Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Esther 8:11

In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Proclamation;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Posts;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Persia;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Kill, Killing;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Esther;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Camel;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Captivities of the Jews;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Assault;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Reggio, Isaac Samuel (Yashar);  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for June 26;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish - The same words as in Haman's decree: therefore the Jews had as much authority to slay their enemies, as their enemies had to slay them.

Little ones and women - This was the ordinary custom, to destroy the whole family of those convicted of great crimes; and whether this was right or wrong, it was the custom of the people, and according to the laws. Besides, as this edict was to give the Jews the same power against their enemies as they had by the former decree against them, and the women and children were there included; consequently they must be included here.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/esther-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This fresh decree allowed the Jews to stand on their defense, and to kill all who attacked them. It has been pronounced incredible that any king would thus have sanctioned civil war in all the great cities of his empire; but some even of the more skeptical critics allow that “Xerxes” might not improbably have done so.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/esther-8.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together,.... In some part of the city they should choose, and remain in a body, being sufficiently armed:

and to stand for their life; to defend themselves, and fight for their life, should any attack them, or attempt to take it away; in such case they might act offensively:

so as to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them; every army of them, or as many as should join in a body to attack them, any mighty or powerful mob; and not men only:

but both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey; the same words are used, and the same power is given them as were to their enemies, Esther 3:13, not that they made use of it to the utmost extremity, it is certain they did not in one point, in taking the spoil, Esther 9:10, and, since they spared that, it is highly probable they spared women and children.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/esther-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Wherein the king granted the Jews which [were] in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for h their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, [both] little ones and women, and [to take] the spoil of them for a prey,

(h) That is, to defend themselves against all who would assail them.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/esther-8.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,

To stand — To fight for the defence of their lives against all that should seek to destroy them.

The power — Either governors or governed, without any exception either of age, dignity, or sex, Both little ones and women - Which is here added, 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: yet we read nothing in the execution of this decree of the slaughter of women or children, nor is it probable, they would kill their innocent children, who were so indulgent to their families, as not to meddle with the spoil.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/esther-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Esther 8:11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which [were] in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, [both] little ones and women, and [to take] the spoil of them for a prey,

Ver. 11. Wherein the king granted the Jews] The slaughter, therefore, that they made of their enemies was not unlawful; because, 1. They were armed with authority. 2. In their own necessary defence.

To gather themselves together] Which till now they might not do, lest it should seem a riot or rebellion. Conquerors use to disarm and disperse those whom they have vanquished, ut sit

Una salus victis, nullam spirare salutem,

that they may not make headway and shake off the yoke.

And to stand for their life] Life is a precious mercy, such as all creatures make much of, from the highest angel to the lowest worm. See the sweetness of it, 1 Kings 20:32, Jeremiah 39:18; Jeremiah 45:5; Ecclesiastes 9:4;, Job 2:4. Quis vitam non vult? Who does not wish life? saith Austin. Joseph is yet alive, saith Jacob, Genesis 45:26. This was more joy to him than all his honour. A man is bound to sacrifice all he hath to the service of his life, and to die in the defence of it; to kill another rather than to be killed by another. If it be the defence of a man’s own life which the king himself attempteth, violently and iniuriously, to take away, in such a case ordinarily it shall be lawful for a subject to defend himself, although the death of the prince follow thereupon, saith Suarez. In the defence of himself and his friends, it may be lawful for a private person to lay hands upon his lawful prince that setteth upon him without cause, saith another casuist. Only such an act as this must not proceed out of hatred or desire of revenge, but out of right self-love and pure necessity; adhibita magna inculpatae tutelae moderatione, as the lawyers call it, using great moderation of harmless defence.

To destroy, and to slay, and to cause to perish] Mordecai maketh use of the selfsame terms that Haman had done, Esther 3:13, that all men might know that his commission was altogether as large as the

others, and that they would vim vi repellere, force to repell force, stand upon their guard, slay all such as should seek their lives, and fight stoutly, pro aris et soris. for the altars and their limbs. This, saith Cicero, is:

Lex non scripta sed nata; ad quam non docti, sed facti; non iustituti, sed imbuti sumus, &c., Law is not written but born, at someone, not taught, but done, not established but absorbed, that which uncorrupted nature teacheth every man (Cic. pro Milone).

Both little ones and women] This seemeth spoken in terrorem, in fear that the enemy might forbear to meddle, if not for their own sakes, yet for their wives and children, whom many hold more dear to

themselves than their own lives. But the text may be better read thus: To destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their little ones and women.

