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CHAPTER 3. Haman's Promotion and Attempt to in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Destroy the Jews.

they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before HaHAMAN PLANS REVENGE AGAINST MORDECAI.

man from day to day and from month to V. 1. After these things, some four years

month, the court astrologers and magicians after the elevation of Esther to the position

being entrusted with this work of determining of queen, did King Ahasuerus promote Ha

which day and month would be the most ausman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite,

picious for carrying out Haman's murderous making him a great man in the empire, and

design, to the twelfth month, that is, the advanced him, and set his seat above all

month Adar, for Haman, with a zeal and per. the princes that were with him, by raising

sistence worthy of a better cause, determined him to the rank of grand vizier, his chief con

that all signs must be favorable for the exefidential minister. V.2. And all the king's

cution of his plan. The text is evidently to servants that were in the king's gate, the

be understood in such a way that Haman, in lower officers of the court, bowed and rever

the first month of the Jewish year, caused the

lot to cast, first for the month of the comenced Haman, giving him kingly and therefore divine honor, after the Persian custom;

ing year in which he intended to have his refor the king had so commanded concern

venge, and then for the day of the month ing him. Ahasuerus claimed divine honor

which would be auspicious for his scheme.

The fact that the last month of the Jewish and reverence for himself, and he now commanded that his prime minister be regarded

year was chosen by lot gave him ample time in the same way. But Mordecai bowed not

to prepare his plans. Thus the enemies of

the Church, Satan and the world, are always nor did him reverence, since he, as a Jew, refused to give divine honors to any one but

busy with schemes of destruction, which God, the Lord Himself. V. 3. Then the king's ser

however, can easily frustrate at His own time.

THE PLOT TO DESTROY THE JEWS. - V. 8. vants, which were in the king's gate, the

And Haman, still enjoying the king's favor fellow-officers of Mordecai, said unto Morde

to the full, said unto King Ahasuerus, cai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?

There is a certain people scattered abroad It displeased them that

and dispersed among the people in all the Mordecai refused to give Haman the homage

provinces of thy kingdom, skilfully insinwhich they had to show. V. 4. Now, it came

uating that the Jews were aliens in manners to pass, when they spake daily unto him

and habits and enemies to the rest of his suband he hearkened not unto them, that

jects; and their laws are diverse from all they told Haman to see whether Morde

people, the implication being that they were cai's matters would stand, whether he would

at variance with the laws of the realm, that succeed in upholding the principle which he

the Jews were no good citizens; neither keep alleged in explanation of his action; for he

they the king's laws, for Haman falsely had told them that he was a Jew, where

generalized from the one instance in which fore he could not give divine homage to Ha

his dignity was offended; therefore it is not man, especially since the latter was an Ama

for the king's profit to suffer them, to leave lekite, a race accursed and condemned by God,

them in peace, unmolested, Haman's suggesEx. 17, 15; 1 Sam. 15. V. 5. And when Ha

tion being that the king's person and the royal saw that Mordecai bowed not nor

honor were in danger. V. 9. If it please the did him reverence, then was Haman full

king, let it be written that they may be of wrath, regarding this refusal, according to

destroyed, as the Scythians had been masPersian ideas, as the greatest insult which sacred about a century before; and I will could have been offered him. V.6. And he

pay ten thousand talents of silver to the thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai

hands of those that have the charge of alone, revenge on this one man alone seemed

the business to bring it into the king's too insignificant a matter to him; for they treasuries, this immense sum of some twenty had showed him the people of Mordecai, million dollars being intended both to arouse the despised race of the Jews; wherefore

the king's cupidity and to compensate him for Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that any loss in revenue due to the destruction of were throughout the whole kingdom of so many of his citizens. Haman had planned Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai. with great shrewdness. V. 10. And the king, By exterminating the entire race of the Jews, carried away with pleasure by the clever a proceeding by no means without a precedent proposition of Haman, took his ring from in the history of the cruel and revengeful his hand, and gave it unto Haman, the son Orientals, he not only wanted to express his of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the Jews' contempt of the Jews in an adequate manner, enemy, this being a token not only of intimate but he also intended to prevent any further friendship, but also of royal authority to issue display of contempt on their part. V. 7. In decrees and to imprint upon them the royal the first month, that is, the month Nisan, signet. v. 11. And the king said unto Ha

