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Bible Commentaries
Esther 8

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Esther Chapter 8

Esther 8:1 "On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he [was] unto her." The wicked Haman was dead. In Persia, when a man did what Haman had done, and was executed for his crimes, everything he possessed became property of the government. In this case, the king was the recipient. This day, spoken of here, then, was the day of his execution. The king was very sorry for the trouble Haman had caused Esther, and he gave Haman’s property to the queen. When Esther admitted that she was a Jew, she, also, revealed to the king that Mordecai had raised her, as if he were her father. Mordecai had been greatly honored recently for saving the life of the king. It was a logical conclusion, that he would take Haman’s place as number two man in the country.

Esther 8:2 "And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman." We have discussed how the signet ring was a sign of authority. The king took it from the finger of Haman, before he executed him. The king wore it himself, until he put it on the finger of Mordecai. This ring gave Mordecai the right to speak for the king. Mordecai was like a chief of staff. Esther did not give the house to Mordecai, because it was a gift to her from Ahasuerus. She let Mordecai live in the house.

Esther 8:3 "And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews." Haman was dead, but his wicked edict was still in place. The terrible thing was it was sealed with the signet of the king. Esther went, again without permission, to speak to the king. He held his sceptre out to her again, and she fell at her king’s feet. She was so troubled for her people that there were tears in her eyes. She did not blame the king, but knew that he was the only chance to save her people, aside from God.

Esther 8:4 "Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king," The king loved Esther so much that he did not like to see her cry. He, also, did not like to see his queen face first before him. He raised his sceptre for her to stand.

Esther 8:5 "And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing [seem] right before the king, and I [be] pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which [are] in all the king’s provinces:" Notice, she mentioned twice, "if she had found favour in his eyes". What she was asking was impossible, because once the seal of the king was on 155 the letters, they were law. She blamed the whole thing on Haman, and somehow believed the king could rescind the orders, because they were given by Haman.

Esther 8:6 "For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?" Nothing would please the king more than to reverse the letters, if it were possible, because Esther was a Jew. It would be difficult for her to see her people die, even if the king could save her.

Esther 8:7 "Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews." Now we find the true reason for the king killing Haman. The king did not want the Jews killed either.

Esther 8:8 "Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal [it] with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse." The king could do nothing about the edict that went forth to kill the Jews, because it had the king’s seal upon it. He was now telling Mordecai to do whatever he thought would help in this situation and put the seal of the king upon it. The king had no idea how to help the situation that Haman created, but gave Mordecai permission to do whatever he could.

Esther 8:9 "Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that [is], the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth [day] thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which [are] from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language." We can see from this, that Haman wanted to annihilate the Jews. His hate for them was so great, he did not want any to live, even in Judah. The third month would be the same as our June. Sivan is a Babylonian name having to do with a false god, it is not Hebrew. Mordecai gathered the scribes and sent letters to each of the provinces in their own language, a letter sealed with the king’s signet. It was just as much law as the one Haman had sent.

Esther 8:10 "And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed [it] with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, [and] riders on mules, camels, [and] young dromedaries:" We spoke earlier of how their mail system was very similar to our pony express.

Esther 8:11 "Wherein the king granted the Jews which [were] in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, [both] little ones and women, and [to take] the spoil of them for a prey," All of the people of the provinces were actually controlled by the king of Persia. They did not have a right to bear arms. This edict would give them permission to fight back on the day that all the Jews were to be killed. They were to kill the ones who had intended to kill them in the same manner the first edict had prescribed. They could, also, take spoil of those they killed. This was, now, a law giving them the right to defend themselves.

Esther 8:12 "Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, [namely], upon the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, which [is] the month Adar." The first edict had set this day as the day to kill the Jews. Now, the second edict gave the Jews permission to fight back. This would be a one day war, and then both edicts would not be the law any longer.

Esther 8:13 "The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province [was] published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies." Mordecai had it distributed locally, as well. Anywhere there were Jews, there was, also, permission given for them to defend themselves.

Esther 8:14 "[So] the posts that rode upon mules [and] camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace." These letters were sent early, so there would be time for other communications, if necessary. These letters were even distributed in the palace.

Esther 8:15 "And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad." This was a robe of royalty. It was interesting that the colors would be blue and white. White speaks of righteousness, and blue speaks of the heavenly. Purple speaks of royalty. The king was not aware of these meanings, but the LORD was. This just meant that he had on his robes of the second in command in the country This great crown of gold was just a little shorter than the king’s. This reminds me of the robes that Joseph was given, when he became second in command in Egypt. The people rejoiced. This was the answer the LORD gave to the prayers and fasting the people had done.

