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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 8

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman ... unto Esther. His property was confiscated, and everything belonging to him, as some compensation for the peril to which the queen had been exposed. In the East, says Chardin, the disgrace of a governor, or other great man, has always involved the forfeiture of his property to the crown. So we find in the decrees of Cyrus. reported by Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 12:, ch. 1:), that transgressors were to be crucified, and their goods to be forfeited to the king.

Mordecai came before the king - i:e., was introduced at court, and appointed one of the seven counselors, Esther displayed great prudence and address in acknowledging Mordecai's relation to her at the moment most fitted to be of eminent service to him.

Verse 2

And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

The king took off his ring ... and gave it unto Mordecai - by that act transferring to him all the power and authority (cf. Gen. 12:42 ) which the ring symbolized, and promoting him to the high dignity which Haman had formerly filled.

Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman - as her steward, or factor, to manage that large and opulent estate which had been assigned to her.

Verse 3

And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.

Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet. The king was then not reclining at table, but sitting on a divan, most probably in the Persian attitude, leaning back against the cushions, and one foot under him.

Besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman - i:e., to repeal the sanguinary edict which, at the secret instigation of Haman, had been recently passed (Esther 3:12).

Verse 4

Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,

Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther - in token that her request was accepted, and that she needed no longer to maintain the humble attitude of a suppliant.

Verse 5

And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces:

Reverse the letters devised by Haman ... to destroy the Jews. The whole conduct of Esther in this matter is characterized by great tact; and the variety of expressions by which she describes her willing submission to her royal husband, the address with which she rolls the whole infamy of the meditated massacre on Haman, and the argument she draws, from the king's sanction being surreptitiously obtained, that the decree should be immediately reversed-all indicate the queen's wisdom and skill; and she succeeded in this point also.

Verses 6-7

For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 8

Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.

Write ... in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring. Hence, it is evident that the royal ring had a seal in it which, being affixed to any document, authenticated it with the stamp of royal authority.

Which ... may no man reverse. This is added as the reason why he could not comply with the queen's request for a direct reversal or recall of Haman's letters-namely, that the laws of the Medes and Persians, once passed, were irrevocable.

Verse 9

Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces,ccording to their language.

It was written ... to the lieutenants, [ haa'ªchashdarpªniym (H323)] - the satraps (see the notes at Esther 3:12; Ezra 8:36).

And the deputies, [ wªhapachowt (H6346)] - and the prefects or governors of parts of provinces.

And rulers of the provinces, [ wªsaareey (H8269) hamªdiynowt (H4082)] - and viceroys of the districts or provinces. In Daniel (Daniel 3:2-3; Daniel 3:27) the satraps rank first, the sagans next, and the pechahs third, in order of the public officials; while in this book-a later period-the satraps, the pechahs, and the "princes of the provinces," are mentioned, but not the sagans.

Verse 10

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:

Sent letters by posts on horseback, [ bacuwciym (H5483)] - by horses.

And riders on mules, [ haarekesh (H7409)] - the steeds or coursers of a fleeter race than the former (Bochart, 'Hierozoicon,' 1:, p. 95).

Camels, [ haa'ªchashtaaraaniym (H327), mules; which meaning is further defined by bªneey (H1121) haaramaakiym (H7424), sons of mares. There is no waw (w), and, in the Hebrew text connecting this with the preceding word, as our translators have inserted]. The last word Rammac, which occurs here only in the plural, is improperly rendered "young dromedaries." Rechesh, the word preceding it, which is translated mules" (Esther 8:10; Esther 8:14), is rendered in our English version "dromedaries" (1 Kings 4:28) and "swift beasts" (Micah 1:13). There can be no doubt that it points to some very fleet species of horse; and perhaps, as the swiftest quadruped of Persia, a dromedary may be meant.

The name "camel" and "dromedary" are descriptive of the same animal: if the creature when young promises to be light and handsome, it is trained for 'a swift dromedary,' or for the race, as the syllable 'drom' [ dromos (G1408)] signifies, and the strong or clumsy of the breed become the camels or burden-carriers. A camel, with its lead of from 300 to 400 pounds, goes at the rate of five or six miles an hour; while the dromedary, with its rider, will continue rapid running at the rate of eight or nine miles an hour for twenty hours in succession. Burckhardt says that twelve miles an hour is the most rapid traveling a dromedary is known to perform. The business being very urgent, the swiftest kind of beast would be employed; and so young dromedaries also are used to carry expresses, being remarkable for the nimbleness and ease of their movements. Animals of this description could convey the new rescript of Ahasuerus over the length and breadth of the Persian empire in time to relieve the unhappy Jews from the ban under which they lay.

Verse 11

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,

The king granted the Jews ... to stand for their life ... to slay ... all ... that would assault them. The fixed and unalterable character claimed for Persian edicts often placed the king in a very awkward dilemma; because, however bitterly he might regret things done in a moment of haste and thoughtlessness, it was beyond even his power to prevent the consequences. This was the reason on account of which the king was laid under a necessity not to reverse but to issue a contradictory edict; according to which it was enacted that, if pursuant to the first decree the Jews were assaulted, they might, by virtue of the second, defend themselves, and even slay their enemies.

However strange, and even ridiculous, this mode of procedure may appear, it was the only one which, from the peculiarities of court etiquette in Persia, could be adopted. Instances occur in sacred (Daniel 6:14), no less than profane, history. Many passages of the Bible attest the truth of the this, particularly the well-known incident of Daniel's being cast into the den of lions, in conformity with the rash decree of Darius, though, as it afterward appeared, contrary to the personal desire of that monarch. That the law of Persia has undergone no change in this respect, and the power of the monarch in not less immutable, appears from many anecdotes related in the books of modern travelers through that country.

Verses 12-14

Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 15

And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

Mordecai went out ... in royal apparel. He was invested with the khelaat of official honour. A dress of blue and white was held in great estimation among the Persians: so that Mordecai, whom the king delighted to honour, was in fact arrayed in the royal dress and insignia. The variety and the kind of insignia worn by a favourite at once makes known to the people the particular dignity to which he has been raised.

Verse 16

The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.

The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. The literal added to the metaphorical expressions explain the meaning the images are intended to convey, and the redundancy of expression indicates the greatness of the prosperity and rejoicing.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Esther 8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/esther-8.html. 1871-8.
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