Esther 10:1
And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
X.

(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.

10:1-3 Greatness of Ahasuerus-Mordecai's advancement. - Many instances of the grandeur of Ahasuerus might have been given: these were written in the Persian chronicles, which are long since lost, while the sacred writings will live till time shall be no more. The concerns of the despised worshippers of the Lord are deemed more important by the Holy Spirit, than the exploits of the most illustrious monarch on earth. Mordecai was truly great, and his greatness gave him opportunities of doing the more good. He did not disown his people the Jews, and no doubt kept to the true religion. He did not seek his own wealth, but the welfare of his people. Few have it in their power to do so much good as Mordecai; but all have it in their power to do hurt, and who has it not in his power to do some good? We are not required to do what is not in our power, or is unsuited to our station; but all are bound to live under the influence of the tempers displayed in the saints, whose examples are recorded in the Bible. If we live by the faith of Christ, we shall be active according to the ability and opportunities he gives us, in promoting his glory and the best interests of men. If our faith be genuine, it will work by love. Wait in faith and prayer, and the event will be safe and glorious; our salvation is sure, through our Lord Jesus Christ.A tribute - Perhaps an allusion to some fresh arrangement of the tribute likely to have followed on the return of Xerxes from Greece.

Upon the isles of the sea - Cyprus, Aradus, the island of Tyre, Platea, etc., remained in the hands of the Persians after the victories of the Greeks, and may be the "isles" here intended.

CHAPTER 10

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.

i.e. Upon all his dominions, whether in thee main continent, or in the islands.

And the King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land, and upon the isles of the sea. Which include all his dominions, both on the continent, and on the sea, the Aegean sea; though Aben Ezra thinks it regards such as were not under his government, but stood in fear of him, of whom he demanded tribute. If Ahasuerus was Xerxes, perhaps his exchequer might be drained by his wars with the Grecians, which put him upon this; though some understand this of his renewing the taxes and tribute, which he remitted upon his marriage with Esther, Esther 2:18. And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea.
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 10:1And King Ahashverosh laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. Esther 10:2. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the statement of the greatness of Mordochai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? The Chethiv אחשׁרשׁ is a clerical error for אהשׁורשׁ. The word מס, service, here stands for tribute. As the provinces of the kingdom paid the imposts for the most part in natural produce, which they had reared or obtained by the labour of their hands, their labour (agriculture, cattle-keeping, etc.) was to a certain extent service rendered to the king. The matter of Esther 10:1 seems extraneous to the contents of our book, which has hitherto communicated only such information concerning Ahashverosh as was necessary for the complete understanding of the feast of Purim. "It seems" - remarks Bertheau - "as thou the historian had intended to tell in some further particulars concerning the greatness of King Ahashverosh, for the sake of giving his readers a more accurate notion of the influential position and the agency of Mordochai, the hero of his book, who, according to Esther 9:4, waxed greater and greater; but then gave up his intention, and contented himself with referring to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia, which contained information of both the power and might of Ahashverosh and the greatness of Mordochai." There is not, however, the slightest probability in such a conjecture. This matter may be simply explained by the circumstance, that the author of this book was using as an authority the book of the chronicles alluded to in Esther 10:2, and is quite analogous with the mode observed in the books of Kings and Chronicles by historians both of Babylonian and post-Babylonian days, who quote from the documents they make use of such events only as seem to them important with regard to the plan of their own work, and then at the close of each reign refer to the documents themselves, in which more may be found concerning the acts of the kings, at the same time frequently adding supplementary information from these sources, - comp. e.g., 1 Kings 14:30; 1 Kings 15:7, 1 Kings 15:23, 1 Kings 15:32; 1 Kings 22:47-50; 2 Kings 15:37; 2 Chronicles 12:15, - with this difference only, that in these instances the supplementary notices follow the mention of the documents, while in the present book the notice precedes the citation. As, however, this book opened with a description of the power and glory of King Ahashverosh, but yet only mentioned so much concerning this ruler of 127 provinces as was connected with the history of the Jews, its author, before referring to his authorities, gives at its close the information contained in Esther 10:1, from the book of the chronicles of the kingdom, in which probably it was connected with a particular description of the power and greatness of Ahashverosh, and probably of the wars in which he engaged, for the sake of briefly intimating at the conclusion whence the king derived the means for keeping up the splendour described at the commencement of the book. This book of the chronicles contained accounts not only of the power and might of Ahashverosh, but also a פּרשׁה, a plain statement or accurate representation of the greatness of Mordochai wherewith the king had made him great, i.e., to which he had advanced him, and therefore of the honours of the individual to whom the Jews were indebted for their preservation. On this account is it referred to. For Mordochai was next to the king, i.e., prime minister of the king (משׁנה, comp. 2 Chronicles 28:7), and great among the Jews and acceptable to the multitude of his brethren, i.e., he was also a great man among the Jews and was beloved and esteemed by all his fellow-countrymen (on רצוּי, comp. Deuteronomy 23:24), seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his race. This description of Mordochai's position with respect both to the king and his own people has, as expressive of an exalted frame of mind, a rhetorical and poetic tinge. Hence it contains such expressions as אחיו רב, the fulness of his brethren, טּוב דּרשׁ; comp. Psalm 122:9; Jeremiah 38:4. On שׁלום דּבּר, comp. Psalm 85:9; Psalm 35:20; Psalm 27:3. זרעו in parallelism with עמּו is not the descendants of Mordochai, or his people, but his race. Comp. on this signification of זרע, 2 Kings 11:1; Isaiah 61:9. The meaning of the two last phrases is: Mordochai procured both by word and deed the good and prosperity of his people. And this is the way in which honour and fortune are attained, the way inculcated by the author of the 34th Psalm in Psalm 34:13, when teaching the fear of the Lord.
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