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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Esther 4

 

 

Verse 1

When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

When Mordecai perceived all that was done. Relying on the irrevocable nature of a Persian monarch's decree (Daniel 6:15), Haman made it known as soon as the royal sanction had been obtained, and Mordecai was doubtless among the first to hear of it. On his own account, as well as on that of his countrymen, this astounding decree must have been indescribably distressing. The acts described in this passage are, according to the Oriental fashion, expressive of the most poignant sorrow; and his approach to the gate of the palace, under the impulse of irrepressible emotions, was to make an earnest though vain appeal to the royal mercy. Access, however, to the king's presence was, to a person in his disfigured state, impossible; "for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth." But he found means of conveying intelligence of the horrid plot to queen Esther.


Verse 2-3

And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 4

So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.

Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai. Her object in doing so was either to qualify him for resuming his former office, or else, perhaps, of fitting him to come near enough the palace to inform her of the cause of such sudden and extreme distress.


Verse 5

Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.

Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her. Communication with the women in the harem is hardly ever to be obtained, and only through the medium of the keepers. The chief eunuch receives the message from the lips of the queen, conveys it to some inferior officer of the seraglio, and when the commission is executed, the subaltern communicates it to the superintendent, by whom it is delivered to the queen. This chief eunuch, usually an old man who has recommended himself by a long course of faithful service, is always appointed by the king, but it is his interest, as well as his duty, to ingratiate himself with the queen also; and, accordingly, we find Hatach rendering himself very serviceable in carrying on those private communications with Mordecai, who was thereby enabled to enlist her powerful influence.


Verse 6-7

So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 8

Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.

Charge her that she should go in unto the king. This language is exceedingly strong; and as it can scarcely be supposed that Mordecai was still using authority over Esther as his adopted daughter, he must be considered as imploring rather than commanding her, in the name of her brethren, and in the name of her God, to make a direct appeal to the feelings of her royal husband.


Verse 9-10

And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 11

All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

Whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called. The Persian kings surrounded themselves with an almost impassable circle of forms. The law alluded to was first enacted by Deioces, king of Media, and afterward, when the empires were united, adopted by the Persians, that all business should be transacted and petitions transmitted to the king through his ministers; and although the restriction was not intended, of course, to apply to the queen, yet from the strict and inflexible character of the Persian laws, and the extreme desire to exalt the majesty of the sovereign, even his favourite wife had not the privilege of entree except by special favour and indulgence. Esther was suffering from the severity of this law; and as, from not being admitted for a whole month to the king's presence, she had reason to fear that the royal affections had become alienated from her, she had little hope of serving her country's cause in this awful emergency.


Verse 12

And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 13

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther. His answer was to this effect, that Esther need not indulge the vain hope she would, from her royal connection escape the general doom of her race; that he (Mordecai) confidently believed God would interpose, and, if not through her, by some other deliverer, save His people; but that the duty evidently devolved on her, as there was great reason to believe that this was the design of Providence in her elevation to the dignity of queen; and therefore that she should go with a courageous heart, not doubting of in her elevation to the dignity of queen; and therefore that she should go with a courageous heart, not doubting of success.


Verse 14-15

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

I also and my maidens. It is probable that she had surrounded herself with Jewish maidens, or women who were proselytes to that religion.

So will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law. The queen could take certain liberties, such as going unexpectedly into the royal presence, inviting him to a banquet, and employing his guards to carry out her discipline on female delinquents (Herodotus, b. 9:, 112). But she had to humbly ask and obtain the king's sanction; and an intrusion into the royal presence was liable to be punished as a capital crime, unless the king extended the royal sceptre as a token of royal favour. The appeal of Mordecai was irresistible; and having appointed a solemn fast of three days, she expressed her firm resolution to make an appeal to the king, though she should perish in the attempt.

 


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Esther 4:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/esther-4.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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