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We have in this chapter, what might have been expected, as a sequel to the former; Haman's whole house involved in his ruin: Mordecai advanced: and the Jews delivered from the ruin which had been long hanging over them.
(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. (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.
Reader! the history before us will lose much of the beauty of it unless we see how far, and in what sense, it teacheth us. And doth it not, sweetly teach that transition from mourning to joy, which the afflicted people of God are sometimes suddenly made to experience? Doth it not, moreover, show us how short-lived the triumphs of the wicked over God's people are? And yet more: Are we not led to contemplate, from the advancement of Mordecai, how gracious the Lord deals by his people, when they who sow in tears are caused to reap in joy? But after all these, and the like improvements, what a faint shadow is the resemblance of what is here related, to the riches and honors Jesus bestows upon his people, when, from leading them to see their misery in themselves, they are made to inherit substance in him, and when he fills all their treasuries. Proverbs 8:21 .
(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.
I admire the character of Esther in this particular most eminently, in that she forgot not the state of her brethren in affliction. Haman's proclamation for the destruction of the Jews in all the provinces, signed by the king, and sent forth throughout the empire, was still in force, and the poor captives, no doubt, lay trembling in the expectation of the day. Esther therefore allowed not herself to enter upon the fruit of her services, for her own personal comfort, until she saw them provided for also. I cannot but greatly admire, this conduct in Esther: but while I admire Esther in this, how can I overlook thee, thou blessed Jesus, who, when thou hadst vanquished death, hell, and the grave, and returned to glory, remittedst not thine attention one moment to the concerns of thy people below. And do I not know, thou dear Lord, that such is thine unequalled love to thy redeemed, that never will thy triumphs be complete, till thou hast brought them all around thee in glory, that where thou art, there they may be also.
(4) Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,
It is delightful to see how the Lord directed the mind of the king. But oh! what is it to the tenderness of our glorious King, who everlastingly holds forth the sceptre of his grace to all his petitioners!
(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: (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? (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. (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.
Though, by the very foolish law of the Medes and Persians, the king having once issued a decree, could not reverse it, yet he consented to do that which was nearly to the same purpose; what they desired concerning the salvation of the Jews. Reader! while we lament the pride and ignorance of man, who is every day liable to err, that any of his decrees should be irreversible, we cannot sufficiently admire and adore that glorious perfection of our covenant God, whose purposes in Jesus are like himself, unchangeable. Oh! the confidence the Lord's people find in this!
(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. (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: (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, (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. (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. (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.
If the Reader be curious to calculate, he will find, I believe, that this new proclamation was made about nine months before the fatal day that Haman had appointed for the destruction of the Jews was to take place. So that it was little short of two months from Mordecai's bitter cry, to this time of reversing it. So long the Lord sometimes suffers his dear children to be exercised, even when all the while he hath determined upon their deliverance. Oh! for grace ever to keep such things in remembrance. Could Mordecai, and the people of the Jews, had they been commanded to have chosen their own mercies, have desired greater than the destruction of their sworn foe, and the being enriched with his spoils? Think of this then, ye people of God, under all your difficulties. Very shortly God will bruise Satan under your feet; and that song shall be sung in full chorus in glory: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10 .
(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.
No doubt Mordecai was humble under all this splendor, and rejoiced more in the people's salvation, than in his own purple. Think, Reader! of thy Jesus, who passed through the streets of Jerusalem, agreeably to the Prophet's account of him ages before, meek and lowly: Zechariah 9:9 . with Matthew 21:5-9 . Behold him in his purple before Pilate, when he stood as thy Surety! John 19:5 . Look at him with an eye of faith, as John saw him, in a vesture dipped in blood. Revelation 19:13 .
(16) The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. (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.
We can easily conceive the joy of the Jews. But what I more particularly desire to remark, is, the conversion of many of the people of the land to their religion. Must not the Lord have graciously overruled this wonderful transaction in the court of Persia, which, no doubt, was in every one's mouth to his glory. And was it not a type, of the after call and conversion of the Gentile to the Jewish church? Isaiah 49:6 .
OF all the sweet reflections which arise out of this chapter, (and many and interesting they are), I desire chiefly to have my soul directed to the contemplation of Jesus, in his love to this people which the anxiety of Esther, for her countrymen the Jews, so strongly prompts the mind to consider. If she felt such concern as to cry out, 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? Think, Reader, whether it be possible to conceive Jesus will look on, and suffer any of his to perish? Recollect the interest he hath in them, the relationship in which he stands towards them; the purchase he hath made of them; the vast price they cost him; the love he hath to his Father who gave them to him; and the pains he hath gone through, to make their salvation sure? And can you suppose it possible, that he will suffer one of those little ones, which trust in him, to perish? Consider what he is in himself: His glory, greatness, almightiness, and sovereignty, as God and man in one person. Consider what he is in his alliance with his people: There is not a relationship in nature but Jesus fills. He is our everlasting Father. As one whom his Father comforteth, (he saith himself) so will I comfort you. He is the husband of his church, the brother, the friend. In short, under the tenderest and most endearing characters, he condescends to represent himself, as it by way of confirming his love, which is stronger than death and more vehement in its warmth than coals of fire. And consider what Jesus hath done to satisfy their souls, in the assurance of his unalterable love. He assumed the very nature of man, to convince man by such a palpable evidence of it, how his heart was towards his people. And having stood up as our surety, borne our sins, carried our sorrows, and though knowing no sin in himself, yet being made sin, and even a curse for us, and having satisfied the divine justice, answered the whole law, taken the punishment, finished transgression, made an end of sin, brought in an everlasting righteousness, washed poor sinners in his blood, clothed them in his righteousness, he now ever liveth to see the whole purposes of his salvation, fully accomplished: can He endure to see any evil upon his people; or those for whom he died brought into everlasting ruin? Can Jesus look on and behold the destruction of his kindred? Reader! think of this and cast thy soul upon him who careth for thee? Oh! precious Jesus! I would say, cause me to rest with full assurance of faith, and to triumph in thee and thy great salvation!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Esther 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany