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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Esther 9

 

 


Verses 1-32

THE JEWS VICTORIOUS

(vv. 1-17)

On the day prescribed in both decrees, when the enemies of the Jews expected to destroy all the Jews in the Persian empire, the tables were turned completely, for besides having the king's permission to fight for their lives, the Jews were given power from God to defeat and destroy all their enemies (v. 1).As it was permitted them, the Jews gathered together to make a united stand against the many who sought their destruction, and their energy was such that no one could withstand them (v. 2).In fact, all the officials of government helped the Jews because Mordecai's position of prominence influenced them greatly (v.3).In a coming day too the greatness of the Lord Jesus will have wonderful effect in turning Gentiles to seek the true blessing of Israel.

At this time Mordecai's greatness increased tremendously throughout all the kingdom of Persia (v. 4).Though Christ today is still despised and rejected of men, yet God knows how to change that fact amazingly, as He will when Israel bows to His authority.Then not only Israel will be blessed, but the nations of the world will give allegiance to Him who is "King of kings and Lord of lords."

Thus the victory of the Jews was complete.We read of no Jews being killed, but the number of their enemies killed was great.In Shushan alone on that day 500 were killed.Ten men are mentioned by name who were evidently leaders, as well as the ten sons of Haman.Interestingly, the Jews did not take any plunder from their enemies (v. 10), which shows they were not moved by lust for gain, a picture of the pure justice that will characterize the establishment of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.

When information was given to the king as to the number killed in Shushan, the king spoke of this to Esther and asked her if she had any further petition (vv. 11-12). She asked that another day be given in order to rid Shushan of the Jews' enemies, and also to have Haman's ten sons hanged (v. 13).Of course, this was after they had been killed, therefore intended to impress the populace with the enormity of Haman's guilt.The king gave his consent to this.Haman's sons were hanged, and the Jews gathered together the next day, killing 300 enemies of the Jews. It must have been that those 300 had before shown themselves to be the Jews' enemies.Again, the Jews did not take any plunder.

Only at Shushan did the second day's slaughter take place.The Jews throughout the rest of the land in gathering together, killed 75,000 of their enemies in the one day, the 13th day of the month Adar, and they also took no plunder (v. 16).On the 14th day they rested and made the day one of feasting and gladness (v. 17).God had made their victory complete, though even then His name is not mentioned.

THE FEAST OF PURIM INSTITUTED

(vv. 18-32)

The Jews at Shushan, however, having engaged for two days in destroying their enemies, rested on the 15th day of the month, making it a day of feasting and gladness (v. 18). Since those in the surrounding villages had done this on the 14th day of the month (v. 19), Mordecai wrote letters to all the Jews that both the 14th and 15th days of that month were to be considered holidays for the Jews from that time every year, a time for giving gifts to one another and to the poor(vv. 20-22).The Jews accepted this as a yearly feast because they considered that the memory of this whole occasion should not be allowed to fade from their minds.Thus, verses24-25 recount briefly the history of the plot of Haman the Agagite to annihilate the Jews, casting Pur, that is, the lot, which in the case of Haman,was identified with the consultation of evil spirits.But though his scheme at first seemed to be successful, by the intervention of Esther whom the king not only respected, but loved, there was a complete exposure of the whole plot, with the result that the wickedness of Haman recoiled on his own head, he and his sons being hanged on the gallows he had erected for Mordecai.

We are not told who wrote this book of Esther, but whoever it was was conversant with the Jewish captivity in Persia and knew this history well. It seems he would not deliberately avoid using God's name in the book; but the book is a vital part of God's word, who would not publicly link His name with Israel, though working for them behind the scenes.

The feast of two days at this time established by the Jews was called Purim, referring to Pur, the lot cast by Haman with the object of destroying the Jews.Very likely the Jews were conversant with Solomon's proverb, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33).Haman had expected demon power to be exerted in backing him up; but no doubt the Jews recognized that the Lord had intervened with His own clear decision.Yet, while the Jews surely did recognize the Lord's hand in this, still, God did not allow His name to be even mentioned publicly.

The feast of Purim was thus established and imposed by the Jews upon themselves and their descendants with the urgent responsibility of celebrating these days every year, and continued in every family of the Jews, wherever they were, that the memory of this great occasion should not be allowed to fade from their minds (vv. 26-28).

We may be sure that news of this occasion reached the returned remnant of Judah in

Jerusalem with little delay.Though they had shown devoted faithfulness to the Lord in returning to the land, they would surely not have hard feelings toward those who had not returned, rather would be concerned as to how their brethren fared in the foreign country. Out of love for their brethren, no doubt they would gladly adopt the celebration of the feast of Purim.Indeed, through all the centuries this feast has continued among the Jews.

In all of these instructions it seems strange that God is not mentioned, though it is plainly evident that it was God's hand of protecting care that had been over the Jews to deliver them from their enemies. Very likely the Jews did include God's name in their celebration, but scripture says nothing of this because the condition of the Jews at that time was really lacking in any evidence of obedience to God.He was virtually disowning them publicly though caring for them behind the scenes.

Thus, the history here speaks of Purim as a feast of the Jews, not a "feast of the Lord." Leviticus 23:1 speaks of "The Feasts of the the Lord," but in John 2:13, the Passover is called "the Passover of the Jews," and another feast of the Lord was called "the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles"(John 7:2).Why?Because it was not primarily the Lord's honor that the Jews sought, but their own enjoyment.What sad disrespect for the Lord's feasts!

Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Persia with the object of confirming the yearly observance of the Feast of Purim at the appointed time. Esther also was identified with this decree. From that time the observance of the Feast of Purim has been continued in Israel, observed even where Jews are scattered in other lands.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Esther 9:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/esther-9.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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