Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!
Est 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that [is], the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
Ver. 1. Now in the twelfth month, &c. ] That lucky time, as Haman had deemed it, but was deluded by the devil (the author of all such arts and lots of divination, to foretell future arbitrary events) qui etsi semel videatur verax, millies est mendax, et semper fallax; who, if he sometimes hit upon the truth, yet usually cozeneth those that trust to him (Bucholcer). Thus he served Balaam the sorcerer, slain by the sword of Israel; Croesus, taken prisoner by Cyrus; Ahab, slain at Ramoth-Gilead; Julian the apostate, going against the Persians; Walter, earl of Athol, who murdered his master, James I., king of Scots, in hope to attain the crown. Crowned indeed he was, but not, as his witches and sorcerers had ambiguously insinuated, with the crown of that realm, but with a crown of red hot iron clapped upon his bead, being one of the tortures wherewith he ended at once his wicked days and desires (Hector. Boeth.). The pope, to honour and encourage the leaguers in France, sent them consecrated pictures and medals, promising them thereby good success against the Huguenots, but God confuted and defeated them all; as he did likewise Tyrone in Ireland, to whom, among other trinkets, the pope had sent a plume of Phoenix feathers (Carlt. Rem.), a mere collusion.
When the king’s commandment and decree drew near, &c.] Both that for the Jews, and the other against them. This latter was not reversed, though the former was published. The king, it seemeth, greatly cared not for the lives of his subjects, since he would not so much as privately hint to them to be quiet, and to let the Jews alone. Such an intimation as this might have saved the lives of seventy-five thousand of them. But God had a holy hand in it, for the just punishment of those blood-thirsty Persians, confident in the good success of their sorceries; having made hell their refuge, but it failed them.
In the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped, &c. ] But their hope ran aground, as they say; their lucky day deceived them. Wicked men’s hope, when they most need it, will be as the giving up of the ghost, and that is but cold comfort, Job 11:20 , and as the spider’s web, Job 18:18-19 , who gets to the top of the window, as high as she can, and then when she falls she fails to the bottom, for nothing stays her. From such high hopes fell our English Papists, first, when Queen Mary died. You hope and hope (said Dale the promoter to Julian Lining, whom he had apprehended), but your hope shall end in a rope; for though the queen fail, she that you hope for shall never come at it; for there is my Lord Cardinal’s grace and many more between her and it. Secondly, at Queen Elizabeth’s death, that long looked for day, as they called it, triumphing before the victory, and selling the hide before they had taken the beast. This they had done before in 1588, when, in assurance of victory, they had styled their forces the Invincible Armada; and also afterwards, at the gunpowder plot, when they had presumptuously disposed of the chief offices, holds, and revenues of the land; like as before the Pharsalian field was fought, the Pompeians were in such miserable security, that some of them contended for the priesthood, which was Caesar’s office; others disposed of the consulships and offices in Rome so at the battle of Agincourt in France, where our Henry V won the day, the French were so confident of a victory, that they sent to King Henry to know what ransom he would give. A presumptuous confidence goes commonly bleeding home, when a humble fear returns in triumph.
Though it was turned to the contrary ] By a sweet and gracious providence of God, whose glory it is to help at a pinch, to alter the scene suddenly, to begin where we have given over, and to cause a strange turn of things, according to that of the psalmist: God shall send from heaven and save me (when it might seem to some that salvation itself could not save me), he shall send forth his mercy and his truth, Psalms 57:4 , and then what should hinder the Church’s happiness.
That the Jews had rule over them that hated them ] They domineered over their enemies as so many Sultans, ישׁלטו So true is that of the preacher, "Man knoweth not his time; but as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them," Ecclesiastes 9:12 . Security is the certain usher of destruction, and God delighteth, by turning the scale, to retaliate, as he did upon the Egyptians at the Red Sea, the Philistines at Mizpeh, these Hamanists, and our gunpowder Papists. See Psalms 7:16 .
Est 9:2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.
Ver. 2. The Jews gathered themselves together ] They were laeti in Domino, sed non securi, cheerful in God, but not free from care, as Bernard hath it. They had prayed, but yet provided for the thirteenth of Adar, which by many was meant still to be a bloody day, notwithstanding the known favour of the king, and the patronage of Mordecai. The Hamanists would join together to perform that sentence, whereof the author repented and had rued it. (That old enmity, Genesis 3:15 , will never out of the serpent’s seed.) The Jews therefore well and wisely get together, and unite their forces, that they may make a powerful resistance. They are noted by Tacitus to be a nation at great unity among themselves, and to hate all others. One of the main scandals they do to this day take from Christians is their dissension, that mother of dissolution, as Nazianzen calleth it. The Turks pray to God to keep us still at variance, and say that their fingers shall sooner be all of one length than we be of one mind (Camer. Med. Histor. Cent. 2, c. 23). What a shame is this! If nothing else will, yet our common misery, and the hatred of our enemies, should unite us, as it did these exiles; and it was foretold by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 50:4 , that Judah and Israel, that could not agree at other times, yet when they should be both in a weeping condition they should better agree. So did Basil and Eusebius against the Arians; Ridley and Hooper against the Papists, &c. And it is high time for us now to set aside our private emulations and exceptions; as the creatures in the ark laid by their antipathies within, because of the common danger of an inundation without.
To lay hand on such as sought their hurt ] To repel force with force, to kill and spoil those that sought to do so to them. This nature promoted them to (as was forenoted), and they had also the king’s warrant for it, and they kept themselves within compass thereof, by not meddling with any but only those that molested them. See Esther 8:11 .
And no man could withstand them ] Tantum potest bona causa bonis usa consiliis et mediis, saith an interpreter here. A good cause, a good conscience, and a good courage, what cannot these three do where they meet? How should any stand before those who are Deo armati, strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might? Ephesians 6:10 . Pilate’s wife could warn him of meddling with such; and Haman’s wife could tell him, that a Jew might fall before a Persian and get up again and prevail. But if a Persian, or whosoever of the Gentiles, begin to fall before a Jew, he can neither stand nor rise, Esther 6:13 . There is an invisible hand of omnipotency that striketh in for his own, and confounds their opposites.
For the fear of them fell upon all the people ] This was the work, not of some Pan Deus Arcadiae (as the heathens fancied); but of God, the sole giver of victory, who, when he pleaseth, affrighteth the Church s enemies, as he promiseth to do in many places. See Exodus 23:27 Deuteronomy 11:2 ; Deu 11:5 Jeremiah 46:27-28 , &c. And as accordingly he did it on the Egyptians, Midianites, Philistines, Syrians, &c. And the like he did for Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, against the great caliph; for the Hussites, against all the force of Germany; for the Angrognians, against the pope’s army that came against them. The soldiers told their captains they were so astonished they could not strike, and that the ministers, with their prayers, conjured and bewitched them (Acts and Men. 883). So at the siege of Mountabone, whensoever the people of God began to sing a psalm (as they usually did before their sallying forth) the enemies coming, acquainted with their practice, would so quake and tremble, crying, They come, they come, as though the wrath of God had been breaking out upon them (Spec. Bel. Sacr. 282). What was this handful of captives to the whole Persian empire, that they should now become no less formidable to them than not long after those few Grecians were to Xerxes? who, having covered the seas with his ships, and with a world of men passed over into Greece, was afterwards himself alone, in a small fishing boat, glad to get back into Asia, to save his own life (Herodotus).
Est 9:3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.
Ver. 3. And all the rulers of the provinces … helped the Jews] Heb. Gave them a lift, sc. over the brook, the brake, or whatsoever lay in their way of deliverance. This they did out of their respect to the king, rather than for any great goodwill to the Jews, who were generally hated for their religion, and wished out of the world. Sit divus mode non sit virus, Let god be, only not let poison be, said the Roman emperor of his brother, whom he maliciously murdered.
, Because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them ] But much more, because God himself over awed them, and dispirited them See Trapp on " Est 9:2 " How else should he appear to be the God of the spirits of all flesh, and that in the thing wherein people deal proudly he was above them? Exodus 18:11 . How should they come to know themselves to be but men, Psalms 9:20 , and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit, &c., Isaiah 31:3 ; if he did not otherwhiles make their hearts heartless, Hosea 7:11 , their hands feeble, Jeremiah 6:24 Isa 13:7 Ezekiel 21:7 , their eyes fail, Deuteronomy 28:28 , their knees knock together, as Belshazzar’s did, Daniel 5:6 . How else would they ever be brought to bring presents unto him that ought to be feared, Psalms 76:7-8 , and to say unto him, Lord, be not thou a terror to me? &c., Jeremiah 17:17 . If Mordecai be feared, it is because God hath put a majesty upon him, and made him dreadful, as Abraham likewise was to Abimelech, Genesis 21:22-23 , David to Saul, 1 Samuel 18:29 , the Baptist to Herod, our Saviour to the Pharisees, Mark 11:18 , Paul and Silas to their persecutors, Acts 16:27 , &c. And this the Lord still doth, that he may dwell upon earth, Psalms 68:18 , sc. in his faithful worshippers, which wicked men would not suffer, if not thus reined in and restrained. And, secondly, that praise may wait for him in Zion, and unto him may the vow be performed, Psalms 65:1 .
Est 9:4 For Mordecai [was] great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.
Ver. 4. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house] So great a favourite, as that it was dangerous to displease him; and most men coveted his favour. It was now in the court and kingdom of Persia, as it was once at Rome when Sejanus ruled the roast under Tiberius. Ut quisque Seiano intimus, ita ad Caesaris amicitiam validus. Contra quibus infensus esset, metu et sordibus conflictabantur (Tacit.). His friends were Caesar’s friends, and his enemies were in a very low and lamentable condition.
And his fame went throughout all the provinces ] Auditio eius, the report of him went far and near. Per ora hominum volitabat, so the Vulgate Latin. He was
Claros inter habens nomina clara vires.
Famous among famous man who have a reputation. It was everywhere discoursed that Mordecai was the king’s darling, kinsman, counsellor, that he had saved the king’s life, and was therefore promoted to the highest dignity; that it were good getting in with him, who both could and would reciprocate aud remunerate any that should well deserve him and his people. How thankful the Lord Cromwell was to those that had done him any courtesy. See Acts and Mon. fol. 1083. How ungrateful Bishop Banner was to the same Lord Cromwell, who had been his great patron, railing at him as the rankest heretic that had ever lived, &c.; see in fol. 1087; but this was after his death; Leoni mortuo vel mus insultat. A dead lion or a leaping mouse.
For this man Mordecai ] Vir ille insignis, that distinguished man, though he were but novus homo et peregrinus, a newly raised man, a stranger, and one that had brought in a strange alteration of things in the court and commonwealth; and therefore could not but be much envied and maligned, as far as men dared show themselves against him; yet
He waxed greater and greater ] Heb. he was going (that is, growing) and greatening. See the like Hebraism, Pro 4:18 Genesis 8:5 . For why? he did gloria invidiam vincere, conquor, envy, and dazzle her eyes with his lustre; which, saith Sallust, is the hardest thing that can be, Difficillimum inter mortales. For as the tallest trees are weakest at the tops; so doth envy always aim at the highest. But maugre malice itself, Mordecai was in the number of those few that lived and died with glory, gotten by his piety, zeal, and other virtues; neither had his adversaries anything to complain of him more than his greatness, as Camden saith of the old earl of Essex (Camd Eliz. fol. 532).
Est 9:5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.
Ver. 5. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies ] It was the Lord’s work, and therefore to do it negligently, to keep back their swords from blood, had been to incur that curse, Jeremiah 48:10 , as Saul did in sparing Agag, 1 Samuel 15:9 ; Ahab in showing mercy to Benhadad, whom God had destined to destruction, 1 Kings 20:42 . These Jews, as so many judges, were set up by God to do to death these desperate enemies; and since there was no hope of curing, to fall to cutting, Immedicabile vulnus ense recidendum est, Incurable wound inflicted by a sword, that others might hear and fear, and do no more so, but see and say with the psalmist, Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.
