Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea.1. laid a tribute] The word rendered ‘tribute’ means everywhere else in Biblical Hebrew a body of forced labourers, or serfdom. We should therefore render here, imposed forced labour. The thought in the author’s mind was that now, Haman having fallen, and Mordecai ruling as vizier in his stead, the favour shewn to the latter, and through him and Esther to the Jewish nation as the people of God, had the result of augmenting the king’s power over the other nations included in his dominions.
The Targum characteristically adds that when Ahasuerus knew who the people and family of Esther were, he declared them free.
the isles of the sea] an expression denoting the coast lands, especially of Phoenicia and the neighbouring country, with adjacent islands.
Chap. Esther 10:1-3. Mordecai’s greatness
The connexion of this short chapter with the rest of the Book is obscure. It may be a fragment of some other work, which, owing to its subject-matter, came to be attached to the preceding narrative. On the other hand it may be nothing more than the closing paragraph or postscript of the Book, having for its object to emphasize the power of Ahasuerus, and so to reflect glory on Mordecai. In that case the thought which inspires the chapter is that Ahasuerus, whose prime minister Mordecai was, could command the service of the continent of Asia, and the coast of the Mediterranean.
And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?2. in the book of the chronicles] the official records. See on Esther 2:23. The formula may be imitated from the phraseology in 1 Kings 14:19; 1 Kings 14:29 etc.
3 was next unto king Ahasuerus] i.e. was second only to him in point of rank. The same expression is used of a certain Elkanah’s position with respect to Ahaz, king of Judah (2 Chronicles 28:7), and of priests who were second in rank to the high priest, ‘of the second order,’ in 2 Kings 23:4.
For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.