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Esther 5:1 . On the third day, of the fast: Esther 4:16.
Esther 5:3 . To the half of the kingdom. This was a word of grace after the manner of kings. So Herod said to Herodias when she had pleased him with dancing. Xerxes used the like phrase. Herodotus, lib. 9.
This chapter presents us with a fine scheme of providence, counteracting the designs of the wicked for the preservation of the righteous Esther, animated by the love of life, and a wish to preserve the people of God. Esther, refreshed and animated in soul by the severest exercises of fasting and devotion, went boldly, and stood opposite the monarch of the eastern world, seated on his golden throne. With holy faith and trembling piety she awaited the issues, whether life or death. How noble was her conduct: it was greater than the glory to which she was raised. The Holy Spirit which prompted Abraham to intersede for Sodom, and Moses to stand in the gap for Israel, now animated her breast. The king seeing Esther, reached forth his golden sceptre, for God had touched his heart; she fainted indeed with fear, but received the most flattering marks of comfort and of honour. And if Esther found such grace in the eyes of her lord, how much more may penitent and afflicted people expect from the Father of mercies. She approached with trembling, because she was not commanded; but to us, heaven seems to have exhausted all its language of invitation. She knew not that either Haman, or any of the seven counsellors who surrounded the throne, would advocate her cause; but Jesus Christ, the beloved of the Father, has engaged to make our cause his own. Take courage then, thou oppressed, thou tempted and dejected soul; present thyself boldly to the God of heaven and earth with Esther’s faith and piety, and as her lord beheld her trembling, and reached forth his sceptre and supported her, so will thy more compassionate Lord comfort thy soul, and grant thee more than thy request.
We must mark also the great prudence of Esther. Interseding for an obnoxious people, she disclosed not her supplication till she had got the king and Haman alone, where, had his cause been good, he had a fair opportunity of defence. But all encrease of honour, riches and joy to the wicked, does but encrease and nourish the depravity of their hearts. Elated with the singular honour to banquet in private with the king and the queen, an honour which no other minister had enjoyed, he knew not how to contain his joy. But oh what a check he received at the gate, when he saw a man in sackcloth stubbornly refuse to bow. The contumacy of this single person had before inflicted a thousand wounds in his pride, and now they will bleed afresh. Haman was hasting home to tell his family the greatness of his honours and joy; but this simple check threw a cloud of melancholy over him, and was ominous of impending ruin. All his laurels faded, and all his joys withered by this single blast; and while the crowd accounted him the happiest of mortals, he felt a misery prey on his vitals which language cannot describe.
Great and misguided men are often ruined by bad counsel. Zeresh, hearing the anguish of her husband, advised him according to his humour. This was following bad propensities, blind to future consequences. This was to confirm, not to remedy the diseases of his heart. This was to feed the fire in his breast with fresh fuel, till it produced an irruption of the most dreadful kind. The advice to hang Mordecai on a gallows fifty cubits high, strongly marks that this woman, notwithstanding her talents, had imbibed all the spirit of her husband. She was not aware, that in the highest career of passion the judgment should most cautiously retain the reins.
Hence we farther learn, that when God is about to destroy the wicked, he sends upon them a spirit of strong delusion. So he did on Saul before the battle of Gilboa; so he did on Ahithophel after David’s flight; so he did on Ahab before the affair of Ramoth-gilead; so in fact he has done to whole nations in the crisis of contumacy and destruction. Let every man therefore fear his own heart, keep lowly in his own eyes, and pray that God would never withdraw from his soul the aids of grace, and of his Holy Spirit.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25