man

man, The silver is given to thee, the and to take the spoil of them for a prey, people also, to do with them as it seem- the last being intended for a bait, in order eth good to thee. He was given a free hand to arouse the covetousness of the people, who to do as he had planned. V. 12. Then were may not have been opposed to the Jews. The the king's scribes called, the secretaries form of the sentence shows that it was taken who were always in attendance upon him, on from a legal document, a faithful copy of the thirteenth day of the first month, for the murderous decree. V. 14. The copy of the Haman lost no time after deciding upon his writing for a commandment to be given in plans, and there was written according to every province was published unto all all that Haman had commanded unto the people that they should be ready against king's lieutenants, the satraps of the em- that day. The edict was to be proclaimed and pire, and to the governors that were over posted in public everywhere, in order to work every province, the smaller divisions of the up the people to the proper pitch of deadly satrapies, and to the rulers of every people hate and to effect the extermination of all of every province, the native-born princes Jews. V. 15. The posts went out, being who were still considered the nominal heads, hastened by the king's commandment, and according to the writing thereof, and to the decree was giv in Shushan, the every people after their language, for it palace, issued from this residence of the king. was the policy of the Persian empire to pub- And the king and Haman sat down to lish all decrees in all the languages of the con- drink, to indulge in sensual enjoyments withquered nations; in the name of King Ahas- out giving their cruelty a further thought; uerus was it written, and sealed with the but the city Shushan was perplexed, the king's ring. V. 13. And the letters were inhabitants being unable to explain to themsent by posts into all the king's provinces, selves the terrible and cruel decree of the for the system of royal posts by means of run- king, which was bound to rend the homes and ners along the military highways was highly the hearts of thousands of his subjects. The developed in Persia, to destroy, to kill, and enemies of the Church have more than once to cause to perish, all Jews, both young decre its destruction and laid their plans and old, little children and women, in one accordingly, meanwhile living in a false seday, even upon the thirteenth day of the curity; but they failed to take into consideratwelfth month, which is the month Adar, tion the almighty power of God.

CHAPTER 4. Mordecai Plans to Deliver the Jews. them that he desired them to do so. Then THE MOURNING OF THE JEWS. — V.1. When was the queen exceedingly grieved, filled Mordecai perceived, found out about, all with great anxiety, although her nationality that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, had not yet been revealed in the palace; and in token of his deep grief, and put on sack

she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, proper cloth, a garment of haircloth next to his skin, clothes, in which he might enter the palace with ashes, which he strewed over his head grounds, and to take away his sackcloth and clothing, and went out into the midst from him; but he received it not, chiefly of the city, openly in the streets, and cried because he wanted to communicate with her with a loud and a bitter cry, concealing his in private, lest she divulge her secret. V. 5. deep distress from no one, but rather proclaim- Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the ing it publicly; v. 2. and came even before king's chamberlains, whom he had apthe king's gate, to the open place before the pointed to attend upon her, a eunuch set royal palace; for none might enter into apart for her service alone, and gave him the king's gate clothed with sackcloth, a commandment to Mordecai to know what while bearing the dress and the disfigurements it was and why it was, she wanted detailed of mourning. V. 3. And in every province, information explaining his strange behavior. whithersoever the king's commandment V. 6. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai and his decree came, there was great unto the street of the city which was bemourning among the Jews, and fasting, fore the king's gate. V.7. And Mordecai and weeping, and wailing, for according to told him of all that had happened unto the decree of the king there seemed to be no him, the entire plan of Haman with its moescape from the threatened doom; and many

tive, and of the sum of the money that lay in sackcloth and ashes, for they felt Haman had promised to pay to the king's just as Mordecai did. V. 4. So Esther's treasuries for the Jews to destroy them, maids and her chamberlains, the eunuchs emphasizing this despicable sordidness in order in charge of the royal harem, came and told to arouse the indignation of Esther all the it her, they brought her the news, Mordecai's

V. 8. Also, he gave him the copy of behavior, with which he had purposely drawn the writing of the decree that was given attention to himself, probably suggesting to at Shushan to destroy them, as it was posted

more.

