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Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ esther-2.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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Est 2:1 After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
Ver. 1. After these things ] After the wine was out, the fuel of his anger spent, and the lust thereof satisfied.
When the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased ] There is nothing that a man is more ready to keep than his wrath; therefore the Hebrews put servare for servare iram, to keep for to keep his anger, as Jer 3:5 Psa 103:9 Leviticus 19:18 . Ahasuerus, by invading Greece, had so incensed them, that their wrath αειμνηστος , unappeasable, for they thenceforth hated all barbarians for the Persians’ sake, and forbade them their sacrifices, as they used to do murderers. But Ahasuerus’s wrath against Vashti was after a time assuaged.
He remembered Vashti ] Not without some remorse, but without all true repentance. He forsook not his rash anger as a sin, but regretted it for a time, and laid it asleep, to be raked up again upon as slight an occasion. In graceless persons vitia raduntur, non eradicantur; absconduntur saepius, non exscinduntur; vices may be barbed or benumbed, not mastered and mortified. A merchant may part with his goods, and yet not hate them. A man may part with his sins for self-respects, and yet retain his affection to them; as Phaltiel did to Michal, when he went weeping after her afar off. He may remember his Vashti, his bosom sins from which he seemeth divorced, and by such a sinful remembering of them, recommit them. See Eze 23:21 compared with Esther 2:8 .
And what was decreed against her ] But whose fault was that? Wine and anger are the worst of all counsellors, say the ancients? and Ahasuerus found it so; as did also Alexander the Great, and many others, but all too late. Hence they came in afterwards with their Non putaram, Had I known; which Scipio said should never be heard out of a great man’s mouth (Plutarch). Augustus also was wont to say, that nothing doth so ill become a commander as hastiness and rashness (Sueton.). Cicero taxeth him for a fool, qui eundem laedit et laudat, who first wrongeth a man, and then commendeth him.
Est 2:2 Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
Ver. 2. Then said the king’s servants] His friends, saith Josephus, to whom he had opened his mind; the young courtiers, say others (green wood is ever shrinking and warping), but most probably those seven chief counsellors, Esther 1:14 , who had persuaded him to cast off Vashti, and now feared, lest if not some way diverted, he should fall as foul upon them as his predecessor Darius did upon those claw backs, Dan 6:24 or as the Athenians did upon Timagoras, Demagores, and Euagoras, whom they condemned to die, for flattering Darius Hystaspes, the father of this Ahasuerus.
Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king ] They knew him to be a sensualist and effeminate; they therefore agree to feed his humour, to drown him again in pleasure, so to drive away his melancholy. Such miserable comforters are carnal physicians; so wretched is our nature, to endure no other medicine; so justly doth God fit the physician to the patient, the helve to the hatchet; so do the wicked help each other forward to their deserved destruction. Ahasuerus’s courtiers and counsellors become brokers to his lusts; neither is this anything unusual with such. Lenocinantur, produnt, blasphemant, peierant, toxica miscent, &c., saith an expositor here. What is it that such parasites and sycophants will not do to ingratiate with great ones? It was not therefore without good cause, that the primitive Christians prayed hard for the emperor, as Tertullian testifieth, that God would send him Senatum fidelem, a faithful council, and free him from flatterers.
Est 2:3 And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given [them]:
Ver. 3. And let the king appoint officers ] Praeficiat praefectos. Costly counsel. This could not be done without much trouble and charge to the king. Two or three years are spent in gathering, purifying, and preparing these choice virgins for the impure bed of this heathen prince, while he is following the chase of his ambition, in the wars of Greece.
In all the provinces of his kingdom ] A large commission they must have, the whole kingdom is their circuit; and note that they went not to foreigners; which those princes that do, while thereby they seek for greatness, they many times miss goodness; while they labour to be strong abroad (and so to have a stake in store, as they say, however the dice chance to turn), they weaken themselves at home, and while by foreign matches they intend unity, it proves an occasion both of civil and foreign dissensions. We of this nation have had sad experience of these mischiefs.
That they may gather together ] This could not be done without the great grief and general discontent of the king’s best subjects ( nimium serviliter huic hirco subiectorum, as one hath it), thus bereft and despoiled of their dearest daughters, the staves of their age.
All the fair young virgins ] Beauty (the best pearl in a carnal eye) is all that is here looked after, quae plerumque virtute et pudicitia caret, which is oft without virtue and common honesty, as, where they meet, it is a rare mixture. The heathen man saith, Non est formosa mulier cuius crus laudatur aut brachium, sed illa cuius universa facies admirationem singulis partibus abstulit. Now if this be true, long enough might these commissionated officers look for fair young virgins, truly so called, there being very few that are not peccant in some minnum, some tittle of beauty, or other. It is a praise peculiar to the virgin daughter of Zion to be all fair, Song of Solomon 4:7 , to be αμωμος , Ephesians 5:26 , such as in whom even Momus himself could find no error.
Unto Shushan the palace ] In which one place there might have been found choice enough, without speaking further; but that lust is unsatisfiable. The eye is not satisfied with seeing; and in such a multitude how could it be but that the king’s mind must needs be distracted, which one to make choice of?
To the house of the women ] Such as is now the Turk’s Seraglio. See the description of the Grand Signior’s Seraglio, by Master John Greanes, chap. iv.
Unto the custody of Hege ] Who was their keeper, or rather their jailer. For what was this house of women but a perpetual prison to them, clapped under hatches, as it were, and, haply, held in as great servitude as those in Barbary are at this day; where it is death for any man to see one of the Xeriff’s concubines; and for them too, it, when they see a man, though but through a casement, they do not suddenly screek out.
And let their things for purification ] σμηγματα , their cleansing, to dry up the filth of the flesh, and to cleanse nature’s infirmities, that they might be six months purified with oil of myrrh, and six other months perfumed with sweet odours, as Esther 2:12 . Here the maids were first purified before the king chose one. But Christ first chooseth his spouse, and then purifieth her, Ephesians 5:26 .
