Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Esther 8:17

In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king's commandment and his decree arrived, there was gladness and joy for the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many among the peoples of the land became Jews, for the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Feasts;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Day;   Entertainments;   Proselytes;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Judaizers;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Proselyte;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Casiphia;   Proselytes;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Esther;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joy;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Banquets;   Circumcision;   Judaism;   Proselyte;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for June 26;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Many - became Jews; for - fear - These were a species of converts not likely to bring much honor to true religion: but the sacred historian states the simple fact. They did profess Judaism for fear of the Jews, whether they continued steady in that faith or not.

It is only the Gospel which will not admit of coercion for the propagation and establishment of its doctrines. It is a spiritual system, and can be propagated only by spiritual influence. As it proclaims holiness of heart and life, which nothing but the Spirit of God can produce, so it is the Spirit of God alone that can persuade the understanding and change the heart. If the kingdom of Christ were of this world, then would his servants fight. But it is not from hence.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/esther-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Became Jews - Joined the nation as proselytes, so casting in their lot with them.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/esther-8.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came,.... As they did to every province in the realm, and to every city in the province, where there were any Jews:

the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day; they expressed their joy on this occasion by keeping a festival, which in their language is called a good day; and such an one is annually kept by them unto this day, on account of their deliverance; of which see Esther 9:27

and many of the people of the land became Jews; or were proselyted, as both the Targums and Jarchi interpret it; they embraced the Jewish religion, and submitted to the rites and ceremonies of it; were circumcised, as in the Septuagint version, and so were proselytes of righteousness; and indeed no other could they be, dwelling in their own land; many of them very probably were serious in it, observing the wonderful manner in which the Jews were delivered; wherein manifestly appeared to them the providence of God, the hand of the Supreme Being, and from hence concluded their God must be the true God, and they his favourite people, and their religion most correct; though others might only do it to gain the favour of Esther and Mordecai, who had now such great power and influence at court:

for the fear of the Jews fell upon them; lest they should be slain by them, in virtue of this new edict.

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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 8:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/esther-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land m became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

(m) Conformed themselves to the Jew's religion.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/esther-8.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Esther 8:17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

Ver. 17. And in every province, and in every city] Not at Shushan only, where it began, but throughout the whole empire there was a general joy among the Jews. For albeit the worst was not yet past with them, but the thirteenth of Adar is meant still by Haman’s abettors to be a bloody day (and this the Jews knew well enough, and therefore prepared for the encounter, so that they could not be without their fears and anxieties), yet the joy of the Lord was their strength. "Their hopes and prayers were like those of David," Psalms 138:8, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth us: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the work of thine own hands."

The Jews had joy and gladness] Gaudium in re, gaudinm in spe; gaudium de possessione gaudium de promissione; gaudium de praesenti exhibitione, gaudium de futura expectatione joy in matter, joy in hope, joy about the possession, joy about promise, joy in outworking of the present, joy about the future providence. (Bern.). The Persians might revel, but the Jews only rejoiced; {See Trapp on "Esther 8:16"}

A feast and a good day] Convivium et hilaria, a compotation and a merry meeting, such as the saints have here, in their foretastes of eternal life, those sweetmeats of the feast of a good conscience (so Mr Latimer called the assurance of heaven), which they have here, before they come to that full feast above. This feast and good day here mentioned was but a preparation unto that in the following chapter, when the warfare was accomplished, and all fears removed, and God said, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, &c.

And many of the people of the land became Jews] That is, they were proselyted, professing the Jewish religion, and siding with them; some in sincerity, doubtless, and some out of sinisterity, and for self-respect, because they saw the king favoured them, the queen and Mordecai were altogether of them and for them, &c.

Mobile sic sequitur fortunae lumina vulgus (Ovid. Trist. 1. 1).

So the common people quickly follow the light of fortune. So that mixed multitude, Exodus 12:38, moved with miracles, removed out of Egypt with the Israelites, took hold of the skirts of these Jews, and said, "We will go with you," Zechariah 8:23. So in David’s days, while he dealt prudently and prospered, so that he became the head of the heathen, a people whom he had not known offered him their service, and strangers feignedly submitted themselves unto him, Psalms 18:43-44. The like they did in Solomon’s days, as Josephus relateth; as also, that the people then were very careful how they received such Prosperity Proselytes. So, many strangers followed the captives returning out of Babylon, under the conduct of Zorobabel; and many heathens joined themselves to the Christian congregations, under Constantine, the first Christian emperor. The Huns, well beaten by the Christians, concluded that their God was the true God, and received the gospel. Thus, whether it be "in pretence or in truth" (as St Paul hath it), that people come in, God is glorified and his Church amplified, and the saints therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice, Philippians 1:18.

