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talking with him, came the king's chamberlains and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared, for the Oriental custom required a special message to be sent to the guests just before the hour appointed for a feast to announce that
all things were now ready. Cp. Matt. 22, 3. 4; Luke 14, 17. That is the final reward of the unbelievers, particularly of those who persecute the Church of God: they fall before His might and will finally sink into everlasting destruction.
he, that durst presume in his heart to ESTHER PLEADS FOR HER PEOPLE. – V. 1. So do so? literally, "Who has filled his heart to the king and Haman came to banquet with do so?” For it must have been a heart of Esther, the queen, the drinking after the extraordinary wickedness which could have feast being regarded as the most important thought out such a devilish scheme. V. 6. And part of the entertainment. V. 2. And the Esther, now fully sure of her ground, said, king, being more anxious even than on the The adversary and enemy is this wicked day before to find out Esther's request, said Haman. It was a moment of most dramatic again unto Esther on the second day at intensity when Esther thus denounced the man the banquet of wine, repeating his promise
who was filled with such enmity toward the
Jews. Then Haman was afraid, he trembled in practically the same words, What is thy petition, Queen Esther? and it shall be
for fear, before the king and the queen, for granted thee; and what is thy request?
he had some premonition of what his fate
would be. Thus Esther placed her position and it shall be performed, even to the
and her very life in jeopardy for the sake of half of the kingdom. She had but to name
her people. In the same way all believers who her desire, and the king would place all his
occupy positions of honor and power have the resources at her command. V. 3. Then Es
duty to use their influence in the interest of ther, the queen, all her pent-up emotions
their fellow-believers. breaking forth with a sudden rush of words,
HAMAN HANGED ON His Own GALLOWS. answered and said, If I have found favor
V.7. And the king, arising from the banin thy sight, O king, and if it please the
quet of wine in his wrath, went into the king, let my life be given me at my peti
palace garden, for he was so filled with agition and my people at my request; she
tation that he must needs take a turn in the pleaded with the king that her own life and
royal park. And Haman stood up to make that of her race might be spared, saved from
request for his life to Esther, the queen, the impending calamity; v. 4. for we
for he realized that this was his one chance sold, I and my people, a very fitting ex- of salvation; for he saw that there was evil pression, since Haman had paid a large sum
determined against him by the king, that of money into the royal treasury to bring
sentence upon him had virtually been proabout the extermination of the Jews, to be
nounced. V.8. Then the king returned out destroyed, to be slain, and to perish, the of the palace garden, where he had gone to heaping of the words showing the depth of her recover from the first burst of anger, into own emotions, and being intended to awaken the place of the banquet of wine; and similar feelings in the heart of the king. But Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon if we had been sold for bondmen and Esther was. In his importunate pleading for bondwomen, if the scheme had implied only his life he had kneeled down before Esther slavery for herself and her people, I had held and had then fallen forward with the upper my tongue, unwilling to bother the king on part of his body on the sofa on which Esther that score alone, although the enemy could reclined at the meal. Then said the king, not countervail the king's damage, that is, now altogether beside himself with anger, Will in the circumstances the punishment of the he force the queen also before me in the enemy must be considered less important than house? The king took this act of Haman's the averting of the damage which the king to be an outrage on the modesty of the queen would suffer. Esther thus stated that all and a serious offense against the respect due other considerations were secondary with her to himself. As the word went out of the to the one great need of preserving the in- king's mouth, they covered Haman's face, terests of the king, since all the gold which it being the custom to veil the face of a conthe enemy might pay would not compensate demned criminal as no longer worthy of lookfor the loss of the services which her people ing at the king. V. 9. And Harbonah, one rendered to the empire. V. 5. Then the King of the chamberlains, said before the king, Ahasuerus, filled with the greatest agitation Behold also, the gallows, fifty cubits high, on account of the condition revealed by Es- which Haman had made for Mordecai, who ther's words, answered and said unto Es- had spoken good for the king, in revealing ther, the queen, Who is he, and where is the plot against the king's life, standeth in the house of Haman. His words suggested, of course, that it was more fit for Haman to be hanged on the high gallows which he had erected than for Mordecai. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. V. 10. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he
had prepared for Mordecai, his feet thus being taken in the net which he had hidden for another, Ps. 9, 15. Then was the king's wrath pacified. That is the final fate of the enemies of the Church, a dreadful and terrible end, in the depths of shame and disgrace.
CHAPTER 8. The Jews Receive Permission to Revenge calamity. That is the proper attitude for a Themselves.
Christian to take, a real live, personal inMORDECAI ADVANCED. – V. 1. On that day terest in the welfare of those of the household did the King Ahasuerus give the house
of faith, a true grieving with those that weep. of Haman, the Jews' enemy, unto Esther,
THE DECREE OF AHASUERUS AND ITS EFFECT. the queen; his property having been confis- V.7. Then the King Ahasuerus said unto cated, the king gave to Esther as a kind of Esther, the queen, and to Mordecai, the compensation for the peril which she had suf
Jew, in granting the request of Esther, Befered. And Mordecai came before the king;
hold, I have given Esther the house of for Esther had told what he was unto her;
Haman, and him they have hanged upon
the gallows because he laid his hand upon on the strength of his relationship to the queen he was made one of the officers belonging to
the Jews. V. 8. Write ye also for the Jews the inner circle surrounding the king. V.2.
as it liketh you, as they thought best in the And the king took off his ring, his seal
circumstances, in the king's name and seal ring, which he had taken from Haman,
it with the king's ring, which had a seal and gave it unto Mordecai, thereby pro
on it; for the writing which is written in the king's name
and sealed with the moting him to the position and the dignity which Haman had formerly held.. And Esther
king's ring may no man reverse. It seems, set Mordecai over the house of Haman,
then, that the king could not directly reverse as her steward, to manage the big estate which
or recall the decree which had been issued;
but he could have a second decree issued, had been given to her by the king. V. 3. And Esther spake yet again before the king
which would have the effect of annulling the and fell down at his feet, in an attitude of
provisions of that sent out at Haman's sugthe most humble pleading, and besought him
gestion. V. 9. Then were the king's scribes
called at that time in the third month, with tears, imploring him as she wept, to
that is, the month Sivan, on the three and put away the mischief of Haman the
twentieth day thereof, fully two months Agagite, and his device that he had de
after Haman's edict of extermination; and it vised against the Jews, for the murderous
was written according to all that Mordedecree was still in force, having not been re
cai commanded unto the Jews, and to the pealed. V. 4. Then the king held out the
lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of golden scepter toward Esther, to indicate
the provinces which are from India, on the that he was ready to grant her request. So
eastern boundary of the great Persian empire, Esther arose and stood before the king,
unto Ethiopia, in Northeastern Africa, an in order to discuss ways and means of undoing
hundred twenty and seven provinces, for the mischief wrought by Haman's scheme, v. 5.
