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Bible Commentaries
Esther 9

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Esther Chapter 9

Esther 9:1 "Now in the twelfth month, that [is], the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)" This was speaking of that specific day that Haman had set for them to kill all of the Jews. The Jews had permission, through Mordecai’s edict, to fight and protect themselves.

Esther 9:2 "The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people." This was not speaking of just the Jewish cities, but all of the cities where there were groups of Jews living. This second edict had frightened the people, so that they could not withstand the Jews.

Esther 9:3 "And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them." It was a fearful thing in all the provinces for the second in command to be a Jew himself. The lieutenants, deputies, and officers were afraid to fight against the Jews for fear of reprisal.

Esther 9:4 "For Mordecai [was] great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater." It was almost as if Mordecai was leading the country himself. It appeared the king had turned much of his authority over to Mordecai. He was not only the second in command, but was the relative of the queen. He had power in Persia, as Joseph had in Egypt.

Esther 9:5 "Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them."

Esther 9:6 "And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men." It appears, that the Jews were not just killing at random, but were actually killing those who wanted to kill them. The palace area was about 100 acres, and this was where the 500 were killed. These were homes of prominent Persians. They, possibly, did not like the idea of a Jew taking Haman’s place.

Esther 9:7 "And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,"

Esther 9:8 "And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,"

Esther 9:9 "And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,"

Esther 9:10 "The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand." The ten sons of Haman were, probably, still a threat to Mordecai and the Jews. The fact that the Jews did not take spoil from them showed this was not done for self gain, but to stop an enemy.

Esther 9:11 "On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king."

Esther 9:12 "And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what [is] thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what [is] thy request further? and it shall be done." This just meant that the leaders of the armies reported to the king the number that had been killed. The king had offered Esther up to half of the kingdom, so he told her of this great loss at the palace, explaining to her that the numbers in all of the provinces must be tremendous. He asked Esther if she was satisfied with this number, or what else did she want to satisfy herself and the Jews.

Esther 9:13 "Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which [are] in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows." This seems a little bloodthirsty from such a beautiful queen. Why she wanted so many killed, I do not know. I can understand the hanging of the ten sons of Haman, however.

Esther 9:14 "And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons."

Esther 9:15 "For the Jews that [were] in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand." The Jews killed another 300 in Shushan, but they did not take their valuables. Again, this was the killing of the people who hated the Jews. The Jews were not killing them to get their possessions.

Esther 9:16 "But the other Jews that [were] in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey," It appears, that the war in the provinces lasted for just the one day. It was almost as if they were punishing those who had hated the Jews. The one day they killed 75,000, but they did not do it to get their possessions either. The Jews did not take their possessions.

Esther 9:17 "On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness." Immediately after their great victory, there was a time of celebration. They rested and rejoiced in the fact that the LORD had delivered their enemies into their hands. It was obvious that this was not the work of man, but of God.

Esther 9:18 "But the Jews that [were] at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth [day] thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth [day] of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness." The Jews in Shushan waited one more day to celebrate because the killing of their enemies had lasted one more day. The feasting and gladness was for the fact that those who hated the Jews were no more.

Esther 9:19 "Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar [a day of] gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another." This time that was set aside for celebration from year to year is still recognized by the Jews today. The 14th day Adar is about the same as our March.

Esther 9:20 "And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that [were] in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, [both] nigh and far,"

Esther 9:21 "To stablish [this] among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,"

Esther 9:22 "As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor." These two days would be established as a day of festivity and giving of gifts to the poor forever. Mordecai sent letters to the Jews in all the provinces, so that they would keep these days each year in memory of this event. This would be a time set aside for unselfish giving to the poor, and a time of festivity throughout the land. God had seen their terrible plight, and turned their sorrow into joy. We must continue to remember, that the Jews had gone into sackcloth, and ashes, and tore their clothes in mourning. They prayed and fasted. It was the answer to these prayers that brought all of this about.

Esther 9:23 "And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;"

Esther 9:24 "Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that [is], the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;" "Pur" we remember was lots. This was established as a Jewish holiday forever. It was called Purim.

Esther 9:25 "But when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows." This was speaking of Haman’s wicked device. He and his ten sons were hanged for this evil they had tried to do. 162

Esther 9:26 "Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and [of that] which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them," Pur is the Persian name of the lots Haman had used. It is interesting that a Jewish holiday would start with a Persian word. The "im" on the end of the word is a Hebrew ending. They did not want to forget the happenings, here.

Esther 9:27 "The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their [appointed] time every year;"

Esther 9:28 "And [that] these days [should be] remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and [that] these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed." It appears, that this was not an optional celebration. It was required of all Jews for all generations. The day before Purim was a day of fasting to celebrate the fact of Esther’s fast. The book of Esther was read at these celebrations.

Esther 9:29 "Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim." Perhaps, the reason that Esther mentioned that she was the daughter of Abihail, was so that all of the people would realize that she was Hebrew, also. She might be the queen of Persia, but she was Jew by birth. It was unusual for a queen to be involved in such a letter, but her authority as queen added to the authority of Mordecai as second in command.

Esther 9:30 "And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, [with] words of peace and truth," The Jews were scattered in those days. They had not all come back to their homeland, when they had been given that option. The fact that they were in a foreign land did not give them the right to overlook Purim. Mordecai and Esther wanted them to know there would be peace for them during the reign of Xerxes and Esther.

Esther 9:31 "To confirm these days of Purim in their times [appointed], according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry." Mordecai and Esther set the example by agreeing to keep the feast of Purim themselves and for their descendents.

Esther 9:32 "And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book." This was written in the record book to make sure that it would always be remembered. The book spoken of is the book of the chronicles.

Esther 9 Questions

1. What was their 12th month?

2. What did the Jews do on the day Haman had planned for the Jews to be killed?

3. How did the Jews get permission to protect themselves?

4. Why could the people not withstand the Jews?

5. Why did the officers help the Jews?

6. What happened to Mordecai, after he took office?

7. Mordecai’s power in Persia was compared to Joseph’s power in __________.

8. Who did the Jews kill?

9. How many were killed at Shushan?

10. How large was the palace area?

11. Who were the sons of Haman, who were killed?

12. Why do you suppose they did not take the spoil?

13. When the king heard the number killed at Shushan, what did he ask Esther?

14. What answer did she give the king?

15. How were Haman’s sons killed?

16. How many more were killed in Shushan on the second day?

17. How many were killed in the provinces?

18. When did the Jews in the province begin to celebrate?

19. Who suggested this as a celebration for forever?

20. Who wrote letters to the provinces for this to be a celebration every year?

21. What does "pur" mean?

22. What would the festival be named?

23. Who wrote with Mordecai to the provinces the second time?

24. Why did Esther speak of herself as the daughter of Abihail?

25. Where was all of this recorded?

Verses 1-10

Est 9:1-10

Esther 9:1-10

INSTITUTION AND OBSERVANCE OF THE FEAST OF PURIM; CELEBRATING THE GREAT VICTORY OF ISRAEL ON THE THIRTEENTH OF ADAR;

THAT FATEFUL DAY ITSELF - THE THIRTEENTH OF ADAR

"Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, on the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them (whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them), the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hands on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them was fallen upon all the peoples. And all the princes of the provinces, and the satraps, and the governors, and they that did the king’s business, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai was fallen upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went forth throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. And the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with slaughter and destruction, and did what they would to them that hated them. And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, and Poratha, and Adalia, and Andatha, and Parmashta, and Arisai, and Andai, and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy, slew they; but on the spoil they laid not their hand."

"The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities" (Esther 9:2). "This does not mean exclusively Jewish cities, but cities where the Jews constituted an element in the population." At this point in history, there were no exclusively Jewish cities outside of Judea.

"On such as sought their hurt" (Esther 9:2). "Retaliation was limited to those who actively sought to kill the Jews."

"All the princes ... helped the Jews" (Esther 9:3). Rawlinson believed that this did not include military help, but only moral support; but Dummelow wrote that, "The great massacre (Esther 9:16) was, in part, the work of Persian authorities and their military forces." The latter viewpoint seems more reasonable to this writer. F. C. Cook also agreed with this.

"The fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them" (Esther 9:3). "It was clear to all the Persian authorities that both the king and Mordecai favored the Jews, and those who attacked the Jews would surely have brought wrath upon themselves."

"And the Jews smote all their enemies" (Esther 9:5). "There were many Persian citizens who took full advantage of the first decree and attacked their hated Jewish neighbors; but, deprived of government support, and faced by a newly encouraged people, they were totally defeated."

"Parshandatha ... the ten sons of Haman" (Esther 9:7-10). "These names are Persian and traceable to old Persian roots." This fact alone makes it impossible to accept the unsupported allegation of critics that, "The Book of Esther is fiction." Such critics attempt to identify Esther as a fiction written in the times of the Maccabees; but who, on earth, three hundred years after the events related would have remembered, or could have invented, ten authentic Persian names for the sons of Haman?

"But on the spoil they laid not their hand" (Esther 9:10). This statement occurs no less than three times in this chapter, appearing also in Esther 9:15 and Esther 9:16. "The Jews had a right to take the spoil, but they waived it, because they were fighting for survival, not for material gain. They were not the aggressors in this conflict, but they were defending themselves from their enemies who sought to slay them."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:1-2. Since the preceding chapter came to a close, 9 months have passed. The date for the two famous edicts has arrived and the Jews have girded themselves for the conflict. They assembled in the cities, and were so successful in their own defense that the public mind was stirred up in their favor.

Esther 9:3. The fear of Mordecai means they respected him for his righteousness of life. Because of this the officers of the city helped the Jews in their defense.

Esther 9:4. Mordecai was in high standing in the household of the king as well as in the estimation of the people in general. He had not done anything that would be called great in the estimation of the world, but God was with him and was causing the tables to be turned in his favor.

Esther 9:5. The mention of sword, and slaughter, and destruction, is for emphasis. The general idea is that complete victory over the enemy was achieved by them.

Esther 9:6. If there would be any place where the citizens of a realm would have advantage it ought to be in their own capital city. But even that did not avail them anything in their aggression against the people of God.

Esther 9:7-10. This paragraph merely states the names of Haman’s 10 sons as being among the slain. The importance of that fact will appear later. The additional news item is the fact that the Jews did not take possession of the spoil. The edict of the king would have permitted them to do so, but they spurned it with contempt.

Verses 11-16

Est 9:11-16

Esther 9:11-16

SUMMARY OF CASUALTIES IN SHUSHAN AND THE PROVINCES

"On that day the number of those slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king. And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done. Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews that are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. And the king commanded it so to be done: and a decree was given out in Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. And the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men in Shushan; but on the spoil they laid not their hand. And the other Jews that were in the kings provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of them that hated them seventy and five thousand; but on the spoil they laid not their hand."

"Let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows" (Esther 9:13). These had been slain on the previous day; "This is a request that their dead bodies be exposed, such exposure being a mark of infamy."

"And a decree was given out in Shushan" (Esther 9:14). This decree did not regard the exposure of the bodies of Haman’s sons. "It granted permission to the Jews to fight against their enemies on the morrow also."

This continuation of the conflict for an extra day in Shushan resulted in two different days being celebrated by the Jews. "In the capital, they celebrated the 15th of Adar, and in the provinces they celebrated the 14th." It is not known exactly why there were two days of fighting in Shushan. Evidently, a strong band of Jewish enemies had not been defeated that first day; and therefore the king granted an extra day in which three hundred more Jewish enemies were destroyed.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:11. All events of importance were made a part of the royal record. Because of that, the king was given an account of the number of casualties of the day. There would be a special reason for his interest in the subject, for he had given his official consent to the decree on the occasion, and had commanded its prompt execution when the time of maturity came.

Esther 9:12. All through the story we are studying, the king’s regard for Esther has been much in evidence. He favored her with a piece of information connected with her previous requests. In this report he made separate items of the destruction of the citizens of Shushan in general, and of the 10 sons of Haman in particular. The second item was in reference to her chief concern, which was the fate of Haman’s family. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Moffatt renders this as follows: "What, then, must they have done in the other provinces of the king?" The thought is, if that much destruction of the enemies has taken place in just one city, there is no telling how much has been done in other parts of the vast empire. But even with that much accomplished in her favor, she was given the privilege of making further requests. She was assured that any request would be granted to her.

Esther 9:13. The next request of Esther was to the effect that the day’s accomplishments be repeated on the morrow; that is, as far as possible. There could actually be more of the citizens slain, but the sons of Haman could not be slain again. But they could be subjected to the shame of the gallows. Their father had sought to have her cousin hanged but was slain thereon instead. Now she wished to render the merited disgrace more complete by having their dead bodies held up to public scorn.