For the fear of the Jews fell upon them] So that either for love or fear they conformed to the Jewish way of worship, or at least they forbare to attempt against them, whom now they looked upon as heaven’s darlings. Whether Ahasuerus himself were drawn by the faith and piety of Esther and Mordecai to embrace the true religion, is not expressed. It is hard for princes drowned in delights to deny themselves, and to yield the obedience of faith. The poor receive the gospel, Matthew 11:5, the smaller fishes bite soonest; the lamb and the dove were offered up in sacrifce, not the lion and the eagle; "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called," 1 Corinthians 1:26. That this king was not converted we know not. However, we have ground to beleive that Xerxes his son was not, when as, after this, we read that in his expedition into Greece, he was angry with mountains, winds, rivers, elements, no otherwise than as if they had been men, causing the sea to be beaten with three hundred stripes for battering his bridge of boats, and casting a pair of fetters into it, to make it know to whom it was subject. Let him be what he will, God made use of him for the good of his people, and so overawed the malignant Persians, that they had (very many of them) no mind to meddle.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/esther-8.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

OF all the sweet reflections which arise out of this chapter, (and many and interesting they are), I desire chiefly to have my soul directed to the contemplation of Jesus, in his love to this people which the anxiety of Esther, for her countrymen the Jews, so strongly prompts the mind to consider. If she felt such concern as to cry out, How can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people; or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Think, Reader, whether it be possible to conceive Jesus will look on, and suffer any of his to perish? Recollect the interest he hath in them, the relationship in which he stands towards them; the purchase he hath made of them; the vast price they cost him; the love he hath to his Father who gave them to him; and the pains he hath gone through, to make their salvation sure? And can you suppose it possible, that he will suffer one of those little ones, which trust in him, to perish? Consider what he is in himself: His glory, greatness, almightiness, and sovereignty, as God and man in one person. Consider what he is in his alliance with his people: There is not a relationship in nature but Jesus fills. He is our everlasting Father. As one whom his Father comforteth, (he saith himself) so will I comfort you. He is the husband of his church, the brother, the friend. In short, under the tenderest and most endearing characters, he condescends to represent himself, as it by way of confirming his love, which is stronger than death and more vehement in its warmth than coals of fire. And consider what Jesus hath done to satisfy their souls, in the assurance of his unalterable love. He assumed the very nature of man, to convince man by such a palpable evidence of it, how his heart was towards his people. And having stood up as our surety, borne our sins, carried our sorrows, and though knowing no sin in himself, yet being made sin, and even a curse for us, and having satisfied the divine justice, answered the whole law, taken the punishment, finished transgression, made an end of sin, brought in an everlasting righteousness, washed poor sinners in his blood, clothed them in his righteousness, he now ever liveth to see the whole purposes of his salvation, fully accomplished: can He endure to see any evil upon his people; or those for whom he died brought into everlasting ruin? Can Jesus look on and behold the destruction of his kindred? Reader! think of this and cast thy soul upon him who careth for thee? Oh! precious Jesus! I would say, cause me to rest with full assurance of faith, and to triumph in thee and thy great salvation!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/esther-8.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Esther 8:17". 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

17.Many’ became Jews — Divine Providence had so signally interposed that all thoughtful minds were profoundly impressed, and not a few became proselytes, and embraced Judaism as the true religion. Some of these proselytes may, perhaps, have been influenced more by the “fear of Mordecai,” (Esther 9:3,) than by profound religious convictions; but that a general fear of the Jews fell upon them is clearly stated. Many might naturally have feared that if they remained only ostensibly enemies of the Jews, the vengeance of the latter would be likely to come upon them. And so they thought to secure themselves by professing Judaism.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "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 8:17. A feast and a good day — That is, a time of feasting, rejoicing, and thanksgiving. Not only in Shushan, but in all other places where they resided, they entertained one another at their houses, and feasted together, being full of joy at this unexpected alteration of their affairs. For they doubted not that this new decree of the king would be observed by his people; and they were resolved to defend themselves against those that did not observe it, but attempted to destroy them. And many of the people of the land became Jews — Many of the Persians became proselytes to the Jewish religion, but that they were circumcised is not probable. It is likely, however, that they renounced idolatry, and became worshippers of the true God. Such proselytes there were in all times, especially in the days of David and Solomon, when the affairs of the Jews were very prosperous. Haman thought to extirpate the Jews: it proves, in the issue, that their numbers are greatly increased, and many added to their church. Observe, reader, when the Jews had joy and gladness, then many of the people of the land became Jews. The holy cheerfulness of those that profess religion is a great ornament to their profession, and will invite and encourage others to be religious. Another reason, however, is here given why so many became Jews at this time; for it is said, the fear of the Jews fell upon them. When they observed how wonderfully the divine providence had owned them, and wrought for them, in this critical juncture, they thought them great, and those happy that were among them, as was foretold Zechariah 8:23, We will go with you; for we have heard, we have seen, that God is with you. And they thought them formidable, and those miserable that were against them. They plainly saw, in Haman’s fate, that if any offered an injury to the Jews, it was at their peril; and, therefore, for their own security, they joined themselves to them. It is folly to think of contending with the God of Israel, and therefore it is wisdom to think of submitting to him.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/esther-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ceremonies. Becoming acquainted with the sanctity of the law, and the protection which God gave to his people. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast, and a good day, and many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews," &c. (Protestants) (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/esther-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

became Jews = made common cause with the Jews.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/esther-8.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Became Jews.—That is, embraced their religion as proselytes.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/esther-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
a feast
9:17,19,22; 1 Samuel 25:8; Nehemiah 8:10
many of the people
Psalms 18:43; Zechariah 8:20-23
for the fear
9:2; Genesis 35:5; Exodus 15:16; Deuteronomy 2:25; 11:25 Reciprocal: Joshua 9:11 - our elders;  Esther 9:27 - all such;  Proverbs 28:28 - they perish;  Isaiah 14:1 - the strangers;  Isaiah 45:14 - they shall fall;  Jeremiah 33:9 - fear;  Zechariah 8:19 - joy;  Zechariah 10:9 - sow;  Matthew 23:15 - proselyte;  Acts 2:10 - Jews;  Acts 2:43 - fear;  Acts 9:31 - were multiplied;  Revelation 3:9 - I will make them to

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Esther 8:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/esther-8.html.