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the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 6

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verse 1


1. That night, which succeeded the events of the last chapter, settled with apparently a most ominous cloud upon the future of Mordecai, but it was the harbinger of a most auspicious day for him. God, who works in the darkness as in the light, caused sleep to flee from the king, and disposed him to beguile the wakeful hours, not with music or song, but by having one read to him from the book of records of the chronicles. His mind was in a mood to ruminate on the events of his own life, and the State annals (see on Esther 2:23) were called for to assist his memory. Rawlinson thinks that the Persian kings were, in most cases, unable to read.

Verse 3

3. What honour… to Mordecai We have a life-picture here. We seem to see the excited monarch start up and raise this question, as if some great duty had been forgotten. “It was a settled principle of the Persian government that ‘royal benefactors’ were to receive adequate reward. The names of such persons were placed on a special roll, ( Herod., 8:85,) and great care was taken that they should be properly recompensed. See Herod., 3:140; 5:11; 8:85; Thucyd., 1:138; Xen., ‘Hel.,’ iii; 1:6. It is a mistake, however, to suppose (Davidson) that they were always rewarded at once. Themistocles was inscribed on the list in B.C. 480, but did not obtain a reward until B.C. 465. Other benefactors waited for months, ( Herod., Esther 5:11,) or perhaps years, ( ib., 9:107,) before they were recompensed. Sometimes a benefactor seems to have received no reward at all. ( Ib., 3:138.”) Rawlinson.

Verse 4

4. Who is in the court The king’s soul, after that sleepless night, was burdened with impatient desire to honour his benefactor. Haman, on the other hand, was equally impatient to see Mordecai hung upon the lofty stake he had erected. The king waits in the early morning for his chief prince to come and advise him how best to honour this loyal Jew, and Haman also is waiting to be called that he may speak unto the king to hang Mordecai Mark the wonderful workings of Providence!

Verse 6

6. Haman thought in his heart The proud and self-conceited heart always thinks, like Haman, that nothing so much deserves honour as itself.

Verse 8

8. Royal apparel… horse… the crown royal This was a rare honour to be bestowed on any subject, even on a royal benefactor. Haman would hardly have proposed it had he not thought that he himself would be the favoured one. But Xerxes was just the man to bestow honour’s which would have been treasonable if self-assumed on the part of the subject. This same monarch, according to Herodotus, (vii, 17,) once ordered Artabanus, his uncle, to put on the royal apparel, sit on the royal throne, and then sleep in the royal bed.

The crown royal… upon his head That is, upon the horse’s head; for this is clearly the import of the Hebrew text. We translate literally: And a horse on which the king is wont to ride, and on whose head is set a royal crown. Most readers would naturally suppose that the crown would be placed on the head of the rider, not of the horse; but Esther 6:10-11, which make special mention of Mordecai’s array, say nothing of a crown. “We do not, indeed, find among the classical writers any testimony to such an adornment of the royal steed; but the circumstance is not at all improbable, and seems to be corroborated by ancient remains, certain Assyrian and ancient Persian sculptures representing the horses of the king, and apparently those of princes, with ornaments on their heads, terminating in three points, which may be regarded as a kind of crown.” Keil.

Verse 10

10. Do even so to Mordecai How must Haman’s countenance have fallen at these words, and with what chagrin must he have gone forth to execute the king’s command! This was the beginning of his fall.

Verse 12

12. Mordecai came again to the king’s gate That is, resumed his position as one of the royal porters. His honour did not so puff him up that he could not cheerfully return again to his humble office. But the mortified Haman covered his head with a vail to hide, as he thought, his shame, and ran home crying, to tell his wife and friends his sorrow.

Verse 13

13. His wise men His counsellors and advisers, among whom were the diviners who cast lots before him. Esther 3:7. These were the same as his friends. See note on Esther 5:10.

Thou shalt not prevail against him His diviners now hesitate not to predict his fall. If his enemy is of the seed of the Jews a new and startling fact that seems suddenly to have impressed these wise men then it is certain that the Providence which has ever been such a wondrous power in the Jewish nation, and which has now so strangely elevated Mordecai at the very moment when Haman thought to have slain him, will cause the Jew to triumph.

Verse 14

14. Hasted to bring Haman The avenging fates seem to hurry him to his doom.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Esther 6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/esther-6.html. 1874-1909.
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