With the strokes of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction ] Here then we see what punishments they deserve that are enemies to the Church, and sooner or later they shall be sure of. For as hard weather rotteth not in the air, so neither do the judgments against persecutors. God himself hath against them, and will surely have his pennyworths of them; his hand that is lifted up in threatening, Isaiah 26:11 , will not fail to fall down in punishing; and the higher it is lifted the heavier it shall fall. Subito tollitur qui diu toleratur. Suddenly he was destroyed who for a long time was endured. "They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes," Psalms 63:10 . The spoiler shall be spoiled, Isaiah 33:1 ; and he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword, Revelation 13:10 2 Thessalonians 1:6 .
And did what they would unto those that hated them ] Where it is to be hoped, that they furbished the sword of justice with the oil of mercy, that they remembered that of the philosopher, Posse et nolle nobile est, to be able and unwilling is noble, that in some cases a man must not do all that he may do; as there be some, again, wherein severity ought to cast the scale. The Turks’ severity I can by no means like, that will rather cut off two innocent persons than let one guilty man go free. Nor that of the Venetians, who punish with death such as steal from the State but one penny, if it be proved against them. Again, care must be taken that justice be not executed (whether in a civil or military way) with a vindictive mind, but all selfish actions carefully strained out. Private revenge leaveth a stain upon a man some ways innocent, witness Jehu; and puts an innocence upon the greatest offender, witness Abner.
Est 9:6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.
Ver. 6. And in Shushan the palace ] One would wonder that any here should offer to stir against the Jews, so much favoured by the king, patronized by Mordecai, and well appointed to withstand them. But they were mad with malice against God’s people, and ambitious of their own destruction. Haman’s death still sticks in their stomachs, and they resolve to be revenged, whatever it stands them in. With like stoutness of stomach it was that Jezebel painted her face, and tired her head, when Jehu was come to Jezreel, and looking out at a window, said, Had Zimri peace, &c. Herein certainly she showed her great stoutness, as if she would daunt Jehu, and out brave him in the midst of his pomp and triumph, 2 Kings 9:30-31 . Divine vengeance suffereth not wicked people to rest, and to keep in their malice and mischief; but that they must break out and run headlong, like wild beasts into the hunter’s toil, or upon the spear’s point, whereby they perish.
Est 9:7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,
Ver. 7-9. And Parshandatha, and Dalphon … and Vajezatha] This Vajezatha was the youngest, but most malicious of them all against the Jews, as their doctors guess and gather from the little Zain and great Vau found in his name. Hebrew Text Note
Est 9:10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.
Ver. 10. The ten sons of Haman ] Of whom he had so boasted, Esther 5:12 , and bore himself bold, as believing that being so full of children, he should leave the rest of his substance to his babes, Psalms 17:14 . These ten likely were ringleaders to those Hamanists in Shushan, that durst appear in so bad a cause, being evil eggs of an evil bird. Non enim fieri ullo mode potest, ut ex me et Agrippina vir bonus nascatur, said Domitius, the father of Nero; It cannot be that of myself and Agrippina should come any good man. Kακου κορακος κακυν ωον (Dio. in Ner.). Haman brought up his sons to bring down his house; and was a parricide to them rather than a parent. His darling Vajezatha he corrected not, but cockered; no wonder, therefore, that he proved to be of a gastrill-kind (disquieting his own nest), of a viperous brood; and, therefore, though not hanged together with his father, and the whole family (as the Apocryphal additions of Esther, Esther 16:18, tell us, but not truly), yet slain in this insurrection at Shushan, together with the rest of his brethren; the good people crying out, as once they did at Rome, when the son of Maximinus, the emperor, was put to death, Ex pessimo genere ne catulum quidem habendum, Let not one whelp be left of so evil a litter.
But on the spoil laid they not their hand ] Lest the king should be damnified, or themselves justly taxed of covetousness and cruelty. "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God," 1 Corinthians 10:32 . Non semper omnia quae licent sunt facienda Not everything which is permitted should be done. (Lavat.). This is oft repeated in this chapter, to their great commendation; that although, by the king’s grant, they might have taken the spoil, Esther 8:11 , yet they did it not: 1. To show that they were God’s executioners, not thieves and robbers. 2. To gratify the king for his courtesy towards them, by leaving the spoil wholly to his treasury. 3. It is not unlikely, saith an interpreter (Fevard), that Mordecai and Esther had admonished them how ill Saul had sped with his spoils of the Amalekites, and Achan with his wedge of gold, which served but to cleave his body and soul asunder, and his Babylonish garment, which proved to be his burial sheet.
Est 9:11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.
Ver. 11. On that day the number of those that were slain ] This was done, haply, by some malignants, that would thereby have incensed the king against the Jews. Or else the king (as became a good shepherd of his people) taketh an account of his slain subjects, by diligent inquiry made thereinto. Similia sunt boni pastoris et boni regis opera Similar are the works of good shepherds and good kings. (Cyr. 5, apud Xenoph.). Whereupon he might have repented him (now in cold blood) of his grant to Esther and the Jews, those foreigners, against his natural subjects, who had done nothing but by his command, &c. But God so ordered it that, all this notwithstanding, the king was well content with that which was done, as supposing that Haman’s sons and complices would be seeking revenge, and plotting mischief, if left alive. He therefore goeth merrily in to the queen, acquainting her with the number of the slain, and giving her leave to ask of him whatever more she desired to be done. This was the Lord’s doing all along.
Est 9:12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what [is] thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what [is] thy request further? and it shall be done.
Ver. 12. And the king said unto Esther the queen ] He would needs be the messenger himself, as presuming the news would be most welcome to her, whom he desired to gratify, rather out of affection of love than desire of justice; else he would never have so little respected the slaughter of his subjects, armed by his own command.