Esther 9:14. True to his promise and also true to form of his previous favorable attitude toward Esther, he caused the 10 sons of Haman to be hanged.

Esther 9:15. Matters were going "their way" for the Jews, so that the slaughter of the enemy was continued even into the 14th day of the month. And again they did not deign to take advantage of the right to property. This movement was done in the capital city as Esther had requested.

Esther 9:16. While the attack was being repeated in the city, the Jews out through the provinces were also con tinning their destruction of the enemy, to the number of 75,000. They again refrained from taking any of the prey of the enemy.

Verses 17-19

Est 9:17-19

Esther 9:17-19

EXPLANATION OF THE TWO DIFFERENT CELEBRATIONS

"This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews that were in Shushan assembled themselves together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore do the Jews of the villages and the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions to one another."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:17. The 13th and 14th day had been periods of success against the enemy. The Jews observed the fact on the 14th day by having a feasting and period of gladness.

Esther 9:18. The Jews that were in the capital city extended the season of gladness; they included the 15th day in their festivities.

Esther 9:19. The same spirit of gladness that prevailed in Shushan and other large cities was manifested in the small towns. One item in the observances was the sending of portions (gifts) one to another. That was a custom that prevailed in ancient times. It indicates the righteousness and propriety of making gifts as expressive of joy and appreciation. In Nehemiah 8:10 is an instance of this subject. In that case the Lord had been good to the people. They were then advised to observe a day in honor of the Lord, and a part of the exercises was that of making gifts.

Verses 20-25

Est 9:20-25

Esther 9:20-25

MORDECAI RECOMMENDED THE ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH DAYS OF ADAR

"And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, as the days wherein the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and girls to the poor. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; But when the matter came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows."

This letter marked the beginning of the Jewish feast of Purim. "Here he wrote to the provincial Jews suggesting that they observe two days, namely, the 14th and 15th days of Adar, annually, with an explanation of why he thought that should be done, but without issuing any order to that effect." Later, when Mordecai’s suggestion was favorably received, he issued an order enjoining its observance.

"The month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy" (Esther 9:23). This is the theme of Purim. "Sorrow turned into joy, mourning into dancing, utter destruction into glorious triumph - this is the dominant idea of Purim, to which all else was secondary and subordinate."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:20-21. It has long been the practice of human beings to keep, in memory of great occurrences, some kind of formality. The Jews had a feast in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:14). Now they were directed by Mordecai to keep a feast in commemoration of the triumph over the conspirators acting with Haman. This observance was to be in honor of the 14th and 15th days of the 12th month.

Esther 9:22. The noteworthy feature of the great season was the idea of sorrow being replaced with joy. The time was celebrated by feasting among themselves, and by sending gifts to the poor. When there comes a time of general good feeling among the people of the land, it is wholly proper to celebrate it by making presents. They may do this first among themselves, then by sending gifts to those less fortunate.

Esther 9:23. Do as they had begun means the Jews determined to keep up the memorial feasts from year to year, in the same manner that was observed at the start.

Esther 9:24. The inspired writer goes back toward the early parts of the history and takes up the plot of Haman to destroy the Jews. Hod cast Pur refers to the casting of lots that is described in Esther 3:7. Haman was an Agagite, and 1 Samuel 15:8 shows that he was descended from the Amalekites. These were the people who opposed the children of Israel in Exodus 17. At that time God declared that he would put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. It was gradually being fulfilled in this book.

Esther 9:25. This verse also is a brief recounting of the earlier transactions of the great drama now being shown through the inspired channel.

Verses 26-28

Est 9:26-28

Esther 9:26-28

THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME FOR THE FEAST OF PURIM

"Wherefore they called these days Purim, after the name of Pur. Therefore because of all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come unto them, the Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so that it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to the writing thereof, and according to the appointed time thereof, every year; and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the remembrance of them perish from their seed."

The feast of Purim is today observed by the Jews; and it has been continually observed throughout history, from the times of Xerxes (who was assassinated in the year 465 B.C.) until the present day, for almost twenty-five centuries; and, to this writer, it appears as an absolute impossiblity that such a sequence of observances could have been initiated, or kicked off, by some unknown writer’s fictitious yarn. It takes twenty times as much faith to believe that allegation as it takes to believe the Bible.