Esther 8:16 "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour." The Jews were no longer sad and living in the shadow of the death that Haman intended to bring. They had the light, and life of God renewed within them. This would bring joy unspeakable.

Esther 8:17 "And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them." It was very obvious that God was with them. Some of the Persians feared when that day came, that some of the Jews would kill them. They converted and became Jews, themselves, to keep that from happening.

Esther 8 Questions

1. Who did the king give Haman’s house to?

2. What day was spoken of in Esther 8:1?

3. When did Esther reveal to the king that she was related to Mordecai?

4. Who would take Haman’s place as number two under the king?

5. Who did the king give his signet ring to?

6. Esther set _________ over the house of Haman.

7. The signet ring was a sign of ___________.

8. Mordecai was like a ________ of ________.

9. Haman was dead, but his wicked __________ was in place.

10. When Esther went to the king unannounced, what did she do?

11. Who was she blaming for the edict?

12. How did the king show he accepted her?

13. Why did the king want her to stand?

14. What did Esther say twice in Esther 8:5?

15. Why was what she was asking impossible?

16. What questions did she ask the king in Esther 8:6?

17. What reason did the king give for having executed Haman?

18. Who could reverse an edict with the seal of the king on it?

19. What did the king give Mordecai permission to do?

20. Why had Haman sent this edict to all of the provinces?

21. How many provinces were there?

22. What did Mordecai do to stop the slaughter of the Jews?

23. Why could the Jews not fight back, before the letter Mordecai sent?

24. What did the new edict say?

25. How long would the war last?

26. How were the edicts sent to the provinces?

27. How was Mordecai dressed now?

28. Quote Esther 8:16.

29. How did the Jews celebrate?

30. Who became Jews, because of the second edict?

Verses 1-2

Est 8:1-2

Introduction

THE PRACTICAL REVERSAL OF THAT IRREVOCABLE DECREE

This chapter deals with the danger that yet remained. Yes, Haman was dead, but that decree which he had devised was still in force, backed up by the power of that "Law of the Medes and Persians that altereth not." This meant that all the Jews in the Persian empire were still subject to general slaughter and the confiscation of their property on the thirteenth of Adar. Something had to be done about that.

Esther 8:1-2

CONSEQUENCES OF HAMAN’S EXECUTION

"On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king;for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecaiø And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman."

"The house of Haman" (Esther 8:1). "Confiscation of goods and properties of the condemned accompanied executions in Persia, as in other Oriental countries." The house of Haman included not merely the castle and its furnishings but also the host of servants, retainers, and attendants that went along with it.

The king gave this vast estate to Esther; and she might well have desired to give it to Mordecai; but what she did was even better. She placed him in absolute control over it, thus providing him with a residence and dignity that were appropriate to his new office as Prime Minister.

Summarizing the consequences in evidence here: (1) Haman’s vast properties were conferred upon Esther; (2) Mordecai was given the management and control of them; (3) Ahasuerus bestowed the office of Prime Minister upon Mordecai when he gave him the ring that had been worn by Haman. (4) The ring gave Mordecai the power to seal documents and to convey with them the authority of law.

"It was perfectly natural for the king to confer this great authority upon Mordecai. The king had already delighted to honor him for exposing the plot against the king’s life." Also, he had learned that Mordecai was the foster father of the queen.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 8:1. The word house is from an original with a various meaning. Its leading idea is household or family members. The verse means that Esther was given authority over the members of Haman’s family, both immediate and distant relatives. In the meantime she had acquainted the king with her relation to Mordecai. This brought him into the royal favor so that he was escorted into the king’s presence.

Esther 8:2. The king had taken the ring from Haman, previously given him as a badge of honor, and now gave it unto Mordecai. That action was a signal of authority, and Esther availed herself of it by placing Mordecai in charge of the house of Haman.

Verses 3-6

Est 8:3-6

Esther 8:3-6

ESTHER ENTREATS THE KING TO CANCEL HAMAN’S EDICT

"And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre. So Esther arose, and stood before the king. And she said, If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and if I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews that are in all the king’s provinces: for how can I endure to see the evil that shall come upon my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?"

It is of interest that Mordecai does not carry this urgent request to the king. He was the new First Minister of the empire; but he might have felt that Esther would be more likely to have a favorable reply from the king. At any rate, Esther did it.

"And the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre" (Esther 8:4). This seems to imply that Esther had again approached the king unbidden."

"And (if) I be pleasing in his eyes" (Esther 8:5). Esther’s appeal was prefaced with the usual stereotyped phrases used by petitioners; but these words stress Esther’s personal attractiveness to the king. This was indeed a delicate feminine touch.

