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We have in this chapter the sequel of the whole history. The day long appointed for the destruction of the Jews being arrived, and the Jews having obtained a new grant, to stand up for their lives, defend themselves and are victorious. Mordecai appoints an annual commemoration of this mercy.
(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;) (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. (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. (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. (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. (6) And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. (7) And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, (8) And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, (9) And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, (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.
If we look at this history simply as such, though it certainly forms a very interesting one, yet we shall not gather the great and leading design, which we may reasonably suppose the Holy Ghost graciously intended from it, in causing it to form a part in the sacred canon of scripture. I would therefore desire the Reader to look further into it, and amidst several points of view in a way of providence, which are highly worthy our regard, I think we may with safety conclude also, that it was evidently designed in a spiritual sense to show us the watchful care, that the Lord hath over his Church in all periods. Seen in this view, how decisive is it to contemplate the sure ruin of all the Church's enemies; and the sure prosperity of herself amidst all opposition. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with them; woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him. Isaiah 3:10 . We see here the whole house of Haman destroyed. But amidst all, the Jews touch nothing of the spoil. Sweet feature in the character of God's people. Touch not the unclean thing, lest ye be like to it.
(11) On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king. (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. (13) Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. (14) And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. (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. (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,
When we behold this great slaughter, and trace it back to the first cause; how wonderful are the ways of God. But add to this consideration, if we call to mind the Lord's declaration concerning the everlasting war, the Lord had said he would have with Amalek: no doubt this was one hour, if not the full decisive time, when the name of Amalek was to perish from under heaven. And is not the Church now looking forward to that glorious hour, when all the enemies of Jesus shall be destroyed.
(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. (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. (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.
I should be inclined to hope and trust, that this was a religious festival, blessing God for so great, so unexpected, and so wonderful a deliverance. Oh! how great, unexpected, and wonderful is the deliverance to a poor sinner, just ready to perish; when the soul is made to hear the voice; Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom. Job 33:24 .
(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, (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, (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. (23) And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; (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; (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. (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, (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; (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. (29) Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. (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, (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. (32) And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
The appointment of an annual festival, to treasure up in the minds of the people, and to hand down to posterity, the signal deliverance the Lord had wrought for his people, forms a beautiful close to this interesting history. And the manner in which it was to be observed, in praises and acknowledgments to the Lord and liberality to men, serves to show the graciousness of the design. When our prayers, and our alms come up for a memorial before God; these are suitable things to blend together. The Jews of the present hour keep in remembrance this festival. But alas! how can they observe any deliverance with suitable acknowledgments, when ignorant of the great Deliverer; and unconscious that all offerings, to make them acceptable, can only be presented in and by him.
MY soul! while proclamations are made and religiously observed, for the annual celebration of deliverances; do thou get away to the mountain of holiness, in the gospel Church of Jesus, and daily celebrate that great deliverance from the wrath to come, which the Son of God by his glorious undertaking and accomplishment, wrought out for poor sinners, who are brought to believe in his name. Here is an everlasting festival indeed, opened to thy unceasing contemplation and thy joy. And here it is that we find the kingdom of God not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Here then, my soul, seek grace from God, to celebrate in a constant jubilee, thy deliverance from the curse of God's law, the alarms of thine own conscience, the terrors of a guilty mind, with all the just apprehensions of the wrath to come. Blessed be God! the king's decree hath been published and sent through all the provinces: Jesus gives grace, mercy, and peace. And God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And God the Holy Ghost confirms the glorious truth, in giving poor sinners grace to believe the record which God hath given of his Son. Lord! cause my soul to receive the truth in the love of it: and oh! grant that I may by faith live in the daily enjoyment of it; and at length arrive to the everlasting celebration of it in the realms above, where Jesus will be eternally adored, and praises of redemption be unceasingly offered to God and the Lamb.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Esther 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany