« PreviousContinue »
the Jew in the court.” Hereupon his wife he bade him leave off: and he inquired of Zeresh advised bim to give order, that a gal- those that were appointed for that purpose, lows should be made, fifty cubits high, and what hour of the night it was? And when that in the morning he should ask it of the he was informed that it was already day, he king, that Mordecai might be hanged there gave order, that if they found any one of his
n. So he commended her advice, and gave friends already come, and standing before the order to his servants to prepare the gallows, court, they should tell him. Now it happenand to place it in the court, for the punished that Haman was found there, for he was ment of Mordecai thereon : which was accord come sooner than ordinary to petition the king ingly prepared. But God laughed to scorn to have Mordecai put to death. * And when the wicked expectations of Haman: for that the servants said, that Haman was before the night he took away the king's sleep; and as court; he bade them call him in. And when the king was not willing to lose the time of he was come in, he said, “ Because I know þis lying awake, but to spend it in something that thou art a sincere friend, I desire thee to that might be of advantage to his kingdon, give me advice, how I may honor one that I he commanded the scribe to bring him the greatly love, and that after a manner suitable chronicles of the former kings, and the records to my magnificence.” Now Hainan reasoned of his own actions. And when he had brought with himself, that what opinion he should give, them, and was reading them, one was found it would be for himself, since it was be alone to have received a country on account of his who was beloved by the 'king. So he gave excellent management on a certain occasion ; that advice which he thought of all other the and the name of the country was set down. best. For he said, " If thou wouldest truly Another was found to have had a present honor a man whom thou dost love, give order made him on account of his fidelity. Then that he may ride on horseback, with the same the scribe came to Bigthan and Teresh,' the garment which thou wearest, and with a gold eunuchs, who had formed a conspiracy against chain about his neck; and let one of thy intithe king; which Mordecai had discovered. mate friends go before him, and proclaim And when the scribe said no more but that, through the whole city, that whosoever the and was going on to another history, the king king honoreth, obtaineth this mark of his hostopped him; and inquired, if it were not ad nor.” | This was the advice which Haman ded that Mordecai had a reward given him ? gave, out of a supposal that such reward And when be said there was no such addition, would come to himself. I Hereupon the king
* It may seem a little strange, that so proud a man as Haman was, should not be prompted immediately to avenge himself on Mordecai for his contemptuous usage of him, since he had enough about him, no doubt, who, upon the least intimation of his pleasure, would have done it; and since he, who had interest enough with his prince to procure a decree for the destruction of a whole nation, might easily have obtained a pardon for having killed one obscure and infamous member of it. But herein did the wise and powerful providence of God appear, that it disposed Haman's heart, contrary to his own inclination and Interest, instead of employing his power against his enemy, to put fetters, as it were, upon his own hands. Pool's Annot. B. + Esther vi. 6-9.
To form a notion of that beight of pride and arrogance, to which Haman, (who thought all the honors he specified were designed for him) was arrived, we may observe, that, for any one to put on the royal robe, without the privity and consent of the king, was, among the Persians, accounted a capital crime. To which purpose Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, has related this story:
VOL. I. (36.)
- That one day, when in hunting, the king happened to tear bis garment, and Tiribazus was telling him of it, the king asked him, what he should do? Why, put on another, says Tiribazus, and give that to me. That I will, says the king, but then I injoin you not to wear it. Tiribazus, however, who was a good kind of a man enough, but a little weak and silly, adventured to put it on, with all its fine ornaments; and when some of the nobles began to resent it, as a thing not lawful for any subject to do, I allow him, says the king, laughing at the figure he made, to wear the fine trinkets as a woman, and the robe as a madman;' Le Clerc's Commen. There was a custom,
not unlike this, among the Hebrews, as appears from the his, tory of Solomon, 1 Kings i. 33, for the person ihat was declared to be successor to the crown, on the day of his inauguration, to be mounted on the king's horse : and, to the like custom among the Persians, it is highly probable, that the poet Statius, in his description of a young king succeeding to his father's throne, may allude.