or

in the city, to show it unto Esther and to king's house, merely by virtue of her posideclare it unto her, give her an explanation tion in the king's palace, as queen of the of its import and significance, and to charge empire, more than all the Jews. V. 14. For her that she should go in unto the king, if thou altogether holdest thy peace at to make supplication unto him, and to this time, not making an attempt to intermake request before him for her people, cede in behalf of the people of her race, then to entreat or petition relief and deliverance shall there enlargement and deliverance for her people, if necessary, by revealing her arise to the Jews from another place, for nationality. Mordecai's plan depended upon Mordecai confidently believed that the Lord the depth of the king's fondness for Esther, would provide a way to deliver the Jews from of which he felt sure. V. 9. And Hatach the impending destruction, so that they would came and told Esther the words of Mor-, be able once more to breathe freely; but decai. It is in times of great distress and thou and thy father's house shall be deanxiety that the believers turn to the Lord stroyed, being overtaken by the punishment with sighing and entreaty, begging Him for of God for the negligence exhibited in this deliverance from all their enemies. And the crisis. And who knoweth whether thou art effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avail- come to the kingdom, holding the position eth much.

of queen, for such a time as thisP Mordecai ESTHER AGREES TO MORDECAI'S PLAN. firmly believed that it was the providence of V. 10. Again Esther spake unto Hatach God which had placed Esther in the position and gave him commandment unto Mor- she occupied at this time, for the purpose of decai, v. 11. All the king's servants and effecting a deliverance of God's people. V. 15. the people of the king's provinces do Then Esther, overcome by this appeal, bade know that whosoever, whether man them return Mordecai this answer, v. 16. woman, shall come unto the king into Go, gather together all the Jews that are the inner court, that part of the courtyard present in Shushan and fast ye for me, adjoining the king's apartments and the and neither eat nor drink three days, throne-room, who is not called, there is one night or day, a very severe fast, accompalaw of his to put him to death, except nied with urgent prayer to God to give sucsuch to whom the king shall hold out the to the plan suggested by Mordecai. golden scepter, the long tapering staff, the I also and my maidens, her servants-insymbol of royal authority, that he may live. waiting, who may have been Jewish girls But I have not been called to come in gradually introduced by Esther, will fast unto the king these thirty days; she feared likewise; and so will I go in unto the that the king had become indifferent to her, king, which is not according to the law, and that any attempt to approach his throne not legally allowed; and if I perish, I perwithout his express invitation might change ish. Thus she expressed her willing submishis indifference into dislike, so that the ven- sion to the fate which might be in store for ture would cost her her life. The Persian law her if she performed what she now considered required that all business was to be brought her duty, the risk being all the greater since to the attention of the king through his min. she would not only approach the king's throne isters, including all petitions, and Esther in- unannounced, but also intended asking a favor terpreted the law to mean that, unless called of him which involved the recall of a royal and therefore also acceptable to the king, she edict and an interference in the business of dared not approach his throne except at the the empire. V. 17. So Mordecai went his risk of her life, in spite of the fact that she way, and did according to all that Esther was his favorite wife and officially recognized had commanded him. Note: It is altoas queen. V. 12. And they told to Mordecai gether permissible for any person who enjoys Esther's words. V. 13. Then Mordecai, the favor of the mighty ones of this world bound to remove Esther's hesitation, since it to make use of this factor in counteracting the would absolutely hinder the success of his plan, evil plans of the enemies of the Church. Also: commanded to answer Esther, Think not Every important matter in the Church should with thyself that thou shalt escape in the be begun with, and accompanied by, prayer.

cess

CHAPTER 5. Esther Appears before the King. her position, remained standing, in the inner ESTHER'S INVITATION TO THE KING. - V. l. court of the king's house, over against Now, it came to pass on the third day, the king's house, before the large door which namely, after her interview with Mordecai, led to the throne-room, through whose openwhen she charged that a fast be made in her ing the king could see every one who apbehalf, chap. 4, 15—17, that Esther put on proached. And the king sat upon his royal her royal apparel, in order the more readily throne in the royal house, over against to gain the king's good will, and stood, took the gate of the house, in a direct line with the doorway, a position which had various ad- does not exclude the application of prudence. vantages. V. 2. And it was so, when the It is the matter of wisdom to ascertain in king saw Esther, the queen, standing in what frame of mind our neighbor may be, lest the court, the raised seat which he occupied unfavorable circumstances prevent the proper enabling him to see over the heads of his at- effect of our confession. tendants, that she obtained favor in his HAMAN'S FATUOUS SECURITY. —- V. Then sight; and the king held out to Esther went Haman forth that day joyful and the golden scepter that was in his hand, with a glad heart, puffed up because of the the slender rod which was the symbol of supposed distinction shown him by the queen; kingly authority and the holding out of which but when Haman saw Mordecai in the signified the gracious acceptance of the peti- king's gate, where he had again taken up his tioner, chap. 4, 11. So Esther drew near and

