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by Joseph Sutcliffe
THE BOOK OF ESTHER.
The book of Esther, called in the Hebrew, מגילה MEGILLAH, the volume, from the custom of rolling the parchments on a staff, is placed by critics in the second class of Canonical Books. It contains a most admirable series of providences in the elevation of Esther, the preservation of the Jews, and the ruin of Haman. Ahasuérus is allowed to be the Artaxerxes who issued an edict in favour of the Jews. He reigned twenty, or as some say twenty two, and others forty two years. In the third year of his reign he repudiated Vashti: chap. 1. In the seventh year he married Esther 2:16: and in the twelfth, Haman destroyed himself by plotting the destruction of the Jews: Esther 3:7. During most of those years Mordecai was in high esteem at court. Not one of the names of God is used in this book, but it is full of his works. The Persians used the name of the God of heaven, but probably in an acceptation somewhat differing from that of the Hebrews. Hence the omission may have been designed to avoid offending the Persian reader. The author is not named, nor are the ancients agreed on that subject; but the book, abounding with the manners and customs of Persia, was obviously written by a resident of that nation: and consequently Mordecai and Esther have the fairest claims to the work. This queen some supposed to be the Amestris of profane authors: yet they report many things of her which cannot be credited of Esther.
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12