Sicut Abæmenius solium gentesque paternas
was pleased with the advice, and said, “Go what had happened, and this with tears, opon thou therefore, for thou hast the horse, the which they said, he would never be able to garment, and the chain. Ask for Mordecai
Ask for Mordecai be revenged on Mordecai; for that God was the Jew, and give him those things; and go with him. + before his horse, and proclaim accordingly: Now while his friends were talking one to anofor thou art my intimate friend, and hast given ther, Esther's eunuchs hastened Haman'away me good advice. Be thou then the minister to come to supper. But one of the eunuchs, nam of what thou hast advised : for this shall be ed Sabuchadas, saw the gallows, that was fixed his reward from us, for preserving my life.” in Haman's house, and inquired of one of his When he heard this order, which was entirely servants for what purpose they had prepared it? unexpected, he was confounded in bis mind, So he knew that it was for the queen's uncle. and knew not what to do. However he went because Haman was about to petition the king out, and led the horse, * and took the purple that he might be punished. Bat at present garment, and the golden chain for the neck; he beld his peace. Now when the kings with and finding Mordecai before the court, clothed Haman, were at the banquet, he desired the in sackcloth, he bade him put that garment queen to tell him, what gift she desired to ob off, and put the purple garment on. But tain; and assured her, that she should have Mordecai, not knowing the truth of the mat whatsoever she had a mind to. She then la ter, but thinking that it was done in mockery, mented the danger her people were in 3 and said, “ O thou wretch, the vilest of all man said, that she and her nation were given up kind : dost thou thus laugh at our calamities?” to be destroyed : and that she on that de But when he was satisfied that the king be-count, made this petition. That she would stowed this honor upon him, for the deliver not have troubled him if he had only given ance he had procured him when be convicted order that they should be sold into servitude: the eunuchs, who had conspired against him, || for such a misfortune: would not have been he put on that purple garment which the king intolerable. But she desired that they might always wore; and put the chain about his
be delivered from such a destruction.". And neck; and got on horseback, and went round when the king inquired of her who was the the city: while Haman went before, and pro- author of this misery to them ? she openly ach claimed, « This shall be the reward which the
cused Haman : and convicted him, that he king will bestow on every one whom he loves, had been the wicked instrument of this; and and esteems worthy of honor.” And when had formed this plot against them. When the they had gone round the city, Mordecai went king was hereupon in disorder, and was gone in to the king. But Haman went home out of hastily out of the banquet into the gardenis, shame; and informed his wife and friends of Haman began to intercede with Esther; and
An fidi proceres, an pugnet valgus habenis,
rians that have wrote of Alexander. (says he) tells us, that Cui latus Eupbratæ, cui Caspia limina mandet, he gave him a talent of silver for this expression of his Samere nunc arcus, ipsumque onerare veretur zeal to serve him, but, at the same time, ordered his head Patris equum, visusque sibi nec sceptra capaci to be struck off, for presuming to put on the royal diadem." Sustentare manu, nec adhuc implere tiaram.
Other commentators are of opinion, that this Keter, which Thebaid. lib. 8. B. we render crown, being a word of a large signification,
will equally depote that ornament which the horse that * Commentators are not agreed, whether this crown was placed upon the king's head, or bis horse's. Those the king rode wore upon his head. As it must be ackuow: who refer it to the king, will have it to be what we call, ledged, that this application of the thing agrees better
with the signification and order of the Hebrew words;
with the following verses, wherein no mention is made of death for any one to put on his head, without the king's express order; to which purpose Arrian (Alex.' exped.
the Keter, but only of the robe and the horse to wbich lib. 7.) tells us this story: That as Alexander was sail
this crown belonged ; and with the custom of the Persians, ing on the Euphrates, and his lurbant happened to fall off who used to put a certain ornament, in Italian called fiocco, among, some reeds, one of the watermen immediately
upon the head of that horse whereon the king was mounta jumped in and swam to it; but as be could not bring it
Le Clerc's and Patrick's Commentaries; and Pool's back in his hand without wetting it, he put it upon his
Annot. B. head, and so returned with it. Whereupon most histo
t. Esther vi. 13.