position, that he stood not up nor moved touched the top of the scepter, probably for him, still refusing to give him the deferalso kissing it, as tradition has it, in acknowl

ence which he expected from all lower officers, edging the favor of the king and in expression

chap. 3, 2, he was full of indignation against of her submission to his royal authority. V. 3. Mordecai. V. 10. Nevertheless, Haman reThen said the king unto her, What wilt

frained himself, he could not afford to fly thou, Queen Esther? The Hebrew words are

into a rage at this time; and when he came rendered more exactly by the phrase, What is

home, he sent and called for his friends the matter, Esther, the queen ? And what is

and Zeresh, his wife, inviting them to hear thy request? It shall be even given thee

of his good fortune and to give him sympa. to the half of the kingdom. Far from hav

thetic advice. V. 11. And Haman, puffed up ing become indifferent toward her, his regard

with boastful pride, told them of the glory for her had rather been stimulated anew by

of his riches, one factor which made for his her appearance, so that he was ready to show

happiness, and the multitude of his chilhimself most liberal toward her. V. 4. And

dren, a great number of sons being considered Esther, whose shrewd caution warned her not

a great blessing, also among the heathen Perto presume upon the first impression made

sians, and all the things wherein the king upon the king, answered, If it seem good

had promoted him, and how he had adunto the king, let the king and Haman

vanced him above the princes and sercome this day unto the banquet that I

vants of the king, this recent advancement have prepared for him. Here again the consideration which Esther seemed to show for

being very flattering to his ambitious vanity.

V. 12. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther, the king's favorite served to strengthen his

the queen, did let no man come in with regard for her and to increase his anxiety to serve her. V.5. Then the king said, making

the king unto the banquet that she had

prepared but myself, this being the very Esther's petition a command addressed to Ha

highest point of distinction; and to-morrow man, Cause Haman to make haste that he

am I invited unto her also with the king. may do as Esther hath said. So the king

V. 13. Yet all this availeth me nothing, it and Haman came to the banquet that Es

could not satisfy him, he could not enjoy it ther had prepared, being her guests in her own private apartments. V.6. And the king,

with the proper degree of calm satisfaction,

so long as I see Mordecai, the Jew, sitting feeling that there was something very im

at the king's gate, the fact that this member portant that Esther wished to discuss with him and request of him, said unto Esther

of a despised nation, of a race of slaves, could at the banquet of wine, when they had

defy him by refusing to give him the honor reached that part of the feast where drinking

he desired, galled him and spoiled the enjoy.

ment of all his blessings. v. 14. Then said was the chief thing, and when their hearts

Zeresh, his wife, and all his friends unto were merry, What is thy petition? And it shall be granted thee. And what is thy

him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits request? Even to the half of the king

high, the great height serving to emphasize dom it shall be performed, thus reasserting

the execution and its disgrace, and to-morrow the promise given in the morning. V.7. Then

speak thou unto the king that Mordecai answered Esther and said, My petition and

may be hanged thereon, there being no my request is: v. 8. If I have found favor

doubt in their mind that this request would in the sight of the king, and if it please

readily be granted. Then go thou in merthe king to grant my petition and to per

rily with the king unto the banquet, his form my request, let the king and Haman enjoyment undisturbed by a single thought of come to the banquet that I shall prepare

the hateful Jew. And the thing pleased for them, and I will do to-morrow as the Haman; and he caused the gallows to be king hath said, state the request weighing made, erected before his very house, all ready upon her mind. It was either that Esther for the execution which he hoped to bring lacked courage at the crucial moment, or that about on the next day. Thus the supposed she did not feel quite sure enough of her luck of the godless makes them secure and position on the first day. The fact that one prepares them for the destruction which the bravely confesses his position and conviction Lord has appointed for them.