Est 2:4 And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
Ver. 4. And let the maiden ] Herein unhappy that she got her honour with the loss of her honesty; and that so many maids are made miserable for her sake.
That pleaseth the king ] Heb. That is good in his eyes. The eye is the lamp and ornament of the whole body; and yet that most lightsome part doth ofttimes draw the soul into utter darkness; while by those windows of wickedness and loopholes of lust Satan windeth himself into the heart, and maketh it impudicitiae cloacam (as Venus’s temple on the top of Lebanon is called by Eusebius), a very sink and sewer of all lewdness and abomination.
Be queen instead of Vashti ] This was held a great business, and a sufficient recompense. The bramble held it a goodly thing to reign over the trees: not so the vine and fig tree, Judges 9:15 .
And the thing pleased the king ] Because it added more fuel to the fire of his lust, and that he may lengthen out his days in dalliance and wantonness: ut libidine libidinem provocante, nihil nisi muliebris fiat, saith an expositor here, that he might be the right successor of Sardanapalus, who buried himself in the bos oms of his harlots, and left behind him this infamous epitaph: πα φι λι πα λι φι-Tαυτ εχω οσσ ’ εφαγον και εφυβοισα και μετ ερωτος, πα λι φι Tεοπν επαθον τα δε αλλα και ολβια παντα λελειπται
An epitaph fit for an ox, saith Aristotle. The kings of Persia are noted for effeminate, fitter for a canopy than a camp; and affecting such sights, ubi Imperator Apparator, lanx phalanx, acies facies, bella labella, spicula pocula, scutum scortum, &c.
And he did so ] According to the counsel of those court parasites (whose word is that of Stratocles, Mihi placer quicquid Regi placet ), he walked in the ways of his heart, and in the sight of his eyes, little thinking that for all these things God would bring him into judgment, Ecclesiastes 11:9 . But such governors the wicked world deserveth, as being itself totus in maligno positus, 1Jn 5:19 When Phocas, that filthy traitor, reigned at Constantinople, Cedrinus saith that a certain honest poor man was very earnest with God to know why such a man, or rather monster, was set up; he was answered again by a voice, that there could not be a worse man found, and that the sins of Christians did require it.
Esther 2:5 [Now] in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name [was] Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
Ver. 5. Now in Shushan the palace ] Not in Babylon, as Josephus doteth.
There was a certain Jew ] That had not returned to Jerusalem, as he ought to have done; and as another of his name did, Ezra 2:2 .
Whose name was Mordecai ] That is, pure myrrh, say some; bitter contrition, say others; he is the son of contrition, that must be the son of consolation. This Mordecai was one of those few that both lived and died with glory; being not taxed for any gross sin.
The son of Jair ] Happy father in such a son; much more joy might he well be to his parents than Epaminondas was to his: and of him it might be sung,
Tοις μακαρες τε κασιγνητοι τε, κασιγνηται τε (Homer).
The son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite ] He descended, then, either from some other son of Kish, the father of Saul, or else from Jonathan, Saul’s son; for he only, of all the sons of Saul, left issue behind him. But the Kish here mentioned, though of his line, lived many years after Saul’s father.
Est 2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Ver. 6. Who had been carried away from Jerusalem ] Kish had, not Mordecai; unless it were in the loins of his great grandfather. Kish and his posterity were of those good figs mentioned in Jeremiah; but goodness is no target against affliction.
- nec te tua plurima Pentheu
Labentem texit pietas (Virg.).
With the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah ] The good figs were carried away at the same time with the bad, but in several baskets, Jeremiah 34:1 . Kish, and others like him, as Daniel, Ezekiel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, &c., were not only good men, but very good, like the figs that are first ripe, Jeremiah 24:2 , such as God’s soul desireth, Micah 7:1 , and yet they were carried away with Jeconiah and the rest that were nought, stark nought, Jeremiah 24:2 . The best may have their share in a common calamity; but God will not fail even then to set his eyes upon them for good, Jeremiah 24:6 . The husbandman cutteth down his corn and weeds together, but for different purpose. Excellently Austin, Una eademque vis irruens bonos probat, purificat, eliquat; malos damnat, vastat, exterminat: One and the same common calamity proveth, melteth, purifieth the good; damneth, wasteth, destroyeth the evil (De Civit. Dei, lib. 1, cap. 8): these have an evil, an only evil, Ezekiel 6:5 , without mixture of mercy; and that because they are nought, very nought, figs that cannot be eaten, they are so nought, Jeremiah 24:2 .
Whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away ] Lo, here the rod in God’s hand for the chastisement of his children; that, being chastened of the Lord, they may not be condemned with the world, 1 Corinthians 11:32 . This rod, when he had worn to the stumps, he cast into the fire.
Est 2:7 And he brought up Hadassah, that [is], Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid [was] fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
Ver. 7. And he brought up ] He both nourished and nurtured her in the true religion and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4 , he was her foster-father and her instructor.
Hadassah ] Not the same with Atossa, as Tremellius would have it. Hadassah was the name given her by her parents, and it signifieth a myrtle tree, which loveth to grow in a bottom; whence the Church is compared to it for her lowly mindedness, Zechariah 1:8 . See Trapp on " Zec 1:8 "
That is, Esther ] This was her Persian name, say some: in heathen histories she is called Amestris (Herod. lib. 7, Sealig.).
His uncle’s daughter] Not his brother’s daughter, as the Vulgate rendereth it, after Josephus and Aben Ezra. She was his first cousin, and this was one reason that moved him to adopt her, viz. the bond of nature.
For she had neither father nor mother ] A poor orphan she was; but Christ left her not comfortless, John 14:18 . He had provided and enabled Mordecai, to feed her and raise her; to train her up in the fear of God, and to defend her chastity from the rage of lust; besides that her head was by him destined to a diadem; Esther the captive shall be Esther the queen; Esther, the fatherless and motherless, shall be a nursing mother to the Church; and meanwhile meet with a merciful guardian, Mordecai. Why, then, should we not trust God with ourselves and our children?