What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces?] This he should have uttered with grief and regret; accounting the blood of his subjects dear and precious, and not making light of so many men’s lives, lost by his default. But many kings make as little reckoning of their subjects’ lives as Charles IX did of the Huguenots in the French Massacre; or as the Grand Signior doth of his Asapi, a kind of common soldiers, born for the most part of Christian parents, and used by him in his wars, for no other end but to blunt the swords of his enemies, or to abate the first fury, and thereby to give the easier victory to his janizaries and better soldiers. This the Turkish tyrants hold for good policy. How much better that Roman general, who said, that he had rather save one citizen than slay twenty enemies? and Edward the Confessor, who, when his captains promised, for his sake, they would not leave one Dane alive in his land, thought it better to lead a private and unbloody life than to be a king by such bloody butcheries?
Now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee, &c. ] An uxorious prince, not propitious only to his queen, but morigerous and obsequious. He was only her clay and wax; and had she been an Eve, a Jezebel, or an Eudoxia, what might she not have done with him or had of him? Our King Edward III was wholly possessed and ruled by his mistress, dame Alice Pierce, an impudent woman, who so wrought upon the king’s impotencies, that she caused the speaker of the parliament to be committed to perpetual imprisonment at Nottingham. At length she grew so insolent, that she intermeddled with courts of justice, and other offices, where she herself would sit to effect her desires. But though holy Esther was none such; yet it behoveth kings to be less prodigal of their promises, and not to leave the lives and estates of their liege subjects to the lusts of that weaker sex especially; as having less of discretion and more of immoderation.
Est 9:13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which [are] in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.
Ver. 13. Then said Esther, If it please the king, &c. ] See Esther 5:4 ; Esther 5:8 .
Let it be granted to the Jews, &c. ] The enemies at Shushan could not be all caught the first day; lest therefore those that lurked should hereafter prove troublesome to the Church by hatching new plots, she begs that they also may receive condign punishment, and Haman’s sons be hanged up for an example. This she requested not out of private and personal spleen to any, but for the glory of God and the Church’s peace. Had her aims been otherwise than good, her good actions could not have showed her a good woman. For, though a good aim doth not make a bad action good, as we see in Uzzah; yet a bad aim maketh a good action bad, as we see in Jehu. Lavater’s note may not here be let slip: the diligence that Esther used in rooting out her temporal enemies should quicken us to do the like to our spiritual, viz. those evil affections, motions, and passions, that war against the soul These be our Medes and Persians, with whom we must make no truce, but maintain a constant deadly feud, till we have mastered and mortified them all, Col 3:5 Romans 8:13 ; for till that be done effectually we must never look to have true peace, either within ourselves or with others.
And let Haman’s ten sons be hanged] Had Haman been now alive, himself by right should have been their hangman. There was a young man among the Switzers that went about to usurp the government, and alter their free state. Him they condemned to death, and appointed his father for executioner, as the cause of his evil education. But because Haman was hanged before, his sons (though dead) shall now hang with him. Neither was it cruelty or revenge in Esther, to crave this of the king, but zeal to God, and fervent love to his people, whose welfare she sought by all means possible to promote. As for herself, she could joyfully say of Haman, as David did of Doeg, "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints," Psalms 52:7-9 .
Est 9:14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.
Ver. 14. And the king commanded it so to be done ] He feared not that thereupon the people would rise and call him tyrant to his teeth; as when Bajazet II had cast Achmetes Bassa into prison, the janizaries in an uproar insolently answered the Great Turk, that they would by and by teach him, as a drunkard, a beast, and a rascal, to use his great place and calling with more sobriety and discretion (Turk. Hist. fol. 444). Ahasuerus well enough knew his own power, and was therefore the more bold in disposing, after this manner, of the lives of his subjects, who were ready to say to him, as once Tiberius did to Justinus, Si tu volueris, ego sum; si tu non vis, ego non sum; If you are willing, I am, if you are not willing, I am not. I am wholly yours to command.
And the decree was given at Shushan ] Dictum, concessum, illico factum. Spoken, agreed, immediately done. The king was not willing to cross Esther in anything, saith Josephus.
And they hanged Haman’s ten sons] For greater ignominy and terror to others. Thus God commanded the heads of the twelve princes of Israel to be hanged up against the sun, Numbers 25:4 . Joshua hanged the king of Ai upon a gallows until the evening, Joshua 8:29 , and after that the five kings of the Amorites, Jos 10:27 God hanged up Absalom with his own bare hand.
Absalon marte furens pensilis arbore obit.
Absalon died in a tree fighting punished for his rage.
Est 9:15 For the Jews that [were] in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.
Ver. 15. For the Jews that were in Shushan ] They did not stand to cast perils or frame excuses, but with singular courage and constancy went an end with the work, whereunto they saw themselves to be rightly called by God and man, keeping themselves still within the compass of the king’s edict, and so carrying the matter, that those that were slain were judged by their own fellow citizens to have deservedly perished.
And slew three hundred men at Shushan ] Besides the former five hundred. All these, with Haman, their chieftain, might have lived long in honour and safety could they have kept them quiet. But, by the just and secret judgment of God, they kindled a fire with great force, that consumed themselves, according to that in the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 33:10-12 , "Now will I rise, saith the Lord of recompenses; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire."
But on the prey they laid not, &c. ] See Esther 9:10 .
Est 9:16 But the other Jews that [were] in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,
Ver. 16. But the other Jews that were, &c. ] Though they were but a nation, scattered and peeled, a contemptible and feeble folk, lately destined to destruction; yet by faith they subdue kingdoms, escape the edge of the sword, out of weakness become strong, wax valiant in fight, turn to flight whole armies of the aliens, Hebrews 11:33-34 , prevail and prosper against all the malignant power of Persia: thus were they helped with a little help (as it is, Dan 11:34 ), that God might have a great deal of glory, as indeed he had.
