Esther 2:16
So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
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(16) The month Tebeth.—This extended from the new moon in January to that in February; the name occurs only here. The fifth Egyptian month, lasting from December 20 to January 20, was called Tybi. The time referred to in the verse will be the January or February of the year 478 B.C., and must have been very shortly after Xerxes’ return to Susa from the West. The long delay in replacing Vashti is simply to be explained by the long absence of Xerxes in Greece.

Esther 2:16. So Esther was taken into his house-royal — She was not sent back unto the second house of the women, as the rest were, but the king kept her in his own house. In the seventh year of his reign — How it came to pass that it was so long before Esther was advanced to succeed Vashti, seems difficult to resolve. But we are to consider, that a great deal of time was spent in gathering the virgins together, and that it was a year after they were collected, before she was brought to the king; and besides, he took some time, it is likely, to try how he liked her wit, humour, and conversation.

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.Tebeth (compare the corresponding Egyptian month, "Tobi" or "Tubi"), corresponded nearly to our January.

In the seventh year of his reign - In December, 479 B.C., or January, 478 B.C. Xerxes quitted Sardis for Susa in, or soon after, September, 479 B.C. It has been regarded as a "difficulty" that Vashti's place, declared vacant in 483 B.C., was not supplied until the end of 479 B.C., four years afterward. But since two years out of the four had been occupied by the Grecian expedition, the objection cannot be considered very weighty.

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. Into his house royal; and into his bed, as is implied; to which it is not strange if she, though a virtuous person, did in those circumstances yield, considering the infirmity of human nature, and of that sex, and the state of those times, when plurality of wives was permitted, and concubines were owned as wives; and these virgins were by this action made his wives or concubines. Besides, it is not known to us whether Mordecai and Esther had not direction or a dispensation from God in this matter; it being certain that God can dispense with his own positive laws.

So Esther was taken unto King Ahasuerus, into his house royal,.... Did not return on the morrow to the house of the women, as those who only became the king's concubines did, Esther 2:14, but she was taken to be his wife, and designed for his queen, and so was retained in his palace, and placed in an apartment suitable to the dignity she was about to be advanced unto:

and this was done in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth; and answers to part of December and part of January; not the twelfth month Adar, as the Septuagint version, and so Josephus (q), contrary to the original text: either that law had not obtained among the Persians, or the king thought himself not bound by it, which forbid marriage at any other time than the beginning of the vernal equinox (r):

in the seventh year of his reign; and the divorce of Vashti being in the third year of his reign, it was four years before Esther was taken by him; who, if Xerxes, it may be accounted for by his preparation for, and engagement in, a war with Greece, which took him up all this time; and from whence he returned in the seventh year of his reign, at the beginning of it, and married Esther at the close of it, see Esther 2:1 as may be suggested.

(q) Ut supra (Antiqu. l. 11. c.6. sect. 2.) (r) Strabo. Geograph. l. 1. p. 504.

So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the {h} month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

(h) Which contained part of December and part of January.

16. the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth] In the time of the Babylonish exile the months ceased to be called by the old Canaanitish names which the Jews had previously given them, e.g. Abib (Exodus 13:4), Ziv (1 Kings 6:1), and were denoted by numbers only. After the exile the new Babylonish names, of which Tebeth is one, began to come into use. The name does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament. It corresponded to the latter part of December and earlier part of January, and is derived from a Babylonian root tebu, which appears also in Hebrew, and means to sink or dip, referring to the rainfall by which it is characterised.

in the seventh year of his reign] probably in January, b.c. 479. Xerxes had at that time lately returned from his ill-starred expedition against Greece.

Verse 16. - The tenth month, which is the month Tebeth. This is the only mention of the month Tebeth in Scripture. It followed Chisleu, and corresponded to the end of December and the earlier part of January. The word seems to have come in from Egypt, where the corresponding month was called Tobi, or Tubi. In the seventh year of his reign. Four years after the disgrace of Vashti, probably in January, B.C. 479. Xerxes had recently returned from the Grecian expedition defeated and disgraced. He was glad to dismiss warlike matters from his thoughts, and to console himself for his failure by the pleasures of the seraglio. Esther 2:16She was taken into the king's house (מלכוּת בּית instead of המּלך בּית, the palace of the kingdom, the royal residence) in the tenth month, i.e., the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
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