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Est 10:1 And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and [upon] the isles of the sea.
Ver. 1. And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute, &c. ] An extraordinary tribute to maintain war against the Grecians, who, uniting together, were then grown potent and formidable. To enable himself, therefore, the better against them, he gathered money, the sinews of war, but lost the affections of his subjects, the joints of peace. He became hereby ill-beloved of all sorts, and far a less king, by striving to be more than he was. And hence haply one letter of his name is lost here, for the Masorites tell us that in the ancient copies he is written, not Ahasuerus, but Ahasres, without a Vau (Drus. in loc.). Hebrew Text Note
And upon the isles of the sea ] Judaea was an isle, Isaiah 20:6 (but not of the sea, for it was part of the continent), because media inseparabilis unda separated from other countries, and encircled with God’s powerful protection. It was, say some, by Mordecai’s means exempted from this great taxation. Herodotus saith that a country near unto Arabia was exempted (Herod. l. 3). He meaneth Judaea, saith Junius, though he name it not. It may be so. And it may be, saith an interpreter, that this is here inserted, as being intended only of the re-imposing of the tribute, whereof there was granted a release at Esther’s marriage, Esther 2:18 , yet it may be also added, to show how God punished the nations for their late greedy gaping after the lives and estates of God’s people.
Est 10:2 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?
Ver. 2. And all the acts of his power and his might ] Lyra and Rikelius observe that Ahasuerus had all this power and might given him by God, as a recompense of his courtesy to the Jews, and justice done upon their enemies. No man serveth God for nought. He is a liberal paymaster, Malachi 1:10 . See Trapp on " Mal 1:10 "
And the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai ] Heb. The exposition. Many make large commentaries upon their own greatness, which a right exposition would show to be rather belluine than genuine. Great men are not always wise, saith Elihu, Job 32:9 . But Mordecai was a great wise man, every way accomplished, one of God’s Rabbis, as Daniel calls them, fit to serve any prince in the world. "There is a spirit in man," a rational soul in an ordinary man; but "the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding," Job 32:8 .
Whereunto the king advanced him ] Heb. Wherewith the king greatened him; wherein he showed himself a wise and politic prince; as did likewise Pharaoh in advancing Joseph; Darius, Daniel; Constantius Chlorus, Christian officers; our Henry VIII, the Lord Cromwell, whom he made his vicar-general. Jovianus, the emperor, was wont to wish that he might govern wise men, and that wise men might govern him. Justin Martyr praiseth this sentence of divine Plato, Commonwealths will then be happy, when either philosophers reign or kings study philosophy (Justin. Revelation 1:0 ). Jethro’s justitiary must be a wise man, fearing God, &c., Exodus 18:14-26 , and that famous maxim of Constantius Chlorus, recorded by Eusebius, is very memorable: He cannot be faithful to me that is unfaithful to God, religion being the foundation of all true fidelity and loyalty to king and country.
Are they not written in the book of the chronicles ] These chronicles of Media and Persia, if they were now to be had (as they are not), would far better acquaint us with the history of those times than the fragments of them, collected by Herodotus, Diodorus, Arrian, Justin, and Curtius. But better books than these chronicles are now wanting to the world; as the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, the book of the wars of the Lord, the book of Jasher, Origen’s Octapla (the loss of which work, saith a learned man, deplorare possumus, compensare non possumus, bewail we may, but make up we cannot), Chrysostom upon Matthew (when promotions were offered Thomas Aquinas, his usual answer was, Chrysostomi Commentarium in Matthaeum mallem, I had rather have Chrysostom’s commentary upon Matthew), and many other precious pieces, which learned men would gladly buy at as dear a rate as Plato did those three books that cost him thirty thousand florins. That we have the Holy Scriptures so perfect and entire, preserved safe from the injuries of time and rage of tyrants, who sought to burn them up and abolish them, is a sweet and singular providence; and must be so acknowledged.
Est 10:3 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. For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus ] Proximus a primo, the king’s second, as 2 Chronicles 28:11 , having the next chief seat to him, as Josephus expoundeth it, and set over all the princes of that monarchy ( Mετα βασιλεα εχων προεδριαν ); so that he might well cry out, with that noble general Iphicrates, εξ οιων εις οια , from what mean beginnings to how great an estate and dignity am I raised! How long he held it is not recorded; all the days of his life, it is likely, for the good and comfort of the Church, though not without the envy of many of the courtiers, which he overcame more by patience than pertinancy.
And great among the Jews ] A kind of king in Jeshurun, as Moses, as great among them as if he had been their proper king. There is mention made of one Mordecai, Ezra 2:2 , who was of the first that went up with Zorobabel. Aben Ezra saith that this Mordecai was he; and that when he saw that the building of the city and temple went not on as was to be wished, he returned again out of Judea to Shushan, and lived about the king’s court, being not known to be a Jew, till Haman was in his greatness; soon after which himself became much greater than Haman.
And accepted of the multitude of his brethren ] He was their Corculum, sweet heart, as Scipio; their darling (Orbis deliciae), world of delight, as Titus; Mundi Mirabilia, wonder of the world, as Otho, the third emperor of Germany, was called. Of Mordecai it might be sung, as Cardanus did of our Edward VI,
Deliciae saecli et gloria gentis erat.
He was the delight of the generation and the glory of the nation.
Seeking the wealth of his people ] Far more than his own private profit, glory, and dignity, labouring their good, both of soul and body, by all means possible, that they might have Gaius’ prosperity, and be as happy as heart could wish.
And speaking peace ] He was gentle and courteous to all, not like Polyphemus, who was
Nec visu facilis, nec dictu affabilis ulli.
Now affability and courtesy in high degree easily draweth men’s minds, as fair flowers in the spring do passengers’ eyes; Queen Elizabeth, If or instance, of whom before. Moreover, he spoke good of them, and for them, to the king, and promoted their prosperity to the utmost.
To all his seed ] i.e. To all his countrymen, as if they had been his own children. And here that sweet promise of God, made to the good figs, was fulfilled. Jeremiah had persuaded Jehoiakim, and many others with him, to yield themselves up into the hands of the king of Assyria, assuring them that, so doing, they should fare far better than those that stood out. They did so, and Mordecai among the rest, as some will have it; and now see how well they speed, see the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his promises; the reward of the righteous, the triumph of trust.
Again, to all his seed ] That is, posteris suis, his posterity, so some sense it; he spoke peace to all his seed, that is, prosperity to all the Jews’ posterity; providing for their future happiness also, and taking course, that after his death, too, the welfare of the Church might be continued, Prolocutus est prosperitatem totius Iudaeorum posteritatis He spoke for the prosperity of the entire posterity of the Jews. (Merlin). This was dying David’s care, 1 Chronicles 28:1-2 , &c., and Paul’s, Acts 20:29 , and Peter’s, 2 Epist. i. 15, and Ambrose’s, of whom Theodosius, speaking, said, Dilexi virum, I have loved the man. I could not but love the man exceedingly for this, that, when he died, he was more solicitous of the Church’s than of his own dangers. So was Calvin, as is testified in his life. Nay, Cicero, as he could confidently sing,
O fortunatam natam me consule Romam.
Oh fortune that made me a consul of Rome. So he elsewhere professeth, that he was in no less care what the commonwealth would do when he was dead than whiles he was yet alive.
Soli Deo Gloria in aeternum.
Glory to God in eternity
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 10". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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