Esther 9

CHAPTER IX

On the thirteenth of the month Adar the Jews destroy their

enemies, and the governors of the provinces assist them, 1-5.

They slay five hundred in Shushan, and kill the ten sons of

Haman, but take no spoil, 6-10.

The king is informed of the slaughter in Shushan, 11.

He desires to know what Esther requests farther; who begs that

the Jews may be permitted to act on the following day as they

had done on the preceding, and that Haman's sons may be hanged

upon the gallows; which is granted; and they slay three hundred

more in Shushan, and in the other provinces seventy-five

thousand, 12-16.

A recapitulation of what was done; and of the appointment of the

feast of Purim to be observed through all their generations

every year, 17-28.

Esther writes to confirm this appointment, 29-32.

NOTES ON CHAP. IX

Verse 1. Now in the twelfth month] What a number of providences,

and none of them apparently of an extraordinary nature, concurred

to preserve a people so signally, and to all human appearance so

inevitably, doomed to destruction! None are ever too low for God

to lift up, or too high for God to cast down. Must not these

heathens have observed that the uncontrollable hand of an Almighty

Being had worked in behalf of the Jews? And must not this have had

a powerful tendency to discredit the idolatry of the country?

Verse 3. And all the rulers of the provinces] Mordecai being

raised to the highest confidence of the king, and to have

authority over the whole realm, these officers assisted the Jews,

no doubt, with the troops under their command, to overthrow those

who availed themselves of the former decree to molest the Jews.

For it does not appear that the Jews slew any person who did not

rise up to destroy them. See Es 9:5.

Verse 6. And in Shushan] It is strange that in this city, where

the king's mind must have been so well known, there should be

found five hundred persons to rise up in hostility against those

whom they knew the king befriended!

Verse 10. The ten sons of Haman] Their names are given above.

And it is remarked here, and in Es 9:16, where the account is

given of the number slain in the provinces, that the Jews laid no

hands on the spoil. They stood for their lives, and gave full

proof that they sought their own personal safety, and not the

property of their enemies, though the decree in their favour

gave them authority to take the property of all those who were

their adversaries, Es 8:11.

Verse 13. Let Haman's ten sons be hanged] They had been slain

the preceding day, and now she requests that they may be exposed

on posts or gibbets, as a terror to those who sought the

destruction of the Jews.

Verse 15. And slew three hundred men] Esther had probably been

informed by Mordecai that there were still many enemies of the

Jews who sought their destruction, who had escaped the preceding

day; and, therefore, begs that this second day be added to the

former permission. This being accordingly granted, they found

three hundred more, in all eight hundred. And thus Susa was

purged of all their enemies.

Verse 18. The Jews-assembled-on the thirteenth-and on the

fourteenth] These two days they were employed in slaying their

enemies; and they rested on the fifteenth.

Verse 19. The Jews of the villages] They joined that to the

preceding day, and made it a day of festivity, and of sending

portions to each other; that is, the rich sent portions of the

sacrifices slain on this occasion to the poor, that they also

might be enabled to make the day a day of festivity; that as the

sorrow was general, so also might the joy be.

It is worthy of remark that the ancient Itala or

Ante-hieronymian version of this book omits the whole of these

nineteen verses. Query, Were they originally in this book?

Verse 20. Mordecai wrote these things] It has been supposed that

thus far that part of the book of Esther, which was written by

Mordecai extends: what follows to the end, was probably added

either by Ezra, or the men of the Great Synagogue; though what is

said here may refer only to the letters sent by Mordecai to the

Jews of the provinces. From this to the end of the chapter is

nothing else than a recapitulation of the chief heads of the

preceding history, and an account of the appointment of an annual

feast, called the feast of Purim, in commemoration of their

providential deliverance from the malice of Haman.

Verse 23. The Jews undertook to do as they had begun] They had

already kept the fifteenth day, and some of them in the country

the fourteenth also, as a day of rejoicing: Mordecai wrote to them

to bind themselves and their successors, and all their proselytes,

to celebrate this as an annual feast throughout all their

generations; and this they undertook to do. And it has been

observed among them, in all places of their dispersion, from that

day to the present time, without any interruption.

Verse 26. They called these days Purim] That is from [Persian]

pari, the lot; because, as we have seen, Haman cast lots to find

what month, and what day of the month, would be the most

favourable for the accomplishment of his bloody designs against

the Jews. See on Es 3:7.

And of that which they had seen] The first letter to which

this second refers, must be that sent by Mordecai himself. See

Es 9:20.

Verse 29. Esther-wrote with all authority] Esther and Mordecai

had the king's license so to do: and their own authority was great

and extensive.

Verse 31. As they had decreed for themselves and for their seed]

There is no mention of their receiving the approbation of any high

priest, nor of any authority beyond that of Mordecai and Esther;

the king could not join in such a business, as he had nothing to

do with the Jewish religion, that not being the religion of the

country.

Verse 32. The decree of Esther confirmed these matters] It was

received by the Jews universally with all respect, and they bound

themselves to abide by it.

The Vulgate gives a strange turn to this verse: Et omnia quae

libri hujus, qui vocatur Esther, historia continentur; "And all

things which are contained in the history of this book, which is

called Esther."

The Targum says, And by the word of Esther all these things

relative to Purim were confirmed; and the roll was transcribed in

this book. The Syriac is the same as the Hebrew, and the

Septuagint in this place not very different.

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