Gathered themselves together ] United their forces, as Esther 9:2 , which while our ancestors (the old Britons) did not against the Romans who invaded them, they were easily and quickly conquered. Et dum pugnabant singuli vincebantur universi, And while they fought by themselves, they were all conquored. saith Tacitus, who was here, with his father-in-law, Agricola, an eye-witness of what he writeth.
And stood for their lives ] Not one whereof was lost in this hot encounter, in this sharp revenge they took off their avowed enemies. This was even a miracle of God’smercy: "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations," &c.
And had rest from their enemies ] Or, That they might have rest from their enemies; who would not otherwise be quieted, but by the letting out of their life-blood; but would make an assault upon the harmless Jews, though it were to die for it; so that upon the matter they were their own deathsmen, besides the wilful loss of their immortal souls, which our Saviour showeth, Matthew 16:26 , to be a loss, 1. Incomparable, 2. Irreparable.
And slew of their foes seventy and five thousand ] Neither was it any dishonour to them to be God Almighty’s slaughtermen. Even the good angels are executioners of God’s righteous judgments, as they were at Sodom, in Sennacherib’s army, and oft in the Revelation. There cannot be a better or more noble act than to do justice upon obstinate malefactors.
But they laid not their hands on the prey ] They would not once foul their fingers therewith. No godly man in Scripture is taxed for covetousness, that sordid sin. See Trapp on " Est 9:10 "
Est 9:17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
Ver. 17. On the thirteenth day of the month Adar ] On this day they stood for their lives, that they might rest from their enemies. And accordingly
On the fourteenth day of the same, rested they ] i.e. The very next day after their deliverance. They would not defer it a day longer, but kept a holy rest with psalms and sacrifices of praise (those calves of their lips), the very next day, while the deliverance was yet fresh, and of recent remembrance. This they knew well that God expected, Deuteronomy 23:21 , and that he construeth delays for denials, Haggai 1:2 ; Haggai 1:4 . He gave order that no part of the thank offering should be kept unspent till the third day; to teach us to present our praises when benefits are newly received, which else would soon wax stale and putrefy, as fish. "I will pay my vows now, now," saith David, Psalms 116:18 . Hezekiah wrote his song the third day after his recovery. Queen Elizabeth, when exalted from a prisoner to a princess, and from misery to majesty, before she would suffer herself to be mounted in her chariot, to pass from the Tower to Westminster, she very devoutly lifted up her hands and eyes to heaven, and gave God humble thanks for that remarkable change and turn of things.
And made it a day of feasting and gladness ] Exhilarating and cheering up their good hearts (that had long lain low) with a more liberal use of the creatures, that they might the better preach his praises, and speak good of his name; and that, since they could not offer up unto him other sacrifices prescribed in the law, because they were far from the Temple, they might not be wanting with their sacrifice of thanksgiving, which God preferreth before an ox that hath horns and hoofs, saith the psalmist. Words may seem to be but a poor and slight recompense; but Christ, saith Nazianzen, calleth himself the Word; and this was all the fee that he looks for for his cures, Go and tell what God hath done for thee. With these calves of our lips let us cover God’s altar; and we shall find, that although he will neither eat the flesh of bulls, nor drink the blood of goats, Psalms 50:13-14 , yet if we offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay our vows unto the Most High, it will be looked upon as our reasonable service, Romans 12:1 .
Est 9:18 But the Jews that [were] at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth [day] thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth [day] of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
Ver. 18. On the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth ] What they could not do on one day they did it on another. Men must be sedulous and strenuous in God’s work, doing it with all their might, and redeeming time for that purpose, Ecclesiastes 9:10 .
On both these days they destroyed their enemies ] They did their work thoroughly. Let us do so in slaying our spiritual enemies; not sparing any Agag, not reserving this Zoar or that Rimmon; but dealing by the whole body of sin as the king of Moab did with the king of Edom, Amos 2:1 , burn the bones of it to lime; destroy it not to the halves, as Saul, but hew it in pieces before the Lord, as Samuel. As Joshua destroyed all the Canaanites he could lay hold on; as Asa spared not his own mother; as Solomon drew Joab from the altar to the slaughter; and put to death Adonijah, the darling, so must we deal with our corruptions, ferreting and fetching them out of their lurking holes, as these Jews did their enemies on the fourteenth day, that had escaped the day before. Since we must either kill them up all, or be killed by them; for as that one bastard Abimelech slew all Gideon’s sons upon one stone, so one lust left unmortified will undo the soul. And as one sinner, so one sin, may destroy much good, Ecclesiastes 9:18 .
And on the fifteenth day of the month they rested ] So shall the saints do after death, which will be the accomplishment of mortification, for he that is dead is freed from sin, Romans 6:7 , and filled with joy, Isaiah 35:10 . The ransomed of the Lord shall then return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Est 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar [a day of] gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.
Ver. 19. Therefore the Jews of the villages, &c. ] Pagani. This is expounded in the next words.
That dwelt in the unwalled towns ] Such as is the Hague in Holland, that hath two thousand households in it; and chooseth rather to be counted the principal village of Europe than a lesser city.
Made the fourteenth day, &c. ] See Esther 9:17 , while the Jews in Shushan were destroying the remainder of their enemies. This day was afterwards called Mordecai’s holiday, H Mαρδοχαικη ημερα , 2Ma 15:36.
And of sending portions one to another ] See Nehemiah 8:10 . To the rich they sent in courtesy, to the poor in charity, and both these to testify their thankfulness to God for their lives, liberties, and estates, so lately and graciously restored unto them.
Est 9:20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that [were] in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, [both] nigh and far,
Ver. 20. And Mordecai wrote these things ] He wrote with authority, as a magistrate (say some), that the Jews should keep these days with greatest solemnity. He wrote the relation of these things mentioned before, say others, as the ground of this annual festivity. Or else it may be meant more generally that Mordecai was the penman of the Holy Ghost, in writing this whole Book of Esther, as was before hinted.
