Esther 7
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.
And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.
2. gave it unto Mordecai] See on Esther 3:10.

set Mordecai over] entrusted him with the administration of Haman’s property. Haman is represented as possessed of great wealth (Esther 5:11).

Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.
4. we are sold] She refers to the bribe which Haman had offered the king for permission to destroy her people, and of which Mordecai had told her (Esther 3:9, Esther 4:7).

although the adversary could not have compensated for the king’s damage] The original text is obscure. The R.V. makes good sense, as meaning that Haman, by enslaving the Jews, would do the king an injury (by depriving him of the persons of so many of his subjects and of the revenues derived from them) for which it would be out of his power to make compensation. The fatal objection to this rendering is that it is impossible as a translation of the Heb. as it stands, inasmuch as the word rendered ‘although’ cannot have that sense, but must be rendered for, or because.

The margin of the R.V., retaining the Heb. consonants as they stand while slightly changing a vowel[74] (for our affliction is not to be compared with the king’s damage), means, ‘the suffering which would be inflicted on us is a trivial matter compared with the loss to the king.’

[74] Reading הַצַּר for הַצָּר.

Other translations are (a) (keeping the same change of vowel in the Heb.) ‘for such oppression would not be worth troubling the king about,’ or (b) (without the change of vowel) ‘for the adversary (Haman) is not worth troubling the king about.’ But we are not justified in forcing the word properly translated ‘damage’ to mean ‘annoyance.[75]’ The LXX. have ‘for the adversary is not worthy of the court of the king.’[76]

[75] It may be noted that the word is a ‘loan-word’ from Aramaic, and occurs in this passage only of the Bible.

[76] οὐ γὰρ ἅξιος ὁ διάβολος τῆς αὐλῆς (apparently reading הצר over again as חצר) τοῦ βασιλέως.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?
And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
7. arose in his wrath] with the restlessness which accompanies strong passion, and brings him back again apparently at once to confront the object of his indignation.

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.
8. the word] This seems to refer to the speech just preceding. It was clear to the attendants, without any more specific utterance on the king’s part, that Haman was doomed to death.

they covered Haman’s face] Curtius in his history of Alexander the Great (vi. 8) speaks of this as done to Philotas, who had served with distinction under that monarch, when, on a confession of treason having been wrung from him by torture, he was about to be stoned to death. Livy also (i. 26) mentions it as a Roman custom. We have no authority beyond this passage for its practice among the Persians, and it is possible that, with a slight change in the Heb. word rendered ‘they covered,’ we should translate, his face became flushed (with dismay and shame). Cp. LXX. ‘he was utterly perturbed (confounded) in countenance.’[77]

[77] διετράπη τῷ προσώπῳ.

9 Harbonah] mentioned in the list of Esther 1:10.

Behold also] by a fortunate coincidence. Harbonah’s words indicate a malicious joy at the downfall of the favourite.

Esther 8:1. the house of Haman] his goods. See on Esther 3:11. For the confiscation of the property of a condemned criminal in Persia see Herod. iii. 129, where, after a description of the death sentence carried out in the case of Oroetes, a Persian, for murder and other misdeeds, the historian mentions as a matter of course that ‘the treasures of Oroetes’ were conveyed to Sardis.

Esther had told what he was unto her] There was no longer any motive for concealing the relationship, Mordecai being now secure in the king’s favour. Her own Jewish origin she had been obliged to disclose already (Esther 7:4).

And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.
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