the larger satrapies were divided into smaller and said, If it please the king, and if I
sections, unto every province according to have found favor in his sight, and the
the writing thereof, and unto every people thing seem right before the king, her
after their language, and to the Jews acprudence, as usual, causing her to be most
cor ng to their writing, and according modest in presenting her request, and I be to their language. Cp. chap. 1, 22; 3, 12. pleasing in his eyes, her appeal to his re
V. 10. And he, Mordecai, wrote in the King gard for her coming last, let it be written
Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the to reverse the letters devised by Haman,
king's ring, as he had been empowered to do, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, and sent letters by posts on horseback, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which and riders on mules, camels, and young are in all the king's provinces; for unless dromedaries, for the post-system of the emthe decree would be repealed, the enemies of pire was both extensive and effective, v. 11. the Jews would still be able to effect their de
wherein the king granted the Jews which struction; v. 6. for how can I endure to see
were in every city to gather themselves the evil that shall come unto my people? together, such an act not being accounted a Or how can I endure to see the destruc- disturbance of the peace, and to stand for tion of my kindred? Her words state, in the their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause most emphatic manner, that she would never to perish, all the power of the people and be able to stand it, to live through such a province that would assault them, whose enmity would cause them to make use of the provisions of Haman's decree, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, v. 12. upon one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, the very day which had been named for the destruction of the Jews in the original decree. V. 13. The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, made known to them by means of the copies posted throughout the empire, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies, not merely in self-defense, but with the right to attack any hostile party. V. 14. So the posts, the king's messengers, that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan, the palace, being sent forth from this residence of the king. V. 15. And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, these being the royal colors of
Persia, and with a great crown of gold, a
pire was practically limitless, fell upon them. THE ENEMIES SLAIN. —- V. 1. Now, in the
V. 4. For Mordecai was great in the king's twelfth month, that is, the month Adar,
house, and his fame went out throughout the last month of the Jewish church-year, on all the provinces, making it a dangerous the thirteenth day of the same, when the
matter for any one to come into conflict with king's commandment and his decree drew his orders; for this man Mordecai waxed near to be put in execution, namely, that greater and greater. V.5. Thus the Jews which had been engineered by the crafty Ha
smote all their enemies with the stroke man, in the day that the enemies of the
of the sword, inflicting a great defeat upon Jews hoped to have power over them, them, and slaughter, and destruction, and (though it was turned to the contrary,
did what they would unto those that that the Jews had rule over them that
hated them, their enemies being helpless behated them, the provisions of the first decree
fore them. V. 6. And in Shushan, the palbeing neutralized by those of the second edict ace, the section of the capital where the royal as sent out by Mordecai,) v. 2. the Jews palace was situated, the Jews slew and degathered themselves together in their stroyed five hundred men. V. 7. And Parcities throughout all the provinces of the
shandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, King Ahasuerus, as they had received per- v. 8. and Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridamission to do, chap. 8, 11, to lay hand on
tha, v. 9. and Parmashta, and Arisai, and such as sought their hurt, who would take Aridai, and Vajezatha, v. 10. the ten sons advantage of the original order, which could of Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the not be reversed outright. And no man could enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the withstand them; for the fear of them, by spoil laid they not their hand, they did not virtue of the providence of God, which was so take advantage of this right which had been clearly evident in the trend of events, fell given them in the second decree, chap. 8, 11, upon all people. V.3. And all the rulers their only object being to defend themselves. of the provinces, the national princes, and V. 11. On that day the number of those the lieutenants, the satraps of the larger that were slain in Shushan, the palace, divisions of the empire, and the deputies, the was brought before the king. V. 12. And governors appointed by the king, and officers the king said unto Esther, the queen, by of the king, all persons of rank who were way of showing her that he had granted her directly in the king's employ, helped the a great favor in permitting his decree to go Jews, furthering their cause in every con- forth, The Jews have slain and destroyed ceivable manner, because the fear of Morde- five hundred men in Shushan, the palace, cai, whose power as grand vizier of the em- and the ten sons of Haman; what have
they done in the rest of the king's provinces? He implied that the number of slain throughout his empire must be very great. Now, what is thy petition and it shall be granted thee; or what is thy request further? and it shall be done. He was ready to make still greater concessions, to grant still larger favors. V. 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, as a measure to prevent the outbreak of any further aggressions, to subdue the enemies for all time, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows, their dead bodies being impaled or crucified with the intention of branding them with public disgrace as the enemies of the Jews. V. 14. And the king commanded it so to be done. And the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. V. 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, this fact showing that the party of Haman had still been pretty strong, since fully eight hundred men destroyed by the Jews; but on the prey laid they not their hand, they did not appropriate any of their property. V. 16. But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, outside of those living at Shushan, and stood for their lives and had rest from their enemies, they succeeded in securing peace for themselves, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey, v. 17. on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, this being the one day which the Jews of the provinces took for their revenge; and on the fourteenth day of the same, which was the second day of revenge for the Jews of Shushan, rested they and made it a day of feasting and gladness, rejoicing over their deliverance from the hands of their enemies. V. 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. V. 19. Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelled in the unwalled towns, outside the capital, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, a special holiday, and of sending portions one to another, making presents as an expression of joy and thankfulness. God, who is the great Judge and Revenger, has often given His people the victory over their enemies. And on the Last Day all the enemies will be overthrown, and the Church of God will have rest and peace throughout eternity.
