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Bible Commentaries
Esther 9

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

Verse 1

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)

In the twelfth month ... on the thirteenth day of the same. This was the day which Haman's superstitious advisers had led him to select as the most fortunate for the execution of his exterminating scheme against the Jews.

Verse 2

The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.

The Jews gathered themselves ... no man could withstand them. The tables were now turned in their favour; and though their enemies made their long-meditated attack, they were not only at liberty to act on the defensive, but through the powerful influence enlisted on their side at court, together with the blessing of God, they were everywhere victorious.

The fear of them fell upon all people. This impression arose not alone from the consciousness of the all-powerful vizier being their countryman, but from the hand of God appearing so visibly interposed to effect their storage and unexpected deliverance.

Verses 3-4

And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 5

Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.

Thus the Jews smote all their enemies. The effect of the two antagonistic decrees was, in the meantime, to raise a fierce and bloody war between the Jews and their enemies throughout the Persian empire; but through the dread of Esther and Mordecai, the provincial governors universally favoured their cause, so that their enemies fell in great numbers.

Verses 6-12

And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.

Let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according unto this day's decree.

Their enemies, adroitly concealing themselves for the first day, might have returned on the next, when they imagined that the privilege of the Jews was expired; so that that people would have been surprised and slain. The extension of the decree to another day, at the queen's special desire, has exposed her to the charge of being actuated by a cruel and vindictive disposition. But her conduct in making this request is capable of full vindication, on the ground:

(1) that Human's sons having taken a prominent part in avenging their father's fall, and having been previously slain in the melee, the order for the exposure of their dead bodies on the gallows was only intended to brand them with public infamy for their malice and hatred to the Jews; and

(2) the anti-Jewish party having, in all probability, been instigated through the arts or influence of Human to acts of spiteful and wanton oppression, the existing state of feeling among the natives required some vigorous and decisive measure to prevent the outbreak of future aggressions.

The very circumstance of their killing 800 Jews in the immediate vicinity of the court (Esther 9:6; Esther 9:15) is a proof of the daring energy and deep-rooted malice by which multitudes were actuated against the Jews. To order an extension, therefore, of the permissive edict to the Jews to defend themselves, was perhaps no more than affording an opportunity for their enemies to be publicly known; and though it led to so awful a slaughter of 75,000 of their enemies, there is reason to believe that these were chiefly Amalekites, in the fall of whom on this occasion the prophecies (Exodus 17:14; Exodus 17:16; Deuteronomy 25:19) against that doomed race were accomplished.

Verses 14-18

And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 19

Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

A day of ... feasting ... and of sending portions one to another. The princes and people of the East not only invite their friends to feasts, but it is their custom to send a portion of the banquet to those that cannot well come to it, especially their relations, and those who are detained at home in a state of sorrow or distress.

Verse 20

And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,

Mordecai wrote these things. Commentators are not agreed what is particularly meant by "these things," - whether the letters following, or an account of these marvelous events, to be preserved in the families of the Jewish people, and transmitted from one generation to another.

Verse 21

To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 22

As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

That they should make them days of feasting and joy. [The Septuagint renders: agathas heemeras gamoon kai eufrosunees, good days of feasts (literally, marriage feasts) and merriment.]

Verses 23-25

And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 26

Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,

They called these days Purim, after the name of Pur. Pur, in the Persian language, signifies lot; and the feast of Purim or lots has a reference to the time having been pitched upon by Haman through the decision of the lot. In consequence of the signal national deliverance which divine Providence gave them from the infamous machinations of Haman, Mordecai ordered the Jews to commemorate that at event by an anniversary festival which was to last, for two days, in accordance with the two days' war of defense they had to maintain.

There was at first a slight difference in the time of this festival; because the Jews in the provinces, having defended themselves against their enemies on the 13th day, devoted the 14th day to festivity; whereas their brethren in Shushan, having extended that work over two days, did not observe their thanksgiving feast until the 15th day. But this was remedied by authority, which fixed the 14th and 15th days of Adar. It became a season of sunny memories to the universal body of the Jews; and, by the letters of Mordecai, dispersed through all parts of the Persian empire, it was established as an annual feast, the celebration of which is kept up still.

On both days of the feast the modern Jews read over the Megillah, or Book of Esther, in their synagogues. The copy read must not be printed, but written on vellum in the form of a roll; and the names of the ten sons of Haman are written on it in a special manner, being ranged, they say, like so many bodies on a gibbet. The reader must pronounce all these names in one breath. Whenever Haman's name is pronounced, they make a terrible noise in the synagogue. Some drum with their feet on the floor, and the boys have mallets with which they knock and make a noise. They prepare themselves for their carnival by a previous fast, which should continue three days, in imitation of Esther's; but they have mostly reduced it to one day (Yenning's 'Jewish Antiquities').

The fifth of September is the feast of Purim. Among those who came for medical assistance was a poor woman whose face was much injured from the gunpowder fired by one of those who were rejoicing in the feast of Purim ('Journal of a Missionary Tour in Palestine,' by James Barclay).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Esther 9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/esther-9.html. 1871-8.
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