And to take the spoil of them for a prey] This also would work much with those that had estates to lose: for money is the monarch of this present world; and many had as leave part with their blood as

their goods.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/esther-8.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Esther 8:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/esther-8.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.The king granted the Jews’ to stand for their life — But would not the Jews have defended themselves without any such order from the king? They could expect nothing but death at the worst, and every human instinct would have prompted them to have fought with all energy for their lives and their families. True; but without special grant from the king they would not have been allowed to arm and prepare themselves for self-defence at all. Any movement looking to a general preparation to stand on the defensive would have been watched by the rulers of the provinces, and crushed at its very inception as an act of treason. A spasmodic defence with empty hands would have accomplished nothing; but the king’s decree gave the Jews authority to arm themselves with the sword. Esther 9:5. Observe, the Jews were not authorized by this second edict to take the offensive, and destroy whom they would, but only to defend themselves when any would assault them. There would be no slaughter at all if their enemies did not first attack the Jews. This again obviates the objection often urged against the credibility of this history, that no king would have authorized such a civil war throughout all his dominions. The probability was, that when the Jews were thus permitted to arm themselves and stand on the defensive, there would be no conflict at all. But the result showed that so bitter was the hatred of the heathen towards the Jews, that in many parts of the empire they endeavoured, in spite of all the danger, to destroy the Jewish population. The result was the slaughter of seventy-five thousand men, (Esther 9:16,) besides those that fell in Shushan. All arguments based on an assumption of what ordinary rulers would have done or would not have done are futile and foolish when dealing with such a king as Xerxes.

Little ones and women — These would hardly be expected to assault the Jews, but Mordecai would make his letters as broad and comprehensive as those of Haman. Compare Esther 3:13. This clause authorized the Jews to carry their vengeance to the wives and children of those who assaulted them, for their enemies would not spare the Jewish wife and child.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/esther-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Esther 8:11. To stand for their life — To fight for the defence of their lives, against all that should seek to destroy them. To cause to perish the power of the people, &c. — Either governors or governed, without any exception either of age, dignity, or sex. Both little ones and women — Which is here added, to strike the greater terror into their enemies; and according to the laws and customs of that kingdom, whereby children were punished for their parents’ offences: yet we read nothing, in the execution of this decree, of the slaughter of women or children; nor is it probable they would kill their innocent children, who were so indulgent to their families as not to meddle with the spoil.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/esther-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Spoil. This was retaliating, as they were to have been treated in like manner. (Calmet) --- Such were the barbarous customs of the country. (Haydock) --- It might not still be lawful thus to involve the innocent with the guilty, though the king did not ill in allowing the Jews to stand up in their own defence, 2 Kings xxi. 6. Some think that they were only to prevent the execution of the former edict, which could not be revoked. See chap. iii. (Calmet) --- A form of trial was observed, chap. xvi. 20. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/esther-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

their life = themselves. Hebrew. nephesh.

destroy . . . slay . . . perish. Figure of speech Synonymia, for emphasis. See note on Esther 3:13.

power = force. Hebrew. hayil, as in Esther 1:3. Not shalat = mastery, as in Esther 9:1; or tokeph = authority, as in Esther 9:29.

little ones. These were spared, notwithstanding. Compare Esther 9:6.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/esther-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,

The king granted the Jews ... to stand for their life ... to slay ... all ... that would assault them. The fixed and unalterable character claimed for Persian edicts often placed the king in a very awkward dilemma; because, however bitterly he might regret things done in a moment of haste and thoughtlessness, it was beyond even his power to prevent the consequences. This was the reason on account of which the king was laid under a necessity not to reverse but to issue a contradictory edict; according to which it was enacted that, if pursuant to the first decree the Jews were assaulted, they might, by virtue of the second, defend themselves, and even slay their enemies.

However strange, and even ridiculous, this mode of procedure may appear, it was the only one which, from the peculiarities of court etiquette in Persia, could be adopted. Instances occur in sacred (Daniel 6:14), no less than profane, history. Many passages of the Bible attest the truth of the this, particularly the well-known incident of Daniel's being cast into the den of lions, in conformity with the rash decree of Darius, though, as it afterward appeared, contrary to the personal desire of that monarch. That the law of Persia has undergone no change in this respect, and the power of the monarch in not less immutable, appears from many anecdotes related in the books of modern travelers through that country.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/esther-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) To stand for their life.—It will be noticed that, so far at any rate as the edict authorises, the Jews are not permitted to take the initiative, but merely to stand on the defensive. As it was, it was risking civil war in all the cities of the empire, though the results were considerably lessened by numbers of people taking the hint obviously presented by the second edict. “Many of the people of the land became Jews, for the fear of the Jews came upon them.”

Take the spoil of them.—We find that when the storm actually came, the Jews declined to take advantage of this part of the edict.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/esther-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,
to gather
9:2-16
to destroy
Psalms 37:14,15; 68:3; 137:8; 146:6-9; Ezekiel 39:10
and to take the spoil
3:13; 9:10,15,16; Isaiah 10:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 49:28 - the twelve;  Esther 7:4 - to be destroyed;  Esther 9:13 - according unto;  Proverbs 25:5 - away;  Jeremiah 25:10 - take from;  Jeremiah 48:4 - her

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Esther 8:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/esther-8.html.