No man could withstand them; their enemies, though they did and were allowed to take up arms against them, yet were easily conquered and destroyed by the Jews.
The fear of them; who had such potent friends at court, and so great a God on their side, who by such unusual and prodigious methods (whereof doubtless they had been particularly informed) had brought about such a mighty and unexpected deliverance.
And officers of the king, Heb. and all them that did the king’s business, i.e. not only the chief persons designed by the foregoing words, but all his other ministers or officers, of what quality soever.
Mordecai was great, i.e. the greatest in place, and power, and favour with the king, both for his near relation to his beloved queen, and for his good service done to him in preserving his life and managing his affairs, and for those excellent abilities and virtues which he discovered in him, and especially by the disposition of the heart-ruling God.
In Shushan the palace, i.e. in the city so called, as was noted before, Esther 1:2; it not being probable either that they would make such a slaughter in the king’s palace, or that they would be suffered so to do.
Five hundred men; whom by long experience they knew to be their constant and inveterate enemies, and such as would watch all opportunities to destroy them; which also they might possibly now attempt to do. Part of them also might be friends and allies of Haman, and therefore the avowed enemies of Mordecai.
Either because they were desirous it should come into the king’s treasury; or because they would leave it to their children, that it might appear that what they did that day was not done out of malice to their persons and families, or covetousness of their estates, but out of mere necessity, and by that great and approved law of self-preservation, and that they were ready to mix mercy with judgment and would not deal with their enemies so ill as it was apparent that their enemies intended to do against them.
Possibly with evil design to incense thee king against the Jews.
What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? in which doubtless many more were slain. So that I have fully granted thy petition. And yet, if thou hast any thing further to ask, I am here ready to grant it.
According to this day’s decree, i.e. to kill their implacable enemies. For it is not improbable that the greatest and worst of them had politicly withdrawn or hidden themselves for that day; after which, the commission granted to the Jews being expired, they confidently returned to their homes, where they were taken and slain by virtue of this private and unexpected decree.
Haman’s sons were slain before; now let their bodies be hanged upon their father’s gallows, for their greater infamy, and the terror of all others who shall presume to abuse the king in like manner, or to persuade him to execute such cruelties upon his own subjects. This custom of hanging up the bodies of malefactors after their death was frequent among the Jews, and Persians also, as is well known.
On the thirteenth day: this belongs not to the feast, but to the work done before it. The meaning is, This they did, i.e. they slew their foes, as was now said, Esther 9:16, upon the thirteenth day.
Therefore, to wit, because they did their whole work upon the thirteenth day, as was noted Esther 9:17, to which this manifestly relates, the 18th verse coming in as it were by way of parenthesis.
In the unwalled towns, Heb. in the cities of the villages, i.e. in the lesser cities and villages, which are here opposed to the great city Shushan, and those who dwelt in it.
Mordecai wrote these things; either,
1. The letters here following. But that is distinctly mentioned in the next words. Or,
2. The history of these things, which was the ground of the feast; which Mordecai knew very well ought to be had in remembrance, and to be told to their children and posterity, through all ages, according to the many commands of God to that purpose, and the constant practice of the holy men of God in such cases.
Because both these days had been set apart this year, the latter at Shushan, the former in other parts; and because that great work of God, which was the ground of this solemnity, had been done both upon the thirteenth and the fourteenth day.
Which they used to give upon days of thanksgiving; of which see Nehemiah 8:10.
Having by this means opportunity to gather themselves together upon any occasion, the chief of them assembled together, and freely and unanimously consented to Mordecai’s desire in this matter, and bound it upon themselves and posterity.
i.e. Both for the respect which they justly bore to Mordecai’s letter, and because they themselves had seen and felt this wonderful work of God on their behalf.
All such as joined themselves unto them, i.e. Gentile proselytes; who were obliged to submit to other of the Jewish laws, and therefore to this also; the rather, because they enjoyed the benefit of this day’s deliverance; without which the Jewish nation and religion had been in a great measure, if not wholly, extinct in the world.
According to their writing, i.e. according to that writing which was drawn up by Mordecai with Esther’s consent, Esther 9:23,29, and afterwards confirmed by the consent of all the Jews in the several places.
Wrote with all authority: the former letter, Esther 9:20, did only recommend, but this enjoins the observation of this solemnity; because this was not only Mordecai’s act, who yet had by the king’s grant a great power and authority over the subjects of that kingdom, and consequently over the Jews, but it was the act of all the Jews, binding themselves and posterity to it, Esther 9:27. Or, with all might, or efficacy, as that word usually signifies; he pressed it with all earnestness and vehemency.
Or, even words of peace and truth; which may respect either,
1. The form of the writing, wherein after the custom he saluted them with hearty wishes of their true peace or prosperity, or of the continuance of those two great blessings of God,
truth, i.e. the true religion; and peace, either among themselves, or with all men, that they might peaceably and quietly enjoy and profess the truth. Or,
2. The manner of his writing, which was
with peace, i.e. friendship and kindness to his brethren;
and truth, i.e. sincerity; which is the more noted and commended in him, because it is so unusual in such great courtiers as he now was; compare Esther 10:3: or the matter of his writing, which was to direct and persuade them to keep both peace and truth, i.e. both to live peaceably and lovingly both one with another, and with all their neighbours, not insulting over them upon their confidence in Mordecai’s great power, or upon this late and great success, as men naturally and commonly do, nor giving them any fresh provocations, and yet holding fast the true religion in spite of all the artifices or hostilities of the Gentiles among whom they lived.
For or about those great and overwhelming calamities which were decreed to all the Jews, and for the removing of which, not only Esther, and the Jews in Shushan, but all other Jews in all places, as soon as they heard those dismal tidings, did doubtless according to the precepts of Scripture, and the constant practice of their godly predecessors in all ages, fly to that last and only refuge of seeking to God by fasting, and earnest prayers, and strong cries unto God; which God was pleased graciously, to hear, and in answer thereunto to give them this amazing deliverance. And this was that which they were now to remember, to wit, the greatness of their danger, and of their rescue from it. And accordingly the Jews use to observe the first of those days with fasting, and crying, and other expressions of vehement grief and fear, and the latter with feasting, and thanksgiving, and all demonstrations of joy and triumph.
Esther had received authority and commission from the king to impose this upon all the Jews.
In the book; either in the public registers of that kingdom; or rather, in the records which the Jews kept of their most memorable passages.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Esther 9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany