruction of Haman and his house, and the advancement of Mordecai. The far-reaching rule of the Persian monarch is first shown in the statement that “the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land and upon the isles of the sea” (ver. 1). All nations had to know and own his power, as soon they shall own the sway of God’s chosen King. How blessed the day when

“Jesus shall reign where e’er the sun

Doth his successive journeys run:

His kingdom spread from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.”

“The powers that be are ordained of God;” but all are merely provisional during the present period of the true King’s rejection. Soon shall this groaning scene be changed to one of unmingled joy and gladness for the delivered nations when there shall be revealed from heaven “a righteous ruler over men, a ruler in the fear of God!” This, Ahasuerus was not. Consequently his world-wide domination soon passed to other hands; but when God’s Anointed reigns, His kingdom will never be superseded.

Let the reader not fall into a mistake very commonly made to-day. The Kingdom is not the Church. The latter is the body of Christ, composed of all who, in this dispensation, are called out from Jew and Gentile, and baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. During the period in which God is doing this special work of His grace, the Kingdom, properly speaking, is in abeyance. It is true the principles of the Kingdom are spreading through the world, and all who are born again are, even now, in, and morally of it.

But for all that the reigning time has not yet come. It is still “the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” When the Lord returns from heaven He will descend “with a shout” into the upper air, accompanied by “the voice of the archangel and the trump of God.” The Church will then be complete and her period of testimony and rejection on earth will be accomplished. Therefore “the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be forever with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:17; see also 1 Corinthians 15:51-56).

This will be the end of the Christian dispensation, but not the end of the world. There are other periods to follow. The first will be very brief, and is commonly referred to in Scripture as “the great tribulation,” “the hour of trial,” and “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” In this season, (with which a great part of Scripture is occupied, notably Matt. xxiv. and the bulk of the Revelation-chaps. 4-19 inclusive) the Jewish nation will once more be taken up by God. A remnant of them in their unprecedented tribulation will turn to His Word and will there see that, on account of their rejection of Messiah, they had been given up to partial blindness “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” That time having been reached at the rapture of the Church, God will then open their eyes to their great sin. They will acknowledge the Crucified as the Anointed of Jehovah, and will separate themselves from the ungodly mass to wait for His appearing as their Deliverer. In the land of Palestine one will arise of whom Haman is a fit type-the personal Antichrist, referred to in Scripture under various titles, as “the king” of Daniel 11:36, who “shall do ac- cording to his own will;” “the idol shepherd” of Zechariah 11:15-17; one who “shall come in his own name” in John 5:43; “the man of sin,” and “the wicked” or “lawless one” of 2 Thessalonians 2:0, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders;” and the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:0, who has the appearance of a lamb, to simulate the Lamb of God, but is betrayed by his speech, which is that of a dragon. This fearful character will be the bitter persecutor of the faithful Jews for a short period, but as in the matter of Haman and Mordecai, when all seems darkest, the Lord shall appear for the destruction of the power of evil and the salvation of His people. Then follows the establishment of the kingdom which is never to be given to another, when for one thousand years the Lord Jesus shall reign over all the earth.

Whenever world-wide dominion has been entrusted to man, he has, as in all else, utterly failed. But when “He shall come whose right it is,” He will judge the nations in righteousness and manifest Jehovah’s perfect rule on earth. This is the Kingdom which is the burden of the Old Testament prophecies and which is frequently referred to in the New Testament. One passage from this latter portion we shall here quote. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together (or head up) in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him” (Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 1:11). When that long-waited for dispensation arrives, “the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” The heavenly saints will then be associated with their Lord in government, while saints on earth will, with rejoicing, own His beneficent sway.

Misrule and oppression will have ceased forever. Earth’s long wail will have changed to a song of unending praise to the Lamb once slain.14 We cannot forbear referring the reader to one beautiful passage, this time from the Psalms, ere leaving this intensely interesting subject. We refer to Psalms 72:0, where Messiah’s kingdom is described most vividly. After telling how “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass,” bringing refreshment and blessing to this poor parched world, we read that “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him” (vers. 8-11). No wonder that at the conclusion of the recital of His glories the inspired singer writes, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended”! All will be then as it should be; for the whole earth will be full of His glory.

The evanescent character of human greatness and the crumbling kingdoms of earth as contrasted with the “stone kingdom” yet to come are well brought out in the second verse of our chapter in Esther. “And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?” These books are probably lost beyond recall. God has, however, preserved His own record of the events of those days. Were it not for this, we should never have known from secular history of Mordecai and of God’s intervention for the preservation of His people in the land of their exile.

Ahasuerus’ power was of the fading glory of this world. He is gone, and his records have perished. Mordecai had the interests of Jehovah at heart, despite the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed. His faithfulness will be remembered forever. “For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed” (ver. 3). He appears as a thoroughly disinterested, unselfish person, who, though honored by the proud conqueror, never acts now as of old, when he counseled Esther against revealing her kindred; but is a guileless man, known to all as a Jew, and using his power for the blessing of the once jeopardized nation.

That from time to time, even where there is much that is contrary to the mind of God, He manifests His unbounded grace by giving to His people such deliverers is evident both in Scripture and in the dark and sorrowful annals of the Church on earth. Let no one conclude from this fact that it is a matter of small moment to Him if His saints go on with that which is contrary to His revealed Word. It is one thing to know a Father’s love and care, even though walking in self-chosen paths; it is another thing, like Enoch, to walk with God and have the testimony that one is pleasing Him.

As an evidence of how feebly man enters into Divine design in Scripture, I would draw attention, ere closing, to the well-known fact that in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, and found in English in the Apocrypha, there are a number of additions to the book of Esther which are commonly supposed to be the work of pious Egyptian Jews who were troubled by the omission of all reference to God, and therefore supplemented the book with productions of their own, in which the glory would all be given to Him. These interpolations are rightly rejected in our version, as they never formed part of the Hebrew text, and were written after the voice of prophecy had ceased, in the days of Malachi. In one of these added portions, Haman is referred to as a Macedonian whose desire it was to turn the kingdom to his people. This would be quite in keeping with the times in which they were written. The Persian empire was overthrown, as we know, by Alexander the Great, whose Macedonian troops so readily routed the luxurious Iranian armies.

Man cannot tamper with God’s word save to his ruin, and to the marring of that which is absolutely perfect in itself. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally, God- breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:17).

May writer and reader seek, ever more and more, to walk as men of God; thus finding in every portion of Holy Writ divine furnishing for our path through this scene.

14 The attentive reader who may desire further light on the Kingdom and connected themes will find great help in “Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects,” by W. Trotter. $1.25. At the same publishers.

Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Esther 10". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/isn/esther-10.html. 1914.
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