And sent letters unto all the Jews … both nigh and far] Propinquis et longinquis, near and far, that they might all agree together about the time and manner of praising God; and so sing the great Hallelujah. See 2 Corinthians 1:11 2Ch 20:26-28 Psalms 124:1-2 ; Psa 126:1 Psalms 136:1-26 , penned for a recorded public form, to praise God among the multitude, Psalms 109:30 , and in the great congregation, Psalms 22:22 ; Psalms 22:25 . David would go into the presses of people, and there praise the Lord, Psalms 116:18-19 . This was to walk worthy of the Lord, Colossians 1:10 . This was to make a proportionable return, for we are God’s soil, and our thanks his crop.
Est 9:21 To stablish [this] among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
Ver. 21. To establish this among them ] sc. By a law, that they should yearly on those two days rest, and repeat among themselves that signal deliverance, propagating the remembrance of it to all posterity. Mordecai well knew that eaten bread is soon forgotten, that deliverances are usually but nine days’ wonderment, that it is easy and ordinary with people to rob God and wrong themselves by their unthankfulness, which forfeiteth former mercies and forestalleth future, he therefore settleth it upon them, saith the text, statuendo eis ut facerent, he exacteth it of them by virtue of his office.
That they should keep the fourteenth day, and the fifteenth day ] Both days, nam gaudet produci haec solennitas, for he rejoices to promote these feasts, as Austin said of the feast of Pentecost, such a solemnity should be drawn out to the full length, as the silkworm stretcheth forth herself before she spinneth her finest thread. Jehoshaphat and his people showed themselves unsatisfiable in their praises, which they presented again and again, 2 Chronicles 20:26-27 . And good Hezekiah, when he observed in his subjects such a float of affections at the passover, and that they were in so good a frame, took counsel with them to keep other seven days, and they kept other seven days with gladness, 2 Chronicles 30:21-23 . See with what a flood of words holy David poureth forth his soul in prayer, Psalms 145:1-8 , as if therewith he would even fill up the distance between God and himself. Sometimes he seemeth to forget himself in point of praising God; for he will, like a bird, having got a note, record it over and over, as Psalms 136:1-26 . And in the last psalm there are but six verses yet twelve hallelujahs. He concludeth, Let everything that hath breath, or, Let every breath praise the Lord, let it be as the smoke of the tabernacle, when peace offerings were offered. Tam Dei meminisse opus est quam respirare, saith Chrysostom, We have as much need to remember God as to take breath.
Est 9:22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
Ver. 22. As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies ] And therefore they in thankfulness would consecrate the same as a holy rest unto the Lord, calling the fourteenth day, Festurn sortium minus, the lesser festivity of lots; and the fifteenth day, Festum sortium maius, the greater festivity of lots, as Drusins telleth us.
And the month ] They thought the better ever after of the month Adar, that magnificent month, wherein was that golden day of their deliverance. O dieculam illam, &c., dexter sane prae laetitia mihi salit oculus, said he. Oh that joyful day! Oh that the calendar of my life might be filled with such festivals!
Which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy ] As God remembered poor Joseph, and turned his fetters into a chain of gold, his rags into robes, his stocks into a chariot, his prison into a palace, his brown bread and water into fine bread and wine; and as he had turned again the captivity of his people as the streams in the south, Psalms 146:4 ; so here he had made a great alteration, bringing them from the jaws of death to the joys of a glorious deliverance; turning their sadness into gladness, their sighing into singing, their musing into music, their tears into triumph, luctum in laetitiam, saccum in sericum, ieiunium in epulum, manuum retortionem in applausum, &c. And this is no new thing in the Church.
Est 9:23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;
Ver. 28. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun ] Which yet they could not do unless God gave them a heart to do it. Holy David understood this, and therefore when he found that heat and height of good affections in his people, he prayed, "O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee," 1 Chronicles 29:18 . And when he had at another time undertook for himself, that if God would deliver him from blood guiltiness his tongue should sing aloud of God’s righteousness, he subjoins (by way of correction, as if he were sensible that he had promised more than was in his power to perform), "O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise," Psalms 51:14-15 . The Hebrew, or rather Chaldee, word here rendered undertook is of the singular number, to show that every particular Jew undertook for himself and for his posterity to all perpetuity. And indeed they keep this feast annually to this day, and exceedingly please themselves in the reading of this history, counting and calling all such princes and states as cross them Hamans, and wishing that they may be able one day to be avenged of them, as their fathers were of these Persians.
Est 9:24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that [is], the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;
Ver. 24. Because Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, &c. ] In detestation of whose wicked plot, the Jews at this day, when, at this feast of Purim, they read the Book of Esther in their synagogues, as oft as they hear mention of Haman they do with their fists and hammers beat upon the benches and boards, as if they did knock upon Haman’s head (Anton. Meraanta. lib. de Jud. Cerem.). Lavater saith the Papists in some countries do the like on Good Friday, when, in reading the Gospel, mention is made of Judas the traitor. But as for Fawkes, Digby, Piercy, Catesby, and the rest of that hellish crew of Popish Hamans, treacherous Judases, these they have crowned with fresh eulogies, and little less than sainted. Garnet (that boute-feu) has his picture set among the rest of Rome’s saints, in the Jesuits’ Church at Rome, with this inscription, Voluisse sat est. To have been willing is enough. Prodigious impudency (Cornel. a Lapide in Apoc. vii. 8).
And had cast Pur ] But found, to his cost, that "there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither any divination against Israel," but that, "according to this time it should be said of Jacob and Israel" (said by way of wonder at God’s doing on their behalf), "What hath God wrought!" Numbers 23:23 .
To consume them ] Heb. to crush them, ut contereret eos, as a thing crushed to pieces, as the lesser beasts are crushed by the lion, or as things are broken with a wooden hammer.
