Esther 2:13
Then thus came every maiden to the king; whatever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women to the king's house.
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Esther 2:13. Thus came every maiden unto the king — Thus purified and prepared, and thus furnished and attended, as it follows. Whatsoever she desired was given her — For ornament, or by way of attendance. And it should be observed, that every one whom the king took to his bed was his wife of a lower rank, as Hagar was Abraham’s; so that it would have been no sin or dishonour to Esther, though she had not been made queen. 2:1-20 We see to what absurd practices those came, who were destitute of Divine revelation, and what need there was of the gospel of Christ, to purify men from the lusts of the flesh, and to bring them back to the original institution of marriage. Esther was preferred as queen. Those who suggest that Esther committed sin to come at this dignity, do not consider the custom of those times and countries. Every one that the king took was married to him, and was his wife, though of a lower rank. But how low is human nature sunk, when such as these are the leading pursuits and highest worldly happiness of men! Disappointment and vexation must follow; and he most wisely consults his enjoyment, even in this present life, who most exactly obeys the precepts of the Divine law. But let us turn to consider the wise and merciful providence of God, carrying on his deep but holy designs in the midst of all this. And let no change in our condition be a pretext for forgetting our duties to parents, or the friends who have stood in their place.Mordecai occupied, apparently, a humble place in the royal household. He was probably one of the porters or doorkeepers at the main entrance to the palace Esther 2:21. 12. Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus—A whole year was spent in preparation for the intended honor. Considering that this took place in a palace, the long period prescribed, together with the profusion of costly and fragrant cosmetics employed, was probably required by state etiquette. Then thus; thus purified and prepared; and thus as it follows.

Whatsoever she desired, for ornament, or by way of attendance. Then thus came every virgin unto the king,.... When her twelve months were up, and she was purified in the manner before observed:

whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house; whatever she commanded the chamberlain was obliged to furnish her with, or grant it to her, whether for ornament, as jewels, rich apparel, &c. or for attendance; whatever prince or peer she required to accompany her to the king, was to be obtained for her, as the Targum: and everything for mirth, all kinds of songs, or instruments of music, as Jarchi.

Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was {f} given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.

(f) Whatever apparel she asked for, the eunuch was bound to give to her.

13. then in this wise] better than then thus of A.V., as marking more forcibly the commencement of the apodosis, answering to the somewhat distant ‘Now when’ at the beginning of Esther 2:12.Verse 13. - Then thus came every maiden, etc. Rather, "And when each maiden came thus purified to the king, whatever she asked was given her," etc. The whole verse is one sentence. The meaning is, that on quitting the house of the women for the king's apartments, each maiden was entitled to demand anything that she liked in the way of dress or ornament, and it had to be given her. Before relating how this matter was carried into execution, the historian introduces us to the two persons who play the chief parts in the following narrative. Esther 2:5. There was (dwelt) in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the name of Mordochai (מרדּכי, in more correct editions מרדכי), the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite (ימיני אישׁ like 1 Samuel 9:1). Jair, Shimei, and Kish can hardly mean the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of Mordochai. On the contrary, if Jair were perhaps his father, Shimei and Kish may have been the names of renowned ancestors. Shimei was probably the son of Gera, well known to us from the history of David, 2 Samuel 16:5. and 1 Kings 2:8, 1 Kings 2:36., and Kish the father of Saul, 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Samuel 9:1; for in genealogical series only a few noted names are generally given; comp., e.g., 1 Chronicles 9:19; 1 Chronicles 6:24. Upon the ground of this explanation, Josephus (Ant. xi. 6) makes Esther of royal descent, viz., of the line of Saul, king of Israel; and the Targum regards Shimei as the Benjamite who cursed David. The name Mordochai occurs in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7 as that of some other individual among those who returned from captivity with Zerubbabel, but can hardly be connected with the Persian mrdky, little man. Aben Ezra, Lightfoot, and others, indeed, are of opinion that the Mordochai of the present book really came up with Zerubbabel, but subsequently returned to Babylon. Identity of name is not, however, a sufficient proof of identity of person. The chronological statement, Esther 2:6 : who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah, king of Judah, etc., offers some difficulty. For from the captivity of Jeconiah in the year 599 to the beginning of the reign of Xerxes (in the year 486) is a period of 113 years; hence, if the אשׁר is referred to Mordochai, he would, even if carried into captivity as a child by then, have reached the age of from 120 to 130 years, and as Esther was not made queen till the seventh year of Xerxes (Esther 2:16), would have become prime minister of that monarch at about the age of 125. Rambach, indeed, does not find this age incredible, though we cannot regard it as probable that Mordochai should have become minister at so advanced an age.

(Note: Baumg. aptly remarks, l.c., p. 125: Etsi concedendum est, non esse contra naturam, si Mordechaeus ad illam aetatem pervenerit, et summa hac constitutus senectute gravissimis negotiis perficiendis par fuerit, tamen est hoc rarissimum et nisi accedit certum testimonium, difficile ad credendum.)

On this account Clericus, Baumgarten, and others refer the relative אשׁר to the last name, Kish, and understand that he was carried away with Jeconiah, while his great-grandson Mordochai was born in captivity. In this case Kish and Shimei must be regarded as the great-grandfather and grandfather of Mordochai. We grant the possibility of this view; nevertheless it is more in accordance with the Hebrew narrative style to refer אשׁר to the chief person of the sentence preceding it, viz., Mordochai, who also continues to be spoken of in Esther 2:7. Hence we prefer this reference, without, however, attributing to Mordochai more than 120 years of age. For the relative clause: who had been carried away, need not be so strictly understood as to assert that Mordochai himself was carried away; but the object being to give merely his origin and lineage, and not his history, it involves only the notion that he belonged to those Jews who were carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar with Jeconiah, so that he, though born in captivity, was carried to Babylon in the persons of his forefathers. This view of the passage corresponds with that formerly presented by the list of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Jacob who went down with him to Egypt; see the explanation of the passage in question.

(Note: Baumgarten also considers this view admissible, rightly remarking, p. 127: Scriptoribus sacris admodum familiare est singulos homines non per se et sepositos spectare, sed familias et gentes ut corpora quasi individua complecti, ita ut posteri majorum personis quasi contenti et inclusi, majores vero in posteris ipsi subsistere et vivere existimentur. Ex hac ratione Mordechaeus captus esse dici potest, quamvis ipse satis diu post Jechoniae tempora ex iis, qui a Nebucadnezaro abducti sunt, natus fuerit.)

Esther 2:7. Mordochai was אמן, keeper, bringer up, i.e., foster-father, to Hadassh (אמן constructed as a participle with את). הדסּה means a myrtle (הדס in the Shemitish), like the Greek name Μυρτία, Μυῤῥίνη. "That is Esther," the queen known by the name of Esther. The name אסתּר is the Old-Persian stara with א prosthetic, and corresponds with the Greek ἀστήρ, star, in modern Persian sitareh. She was בּת־דּדו, daughter of his father's brother, and adopted by Mordochai after the death of her parents; we are told, moreover, that she had a fine figure and beautiful countenance. Her father, whose name, according to Esther 2:15, was Abihail, was uncle to Mordochai, and hence Esther was his cousin.

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