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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Esther 8

 

 

Verse 1

ESTHER CHAPTER 8

Mordecai is advanced over the house of Haman, Esther 8:1,2. Esther maketh a petition to the king to reverse Haman’s letters, Esther 8:3-6. Ahasuerus granteth to Esther and Mordecai, Esther 8:7, to write to the Jews to defend themselves, Esther 8:8. Mordecai’s letters in the king’s name to defend themselves and destroy their assailants, Esther 8:9-14. Mordecai’s honour, and the Jews’ joy, Esther 8:15-17.

The house of Haman, with all his goods and estate, which being justly forfeited to the king, he no less justly bestows it upon the queen, to compensate the danger to which Haman had exposed her.

Mordecai came before the king, i.e. was by the queen’s desire admitted into the king’s presence, and favour, and family, and, as it seems, made one of the seven princes.

What he was unto her, i.e. how nearly he was related to her; which till this time she had wisely concealed, this being the fit season to declare it.


Verse 2

The king took off his ring; that ring which he had formerly given to Haman for that present or any further use, Esther 3:10, he now gives to Mordecai, and with it that power and authority whereof this ring was a sign, making him, as Haman had been, the keeper of his signet.

Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman; as her steward, to manage that great estate for her as he thought fittest.


Verse 3

To put away the mischief of Haman; to repeal that cruel decree, of which see Esther 3:13.


Verse 4

The king held out the golden sceptre; in token that he accepted her person and petition, and that she should stand upon her feet.


Verse 5

She useth various expressions, that she might insinuate herself into the king’s favour, by such a full and repeated resignation and submission of herself to the king’s good pleasure.

To reverse the letters devised by Haman; she prudently takes off all the envy and hatefulness of the action from the king, and lays it upon Haman, who had for his own wicked and selfish ends contrived the whole business, and circumvented the king in it; which she allegeth as a reason why it should be repealed, because it was surreptitiously and craftily procured.


Verse 6

My heart will sink under it, and I shall never be able to survive it.


Verse 7

You see how ready I have been to grant your requests, and I do not repent of my favour to you, and am ready to grant your further desires, as far as the law will permit me to do.


Verse 8

For the Jews; on their behalf, to the governors and commanders of the king’s forces, or to whom you please.

Seal it with the king’s ring; I offer you my authority and seal to confirm whatsoever you shall think fit to write.

For the writing which is written in the king’ s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse: this reason may belong either,

1. To the writing of these present letters; and so the sense is, These letters will be most effectual, being no less irrevocable than the former, and coming last will repeal the former. Or,

2. To the former letters, as a reason why he could not grant their desires in recalling them, because they were irrevocable by the law of the Medes and Persians. And this sense, though rejected by many, seems to be the truest, because here is no mention of reversing Haman’s letters, which Esther had desired, Esther 8:5, and the king denied for the reason here alleged; and because the following letter doth not contain one word about the reversing of the former, nor doth it take away that power which was given to all rulers to destroy all the Jews, Esther 3:12,13, but only gives the Jews power and authority to stand up in their own defence, Esther 8:11, which, all circumstances considered, was sufficient for their preservation.


Verse 9

In the third month, on the three and twentieth day thereof; which was above two months after the former decree; all which time God suffered the Jews to lie under the terror of this dreadful day partly, that they might be more thoroughly humbled for and purged from those many and great sins under which they lay; partly, and particularly, that they might be convinced of their great sin and folly in neglecting the many offers and opportunities they had of returning to their native country, and to the free and full exercise of the true religion, which could be had no where but in Jerusalem; by which means they being now dispersed in the several parts of this vast dominion, were like to be a very easy prey to their enemies, whereas their brethren in Judea were in a better capacity to preserve themselves; partly, that their most malicious and inveterate enemies might have an opportunity of discovering themselves to their ruin, as the event showed; and partly, for the greater illustration of God’s glorious power, and wisdom, and goodness, in giving his people such an admirable and unexpected deliverance. Yet God so ordered things, that this letter should be sent in due time before it was too late; for there were yet near nine months to come before that appointed day.

It was written unto the Jews; that they might understand their liberty, and be encouraged to use it for their own defence.

And to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces; that they should publish and disperse them into all parts, that both themselves and others might take notice of the king’s pleasure and kindness to the Jews.


Verse 10

Which were not employed in the sending of the former letter; but this coming later required more care and speed, that the Jews might be eased from the torment of their present fears, and have time to furnish themselves with necessaries for their own defence.


Verse 11

To stand for their life; to stand up and fight for the de fence of their lives against all that should seek to destroy them.

All the power of the people; either governors or governed, without any exception, either of age, dignity, or sex, as it follows.

Both little ones and women; which is here added, because it was put into the former decree; and to strike the greater terror into their enemies; and according to the laws and customs of this kingdom, whereby children were punished for their parents’ offences; which also in some cases was allowed and practised in sacred story. Yet we read nothing in the execution of this decree of the slaughter of women or children, nor is it probable that they would kill their innocent children, who were so indulgent to their families, as not to meddle with the spoil.


Verse 14

By the king’s commandment; by his particular. and express command to that purpose.


Verse 15

With a great crown of gold; which the chief of the Persian princes were permitted to wear, but with sufficient distinction from the king’s crown.

The city of Shushan; not only Jews, but the greatest number of the citizens, who, by the law of nature written upon their hearts, had an abhorrency from bloody counsels and designs, and a complacency in acts of benignity and mercy; or for other reasons, of which See Poole "Esther 3:15".


Verse 16

Light is oft put for

gladness, as 2 Samuel 22:29 Job 18:5,6 Psa 27:1, because light is pleasant and disposeth a man to joy, whereas darkness inclines a man to sorrow.

Gladness and joy: this explains the former metaphor by two words expressing the same thing, to note the greatness of the joy.

Honour, instead of that contempt under which they had lain.


Verse 17

A feast and a good day, i.e. a time of feasting and rejoicing, and thanksgiving,

The fear of the Jews; when possibly they had irritated by their former threatenings, and now gave this evidence of their repentance, that they were willing to submit to that severe precept of circumcision.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Esther 8:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/esther-8.html. 1685.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 29th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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