Est 9:25 But when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
Ver. 25. But when Esther came ] Heb. when she came. This was the subject of the Jews’ discourse upon those days, which they spent, not in idle chat, but in telling one another what great things the Lord had done for them; relating all the particulars. All honourable mention was then made of Esther and Mordecai; neither was Haman’s malice instanced without utmost detestation. So true is that of Solomon, Proverbs 10:7 , "The memory of the just is blessed (or, is with praises, μετ εγκωμιων , as the Septuagint there render it); but the name of the wicked shall rot," as now doth the name of the gunpowder plotters, of Bonner, Gardiner, and other Popish persecutors. Memoria eius sicut vinum Libani, The memory of him as is the wine of Lebanon, say the Jews of those they honour (Bud. Pand.).
Should return upon his own head ] According to Psalms 7:17 , and haply not without allusion to those Piaculares et Abominales among the Grecians, which were certain condemned persons, on whose heads they put the public guilt, and then tumbled them into the sea, Herod. 1. 2, or else to those expiatory sacrifices amongst the Egyptians, which were first cursed by them, and then cast into the river, or sold to the Grecian merchants, in an apish imitation of the Hebrews’ scape-goat, and the day of atonement.
Est 9:26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and [of that] which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
Ver. 26. Wherefore they called these days Purim ] Thereby to perpetuate the memory of that mercy, worthy to be engraven in pillars of marble. This was a notable name; for it served to remind the Jews of all that God had done for them at this bout. As there is edification in the choice of fit psalms, 1 Corinthians 14:26 , so in the imposing of fit names upon persons, things, and times. As the Christian Sabbath is to good purpose called the Lord’s day; and those festivities of Easter and Whitsuntide were not so fitly called Pasch and Pentecost as the feast of the Lord’s resurrection and of the sending of the Holy Ghost. It should certainly be the constant care of us all to set up marks and monuments of God’s great mercies, so to preserve the memory of them, which else will be moth eaten. Such as were Abraham’s Jehovahjireh, Jacob’s stone at Bethel, Moses’ Jehovahnissi, Aaron’s rod and pot of manna, Hebrews 9:4 , the twelve stones pitched up in Jordan, the names of Gilgal, Ramath-Lehi, Aben Ezer; those plates nailed on the altar, Numbers 16:39 . Hereby God shall be glorified, the Church’s enemies convinced, our faith strengthened, our joy in the Lorcl heightened, our posterity helped, and Satan prevented, who seeketh to obliterate God’s works of wonder; or at least to alienate them, and translate them upon himself, as he endeavoured to do that famous execution of Divine justice upon Sennacherib’s army, by setting Herodotus awork to tell the world in print (Herod. 1. 2) that it was Sethon, king of Egypt, and priest of Vulcan, who obtained of his god that Sennacherib’s army, coming against Egypt, should be totally routed by reason of an innumerable company of rats, sent by Vulcan, which gnawed in pieces their bowstrings, quivers, bucklers, &c., and so made way for the Egyptians to vanquish them. Herodotus addeth that also in his time there was to be seen the statue of Sennacherib, holding a rat in his hand, in Vulcan’s temple, and uttering these words, Let him that beholdeth me learn to fear God. Eμε τις εσορεων ευσεβης εστω . Lo, the god of this world hath his trophies erected, and shall the God of heaven and earth go without? Oh, let us (who have lived in an age of miracles, and seen the out goings of God for our good more than ever did any nation) offer unto him the ransom of our lives, as they did, Exodus 21:30 ; Exodus 30:12 , in token that they had and held all in mere courtesy from God. Let us leave some seal, some pawn of thankfulness for deliverance from so many deaths and dangers. Otherwise heathens will rise up and condemn us. They after a shipwreck would offer something; after a fit of sickness consecrate something to their gods; after a victory set up trophies of triumph, as the Philistines did to their Dagon, the Romans to their Jupiter Capitolinus.
Therefore for all the words of this letter ] In obedience to Mordecai, their godly magistrate.
And of that which they had seen concerning this matter ] And especially of God made visible all along in it, yea, palpable, so that they might feel him and find him, Acts 17:27 , though his name be not found in all this book.
And which had come unto them ] so. By report and hearsay, but from such hands as that they were fully satisfied thereof, as Haman’s lot casting, Esther’s supplicating, the king’s reading the chronicles, &c.
Est 9:27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their [appointed] time every year;
Ver. 27. The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed ] See Esther 9:23 . Here we have a repetition of what was before recited, and this is usual in Holy Scripture, as Gen 2:1 Exodus 15:19 , that things of moment may take the deeper impression. That of Austin is here to be remembered, Verba toties inculcata viva sunt, vera sunt, plana sunt, sana sunt. The words are driven home so many times afresh, are true, are plain, are sound. Let preachers do thus, and hearers be content to have it so. Nunquam satis dicitur, quod nunquam satis discitur. Never spoken enough because never learned enough. "To write to you the same things to me is not grievous, and for you it is safe," saith that great apostle, Philippians 3:1 .
And upon all such as should join themselves unto them ] Those proselytes, Esther 8:17 , or whatever hangs-on.
So as it should not fail ] But stand as a law inviolable. And yet that Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus, the 88th year of the marvelous, and that never-to-be-forgotten fifth of November, are with us almost antiquated; little would one think that God had ever done anything for us, either by land or by sea, against either fireworks or waterworks, Vae corpori nostro. Alas our body.
That they would keep these two days ] Keep them as before, by consecrating a rest, and feasting before the Lord; not by gormandizing and profane sports, nor by running up and down from house to house, as whiffiers and wassailers, as at this day the Jews’ manner is; witness Antonius Margarita, a baptized Jew (L. de Cerem. Jud.).
According to their writing ] i.e. Mordecai’s order, by themselves subscribed and ratified.