THE PURIM FESTIVAL INSTITUTED. – V. 20. And Mordecai wrote these things, a full account of all these happenings, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, wherever there were colonies and congregations of his countrymen, v. 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, making the celebration of the festival an event occupying two days, v. 22. as the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, when their deliverance from their oppressors brought them lasting peace, 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, as manifestations of their great thankfulness. V. 23. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, the first celebration having already taken place in an outburst of spontaneous joy, and as Mordecai had written unto them, v. 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, this being done through the astrologers and magicians, chap. 3, 7, to consume them, crush them out of existence, and to destroy them; v. 25. but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his, Haman's, wicked device which he devised against the Jews should return upon his head, that he be caught in his own net, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows, these two commands, as they were directed to the queen, being given in direct speech. V. 26. Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur, the word for the lot which Haman had used in trying to carry out his murderous scheme. Therefore, for all the words of this letter, which was sent out by Mordecai, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, their own experience agreeing with the account as given by Mordecai, and which had come unto them, which they found out from other reliable sources, v. 27. the Jews ordained and took upon them and upon their seed, all their descendants, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so
as it should not fail, not be passed by and forgotten, that they would keep these two days according to their writing and according to their appointed time every year, the time of celebration being determined by the order of Mordecai; v. 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,
should never cease, from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish, come to an end, from their seed. V. 29. Then Esther, the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai, the Jew, wrote with all authority, with all emphasis, to confirm this second letter of Purim, the name of Mordecai giving the document full weight and legal power. The contents of this letter are not given, its existence being known to all Jews. V. 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, since they were aimed at the welfare of Israel and were based upon facts, v. 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, themselves perfectly willing to agree to the establishment of the new festival, the matters of the fastings and their cry, in remembrance of the lamentations which the Jews indulged in before they were delivered by the decree of Mordecai. V. 32. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book,
that which related the events connected with the establishment of the festival. The Feast of Esther, or that of Purim, is celebrated by the Jews to this day. “On both days of the feast the modern Jews read over the Megillah, or Book of Esther, in their synagogs. The copy read must not be printed, but written on vellum in the form of a roll; and the names of the ten sons of Haman are written on it in a peculiar manner, being ranged, they say, like so many bodies on a gibbet. The reader must pronounce all these names in one breath. Whenever Haman's name is pronounced, they make a terrible noise in the synagog.
Some drum with their feet on the floor, and the boys have mallets with which they knock and make a noise. They prepare themselves for their carnival by a previous fast, which should continue three days, in imitation of Esther's; but they have mostly reduced it to one day.”2) It is perfectly right and proper that Christians celebrate also such festivals on which they remember some great teacher of the Church and the great things which the Lord did through such a chosen instrument of His grace, as in the case of Martin Luther.
2) Cp. Jennings, Jewish Antiquities.
The Extent of Mordecai's Power. V. 1. And the King Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, a special tax exacted from all parts of his great empire, and upon the isles of the sea, as far as his influence extended. V. 2. And all the acts of his power and of his might and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai whereunto the king advanced him, for the power of Mordecai grew with that of his sovereign, whose grand vizier, or prime minister, he was, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? Any one desiring further information could find it in the public records. V.3.
For Mordecai, the Jew, was next unto King Ahasuerus, a power next to the king in the empire, and great among the Jews, influential also among his own countrymen, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, occupying a representative position among them, seeking the wealth of his people and speaking peace to all his seed; for he always took care to have his position in the empire redound to the benefit of his people. It is the duty of all believers to seek the peace of the city, but, above all, that of their people, of the Church of Christ, whose welfare they should endeavor to promote also by means of their secular calling.