And the maid was fair and beautiful ] See Trapp on " Est 2:3 " Gratior est pulchro, &c. For her beauty she was brought to the king; and not without some respect to this it was that she was raised by Mordecai. This beauty was a privilege of nature; and because of the forcible battery that would be laid to it, God gives her a guarding. Esther was now in the flower of her age, and her beauty was the flower of her virtue, as Chrysippus called it.
Whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead ] And so she might have been put to seek her bread in desolate places, being left to the wide world, as they say; but the Lord was her rereward, Isaiah 58:8 , he took her up, Psalms 27:10 , as the gathering army or rear guard did the lame, feeble, and sick Israelites, Joshua 6:9 . In the civil law provision is made for orphans, and such as were cast out; some hospitals to entertain them, some liberties to comfort and compensate their troubles. Among us also, besides harbours and hospitals for such, to the great commendation of the founders, very good provision is made by the laws, and many lives thereby preserved. God oft professes himself the pupils’ patron; gives great charge to all not to hurt them, and menaces the Jews for their hardheartedness toward them. Let, therefore, the dying parents of such (though they have as little to leave them as Esther’s had) cast them by faith into God’s everlasting arms, who hath charged his angels with them, and hath promised heaven to them; commanding his best creatures to cater for them, Hosea 2:21-22 .
Took for his own daughter ] He hid not his eyes from his own flesh, Isaiah 58:7 , as some unnatural ostrich or sea monster; he made not, as many do, tuition a broker for private gain; he made not instead of a daughter a slave, or spunge, of his pupil; he devoured her not under pretence of devotion; but freely took her for his child, and bred her in the best manner. Now the Jews at this very day account a child’s tutor or monitor worthy of more respect than his father; for he, say they, hath given him only his being, but the other his well-being (Leo. Mod.).
Est 2:8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
Est 2:8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
Est 2:9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, [which were] meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best [place] of the house of the women.
Ver. 9. And the maiden pleased him ] Hegai cast his favour upon her; not because she was the fairest, noblest, most industrious, most courtly, &c., but because God wrought his heart to it; as he did Potiphar’s and Pharaoh’s to Joseph, Jonathan’s to David, Darius’s to Daniel, &c. It is the Lord that gives favour, and fashioneth men’s opinions of us. He gave Solomon honour; and Paul prays to him that his service may be accepted of the saints, Romans 15:31 .
And she obtained kindness of him ] His favour was not empty favour, professional only, as that of courtiers.
And he speedily gave her, &c. ] As resolving shortly to recommend her to the king, who, he knew, would be much ruled by him in his choice. Here were shadows of many excellent virtues in a blind ethnic; who may in some sort teach true kindness, and doth condemn those that boast of false liberality. He dealt not basely, but bountifully, with Esther.
Her things for purification ] See Esther 2:3 ; Esther 2:12 .
With such things as belonged to her ] Heb. Her portions or allowances of food, raiment, &c., which this faithful officer interverted not for his own private gain, but rather enlarged himself in the true bestowing thereof.
And seven maidens ] When he might have put her off with one; he enlargeth himself, and even stretcheth his authority, that he might, by these maids of honour attending her, set her forth as a queen beforehand.
Which were meet to be given her ] Or, which were very comely, speciosae, vel spectatae.
And he preferred ] Heb. He changed her, sc. for the better, as God doth his people, when he taketh them to heaven, where they change place, but not company (as that good man, Dr Preston, saith upon his death bed), and are brought from the jaws of death to the joys of eternal life; from shadows to substances, from misery to majesty, &c., a greater change than that of Queen Elizabeth, from a prisoner to a princess; or that of our Henry IV, who was crowned the very same day that the year before he had been banished the realm. The Latins call prosperous things Res secundas, secondary things, because they are to be had hereafter; they are not the first things.
Unto the best place of the house of the women ] Or, Unto the best condition. God’s best children shall have the best of the best, fat things full of marrow, wines on the lees well refined, Isaiah 25:6 . Jacob and his family had the best of the land of Egypt, that granary of the world, as one calleth it. His posterity had a land that flowed with milk and honey. What countries comparable to those that profess the gospel? "Godliness is profitable to all things," having the promises of both lives, &c.
Est 2:10 Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew [it].
Ver. 10. Esther had not shewed her people ] Because the Jews were slighted as captives and forlorn (how dear to the gods that nation is, saith Cicero, it appeareth, quod est victa, quod elocata, quod servata, in that they are conquered, captivated, and not utterly destroyed by us), they were also generally hated, as different in religion, and would not so much as drink with heathens, lest they should drink things sacrificed to idols. They held it meritorious in later times to kill an idolater, as Tacitus testifieth; and at this day they say, Optimus inter gentes, &c., The very best among the Gentiles is worthy to have his head bruised as a serpent. A nasty people they are still, and blood thirsty, odious, and sordid. A historian telleth us of an emperor, travelling into Egypt, and there meeting with certain Jews, he was so annoyed with the stench of them, that he cried out, O Marcomanni, O Quadi, O Sarmatae, tandem alios vobis deteriores inveni (Ammian. lib. 2), This is the basest and most contemptible people that ever I lighted upon. The Romans would not own them, when they had conquered them, as they did other nations, though they complied never so much, and were their servants (Aug. in Psa 58:1-11 ). The Turks so hate them for crucifying Christ, that they use to say, in detestation of a thing, I would I might die a Jew, then; as when they would assure anything, in execrationibus dicunt Iudaeus sim, si fallo, they curse themselves, and say, Let me be held a Jew if I deceive thee (Sanctius in Zec 8:13 ). This lieth upon them as a punishment for their unexpiable guilt in putting to death the Lord of life. But in Esther’s time they were hated chiefly for their religion. In prudence, therefore, she concealeth her kindred, as being not called to give an account of her faith; and, living private, might well perform her devotions, and yet not thrust herself into observation.
For Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it ] Lest she should be cashiered the court for a Jewess, which was then held crime enough, as afterwards it was, in Nero’s days, to be a Christian; and this haud perinde in crimine, quam odio humani generis, as Tacitus hath it, not for any great fault so much, as by the hatred of mankind, incensed and set on work by the devil, doubtless, to root out the true religion, and to set up himself in the hearts of men as god of this present world. Hence those complaints of Tertullian and Justin Martyr, in their Apologies for Christians, that their name, and not their crimes, was hated and hissed out of all companies. Odio publico est confessio nominis, non examinatio criminis. Solius hominis crimea est, &c. (Tert. Apol. c. 1-3; Just. Revelation 2:0 ). Wisely, therefore, did Mordecai charge Esther to conceal herself for present; so long as it might be done without prejudice to the truth, and scandal to her profession. Worthily also did holy Esther, in obeying Mordecai, her faithful foster father, in ruling her tongue, that unruly member; and in that, although she had changed her keeper, yet she had not let go her integrity, but held with that good woman, in Jerome, who cried out, Non ideo fateri volo, ne peream: sed ideo mentiri nolo, ne peccem.
Est 2:11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
Ver. 11. And Mordecai walked every day ] What marvel that Esther was so obedient to Mordecai when he was so solicitous of her welfare? These mutual respects draw on one another. The centurion in the Gospel had dutiful servants (Do this, said he, and they did it), for he was a most kind master, and minded their good.
Before the court of the women’s house] The Turks wonder to see a man walk to and fro, and use to ask such a one what he meaneth? and whether he be out of his way, or out of his wits? But the Persians and Greeks were great walkers. Jesus also walked in Solomon’s porch, John 10:23 , &c.
To know how Esther did ] Heb. The peace of Esther, Omnis in Ascanio, &c. (Virg.). He had taken her for his child, and was curious of her welfare, though she were now grown up, and preferred at court. The court, he knew, was an ill air for godliness to breathe in. His care was, therefore, that she might have Gaius’s prosperity, even mentem sanam in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body. And although he trusted God with his niece, yet he knew that an honest care of her might well stand with faith in God’s providence. God must be trusted, but not tempted, by the neglect of lawful means, Matthew 4:7 .
Est 2:12 Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, [to wit], six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with [other] things for the purifying of the women;)
Ver. 12. Now when every maid’s turn was come] Their turns then they took, and held it their happiness to lose that which was their honour. See 1 Thessalonians 4:4 , See Trapp on " 1Th 4:4 " their bodies were first adulterated, and then vitiated. This was abominable.
After that she had been twelve months ] Time spent without spare, and woefully wasted in making provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof; which the prophet Amos rightly calleth a thing of nought, Amos 6:13 ; Amos 4:5-6 . Is time no better worth than to be thus rioted out in vanity? doth not eternity depend upon it, even the heaviest weights upon the weakest wires? It is therefore a good rule that one giveth,
Corrige praeteritum, rege praesens, cerne futurum.
According to the manner of the women ] Who of themselves are apt enough (without an order to do so, as here) to cast away too much time and cost in tricking and trimming their bodies (those painted sheaths), as the comedians have tartly taxed them. Negotii quantum in muliere una est! saith Plautus. What a deal of do is there with one woman in this kind! And Nosti mores mulierum, saith Terence, dum moliuntur, dum comuntur, annus est. And as for the Persian women, Aelian saith that they were above all others most addicted to this vanity (Lib. xii. cap. 1); and yet the haughty daughters of Zion are deeply censured, and heavily threatened, Isaiah 3:18 , where the prophet gives us an inventory of those ladies’ gallantry, and tells them that their fineness shall be turned into filthiness, their neatness become nastiness.
For so were the days of their purification accomplished ] What strange preparation was here for the impure bed of a heathen! Every virgin must be six months purified, and six months perfumed. O God, saith one, what care and cost is requisite to that soul which should be addressed a fit bride for thy holy and glorious Majesty!
To wit, six months with oil of myrrh ] To cleanse them, and to clear up their countenances.
And six months with sweet odours ] Of these there is a lawful use (why else were they created?), to please the sense, refresh the spirits, comfort the brain, &c. But the excess and abuse of them is utterly unlawful, and was justly punished in Darius, the last Persian monarch, and Muleasses, king of Tunis, who so far affected sweet odours, that he could not be without them whiles he was in the field against his enemy, thereby it came to pass, that being overcome in battle by his own son Amidas (another Absalom), and pursued among the rest that fled, he was found and known who he was by the perfumes that he had about him, though to prevent it he had besmeared himself with blood and dust. Martial, writing to his sweet friend, saith,
Posthmne, non bene olet, qui bene semper olet.
And another saith, That woman smells best who smells of nothing. Spiret autem foemina Christum, saith Clement of Alexandria, Let women learn and labour to smell of Christ, who is the royal unction, and let them ever be anointed with chastity, that chiefest ointment (Paedag. lib. 2, cap. 8).
And with other things for the purifying of women ] Here was no end of excess and of expense; and all to satisfy the lust of this impure prince. Silver is lavished out of the bag, and much wealth cast away upon these minions, who had nothing else to do but to exercise their wits in devising ornaments and artifices, whereby they might get the king’s favour, and attain to the queendom. Cicero telleth us that it was ordinary with the kings of Persia to bestow upon their women such a city to buy them bracelets, and such a city for head-tires, &c., Haec in collum, haec in crines (Orat. 5, in Verr.). This was luxus plane monstrosissimus et prodigalissimus, as one saith, most prodigious and prodigal luxury. So eagerly are the wicked bent upon the satisfying of their lusts, that they care not what cost they cast away upon them. Ask me never so much dowry, saith that Amouretto, Genesis 34:11-12 . Judah let go his signet, bracelets, and staff, to the harlot. Josephus reports of one Decius Mundus (Immundus rather), a nobleman, that to one Paulina, a lady in Rome, he offered as much as came to six thousand pounds to satisfy his lusts but one night, and yet he could not bring her to his lure by such a large offer; though afterwards (under the mask of Anubis, to which dog’s head she was devoted) he found means to abuse her; which was the destruction both of those bawdy priests and their temple.
Est 2:13 Then thus came [every] maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.
Ver. 13. Then thus came every maiden to the king ] Thus prepared, anointed, appointed, &c., rejoicing in that whereof they had reason rather to repent, as too many do now-a-days, while they go dancing to hell in their bolts.
Whatsoever she desired was given her ] Omne quod dicebat, was but ask and have; so lavish is lust, and so foolish are men to bestow cost upon so hard a reckoning.
Unto the king’s house] Ad regis cubiculum, saith the old interpreter, to the king’s bed chamber.
Est 2:14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
Ver. 14. In the evening she went ] As the fittest time for a work of darkness.
And on the morrow she returned ] So short is the pleasure of sin. Laura venire Venus, tristis abire solet.
Into the second house of the women ] That having made sale of her honesty, she might converse with such as had likewise left their honesties behind them; companions in evil, and miserable comforters, with whom they might make up their measure, and God’s power on his.
She came in unto the king no more ] But must burn in lust, without means of allayment; being scalded, as it were, in her own grease, frying within and freezing without. Sed βορβορουμεθα ταντα λεγοντες , as Cyril saith in a like case, We do but rake a dunghill in a discourse of this nature. Let us therefore stay here no longer (as Merlin hath it) in setting forth the filthiness of this heathen prince, who yet hath too many among us that imitate his uncleanness and intemperance.
Est 2:15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
Ver. 15. Now when the turn of Esther, &c. ] Then, and not till then. So when Joseph was sufficiently humbled, the king sent and loosed him; the ruler of the people let him go free, Psalms 105:20 . When David was become weaned from the world, as a child from the breasts, when his heart was not haughty, nor his eyes lofty, &c., then was he advanced to the kingdom, Psa 131:1 He that believeth maketh not haste. God’s time is best; and as he seldom cometh at our time, so he never faileth at his own.
The daughter of Abihail ] The seed of the righteous, and so an heiress of that precious promise: His seed shall be mighty upon earth, Psa 112:2 She was also a daughter of Israel, and therefore God’s firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth, Psalms 89:27 .
Who had taken her for his daughter ] This good work was so well pleasing to God, that it is once again recited, and honourably mentioned. What shall the Lord Christ then do at the last day for his people who are full of mercy and good fruits? If now he doth not only make mention of us, but mediation for us at the throne of glory; surely then he will much more make our faith, which worketh by love, to be "found unto praise and honour and glory," 1 Peter 1:7 .
She required nothing ] As other maids had done to set out their beauty, but contenting herself with her native comeliness, and that wisdom that made her face to shine; she humbly taketh what Hegai directed her to, and wholly resteth upon the Divine providence.
And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all ] By her comely countenance and gracious deportment. Plutarch speaks of a Spartan woman, that when her neighbours were showing their apparel and jewels, she brought out her children virtuous and well taught, saying, These are my ornaments and accoutrements. Esther did the like by her virtues, which drew all hearts unto her; like as fair flowers in the spring do the passengers eyes. She had decked herself with the white of simplicity, with the red of modesty, with the silk of piety, with the satin of sanctity, with the purple of chastity, as Tertullian expresseth it; taliter pigmentatae Deum habebitis amatorem, saith he, and being thus adorned and beautified, women shall have God himself to be their suitor, and all godly men their admirers (Tert. de Cult. Foem.). Whereas on the other side (Plant. Mastcll. Act. i., Scen. 3),
Nequaquam ornata est bene, quae morata est male.
Pulchrum ornatum turpes mores peius coeno collinunt.
Est 2:16 So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which [is] the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
Ver. 16. So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus ] And so that sweet promise was fulfilled and exemplified in her: "Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold," Psalms 68:13 . God raised up this poor orphan, this despicable exile out of the dust, and lifted this needy one out of the dunghill, that he may set her with princes, even with the princes of the people, Psalms 113:7-8 . Thus he raised Moses and Joseph, David and Daniel, &c.
Into his house royal ] A place of rest and honour. Thus
Flebile principium melior fortuna secuta est.
In the tenth month ] Not in the twelfth month, as Josephus hath it falsely; and yet the Papists tell us, that the common people may well want the historical part of the Bible, and for it read Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities (Barclai).
In the seventh year of his reign ] Four or five years before Haman’s advancement. This was a sweet providence, that God should set up one to be a deliverer to his Church so long before the danger grew on. So Joseph was sent down to Egypt before; Moses was skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians, and afterwards sent to Midian, that he might be fitted to be king in Jeshurun, &c. Oh how unsearchable are God’s judgments, and his ways past finding out Oh the depth, &c.! Latimer’s three last petitions were granted.
Est 2:17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Ver. 17. And the king loved Esther ] This was the Lord’s own work, who regarded the low estate of his handmaid, Luke 1:48 , and framed the king’s heart to affect her. Let all such maids as desire loving husbands, and all such wives as would have their husbands loyal and loving to them, get God’s favour, and adorn themselves with humility and modesty, as Esther did. Let Christian husbands also learn (for shame) of this barbarian, to love their wives above all women, with a conjugal, chaste, and fast affection: not lusting and hankering after strange flesh. It is remarkable, that after Solomon had said, "Rejoice in the wife of thy youth, … be thou ravished always with her love; ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?" Proverbs 5:19-20 .
She obtained grace and favour in his sight ] Surely as meat pleaseth better in a clean dish, so virtue in comely persons is more amiable, saith Hugo. Beauty of itself is a greater commendation, saith Aristotle, than all letters testimonial.
