And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land, and on the isles of the sea.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Laid a tribute.—The disastrous expedition to Greece must have taxed the resources of the empire to the utmost, and fresh tribute would therefore be requisite to fill the exhausted coffers. Besides this, a harassing war was still going on, even ten years after the battle of Salamis, on the coast of Asia Minor, and this would require fresh supplies.
The isles of the sea.—The chief island yet remaining to the Persian Empire was Cyprus. Those in the Ægean Sea were now free from Persian rule, but possibly, even after the loss, the old phrase may have been retained; just as in modern times we have Kings of “England, France, and Ireland,” and of “the two Sicilies, and Jerusalem” &c.Esther 10:1. King Ahasuerus, laid a tribute upon the land — That is, he laid a tax upon every part of his dominions, both on the continent, and on the islands over which his power extended. By the isles here mentioned are meant those in the Æegean sea, conquered by Darius Hystaspes.
Es 10:1-3. Ahasuerus' Greatness. Mordecai's Advancement.
1. Ahasuerus laid a tribute—This passage being an appendix to the history, and improperly separated from the preceding chapter, it might be that the occasion of levying this new impost arose out of the commotions raised by Haman's conspiracy. Neither the nature nor the amount of the tax has been recorded; only it was not a local tribute, but one exacted from all parts of his vast empire.Ahasuerus’s greatness and Mordecai’s advancement.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.Verse 1. - King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, was the first to do this (Herod., 3:89); but, as the tribute had to be rearranged from time to time (ibid., 6:42), any subsequent Persian monarch who made a fresh arrangement might be said to "lay a tribute on the land." Xerxes is not unlikely to have done so after his return from Greece, as he had lost portions of his territories. And on the islands of the sea. The Hebrew expression translated by "islands of the sea" includes maritime tracts. Xerxes by the Greek expedition lost the islands of the AEgean, but still held certain tracts upon the coast of Europe, which were occupied for a considerable time by Persian garrisons (Herod., 7:106, 107). These would necessarily be included in any assessment that he may have made, and it is even not unlikely that Xerxes would lay his assessment on the AEgean islands, though he might not be able to collect it. Esther 9:28, and explains how it happened that these feast-days became a general observance with all Jews; namely, that because of all the words of this letter (of Mordochai, Esther 9:20), and of what they had seen concerning the matter (על־כּכה, concerning so and so), and what had come upon them (therefore for two reasons: (1) because of the written injunction of Mordochai; and (2) because they had themselves experienced this event), the Jews established, and took upon themselves, their descendants, and all who should join themselves unto them (proselytes), so that it should not fail (i.e., inviolably), to keep (to celebrate) these two days according to the writing concerning them and the time appointed thereby year by year.
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