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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Esther 4

Introduction

CHAP. IV.

Mordecai and the Jews mourn: he applies to Esther, who appoints a fast before she goes in to the king.

Before Christ 474.

Verse 1

Esther 4:1. Mordecai rent his clothes, &c.— The latter Targum, upon the book of Esther, gives us the following account of Mordecai's behaviour upon this sad occasion: "He made his complaint in the midst of the streets, saying, What a heavy decree is this, which the king and Haman have passed, not against a part of us, but against us all, to root us out of the earth! Whereupon all the Jews flocked about him, and, having caused the book of the law to be brought to the gate of Shushan, he, being covered with sackcloth, read the words of Deu 4:30-31 and then exhorted them to fasting, humiliation, and repentance, after the example of the Ninevites."

Verse 11

Esther 4:11. Whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king Ever since the reign of Dejoces king of Media, Herodotus informs us, for the preservation of royal majesty, it was enacted, that no one should be admitted into the king's presence; but that if he had any business with him, he should transact it through the medium of his ministers. The custom passed from the Medes to the Persians; and therefore we find in the same historian, lib. 3: that after the seven princes had killed the magician who had usurped the throne, they came to this agreement, that whoever should be elected king should allow the others to have at all times a ready access to his presence (which is an implication that they had it not before), except only when he was in company with any of his wives. This, therefore, was the ancient law of the country, and not procured by Haman, as some imagine: though it cannot be denied that the reason at first might be, not only the preservation of the king's person, but a contrivance likewise of the great officers of state, that they might engross the king to themselves, by allowing admittance to none but whom they should think proper to introduce. See Le Clerc.

Verse 14

Esther 4:14. And who knoweth, &c.— Who knoweth whether thou art not raised to the royal dignity, that thou mightest be a succour in these times? Houbigant.

REFLECTIONS.—As yet Esther seems to have had but an imperfect knowledge of the cause of Mordecai's affliction; and as it was impossible, by the custom of Persia, to have a personal conference with him, she sends Hatach, a trusty eunuch, to inquire and report the particulars. Hereupon,

1. Mordecai relates the whole of the matter; transmits, by the eunuch, a copy of the decree, and charges her by all means to use her utmost influence to get it reversed, by undeceiving the king with regard to the misrepresentations of Haman. Note; Could truth but find its way to the royal ear, much of the people's miseries would be relieved.

2. Esther returns, by the same messenger, an answer to Mordecai's request. To appear in the royal presence uncalled, was death by the Persian law, except the king stretched out the golden sceptre; nor were the queens excepted from it: and, for some time past, the king seems to have neglected her, which would make the essay more dangerous; and therefore she rather wishes him to seek some other advocate, than expose her to the imminent peril of death. Note; (1.) The King of kings is not thus inaccessible; whosoever will, may come unto him boldly with every request, and are sure never to be denied. (2.) God in his providence permits the most discouraging circumstances, in order to exercise the faith and brighten the crown of the redeemed.

3. Mordecai lessens not his importunity for the danger which Esther suggested to him. He let her know, that if her kindred fell, she must not hope to escape; that he fully believed God would stand by them, and she would lose the honour of being their deliverer if she declined this service; nay, that God would visit upon her and her father's house such a cowardly refusal; and, while the rest escaped, they would be left to perish. He concludes with suggesting, that her advancement was ordered for this great purpose, and that she was therefore bound to correspond with the designs of God herein. Note; (1.) If we have faith to trust God, he will never fail us. (2.) They who, through unbelieving fear, decline the path of duty, are justly given up to the danger which they thus sinfully seek to shun. (3.) It is good to observe the leadings of providence, and correspond with what appears to be the design of God in placing us in such a station or circumstance.

4. Determined at last, Esther resolved at all hazards to make the essay: but first she enjoined Mordecai, and all the Jews in Shushan, to spend three days in prayer and fasting, while she did the same in the palace, to humble their souls for the sins which provoked these threatened judgments, and to seek the favour and blessing of God on her attempt, who alone could incline the king's heart to grant her suit. Putting her life in her hand, she then resolved to go to the king: she could but perish. Note; (1.) In all our distresses there is a throne of grace open, and a God who heareth prayer. (2.) When we are truly humbled under our sins, we may hope that God will deliver us from our afflictions. (3.) While we are desiring the prayers of others, let us not forget to be importunate for ourselves. (4.) When we can trust God with all, then all is safe.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Esther 4". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/esther-4.html. 1801-1803.