"Reverse the letters devised by Haman" (Esther 8:5). This was indeed exactly what should have been done; and this exceedingly intelligent and tactful queen here gave Ahasuerus a valid reason why he should have done so; but that silly rule about the "Law of the Medes and Persians that altereth not," prevented the king from taking such action. Note the tact of Esther here. "She was careful not to put any blame on the king for Haman’s wicked letters."

"Many have accused Esther and her race of cruelty because of their slaughter of their enemies, but without justification. She implored for the bloody edict of Haman to be reversed (Esther 8:5); and if she had been heard, no blood at all would have been shed; but the Gentile mind was not of the kindly sort. Oh no. The king likes to see blood; he is a sportsman. Blood must flow. You Jews defend yourselves. Fight!"

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 8:3. Esther had been favored so much by the king that she was encouraged to press for more. The immediate disposal of Haman and his family had been arranged for through the authority vested in Mordecai. But there remained the edict that had been signed by the king at Haman’s request. It was still in force and only waiting for the date on which it was to be executed. Something must be done to counteract that, else the people of Esther will be destroyed. That was what she meant by the request to put away the mischief of Haman. Falling down at the feet of the king, she tearfully begged him for further consideration.

Esther 8:4. By holding out the golden scepter toward Esther, she was made to understand that she might make her wishes known and that they would be granted. There is every indication that no request of hers, within the possibilities of the king, would be denied her, so completely was he enthralled by his love for her.

Esther 8:5. Esther knew the rule of the Persian law, that no edict could be directly repealed; yet it might be possible to do something that could have the effect of an alteration or repeal. That was what she requested, but she made it on condition that the king felt entirely favorable towards it.

Esther 8:6. Esther was a Jewess and knew that the edict of destruction would include her by its terms unless some exception could be made due to her relation to the king. But regard less of any assurance she may have felt for her personal safety, her great spirit of humanity was moved for her people. She felt that she could never stand it to see them come to such harm. On account of this concern she made the request stated in the preceding verse.

Verses 7-8

Est 8:7-8

Esther 8:7-8

UNABLE TO REVERSE THE DECREE; THE KING DID THE NEXT BEST THING

"Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew. Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also to the Jews, as it pleaseth you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring; for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse."

"I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged" (Esther 8:7). "Ahasuerus, anxious to show Esther that he did indeed love her, here recounted the favors already bestowed upon her; but he added that no one, not even the king of Persia, had the right to reverse a decree signed and sealed with the king’s ring." "The king was saying that his refusal to reverse the decree was not due to his lack of desire, but to his lack of ability."

Nevertheless, as Cook stated it, "Ahasuerus did, in fact, practically reverse the wicked decree." This he accomplished by allowing Mordecai to write whatever letters he pleased to the Jews, giving them full authority to unite, gather together, arm themselves, and defend themselves against all attacks.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 8:7. We notice the king addressed both Esther and Mordecai because of their common relation to the issues at stake. The execution of Haman was placed in charge of Esther, and the reason for it was stated; that it was his attack upon the Jews.

Esther 8:8. The execution of Haman and his household was not enough. Some action must be taken to counteract his wicked designs against the people of Esther and Mordecai. This had to be done through some other edict, not by directly repealing the first decree. The king therefore gave authority to have the other edict drawn up and made binding in the established manner. Such a result was accomplished by putting the king’s name on the document. But that might be done without his knowledge or consent, so an additional evidence must be used to close up the gap of uncertainty. This was done by using the seal that was on the king’s ring, a sort of "notary" signal. The outstanding point of that act was the established rule that "no man may reverse it."

Verses 9-14

Est 8:9-14

Esther 8:9-14

A COUNTER-EDICT WAS SENT FORTH BY MORDECAI

"Then were the king’s scribes called at Then were the king’s scribes called at that time, in the third month, which is the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof, and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors and princes of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, a hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. And he wrote in the name of king Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, riding on swift steeds that were used in the king’s service, bred of the stud: wherein the king granted the Jews that were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. A copy of the writing, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published unto all the peoples, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. So the posts that rode upon swift steeds that were used in the king’s service went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment; and the decree was given out in Shushan the palace."

"In the third month, which is the month Sivan" (Esther 8:9). "The name Sivan is another Babylonian name, the third month being sacred to the moon god. It corresponded to our May-June." "The date was June 25,474 B.C., a little over two months after the first decree was issued," thus allowing over eight months for the Jews to prepare their defenses.

"To destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish" (Esther 8:11). This decree followed very closely the language of the edict of Haman (Esther 3:13) in order to nullify it to the fullest extent possible. "The exact treatment intended for the Jews was to be meted out for their enemies." "The irrevocability of Haman’s decree made it necessary for Mordecai to duplicate in reverse all of its provisions, thus inevitably giving the impression of a very harsh decree. When the day came, it stressed that the Jews did not plunder their enemies."

The Jews were authorized to take the property of their attackers, but when the time came they waived that right.

"All the power of the people and province" (Esther 8:11). "This is a reference to the military forces."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 8:9. The official secretaries were called in again to "take dictation" on the important work of the new edict. It was done near the end of the 3rd month, and was to take effect on the 13th day of the 12th month. That would give a period of about 9 months in which it could be given full publicity. The document was to give authority to, and call upon, all the various subordinates in the realm of Persia to see that the edict on behalf of the Jews was carried out. It also authorized the Jews to take full advantage of the decree and be prepared to carry out its provisions.

Esther 8:10. He wrote means Mordecai wrote; not by his own hand for that was what the scribes or secretaries were called in for. But he dictated it and had it put down in writing and then attested in the forementioned manner. Copies of it were then sent by postmen on various beasts of burden, to all the sections of the realm where the Jews were scattered.

Esther 8:11. The terms of the edict were very sweeping. They gave the Jews the unrestricted authority for assemblage and for self-defense. This might be done to the extent even of killing their enemies who would attack them. They could also take possession of the property that had belonged to their foes.

Esther 8:12. The decree was to take effect on the very day that had been set for the enforcement of the former decree. The reason for such a date is obvious. It would not do to have it dated even one day earlier, for the Jews were to act in self-defense only, and no attack upon them would come before the prescribed date. And of course it would not do any good to date it later, for that would be after they would have been the victims of the other edict.

Esther 8:13. The decree was officially copied and sent to all the sections of the realm. It urged the Jews to be ready to avenge themselves when the day came on which the decree of destruction was to be put into force.

Esther 8:14. The posts were the same as postmen. They were urged on in their mission by the commandment of the king. It is evident that Ahasuerus was as eager as was Esther or Mordecai to have the vicious instrument of Haman intercepted.

Verses 15-17

Est 8:15-17

Esther 8:15-17

THE GREAT REJOICING OF THE JEWS EVERYWHERE

"And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan shouted and was glad. The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a good day. And many from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them."

"Mordecai went forth ... with a great crown of gold" (Esther 8:15). "The Hebrew has two different words for crown, namely, [~kether] which referred to the type of crown worn by the monarch, and [~’atarah], a crown of an inferior kind frequently worn by nobles." Mordecai’s crown was the latter. His great authority, symbolized here by his apparel and the crown, was, however, one of the primary reasons for the Jews’ rejoicing.

"The Jews ... had a feast and a good day" (Esther 8:16). "This celebration was in anticipation of the feast of Purim, which was first celebrated eight months later (Esther 9:17-19)."

"And many among the peoples of the land became Jews" (Esther 8:17). "Such a providential outworking of events in favor of the Jews convinced many of the power of God, and caused them to become proselytes." Some scholars have interpreted this acceptance of Judaism as merely a political maneuver, not based upon any sincere belief in God; but Keil wrote that, "This might have been true of some of the inhabitants of Shushan, but the but the majority certainly acted from more honorable motives."

majority certainly acted from more honorable motives."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 8:15. Mordecai had manifested a spirit of humility from the beginning. There is no indication that he ever sought any honor. So the exaltation of which we read was placed upon him by the king unsolicited. It is significant that the city of Shushan (the Persian capital) rejoiced. Most of the citizens of the city were Persians, and the edict just sent out was on behalf of the Jews. But the injustice of Haman’s activities was doubtless understood by the people. They were happy, therefore, to know that a harmless group of their subjects was to be spared the awful destruction intended by the wicked Haman.

Esther 8:16. Light is from OWRAH and Strong defines it, "luminousness, i. e. (figuratively) prosperity." Of course the idea is that the Jews were glad because of the prosperous situation they had the right to expect.

Esther 8:17. In the various sections of the realm of Persia, the Jews celebrated their joy by holding a feast. Many of the people became Jews. This means they became proselytes to the Jewish system. There were certain privileges that were allowed by the law that entitled a foreigner to be classed with the Jews. That had several restrictions, yet left the relationship in such a state that it gave to the proselyte much advantage. The circumstance shows one of the common traits of mankind. When special favor seems to be in store for certain classes, then others wish to "get in" on the favor. It is always well to see persons show an interest in things that are right. It would be more highly appreciated, though, were they to do so under circumstances that betrayed less selfishness.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Esther 8". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/esther-8.html.
 
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