"They called these days Purim, after the name of Pur" (Esther 9:26). The word Pur is the Persian word for "lot." which is a reference to Haman’s casting lots to decide the day when the Jews would be destroyed. "The Jews took the Persian word Pur, and gave it a Hebrew plural Purim, either because the Persian method of casting involved several lots, or because Haman cast Pur several times (Esther 3:7)."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:26-27. Pur and Purim are forms of the same word which means "lot." It was used as a name of the annual feast that the Jews kept at the time now being considered. It was adopted in view of the method that Haman had used in determining the day for the destruction of the Jews. They wished to keep alive their appreciation of the escape from Haman’s plot, and for this purpose they named the days, feast of Purim.

Esther 9:28. Throughout every generation. As a secular evidence of the truth of this account, I shall offer to my readers an extract from a metropolitan newspaper. The item is from the Chicago Herald and Examiner in the Issue of Feb. 22, 1939, and is as follows: "At Masque Purim Ball Celebrating the 2,500th anniversary -- of Purim, these pretty young ladies [pictured] appeared in costume yesterday at a rehearsal for the masque ball to be held at Temple Sholom." It is interesting to know that a statement in our Bible is verified by this authentic news item in a standard secular publication, many hundreds of years later.

Verses 29-32

Est 9:29-32

Esther 9:29-32

THE SECOND LETTER ESTABLISHED THE FEAST OF PURIM

"Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim. And he sent letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred and twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their apppointed times, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had ordained for themselves and for their seed, in the matter of their fastings and their cry. And the commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book."

"The queen ... and Mordecai ... wrote with all authority" (Esther 9:29). The teaching here is that the feast of Purim was established in Israel, not by religious authority, but by authority; and there is no way that such a thing could have been allowed in Israel, except as a consequence of such events as are related in Esther and at a time closely associated with those events.

"This second letter of Purim" (Esther 9:29). "This was a new letter, not the one mentioned in Esther 9:20; and this one included a period of fasting (Esther 9:31)." "That first letter was merely a recommendation; but its favorable reception prompted Esther and Mordecai to make the feast official." Evidently the incorporation of a day of fasting into the feast of Purim was due to suggestions from the provinces upon their reception of that first letter.

Quite appropriately, the day of fasting was called the Fast of Esther, stressing the anxiety and danger that existed when, after three days of fasting, she went unbidden into the presence of Ahasuerus. That fast is observed on Adar 13th, and the two days of feasting on the succeeding two days. "The Jews still keep this day as Esther’s fast, prior to the Purim celebrations proper, marked by the reading of the roll of Esther in its original chant, accompanied by blessings and hymns."

"And it was written in the book" (Esther 9:32). Keil understood this as a reference to, "Some book which has not come down to us"; and despite our reluctance to disagree with Keil, we cannot accept this. Only one book is mentioned in Esther and that is the "Book of the Chronicles of the kings of the Medes and Persians" (Esther 2:23; Esther 10:2). In fact, the implication throughout Esther is that practically all of it is documented in that book. Certainly, "The author of Esther drew on written sources."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 9:29. Wrote with all authority means they had full consent of the king to write this letter. It was called the second letter in reference to the one in Esther 8:10. It was called Purim because of its being occasioned by the casting of lots (meaning of Purim), by which Haman had decided on the date for his destruction of the Jews.

Esther 9:30. The provinces were divisions of the realm of Persia. The word is from MEDIYUAH and Strong defines it, "properly a judgeship, i. e. jurisdiction; by implication a district (as ruled by a judge); generally a region." The Persian Empire was so vast that its territory had to be subdivided into these 127 districts, with secondary rulers over them. This letter was sent to the Jews in all these regions, and it contained words of peace and truth. That is, the peace offered to the Jews was backed up by words that had been attested and found to be true.

Esther 9:31-32. The purpose of the letter was to confirm or establish the annual feast of Purim. After the decree had been published throughout the 127 provinces of the empire, the fact was written in the book. That means it became a part of the official records, such as were kept by all great empires.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Esther 9". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/esther-9.html.
 
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