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And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land.
A good government
A good government--
I. Has a wise system of taxation.
II. Makes its power felt.
III. Places good men in office.
IV. Promotes the welfare of the people.
V. Strives to preserve peace.
VI. Is acceptable to a virtuous and enlightened people. (W. Burrows, B. A.)
The greatness of Ahasuerus and of Mordecai
I. The greatness of the monarch is seen--
1. In the character of his government. “He laid a tribute on the land,” etc. Possibly this was a judicious system of taxation, designed to displace some obnoxious method of raising money for the public treasury.
2. In the acquiescence of his subjects.
II. The greatness of mordecai is seen--
1. In the contrast existing between his present and his former position.
2. In the fact that his severest trials became the avenue through which he ascended to fame.
3. In his reaching the pinnacle of greatness by simple fidelity to principle and unwearied diligence.
4. In his employing the influence he acquired, not for selfish ends, but to promote the welfare of his people.
1. He who fills well the position he occupies thereby effectually recommends himself to a higher.
2. Nothing is lost by maintaining integrity.
3. Worldly prosperity is often the result of religious faith.
4. It is unwise to be disheartened in the hour of adversity (J. S. Van Dyke, D. D.)
Mordecai’s exaltation: a summary of providential interpositions
To extirpate the Jewish nation would have been to destroy the Church of God, to make void His everlasting covenant, and to bring to nought His merciful and gracious counsels in behalf of a sinful and unhappy world.
1. It was not, therefore, for his own sake only that Mordecai was exalted.
2. Before Mordecai was exalted it was the will of God to try the faith of the Jews.
3. One great purpose of the trial was to recall them to a recollection of their true office and position in the world as witnesses of God and pilgrims to the heavenly city.
4. God prepared an advocate and protector for His people years before Haman had power to do them harm.
5. To prepare the way for this advocate and protector, the divorce and dethronement of Vashti was overruled by God for the advancement of Esther to the crown of Persia.
6. The foundation of Mordecai’s greatness was actually laid by his bitterest and most implacable enemy.
7. To pave the way for Mordecai’s future advancement, a claim had to be established on the gratitude and confidence of the king, long before the rise of Haman.
8. The time pointed out by the lot for the slaughter of the Jews providentially fell so close to the end of the year as to give almost as much time as possible to Esther and Mordecai to consider what steps could be taken to avert the destruction of their nation.
9. Esther’s concealing her Jewish origin, both before and after coming to the throne, was overruled to the confusion and destruction of Haman. He would never have issued the decree against the Jews had he known that the queen was a Jewess.
10. Haman’s concealing from the king that it was the Jewish nation he wished to destroy was overruled so as to become the means of his own downfall.
11. The insolence and impatience of Haman getting the better of his prudence was the means of defeating and disappointing his malicious schemes.
12. That Esther should have been received with favour by the king, after she had apparently been slighted by him for thirty days, was clearly an instance of the hand of God.
13. That Esther, through some impression on her mind, should have deferred her petition till the following day, was one of the most remarkable providential interferences in the whole history. The delay led to the erection of the gibbet on which Haman afterwards suffered and also to his humiliation in being compelled to do public honours to Mordecai.
14. The king’s sleepless night had momentous results.
15. How providential that Haman should have been at hand at the very moment the king was desirous for some one to propose a suitable reward for Mordecai!
16. Haman’s humiliation at being compelled to do honour to Mordecai so dispirited him that when Esther’s terrible charge was made against him he was not able to make even a plausible defence, such as his ignorance that the queen was a Jewess and his ignorance of any conscious intention to injure her.
17. Even the trivial circumstances that the chamberlains sent to summon Haman to the banquet arrived before he had time to have the gibbet taken down and removed, and that thus they came to be informed that it was prepared for Mordecai, were as plainly the work of providence as any other event in the whole narrative.
18. To all these extraordinary accidents and coincidences we must add that the issue of the whole matter placed the Jews in a much more prosperous condition than they were in before, and confirmed their faith in the Divine promises and protection. (W. Crosthwaite.)
The Book of Esther
I. We have here a golden leaf in the chain of providence teaching us that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men.”
II. We learn here the peculiar care with which god watches over his church and people.
III. We see the wonderful manner in which god raises up instruments for the preservation and deliverance of his people.
IV. We notice the surprising manner in which providence opens up the way in which these instruments are destined to act.
V. We are taught the duty of placing our sole trust and dependence on god.
VI. We learn from this book the high utility of the old testament scriptures, and their standing authority as a rule both to individuals and communities. (Thomas McCrie, D. D.)
A well-governed empire
The Chinese have a political saying which is worthy the reading even of English statesmen. It is as follows: When is the empire well governed, and affairs go as they should go? When swords are rusty, and spades are bright; when prisons are empty, and grain-bins filled; when the law courts are lonely and o’ergrown with grass; when doctors walk and bakers ride: it is then that things go as they ought, and the State is well ruled.
The highest government
Above all, it is ever to be kept in mind that not by material but by moral power are men and their actions governed. How noiseless is thought! No rolling of drums, no tramp of squadrons, or immeasurable tumult of baggage-waggons, attend its movements. In what obscure and sequestered places may the head be meditating which is one day to be crowned with more than imperial authority t for kings and emperors will be among its ministering servants; it will rule, not over, but in, all heads, and with these its solitary combinations of ideas, as with magic formulas, bend the world to its will. The time may come when Napoleon himself will be better known for his laws than for his battles; and the victory of Waterloo prove less momentous than the opening of the first Mechanics’ Institute. (Thomas Carlyle.)
Seeking the wealth of his people.--Mordecai was a true patriot, and therefore being exalted to the highest position under Ahasuerus, he used his eminence to promote the prosperity of Israel. In this he was a type of Jesus, who, upon His throne of glory, seeks not His own, but spends His power for His people. Every Christian should be a Mordecai to the Church, striving according to his ability for its prosperity. Some are placed in stations of affluence and influence; let them testify for Jesus before great men. Others have what is far better, namely, close fellowship with the King of kings; let them be sure to plead daily for the weak of the Lord’s people, the doubting, the tempted, and the comfortless. Instructed believers may serve their Master greatly if they lay out their talents for the general good, and impart their wealth of heavenly learning to others, by teaching them the things of God. The very least in our Israel may at least seek the welfare of his people; and his desire, if he can give no more, shall be acceptable. It is at once the most Christlike and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living to himself. He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself. On the other hand, to seek our own personal greatness is a wicked and unhappy plan of life; its way will be grievous and its end will be fatal. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Esther 10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany