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Friday, May 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 4

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The great mourning of Mordecai and the Jews, Esther 4:1-3.

He showeth Esther the cause of it, and adviseth her to petition the king for her people, Esther 4:4-9.

She, excusing herself, is threatened by Mordecai, Esther 4:10-14.

She appoints a general fast, and resolves to go in to the king, Esther 4:15-17.

Verse 1

Partly, to express his deep sense of the mischief coming upon his people; partly, to move the pity of others to do what they could to prevent it; and partly, that by this means it might come to the queen’s ear.

Verse 2

None might enter into the king’s gate; and therefore he might not sit there, as he had hitherto done.

Clothed with sackcloth, lest it should give the king any occasion of grief or trouble.

Verse 4

She sent raiment to clothe Mordecai; that so he might be capable of returning to his former place, if not of coming to her to acquaint her with the cause of that unusual sorrow.

Verse 8

To charge her; not only in his own name, to whom she manifested a singular respect, though his relation to her was yet unknown, but also in the name of the great God.

Verse 11

The king’s servants and the people do know, by common fame, of this received custom and law.

Into the inner court, within which the king’s residence and throne was.

There is one law of his to put him to death: this was decreed, partly to maintain both the majesty and the safety of the king’s person; and partly by the contrivance of the greater officers of state, that few or none might have access to the king but themselves and their friends. And many such severe laws there were in the Persian court, which profane historians relate, as that if any person looked upon one of the king’s concubines, or wore any of his own clothes, or drink of that water which he had appropriated to himself; and other such-like things, he was punished with death.

I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days; which gives me just cause to suspect and fear that the king’s affections are alienated from me, and therefore that neither my person nor petition will be acceptable to him.

Verse 13

i.e. Being, or because thou art, in the king’s house, and an eminent member of his family.

Verse 14

From another place; from another hand, and by another means; which God can, and I am fully persuaded will, raise up.

Thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed, by the righteous and dreadful judgment of God, punishing thy cowardice and self-seeking, and thy want of love to God, and to his and thy own people.

Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season; and therefore go on courageously, and doubt not of the success.

Verse 16

Fast ye, and pray; which was the main business, to which fasting was only a help and a handmaid.

Neither eat nor drink, to wit, so as you use to do, either deliciously or plentifully. Leave off your common meals, dinners by day, and suppers at night, and eat and drink no more than mere necessity requires; that so you may give yourselves to constant and fervent prayers, for which your ordinary repasts will unfit you. For it is not likely that she would impose the burden of absolute fasting so long upon all the Jews, which very few of them were able to endure. And so the like phrase is taken Acts 27:33, where he saith, This is the fourteenth day that ye have continued fasting, having taking nothing.

I also and my maidens; which she had chosen to attend upon her person, and were doubtless either of the Jewish nation, or proselyted by hers or others’ means to that religion.

Will fast likewise; which may belong, either,

1. To the thing only, that as they did first, so she would. Or rather,

2. To the time of three days and three nights; for so she might do, though she went to the king on the third day. For the fast began at evening; and so she might continue her fast three whole nights, and two, whole days, and the greatest part of the third; a part of a day being reputed a day in the account of Scripture, and other authors; of which See Poole "Matthew 12:40". Yea, she might fast all that day too; for it is probable she went not to the king till he had dined, when she supposed she might find him in the most mild and pleasant humour, and then returned to her apartment, where she fasted till the evening.

Which is not according to the law; which is against the law now mentioned.

If I perish, I perish: although my danger be great and evident, considering the expressness of that law, and the uncertainty of the king’s mind, and that severity which he showed to my predecessor Vashti; yet rather than neglect my duty to God, and to his people, I will go to the king, and cast myself cheerfully and resolutely upon God’s providence for my safety and success.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Esther 4". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/esther-4.html. 1685.
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