Esther 8

CHAPTER VIII

Ahasuerus invests Mordecai with the offices and dignities

possessed by Haman, 1, 2.

Esther begs that the decree of destruction gone out against the

Jews may be reversed, 3-6.

He informs her that the acts that had once passed the kings seal

cannot be reversed; but he instructs her and Mordecai to write

other letters in his name, and seal them with his seal, and

send them to all the provinces in the empire, giving the Jews

full liberty to defend themselves; which is accordingly done;

and the letters are sent off with the utmost speed to all the

provinces: in consequence, the Jews prepare for their own

defence, 8-14.

Mordecai appears publicly in the dress of his high office, 15.

The Jews rejoice in every place; and many of the people become

Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them,

16, 17.

NOTES ON CHAP. VIII

Verse 1. The king-give the house of Haman] As Haman was found

guilty of treasonable practices against the peace and prosperity

of the king and his empire, his life was forfeited and his goods

confiscated. And as Mordecai had been the means of preserving the

king's life, and was the principal object of Haman's malice, it

was but just to confer his property upon him, as well as his

dignity and office, as Mordecai was found deserving of the former,

and fit to discharge the duties of the latter.

Verse 2. The king took off his ring] In the ring was the seal

of the king. Giving the ring to Mordecai was tantamount to giving

him the seal of the kingdom, and constituting him the same as lord

chancellor among us.

Verse 6. To see the destruction of my kindred?] She had now

informed the king that she was cousin to Mordecai, and

consequently a Jewess; and though her own life and that of

Mordecai were no longer in danger, Haman being dead, yet the

decree that had gone forth was in full force against the Jews; and

if not repealed, their destruction would be inevitable.

Verse 8. May no man reverse.] Whatever had passed the royal

signet could never be revoked; no succeeding edict could destroy

or repeal a preceding one: but one of a similar nature to the Jews

against the Persians, as that to the Persians was against the

Jews, might be enacted, and thus the Jews be enabled

legitimately to defend themselves; and, consequently, placed on

an equal footing with their enemies.

Verse 9. The month Sivan] This answers to a part of our May and

June.

Verse 10. On mules, camels, and young dromedaries] What these

beasts were is difficult to say. The word rechesh, which we

translate mules, signifies a swift chariot horse.

The strange word achashteranim is probably a Persian

word, but perhaps incurably corrupted. The most likely derivation

is that of Bochart, from the Persian [Persian] akhash, huge,

large, rough, and [Persian] aster, a mule; large mules.

The words beney harammachim, the sons of mares, which

we translate dromedaries, are supposed to signify mules, produced

between the he ass and the mare, to distinguish them from those

produced between the stallion and the ass, But there is really so

much confusion about these matters, and so little consent among

learned men as to the signification of these words, and even the

true knowledge of them is of such little importance, that we may

well rest contented with such names as our modern translations

have given us. They were, no doubt, the swiftest and hardiest

beasts that the city or country could produce.

Verse 11. 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.

Verse 14. The decree was given at Shushan] The contrary effect

which it was to produce considered, this decree was in every

respect like the former. See Es 3:8-15.

Verse 15. Blue and white] Probably stripe interchanged with

stripe; or blue faced and bordered with white fur.

A great crown of gold] A large turban, ornamented with gold,

jewels, &c.

Fine linen and purple] See on Ge 41:42. The

buts, here mentioned, is most probably the same with the byssus

of the ancients; supposed to be the beautiful tuft or beard,

growing out of the side of the pinna longa, a very large species

of muscle, found on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, of which

there are a pair of gloves in the British Museum. This byssus I

have described elsewhere.

Shushan-was glad.] Haman was too proud to be popular; few

lamented his fall.

Verse 17. Many-became Jews; for-fear] These were a species of

converts not likely to bring much honour 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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