So that he set the royal crown upon her head ] For queens also had their crowns, and did shine with the beams of their husbands; saying, as once those Roman ladies, Ubi tu Caius, ibi ego Caia, Wheresoever thou art king I also am queen. Severus here saith, that the king clothed Esther with a purple robe, to show that he shared the kingdom with her, but the text holdeth forth no such matter; indeed, he made her queen instead of Vashti, he made also a great wedding feast, and gave a release to the provinces, and gifts to his grandees, as it followeth.
Est 2:18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, [even] Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
Ver. 18. Then the king made a great feast ] Feasts are never more in season than at the recovery of the lost rib. See Trapp on " Gen 29:22 "
Unto all his princes and his servants ] So did Mauritius, the emperor of Greece, when he married Constantina (Niceph. 1. 18, c. 8), and Henry III, emperor of Germany, when he married Agnes, daughter to the prince of Pictavia, at Ingelheim; whither when a great sort of players, fiddlers, jesters, and magicians resorted, he not only sent them away without reward, but also without meat and drink, which he liberally bestowed upon the poor. Funcc. ad annum 1044.
Even Esther’s feast] So he called it, to testify his great affection and respect toward his spouse. This is no warrant for that Popish custom, of dedicating feasts to the honour of saints; or for that heathenish practice, in some places amongst us, of keeping wakes.
And he made a release to the provinces ] That is, he caused it to be kept holiday, as Josephus hath it. Or rather he granted to his subjects a relaxation, or freedom from their taxes, tributes, and public payments, for a time at least, that thereby the new queen might get favour and authority among them, and all men might wish them much joy and happiness, that the loins of the people might bless their prince and his marriage for this breathing and intermission; when as formerly his exactors received from his subjects no less sums of curses than of coin, to maintain his luxury.
And gave gifts ] Such as Xenophon reckoneth up, bracelets, chains of gold, garments, horses with rich trappings, dishes from his own table, &c. (Cyropaed. 1. 8). This was kingly, this was god-like, James 1:5 . His son, Artaxerxes Longimarius, was wont to say, that he had therefore one hand longer than another ( μακροχειρ ), that he might be readier to give than to receive. Of Cyrus it is said, that he took more content in giving than receiving, Dιδους μαλλον η κτωμενος ηδετο (Xenoph.). Of Stephen, king of Hungary, and of Oswald, king of England, that their right hands did not rot off for a long while after they were dead, because oft stretched out in giving gifts, and dealing alms. Christ received that he might give, Psalms 68:18 Ephesians 4:8 . And held it more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35 . Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings, &c.; by your bounty and liberality the people shall be obliged, the state fenced, virtue encouraged, misery relieved: that you have secured. For,
Extra fortunam est quicquid donatur amicis:
Quas dederis solas, semper habebis opes (Martial).
According to the state of the king ] Not pinchingly and sparingly, but bountifully, and as became a king; as Alexander the Great, when he sent his tutor a ship full of frankincense; and when a poor man asked him for an alms, he gave him a city, which when the poor man started at and made strange of, Alexander said unto him, Non quaero quid te accipere decent, sed quid me dare, The question is not what thou shouldest receive, but what it beseemeth me to give (Sen. de Benef. 1. 2, c. 16). And thus is the marriage of Esther solemnized with state and pomp suitable; thus is God’s promise made by Jeremiah fulfilled, that if Jechoniah would not stand out against Nebuchadnezzar, but yield up the city, and go into captivity, it should be well with him and the people in the land of their captivity. It was so with him, Jeremiah 52:31 ; it was so likewise with Esther, Daniel, and many others by their means. And why? God will not suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor alter the word that is gone out of his mouth, Psalms 89:33 .
Est 2:19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.
Ver. 19. And when the virgins were gathered together, &c. ] For a new supply of the king’s insatiable lust, say some, this affection soon growing cold to Esther. So unreasonable is lust, so inconstant carnal affection, so lawless are the wicked, so short is any happiness of perfection in this life. The Septuagint leave out this word [the second time], but the Hebrew version hath it. Others say, the second time, signifieth into the second house of the women. For they went not each to their own homes, because the king was now fully satisfied in his choice, as Tremellius and Junius conceive, but they remained in the custody of Shaazgar, keeper of the king’s concubines, not suffered to converse with any man ever after, as Aben Ezra observeth. Therefore they were twice gathered together. Once, when they were brought to Hegai the eunuch, and again, when, from the king’s house, they met all together in the second house of the women, under the government of Shaazgar.
Then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate] As porter or other officer, saith Severus; and he attended still upon his office, not fawning on Esther, nor prowling for preferment. His ambition was to be quiet, and to do his own business, intra pelliculam suam se continere, Negotiorum familiarium curator: 1 Thessalonians 4:11 , φιλοτιμεισθαι ησυχαζεν , high seats he knew were never but uneasy, and long robes cannot but contract much soil. In the place he now holdeth he can hear how it goeth with his Esther, and do the king good service, as Esther 2:21 .
Est 2:20 Esther had not [yet] shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
Ver. 20. Esther had not yet shewed her kindred ] Taciturnity is sometimes a virtue, and Tacitus the best historian. Queen Elizabeth’s motto was, Video, taceo, I see, and say nothing. Sophocles saith, nothing better becometh a woman than silence. Euripides also saith, that silence, and modesty, and keeping at home, are the greatest commendation to a woman that can be. Curtius telleth us, that the Persians never trust one whom they find to be talkative, Cui tacere grave sit (Curt. 1. 4). Why Esther concealed her kindred, see the note, See Trapp on " Est 2:11 " , and know that this is no warrant for Popish equivocation; a device of the Jesuits, for the comfort of afflicted Catholics (as Blackwell and Garnet profess), and for the instruction of all the godly.