Est 9:28 And [that] these days [should be] remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and [that] these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
Ver. 28. And that these days should be remembered ] That the memory of them might be kept afoot in the Church to all perpetuity. Nothing is sooner forgotten than a good turn received. David found himself faulty this way, and, therefore, sets the thorn to the breast, Psalms 103:2 . Other holy men kept catalogues (see one of God’s own making, Jdg 10:11-12 ). They also had their μνημοσυνα , or memorials, as is before noted. The very heathens had their triumphal arches, pillars, trophies, tables, histories, annals, ephemerides, &c. A foul shame for us to fall short of them, and not to wish, as Job in another case, Oh that God’s works of wonder for us were now written. "Oh that they were printed in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" Job 19:23-24 . That famous fifth of November especially, which drowns in a manner the memory of all former deliverances; as the return out of Babylon did the departure out of Egypt, Jeremiah 23:7 . This happy day, too much slighted, alas, in many places already, should never be put out of the English calendar while the sun courseth about the earth; but be registered for the generation to come, that the people which shall be created may praise the Lord, Psalms 102:8 . (This was written Nov. 5, 1653.)
Every family, every province, and every city ] They should all recognize their late danger, and thereby the better relish their deliverance, as Samson did his honeycomb, which he found by turning aside to see the lion he had escaped. Every man was to consider his own share in the public safety, as the people did at Solomon’s coronation, and to be particularly thankful. This would fortify his faith, feed his hope, nourish his joy, further his obedience.
Est 9:29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.
Ver. 29. Then Esther the queen, &c. ] See Esther 2:15 . Mordecai had written thus before; now, for more authority’ sake, and to show her forwardness to further so good a work, Esther joineth with him, not for a name, or out of a humour of foolish forth-putting, but out of a holy zeal for God and a godly jealousy over her people, lest they should hereafter slight or slack this service. And, indeed, the Jews’ chronicle (called by them Sedar olam Rabbah) telleth us, that this letter of Esther was not written till a year after Mordecai’s first letter; when those days of Purim haply began to be neglected and intermitted, Anno sequenti contigit quod scriptum est, The next year it happened as it was written, Esther 9:29 . She might, therefore, well say, as St Peter did afterwards, "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance," 2 Epist. iii. 1. True grace in the best heart is like unto a dull sea coal fire; which, if it be not sometimes righted up, will of itself go out, though there be fnel enough about it. This good queen was no less active in her generation than before had been Miriam, Deborah, Bathsheba, &c., and after her were Serena, the empress, Sophia, queen of Bohemia, a Hussite, Queen Catherine Parr, the doctress, as her husband merrily called her sometimes, and that matchless Queen Elizabeth, whose sunny days are not to be passed over slightly, saith one, without one touch upon that string, which so many years sounded so sweetly in our ears, without one sigh breathed forth in her sacred memory. Oh what a happy time of life had that famous light of our Church, Mr William Perkins, who was born in the first year of her reign, and died in her last year.
And Mordecai the Jew ] These two joined together to add the more force to the ordinance.
Wrote with all authority Heb. With all strength, viz. of spirit and of speech, of affection and expression.
To confirm the second letter ] Lest, for fear of the friends of such as they had slain, the Jews should be slack in observing this feast of lots.
Est 9:30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, [with] words of peace and truth,
Ver. 30. And he sent letters to all the Jews ] Tremellius readeth it, Which letters Mordecai sent to all the Jews, sc. as monitors and remembrancers.
To the hundred twenty and seven provinces ] Among and above the rest, to Judea, which was one of that number.
With words of peace and truth ] i.e. Premising words of prosperity and settlement, saith Tremellius, or promising them peaceable enjoyment of the true religion, liberty of conscience, rightly so called; or praying, that they may "follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord," Hebrews 12:14 . Or, he sent letters full of courtesy and truth, that is, of unfeigned courtesy, as Vatablus senseth it. For there is a cut-throat courtesy, such as was that of Joab to Amasa, of Judas to our Saviour, of Julian, the apostate, to Basil, when he wrote unto him, but not with words of peace and truth, φιλος φιλω και αδελφος αδελοω .
Est 9:31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times [appointed], according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.
Ver. 31. To confirm these days of Purim ] That they might by no manner of means be neglected, but that, renewing their resolutions and their reasons for the same, they might remain constant and firm and peremptory in well doing, cleaving to God with full purpose of heart, and sitting close unto the Lord without distraction, 1 Corinthians 7:35 .
And as they had decreed for themselves ] Heb. For their souls; for the soul is the man, and the greatest thing in the least compass is a good mind in a man’s body.
The matters of the fastings and their cry ] Heb. The words of fasting, &c., that is, the vows they then uttered when they fasted and cried; that, if God would hear and help them, they would not fail to praise him in all best manner. Now, therefore, sith the vows of God were upon them, they should by keeping these days offer unto him thanksgiving, and pay their vows unto the Most High. Some think that the fasting and crying here mentioned referreth to those in Zechariah, Zechariah 7:5 , in remembrance of the desolation of Jerusalem; that, as they fasted then, so they should feast now (Aben Ezra); God having fulfilled his promise there made, of turning their fasting into feasting, and added, "Therefore love the truth and peace," Zechariah 8:19 : confer Mordecai’s words of peace and truth, supra, Esther 9:30 .
Est 9:32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
Ver. 32. And the decree of Esther confirmed, &c. ] Dux femina facti. Money was coined in the year 1588, in honour of Queen Elizabeth, with that posy inscribed. The like may be here said of Queen Esther, yea, we may add that in the Gospel, spoken concerning another: Wherever this history shall be read in all the world, this that she hath done shall be spoken of to her eternal commendation.
And it was written in the book ] Tremellius rendereth it thus, When, therefore, the edict of Esther had confirmed these things, it was written in this book. Lyra and others thus, She requested the wise men of that age, that they would reckon this history for Holy Writ. If it be meant of any other public record, which the Jews then had, it is lost; as are likewise some other pieces which never were any part of the Holy Scriptures; for God, by his providence, ever took care and course that no one hair of that sacred head should fall to the ground. That unsound conceit of Pellican here is by no means to be admitted, viz. That this latter part of the chapter, from Est 9:25 to the end, came from the pen of some other man, not guided by the Spirit of God, and that because here is no mention made of praising God at this feast or stirring up one another to trust in him. For we know that all Scripture is of Divine inspiration, and it is to be presumed that those things were done at such solemnities, though it be not recorded in each particular.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27