to beseech her to forgive him, as to what he liver the nation of the Jews from the fear of had offended : for he perceived that he was in a
and shewed him what had been writvery bad case. And as he had fallen upon the ten over all the country by Haman, the son of queen's bed, * and was making supplication Ammedatha. For that if her country were to her, the king came in; and being still destroyed, and her countrymen were to perish, at
66 0 thou she could not bear to live any longer. So the wretch!” said he, “thou vilest of all man- | king promised that he would not do any thing kind! dost thou aim to force my wife?” And that should be disagreeable to her, nor conwhen Haman was astonished at this, and not tradict what she desired: but he bade her able to speak one word more, Sabuchadas the write what she pleased about the Jews, in the eupuch came in, and accused Haman; and king's name, and seal it with his seal; and said, be found a gallows fifty cubits high at send it to all his kingdom ; for that those who bis house prepared for Mordecai : for that the read epistles' whose authority was secured by servant told him so much, upon his inquiry, having the king's seal to them would no way when he was sent to him to call him to supper.
contradict what was written therein.' So he When the king heard this, he determined that commanded the king's scribes to be sent for, Haman should be punished after no other and to write to the nations, on the Jews' bemanner than that which had been devised half; and to his lieutenants, and governors, by him against Mordecai. So he gave order that were over his hundred and twenty-seven immediately, that he should be hung upon that provinces, from India to Ethiopia. Now the gallows, and be put to death after that man contents of this epistle were these. “The ner: † And from hence I cannot forbear to great king Artaxerxes to our rulers, and those admire God'; and to learn hence his wisdom that are our faithful subjects, greeting. Many and bis justice: not only in punishing the men there are who, on account of the greatwickedness of Haman, but in so disposing it, ness of the benefits bestowed on them, and be. that he should undergo the very same punish cause of the honor which they have obtained ment which he had contrived for another. from the kind treatment of those that bestów. As also because thereby he teaches others this ed it, are not only injurious to their inferiors, lesson, that what mischiefs any one prepares but do not scruple to do evil to those who have against another, he, without knowing of it, been their benefactors; as if they would take first contrives it against himself.
away gratitude from among men. Wherefore Haman, who had immoderately their insolent abuse of such benefits as they abased the honor he had from the king, was never expected, they turn the abundance they destroyed after this manner: and the king have against those that are the authors of it; granted bis estate to the queen. He also call- and suppose they shall lie concealed from God ed for Mordecai, (for Esther had informed in that case, and avoid that vengeance which him that she was related to him:) and gave comes from him. Some of these men, when him that ring which he had before given to they have had the management of affairs Haman. The queen also gave Haman's es committed to them by their friends, and beartate to Mordecai ; and prayed the king to de- ing private malice against some others, by de
* It was a custom of the Persians, as well as other na The true reason why king Artaxerxes did not here tians, to sit, or rather to lie, upon beds, when they eat or properly revoke bis former barbarous decree, for the unidrank; and therefore, when Haman fell down,' as a sup versal slaughter of the Jews; but only empowered and plicant at the feet of Esther, and, as the manner was encouraged the Jews to fight for their lives, and to kill among the Greeks and Romans, and not improbably among their enemies, if they attempted their destruction, seems the Persians, embraced her knees, the king might pre to have been, that old law of the Medes and Persians, not tend that he was offering violence to the queen's chastity. yet laid aside, that whatever decree was signed both by Not that he believed that this was his intention, but, in his ihe king, and his lords, could not be changed; but refurious passion, he turned every thing to the worst sense, mained unalterable, Dan. vi. 7, 8, 9, 12, 15, 17. Esther i. and made use of it to aggravate his crime, Patrick's Com. 19. viii. 8. And Haman having engrossed the royal favor, mentary. B.
might perbaps have himself signed this decree for the
Jews' slaughter, instead of the ancient lords; and so + Esther vii. 10. might have rendered it, by their roles, irrevocable.
ceiving those that have the power, persuade | dience you shall do well : ,but I will that they them to be angry at such as have done them have all honor paid them. Accordingly I no barm; till they are in danger of perishing ; have hanged up the man that contrived such and this by lying accusations and calumnies. things against them, with his family, before Nor is this state of things to be discovered by the gates of Shushan : that punishment being ancient examples of such as we have merely sent upon him from God, who seeth all
thinga. learned by report ; but by some examples of And I give you in charge, that you publicly such impudent attempts under our own eyes. propose a copy of thịs epistle through all my So that it is not fit to attend any longer to ca kingdom, that the Jews may be permitted lumpies, and accusations; nor to the persua- peaceably to use their own laws; and that sions of others; but to determine what any you assist them i that at the same season one knows of himself to have been really done, whereto their miserable estate did belong, and to punish what justly deserves it, and to they may defend themselves the very same grant favors to such as are innocent. This day from unjust violence: the thirteenth day hath been the case of Haman, the son of Am of the twelfth month, which is Adar. . For medatha; by birth an Amalekite, and alien God hath made that day a day of salvation, from the blood of the Persians: who, when he instead of a day of destruction to them. And was hospitably entertained by us, and partook may it be a good day to those that wish us of that kindness which we bear to all men to well; and a memorial of the punishment of so great a degree, as to be called our father ; the conspirators against us! And I will that and to be all along worshipped, and to have you take notice that every city and every nahonor paid him by all in the second rank tion that shall disobey any thing coptained in after the royal honor due to ourselves, he this epistle, shall be destroyed by fire and could not bear his good fortune, nor govern sword. However, let this epistle be publish, the magnitude of his prosperity with sound ed through all the country that is under our reason. Nay he made a conspiracy against obedience; and let all the Jews, by all means, me,
who gave him his authority : by endeavour be ready against the day before mentioned ing to take away Mordecai my benefactor, and that they may avenge themselves upon their my saviour ; and by basely, and treacherously enemies.” requiring to have Esther, the partner of my Accordingly the horsemen who carried the life, and of my dominion, brought to destruc-epistles proceeded on the ways which they tion. For he contrived by this means to * de were to go with speed. But as for Morden prive me of my faithful friends, and transfer cai, as soon as he had assumed the royal garthe government to others.
ment, and the crown of gold, and had put the “But since I perceived that these Jews that chain about his neck, he went forth iu a.pabwere by this pernicious fellow devoted to de lic procession. And when the Jews who were struction, were not wicked men ; but con in Shushan, saw him in so great bonor with ducted their lives in the best manner; and the king, they thought his good fortune was were men dedicated to the worship of that common to themselves also : and joy, and a God who hath preserved the kingdom to me beam of salvation, encompassed the Jews: both and my ancestors : I do not only free them those that were in the cities, and those that from the punishment which the former epistle, were in the countries, upon the publication which was sent by Haman, ordered to be in- of the king's letters : insomuch, that many flicted on them : to which if
refuse obe even of other nations circumcised themselves
ANNNNNNN * These words give an intimation, as if Artaxerxes sus improbable, that those 75,000 of the Jews' enemies who pected a deeper design in Haman than openly appeared; were soon destroyed by the Jews, on the permission of the viz. that knowing the Jews would be faithful to him, and king, which must be on some great occasion, were Amalethat he could never transfer the crown to his own family, kites, their old and hereditary enemies, Exod. xvii. 14, 15, who was an Agagite, Esth. iij. ), 10, or of the posterity of and that thereby was fulfilled Balaam's prophecy, 'AmaAyag the old king of the Amalekites, 1 Sam. xv. 8. 32, 33, lek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be. while they were alive, and spread over all his dominions, that he perish for ever,' Numb, xxiv. 20. he therefore endeavoured to destroy them. Nor is it to me