For Esther did the commandment of Mordecai ] Her honours had not altered her manners. She was semper eadem, always the same, as obsequious and observant of Mordecai still as ever. So was Joseph, David, Solomon, Epaminondas, and others, of their old and poorer parents. Pope Benedict, a Lombard, A.D. 1303, a shepherd’s son, would not acknowledge his poor mother when she came to him lady like, but caused her to put on her shepherdess apparel, and then did her all the honour that might be. Sir Thomas Moore would in Westminster Hall beg his father’s blessing on his knees. Mordecai was Esther’s foster father, and had given her, though not her being, yet her well being; and hence she so respects him, and is so ruled by him. She had gotten from him that nurture and admonition in the Lord that was better to her than the crown of the kingdom; for what is unsanctified greatness but eminent dishonour? and what is dignitas in indigno but ornamentum in luto? (Salvian). If any parents find disobedient children, let them consider whether, Eli-like, they have not honoured (I mean cockered) their sons too much, 1 Samuel 2:29 , which is the reason they honour them now so little. Will they keep meat well savoured, yet never salt it? will they have sprigs sprout right, yet never lop them? Our Henry II so cockered his eldest son, Henry, that he crowned him while himself was yet alive, which made his ambition quite turn off his obedience, to his father’s great heart break.
Est 2:21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
Ver. 21. In those days ] While the king was drowning himself in pleasure, and dreadeth no danger; while he was ravishing and deflouring virgins, and bragging, perhaps, as Proculus, the emperor, did, that when he made war upon the Sarmatians, in fifteen days he got with child a hundred virgins of that country, there taken prisoners; while this voluptuous prince was in the glut of his carnal delights, in the flagrancy of his sinful lusts, his life is sought for, and hell gapes for him: so slippery places are great ones set in; so doth the Lord sauce their greatest prosperity with sudden and unexpected dangers. Thus Attilas, king of Huns, was hanged up in gibbets, as it were, by God’s own hand, in the midst of his nuptials. Thus King Henry of France, upon the marriage of his sister to the king of Spain, was so overjoyed, that he called himself by a new title, Tres heureux Roy, The thrice happy king. But, to confute him, in solemnizing that marriage, he was slain, at tilt, by Montgomery, captain of his guard, though against his will, &c.
Ad generum Cereris sine caede et sanguine pauci
Descendunt reges, et sicca morte tyranni. (Juvenal.)
While Mordecai sat in the king’s gate] See Esther 2:19 .
Two of the king’s chamberlains] In trust I have found treason, said Queen Elizabeth. So, before her, did David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Joash, Amaziah, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and who not almost? Hence some great princes have wished never to have meddled with government; as Augustus, Adrian ( felix si non imperitasset ), Pertinax, who used to say that he never in all his life committed the like fault as when he accepted the empire; and many times he motioned to leave the same, and to return unto his house. Dioclesian and Maximian did so; for they found that quot servi, tot hostes; quot custodes, tot carnifices; they could not be safe from their own servants; but, Damocles-like, they sat eating with a drawn sword hanging by a twined thread over their necks. Hence Dionysius durst not trust his own daughter to barber him. And Massinissa, king of Numidia, committed his safe keeping to a guard of dogs; for men he durst not trust.
Of those which kept the door ] sc. Of the king’s bedchamber. Some render it, which kept the household stuff. Men they were much intrusted, and, therefore, the more to be abhorred. Metuendum est esse sine custode, sed multo magis a custode metuendum est, said Augustus concerning his guard, whom he suspected of treachery (Dio Cass.). All or most of his successors, till Constantine, died unnatural deaths. Let great ones, therefore, commit themselves to God in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Were wroth ] What the occasion of their discontent was is uncertain. The Greek and Chaldee say it was because Mordecai was so promoted. Others, because Vashti was deposed, and Esther advanced to her royal state. Others say that they desired the kingdom, as the Magi had done not long before. Some, again, that they were not well paid their arrears. Sure it is that ambition, envy, covetousness, all or some of these, stirred them up to this treasonable attempt. Whatsoever the sire was, the bastard is anger; and rage, likely, is the mother of treason, because it banisheth reason, and so gives way to all unruliness, so it ends in malice, and malice will have blood.
And sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus ] Kings are fair marks for traitors to shoot at. In which regard
- Miser atque infelix est etiam Rex
Nec quenquam (mihi crede) facit diadema beatum.
Most of the Caesars got nothing by their adoption or designation to the empire, nisi ut citius interficerentur, but to be slain so much the sooner. Treasons there were so many plotted and practised against that incomparable Queen Elizabeth, that she said in Parliament, she rather marvelled that she was than mused that she should not be, were it not that God’s holy hand had protected her beyond expectation. Henry IV, of France, was first stabbed in the mouth, and after that in the heart, by those false Jesuits, whom he had admitted into his very bosom, and used with marvellous respect. But it would not serve his turn to save his life. His countryman, Cominaeus, telleth us that if he should write of all the princes which he knew in his time that, in the judgment of men, seemed to live in great felicity, and yet, to those that knew them familiarly, lived in a miserable estate, that matter alone would require a reasonable volume.
Est 2:22 And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told [it] unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king [thereof] in Mordecai’s name.
Ver. 22. And the thing was known to Mordecai ] How he came to know it is uncertain. Josephus saith that it was revealed to him by one Barnabazus, a Jew, who was servant to one of the conspirators. R. Solomon saith that the eunuchs talked of the plot before Mordecai in the language of Tarsus, supposing that he had not understood them; and so it came forth. Others conceive that they solicited him, being one of the keepers of the king’s door, also to join with them. Howsoever it was that he got inkling and intelligence of their bloody purpose, God was in it, and good men are of his privy council; "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," Psalms 25:14 . Their apprehensions of things are deep, and their observations right, their knowledge rare to bolt out mischiefs, their experience leads them oft to guess shrewdly at men’s purposes by their looks and gestures. "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence" (or subtilty), "and find out knowledge of witty inventions," Proverbs 8:12 .
Who told it unto Esther the queen ] Haply, as holding himself a mean man, unworthy and unfit to speak to the king. Or, as fearing lest he should not be believed, or should be outfaced by the traitor, or, as conceiving that it would be better taken from Esther, whom the king so dearly loved; and might prove a good means to win her further into his favour. Yea, Mordecai himself, saith an interpreter, might safely have also a further reach herein, namely, to try the sincere affection of Esther towards him, whether she would make this an occasion to his good and preferment, or rather take the glory thereof unto herself.
And Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name] She doth not conceal the treason, or further it, as some ambitious Semiramis would have done, or adulterous Livia. For although she was wont to boast that she ruled her husband Augustus by obeying him, yet Pliny and Tacitus tell us that she was overly familiar with Eudemus, her physician. And whereas Augustus’s last words to her were, O Livia, remember our marriage; and, Adieu. She did so, and, it is thought, had a hand in setting him going. And the like is reported of Clytemnestra, Olympias, Queen Isabel, wife to our Edward II. But holy Esther was none such; she, as a loyal and faithful wife, revealed to the king the danger he was in, and so saved his life. So did Michal, David’s wife, though she had no great goodness in her. The like is reported of Cleopatra, daughter to Antiochus the Great, who gave her in marriage to Ptolemaeus Epiphanes, thinking by her to destroy him, but he was deceived, according to Daniel 11:17 . Valerius Maximus and Fulgosius speak much in the commendation of Thuria, Sulpitia, Chilonia, Antonia, Egnatia, &c., for loving and faithful wives. Valerius Maximus Christianus also, for like cause, celebrateth Irene, wife to Philip, the emperor; and Mary, wife to Sigismund, king of Bohemia and Hungary, &c.
Verum haec (Esther) tantum alias inter caput extulit omnes,
Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi.
Est 2:23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
Ver. 23. And when inquisition was made of the matter ] The king neither slighted this accusation, nor too hastily believed it. Not this, lest he should discover a needless fear, or precipitate a wrong sentence. Not that, lest he should betray his own life, and put all into a confusion, as Gedaliah did, Jeremiah 40:13-16 ; Jeremiah 41:1-3 , and as he in the history did, who, being forewarned by a letter of a dangerous plot laid for his life, laid aside the letter with these words, εις αυριον τα σπουδαια , Tomorrow we will mind these serious businesses, but ere the morrow he was despatched. The matter was here inquired into, saith the text, lest haply it might be misreported, and so the innocent be punished. Or, if not innocent, yet doth our law condemn any before his cause be heard? Surely Pilate and Festus were far better judges than Caiaphas and Lysias, for they would execute a man in the morning, and then sit upon him in the afternoon. Aeneas Sylvius, in his twentieth chapter of Europe, tells of some places, wherein, if anyone be suspected of theft, he is forthwith taken and trussed up. Three days after they judge the suspicion; and if they find the man guilty, they let his carcase hang till it rot; as if otherwise, they take it down, and bury it honourably at the public charge. This is preposterous justice, judgment turned into gall, and righteousness into hemlock.
It was found out ] As treason usually is, and strangely: witness those in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, and the gunpowder plotters. Creighton, the Jesuit, a Scot, falling into Scotland, and being taken by certain Netherland pirates, had torn certain papers in pieces; but the torn pieces, being thrown out of the ship, were blown back again by the wind, and cast by a providence into the ship, not without a miracle, as Creighton said himself; which, being set together, by Wade, with much labour and singular cunning, discovered new designs of the pope and his agents here against England, A.D. 1585 (Cared. Eliz.). Detexit facinus fatuus et non implevit, saith Tacitus of one about his time. Either the traitor’s own tongue shall betray him (as it befell those two sent by Mahomet to kill Scanderbeg), or the fowls of heaven shall reveal the mischief, and that which hath wing shall tell the matter, Ecclesiastes 10:20 (it was a piece of a wing, a quill, that discovered that hellish gunpowder plot), or some other way it shall be found out, as here, and the conspirators brought to condign punishment.
Therefore they were both hanged on a tree ] Traitors, like bells, will be never well tuned till well hanged, till they have worn a Tyburn tippet, as father Latimer phrased it. Campian, that spider, was swept down by the hand of justice, and drew his last thread in the triangle of Tyburn. His words in his epistle to the honourable counsellors of Queen Elizabeth were these, Quamdiu vel unus quispiam e nobis supererit qui Tyburno vestro fruatur, &c., As long as there is any one of us left to enjoy your Tyburn, &c. Much joy may they have of it, since it is their ambition, and may their quarters be set as high as that false Edric’s head once was by King Canute, viz. upon the highest part of the tower of London, therein performing his promise to a traitor, of advancing him above any lord of the land.
And it was written in the book of the chronicles ] Heb. In the book of the words of days, in the diary of the kings, or in the book of remembrance. As the Jews, so the Persians, had their chronicles or public commentaries, wherein all memorable acts were recorded, and scribes or historiographers for that purpose appointed and maintained. Plutarch writeth, that at that great naval battle between Themistocles and the Persians, Xerxes sat in a throne of gold, and saw the conflict, having many scribes about him, whose office was to set down all that was done that day. This was a commendable custom, and might be a motive to their kings and great ones to take heed of doing aught that they would not have registered and read by succeeding ages. Suetonius telleth us that Augustus upon this account forbade his daughter and nieces to say or do anything that they would not have to be chronicled (Suet. in August.).
Before the king ] Perhaps in his presence, and for his special use. though Mordecai’s good service was soon forgotten, God forgat not to recompense Ahasuerus’s love to Esther and courtesy to her people, by detecting and defeating those conspirators that sought his life. But he soon forgets Mordecai, God’s instrument for his deliverance, though the matter were written in a book before him; hence he goes noted with a black coal for his ingratitude. Tamerlane had a catalogue of the names of such as had best deserved of him, which he daily perused, oftentimes saying that day to be lost wherein he had not given them something. There was a providence in it that nothing was yet done for Mordecai. God’s time is the best, and we shall one day say so; neither is there anything lost by waiting his leisure, he bottles up our tears, he books up our sighs, he writes down all we say or do in his roll of remembrance, Malachi 3:6 ; Malachi 3:16 . See Trapp on " Mal 3:6 " See Trapp on " Mal 3:16 "