CHAPTER 6. Mordecai Rewarded by Ahasuerus. the shape of a diadem or crown; v. 9. and THE KING ASKS HAMAN'S ADVICE. – V. 1. let this apparel and horse be delivered to On that night could not the king sleep, the hand of one of the king's most noble literally, “fled away the sleep of the king,” princes, that they may array the man and he commanded to bring the book of withal whom the king delighteth to honor, records of the chronicles, the annals of the the prince acting as a servant in this instance, kingdom, in which all events worthy of in- and bring him on horseback through the terest were entered by scribes or chroniclers

street of the city, riding up and down appointed for that purpose; and they were

through the chief thoroughfares, and proread before the king, the reading evidently

claim before him, Thus shall it be done continuing through the entire night. V. 2. And to the man whom the king delighteth to it was found written that Mordecai had

honor. The unbelievers have only the honor told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the

of this world before their eyes, but even in king's chamberlains, the keepers of the

these hopes they are often disappointed and door, porters at the royal threshold, who

brought to disgrace. sought to lay hand on the King Ahasue- MORDECAI HONORED. — V. 10. Then the king rus, chap. 2, 21. 22. V. 3. And the king said, said to Haman, who himself was a prince of What honor and dignity hath been done the realm, Make haste and take the apparel to Mordecai for this? He implied that it and the horse, as thou hast said, and do was self-evident that a royal reward should be even so to Mordecai, the Jew, that sitteth assigned to Mordecai. Then said the king's at the king's gate, whose nationality was servants that ministered unto him, There hereby openly stated, in spite of the decree is nothing done for him, he had not in any

which looked toward the destruction of the manner been requited for his special service. Jews, the hand of Providence thus appearing V. 4. And the king said, Who is in the throughout the story. Let nothing fail of court? that is, what officer of higher standing

all that thou hast spoken, not a single point is on duty or present at this time? Now, Ha- was to be omitted in all the excessive show man was come into the outward court of of honor which Haman had sought for his own the king's house, thus early in the morning, person.

V. 11. Then took Haman the apto speak unto the king to hang Mordecai parel and the horse, surely with inexpreson the gallows that he had prepared for sible bitterness in his heart, and arrayed him. He had come practically at the dawn Mordecai, and brought him on horseback of day, since his hatred of Mordecai would not through the street of the city, and propermit him to rest. V.5. And the king's

claimed before him, Thus shall it be done servants said unto him, Behold, Haman

unto the man whom the king delighteth standeth in the court. And the king said,

to honor. The humiliation was all the greater, Let him come in, namely, into the apart

so far as Haman was concerned, because he ments of the king, since he was probably re

now had to act as servant to the despised and clining on his bed. V.6. So Haman came in.

hated Jew. V. 12. And Mordecai came again And the king said unto him, What shall to the king's gate, the entire city knowing be done unto the man whom the king de

of the honor which had been bestowed upon lighteth to honor? This was done in ac

him. But Haman hasted to his house cordance with the Oriental custom which lets mourning and having his head covered, the royal courtiers name the rewards for spe- in token of the deep shame and disgrace which, cial services. Now, Haman, puffed up with he felt, was resting upon him. V. 13. And his own vanity, thought in his heart, To Haman told Zeresh, his wife, and all his whom would the king delight to do honor friends, the men who usually hover about a more than to myself? The Hebrew implies powerful person while he is in the good graces that Haman thought it impossible for the king of the sovereign, everything that had beto go beyond him, to slight and disregard him fallen him, the report differing materially at this time. V. 7. And Haman answered from that made the day before. Then said the king, stating what he desired for himself, his wise men and Zeresh, his wife, unto For the man whom the king delighteth him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the to honor, v. 8. let the royal apparel be Jews before whom thou hast begun to brought which the king useth to wear, fall, namely, by being obliged to act as his a dress which he had actually worn, the wear- servant, thou shalt not prevail against him, ing of which by any other person was the very but shalt surely fall before him. This conhighest honor, and the horse that the king clusion they drew from the trend of circumrideth upon, and the crown royal which stances, for they could not be blind to the is set upon his head, the royal steeds wear- fact that the Jews were under special divine ing an ornament upon their heads which had protection. V. 14. And while they were yet

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