for fear of the Jews; that they might procure she would have any thing farther done against safety to themselves thereby. * For 'on the them ? for that it should be done accordingly. thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which; Upon which she desired that the Jews might according to the Hebrews, is called Adar, but be permitted to treat their remaining enemies according to the Macedonians Dystrus; those in the same manner the next day: as also that that carried the king's epistle gave them no- they might hang the ten sons of Haman uptice, that the same day wherein their danger on the gallows. † So the king permitted the was to have been, on that very day should Jews so to do, as desirous not to contradict they destroy their enemies. But now the || Esther. rulers of the provinces, and the tyrants, and So they gathered themselves together again the kings, and the scribes, had the Jews in es on the fourteenth day of the month. Dysteem. For the fear they were in of Morde- ltrus, and slew about three hundred of their cai forced them to act with discretion. Nowenenies; but I touched nothing of what riches when the royal decree was come to all the they had. Now there were slain by the Jews country that was subject to the king, the Jews that were in the country, and in the other at Shushan slew five hundred of their ene- || cities, seventy-five thousand of their enemies : mies. And when the king had told Esther and these were slain on the thirteenth day of the number of those that were slain in that the month; and the next day they kept as a city : but did not well know what had been festival. $ In like manner the Jews that were done in the provinces ; he asked her whether in Shushan gathered themselves together, and
* It might be presumed that some, out of hatred to the vulgar saying among the Romans, pascere in cruce corJews, might be inclinable to obey Haman's decree: for vos, had its rise. Patrick's Commentary, and Pool's Anthough be himself was gone, yet it cannot be imagined, !) notations, B. that all the friends and creatures that he had made perish. See'.). Sam. xv. G, 14, 15, 19, 21. ed with biin. He inight have a great party everywhere, Ś Pur, in the Persian language, signifies a lot, and the and some of them so furiously enraged at his fall, as feast of Purim, or lots, (which had its name from Ha(even at the hazard of their own lives) would not fail to man's casting lots in order to divine which would be shew their indignation at those who were the occasion of most lucky to prefix for the murder of all the Jews in the it; and therefore this second decree, procured by Morde whole Persian dominions) is, to this very day, celebrated cai, gave them authority, if any attempt was made upon by the Jews, with some peculiar ceremonies, but most of them, either in great bodies, or small parties, not only to them reducible to these three things, reading, resting, defend themselves and repel them, but to make as great a and feasting. Before the reading which is performed slaughter of them as they were able, and even to take pos in the synagogue, and begins in the evening, as soon as session of their goods, as Haman had procured them li the stars appear, they make use of three forms of prayer: cence (chap. iij. 13.) to seize the goods of the Jews. Pa in the first of these, they praise. God for counting them trick's Commentary. B.
worthy to attend this divine service; in the second, + It is not unlikely, that many might be enraged at they thank him for the miraculous preservation of their his death, and bis sons, in particular, might set them ancestors; and in the third, they bless his boly name, for selves at the head of those who were bold enough to baving continued their lives to ihe celebration of another attempt the destruction of the Jews in Shushan, being festival in commenioration of it, Then they read over resolved to revenge their father's death, though in so the whole history of Haman from the beginning to the doing they were sure to meet their owo.
And this seems
end, but not out of any printed book, (for that is not to suggest one reason why Esther was so solicitous to lawful,) but out of an Hebrew manuscript, written on have their dead bodies (for they were slain already) hung. parchment. There are five places in the text, wherein upon the gallows, chap. ix. 13. even because they had the reader raises his voice with all his might: when he shewn more malice and indignation against the Jews, and comes to the place that mentions the names of the ten on the day when the cruel edict came to take place, had sons of Haman, he repeats them very quick, to shew that made more desperate attacks upon them than any ; tbey were all destroyed in a moment; and every time though the reason of the state, in this severity, might that the name of Haman is pronounced, the children, with be to expose the family to the greater infamy, and to great fury, strike against the benches of the synagogues, deter other counsellors from abusing the king at any time with the mallets that they bring for that purpose,
After with false representations. For though the Jews suffered that the reading is finished, they return home and bave a pone to hang on the tree (as they called the gallows) supper, not of flesh, but of spoon-meat; and early next longer than iill the evening of the day whereon they morning they arise, and return to the synagogue; where, were executed; yet oiher nations let them bang until after they have read that passage in Exodus, which makes they were consumed, (as appears from the story of the mention of the war of Amalek, they begin again to read Gibeonites, 2 Sam. xxi. 9, 10), or devoured by crows, the book of Esther, with the same ceremonies as before; vultures, or other ravenous creatures; from whence that and so conclude the service of the day, with curses VOL. 1. (36.)