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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Esther 2


Esther becomes the wife of Ahasuerus. Mordecai, sitting at the king's gate, discovers a conspiracy against the person of the king.

Before Christ 481.

Verse 5

Esther 2:5. Whose name was Mordecai Mordecai, from his attendance at the king's gate, Est 2:19 is thought to have been one of the porters at the royal palace; but, probably, he was an officer of higher rank; for it was an order instituted by Cyrus, as Xenophon informs us, Cyropaed. lib. 8: that all persons whatever, who had any employment at court, should attend at the palace-gate (where there was, doubtless, a proper waiting-place for their reception), that they might be in readiness whenever they were wanted or called for; and that this custom was afterwards continued, we may learn from Herodotus, lib. 3: cap. 120. See Le Clerc.

Verse 7

Esther 2:7. He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther As she was born in Babylon, in analogy to the language of that place they gave her the name of הדסה Hadassah, which in the Chaldee signifies a myrtle; but her Persian name was Esther, which some, a little incongruously, derive from αστηρ, a star, and others from satar, which signifies hidden, because she was concealed in Mordecai's house; or rather, because her nation was concealed, and she not known, till Mordecai's merit and services to the crown came to be rewarded. It seems most probable, however, that Esther is only the interpretation of, and consequently bears the same meaning with, Hadassah.

Verse 13

Esther 2:13. Whatever she desired was given her Whosoever she desired, &c. Houbigant.

Verse 17

Esther 2:17. So that he set the royal crown upon her head According to this account, this Persian monarch seems to have had but one wife, at least but one in chief favour and esteem with him, though it is evident that he had a vast number of secondary wives or concubines. But in behalf of Esther it may be said, that the word ותלקח vattilacach, Est 2:8 which we render she was brought, may equally signify she was taken away, 1:e. by violence; and thus the Targum upon the passage relates the matter: "Mordecai, hearing of the king's edict for the collection of all the beautiful virgins in his dominions, hid his cousin in a private place, where the officers could not find her; but when Esther, whom all the neighbourhood knew to be a great beauty, was missing, an order from the king to Mordecai was procured, which, upon pain of death, obliged him to produce her."

Verse 18

Esther 2:18. He made a release to the provinces, &c.— The manner of the Persian kings was, to give their queens, at their marriages, such a city to buy them clothes, another for their hair, another for their necklaces, and so on for the rest of their expences; and as it was customary for them, according to the testimony of Herodotus, upon their accession to the throne, to remit the tribute which was then due to them from all the cities; so Ahasuerus, upon this occasion, out of his abundant joy, might make a release to the provinces, and forgive them some of the duties and imposts which they were wont to pay him.

Verse 21

Esther 2:21. Two of the king's chamberlains These were two great men, who perhaps kept the door of the king's chamber; and, being either incensed at the divorce of Vashti, whose creatures they might be, or at the advancement of Esther, who they thought would in all probability raise her kinsman Mordecai above them, took disgust thereat, and so resolved to avenge themselves on the king. See Prideaux, and chap. Esther 6:2-3.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The advancement of Esther is here recorded, with the various steps of Divine Providence that led to this wonderful event.

1. The king soon repented of the rashness which in his wine he had committed, and with deep regret parted with his beauteous queen, whom, by an unalterable law, he must see no more. Note; What is done hastily in anger, often gives cause to long and bitter remorse.

2. The courtiers, to divert the king's melancholy, and by some new object to obliterate the remembrance of Vashti, propose to him the collecting of the most beautiful damsels in his dominions, that out of them he might select the most agreeable, to reign in the stead of the divorced queen. Note; In king's courts, there are men enow who watch the monarch's eye, and appear ready ministers to all his pleasures.

3. The king approved the proposal, and Hege, the king's chamberlain, was appointed to take charge of them; and after a year for purification, that their native beauty might be heightened by the charms of art, they were then in turn to he brought to the king; and, if they pleased him not, they returned to be shut up in the seraglio while the favoured virgin was to be chosen queen.
4. Among those who were collected at Shushan was a Jewess, named Esther; an orphan, brought up under the care of her cousin-german Mordecai, a Benjamite, whose ancestor had been carried away from Jerusalem at the captivity of Jeconiah. As he, in tenderness, had shewn himself a father to her, and with daily solicitude inquired after her welfare, she, in obedience, behaved as a dutiful child, observant of his directions. He had bid her conceal her parentage, as it might be an objection to her advancement; and, as the was born in Shushan, no questions, probably, were asked of her country, and she passed for one of Persian extraction. Note; (1.) They who show to orphans parental tenderness, should meet with the grateful return of filial duty and affection. (2.) Though we must never tell a lie, we are not always obliged to speak all that we know.

5. The manners as well as the beauty of this damsel exceedingly ingratiated her to the keeper of the women, and he shewed her especial regard and kindness. When her turn came to be introduced to the king, she required no ornaments; her native beauty was sufficient distinction. She no sooner appeared, than all who saw admired her; and the king, charmed with her person, determined to fix on her head the imperial diadem. Behold a captive, a Jew, an orphan, now exalted to the royal throne of Persia! Thus God can work, and raise the poor from the dust to set them among princes.
6. At the coronation of Esther a royal feast is made, which she graced with her presence, though Vashti had refused. To heighten the general joy, a release of taxes was published through the provinces, and royal gifts bestowed; and Mordecai was now advanced to some honourable post at court, probably through Esther's influence, who retained the same respect and deference for his advice, and changed not her manners with her station, though the had still continued to conceal, as Mordecai directed, her kindred and people. Note; (1.) No change of station should make us forget our benefactors. (2.) Younger persons shew their wisdom in being guided by the counsel of their more aged and experienced friends.

2nd, We have,
1. A plot formed against the king's life by two of his servants, whom he had disgusted. Monarchs stand on a dangerous eminence: how many of them have gone down murdered to the grave! Let them learn justice, and to rule with equity, that they may engage the affections as well as the submission of their subjects.
2. The plot was discovered by Mordecai (for treasons usually transpire); and, as a loyal subject, he communicates his intelligence, through Esther, to the king. Inquisition is made, the traitors convicted and hanged, and a record entered of the faithful service that he had performed. Note; (1.) God has strange ways of bringing to light treasons and bloody designs. (2.) Concealment of any plot against the sovereign or state, is highly criminal. (3.) May every traitor meet a like reward! (4.) Good services done to us deserve to be recorded, that they may be remembered long and recompensed.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Esther 2". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.