Esther 10:3
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus.—We have seen that the events recorded in this book carry us to the year 470 B.C., at which time Mordecai was at the zenith of his greatness. How long he kept it, whether death or disgrace brought it to a close, and if the latter, from what cause, we cannot say. All we know is, that near the end of Xerxes’ reign his favourite and chief adviser was Artabanus, the captain of the guard, by whom he was murdered in B.C. 464. The last we hear of Mordecai, whatever was his afterfate, is that he was loyal to his people, and approved himself their benefactor, “seeking the wealth (i.e., weal—literally, good), and speaking peace to all his seed,” all of the stock of Israel.

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Esther 10:3. Mordecai the Jew was next unto King Ahasuerus — Long had he sat contentedly at the king’s gate, but now at length he is arrived at the presidency of the king’s council. Men of merit may, for a time, seem buried alive; but often, by some means or other, they are discovered and preferred at last. And great among the Jews — Not only great above them, and more honourable than any of them, but great with them, and dear to them, which they manifested by giving him a commanding interest among them, and submitting all their affairs to his direction; and accepted of his brethren — His greatness did not make him forget or disown his brethren, nor was he ashamed of his relation to them, though they were strangers and captives, dispersed and despised. And they did not envy his greatness, according to the disposition very prevalent among mankind in such cases, but rejoiced in it, and blessed God for it, and commended and loved him for the right and proper exercise of his great power. Seeking the wealth of his people — He did not seek his own wealth, and the raising of an estate for himself and his family, which is the chief thing most men aim at when they get into great places at court; but he consulted the welfare of his people, and made it his business to advance that. His power, his wealth, and all his interest with the king and queen, he improved for the public good. And speaking peace to all his seed — He was easy of access, courteous and affable, condescending and kind in his carriage, and ready, to the uttermost of his power, to assist all that made application to him. Doing good works is the best and chief thing expected from those that have wealth and power, but giving good words is also commendable, and makes the good deeds the more acceptable. It is said, to all his seed, probably to signify that he did not side with any one party of his people against another, nor make some of them his favourites, while the rest were neglected and crushed; but whatever differences there were among them, he was a common father to them all, and spoke peace to them all without distinction. Thus making himself acceptable by humility and beneficence, he was universally accepted, and gained the good-will of all his brethren.

Thus have we gone through all the historical books of the Old Testament. If our readers have received any edification from our endeavours to illustrate the Divine Oracles, and have been thereby assisted to read them with more pleasure and profit than formerly, we beseech them to give all the praise to the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift cometh, and especially all true understanding, and knowledge of his word: and to entreat him to afford us the continuance and increase of his gracious assistance in the further prosecution of our work, especially as we are to enter next on the more sublime and spiritual parts of the sacred writings.

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.Mordecai ... was next unto king Ahasuerus - See Esther 2:5 note. Artabanus (Esther 1:14 note) was favorite toward the end of Xerxes' reign, i. e. in his 20th and 21st years.3. For Mordecai … was next unto King Ahasuerus … great among the Jews, &c.—The elevation of this pious and patriotic Jew to the possession of the highest official power was of very great importance to the suffering church at that period; for it enabled him, who all along possessed the disposition, now to direct the royal influence and authority in promoting the interests and extending the privileges of his exiled countrymen. Viewed in this light, the providence of God is plainly traceable in all the steps that led to his unexpected advancement. This providential interposition is all the more remarkable, that, as in the analogous case of Joseph, it was displayed in making the ordinary and natural course of things lead to the most marvellous results. To use the pious words of an eminent prelate, "though in the whole of this episode there was no extraordinary manifestation of God's power, no particular cause or agent that was in its working advanced above the ordinary pitch of nature, yet the contrivance, and suiting these ordinary agents appointed by God, is in itself more admirable than if the same end had been effected by means that were truly miraculous." The sudden advancement of individuals from obscurity and neglect to the highest stations of power and influence is, in Eastern courts, no extraordinary nor infrequent occurrence. The caprice, the weak partiality of the reigning sovereign, or, it may be, his penetrating discernment in discovering latent energy and talent, has often "raised the beggar from the dunghill, and set him among princes" [1Sa 2:8]. Some of the all-powerful viziers in modern Persia, and not a few of the beys in Egypt, have been elevated to their respective dignities in this manner. And, therefore, the advancement of "Mordecai, who was next unto Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews," was in perfect accordance with the rapid revolution of "the wheel of fortune" in that part of the world. But, considering all the circumstances of Mordecai's advancement, not only his gaining the favor of the king, but his being "accepted of the multitude of his brethren, it was beyond all controversy the doing of the Lord, and was truly marvellous in his people's eyes."

accepted of the multitude of his brethren—Far from being envious of his grandeur, they blessed God for the elevation to official power of so good a man.

speaking peace to all his seed—While his administration was conducted with a mild and impartial hand, he showed a peculiarly warm and friendly feeling to all his countrymen when asked his counsel or his aid.

Accepted of the multitude of his brethren; who did not envy his greatness, as men most commonly do in such cases, but rejoiced in it, and blessed God for it, and praised and loved him for his right and sweet management of his vast power.

To all his seed; or, for all his seed, to wit, the Jews, who were of the same seed and root from which he was descended. He spoke and acted with great kindness and friendliness to them, when they resorted to him upon any occasion.

For Mordecai the Jew was next unto Ahasuerus,.... The second man in the kingdom, the principal of the counsellors, and prime minister of state:

and great among the Jews; highly respected by them, in great honour and esteem with them, for which there was great reason:

and accepted of the multitude of his brethren; or of many, of most, of the greatest part of them; for, let a man be ever so deserving, there are some that will envy his greatness, cavil at everything done by him, and speak evil of him without any just reason:

seeking the wealth of his people; their good, their welfare and happiness, temporal and spiritual:

and speaking peace to all his seed; not only to his family, but to all the Jews who were of the same seed with him, the seed of Abraham; either speaking to them in an humble and condescending manner, being very humane, affable, and courteous; or speaking for them to the king, asking of him for them what might conduce to their peace, prosperity, and happiness. No mention is made in this history of the death and burial either of Mordecai or Esther; but the author of Cippi Hebraici says (z), that Mordecai was buried in the city of Shushan, and that all the Jews in those parts assemble at his grave on the day of Purim, and sing songs, playing on tabrets and pipes, rejoicing that there was a miracle wrought; and the same writer says (a), they do the like at that time at the grave of Esther, half a mile from Tzephat, read this book that bears her name, eat, drink, and rejoice. Benjamin of Tudela says (b), they were both buried before a synagogue, at a place called Hamdan.

(z) P. 70. Ed. Hottinger. (a) Ib. p. 64. (b) Itinerar. p. 96.

For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and {a} accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

(a) These three points are here set forth as commendable and necessary for him that is in authority to have the favour of the people, to procure their wealth, and to be gentle and loving to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 3. - Next unto king Ahasuerus. Compare Genesis 41:40; Daniel 5:7; Daniel 6:3. Profane history neither confirms this nor contradicts it. We know almost nothing of Xerxes from profane sources after his return to Susa in B.C. 479. Accepted cf. Or, "beloved by." The wealth of his people. i.e. their welfare. Speaking peace to all his seed. It is generally allowed that by "his seed", we must understand those of the same stock with himself - "the seed of Israel." "Speaking peace" to them seems to mean "promoting their peace and safety" - insuring them, so long as he lived and ruled, a quiet and peaceful existence.



Esther 10:3And 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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