Esther 3:12
Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded to the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) On the thirteenth day of the first month.—From the next verse we see that the thirteenth of Adar was to be the lucky day for Haman’s purpose, which may have suggested the thirteenth of Nisan as a suitable day for this preliminary step. Bishop Wordsworth reminds us that this day was the eve of the Passover, so that Haman’s plot against the Jews strangely coincides in time with one five hundred years later, when the Jews themselves, aided by heathen hands and the powers of darkness, sought to vanquish the Saviour; and as the trembling Jews of Persia were delivered by God’s goodness, so too by His goodness Satan himself was overthrown and the Lamb that was slain did triumph.

Lieutenants.—Literally, satraps. The Hebrew word here (akhashdarpan) is simply an attempt to transliterate the Persian khahatrapa, Whence the Greek satrapes, and so the English word. The word occurs several times in this book and in Ezra and Daniel.

Esther 3:12-13. Then were the king’s scribes called — This he did so speedily, though it was a year before the intended execution, lest the king should change his mind, either through his own clemency, or the persuasion of others. It was, however, not wisely judged to let his design be known so long before it was to take effect; for the Jews might find some way to deliver themselves, or might steal out of the kingdom: but undoubtedly this was so ordered by the overruling providence of God. And to take the spoil of them for a prey — Which was to induce the people to use the greater severity and readiness to execute this edict for their own advantage.3:7-15 Without some acquaintance with the human heart, and the history of mankind, we should not think that any prince could consent to a dreadful proposal, so hurtful to himself. Let us be thankful for mild and just government. Haman inquires, according to his own superstitions, how to find a lucky day for the designed massacre! God's wisdom serves its own purposes by men's folly. Haman has appealed to the lot, and the lot, by delaying the execution, gives judgment against him. The event explains the doctrine of a particular providence over all the affairs of men, and the care of God over his church. Haman was afraid lest the king's conscience should smite him for what he had done; to prevent which, he kept him drinking. This cursed method many often take to drown convictions, and to harden their own hearts, and the hearts of others, in sin. All appeared in a favourable train to accomplish the project. But though sinners are permitted to proceed to the point they aim at, an unseen but almighty Power turns them back. How vain and contemptible are the strongest assaults against Jehovah! Had Haman obtained his wish, and the Jewish nation perished, what must have become of all the promises? How could the prophecies concerning the great Redeemer of the world have been fulfilled? Thus the everlasting covenant itself must have failed, before this diabolical project could take place.On the thirteenth day - Haman had, apparently (compare Esther 3:7 with Esther 3:13), obtained by his use of the lot the 13th day of Adar as the lucky day for destroying the Jews. This may have caused him to fix on the 13th day of another month for the commencement of his enterprise. So, the Jews throughout the empire had from 9 to 11 months of warning of the peril which threatened them. 12-15. Then were the king's scribes called … and there was written—The government secretaries were employed in making out the proclamation authorizing a universal massacre of the Jews on one day. It was translated into the dialects of all the people throughout the vast empire, and swift messengers were sent to carry it into all the provinces. On the day appointed, all Jews were to be put to death and their property confiscated; doubtless, the means by which Haman hoped to pay his stipulated tribute into the royal treasury. To us it appears unaccountable how any sane monarch could have given his consent to the extirpation of a numerous class of his subjects. But such acts of frenzied barbarity have, alas! been not rarely authorized by careless and voluptuous despots, who have allowed their ears to be engrossed and their policy directed by haughty and selfish minions, who had their own passions to gratify, their own ends to serve. Then were the king’s scribes called: this he did so speedily, though it was a year before the intended execution, lest the king should change his mind, either by his own clemency, or by the persuasion of others. Then were the king's scribes called, on the thirteenth day of the first month,.... The month Nisan, Esther 3:7, after Haman had leave and power from the king to destroy the Jews, and his ring given him in token of it; the king's scribes or secretaries of state were called together on that day, to write the letters for that purpose:

and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded; whatever he would have done; he had an unlimited power to do what he pleased, and he made use of it, and directed the scribes what they should write:

unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province; the deputy governors of the one hundred and twenty seven provinces, Esther 1:1

and to the rulers of every people of every province; it seems there were different people in every province, which had their rulers; and these were sent to:

according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; and letters were written in the language, and character of the language, each people spoke, that they might be understood by them:

in the name of King Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. All this Haman took care to have done so early as the thirteenth of Nisan, though the execution was not to be until the thirteenth of Adar, eleven months after; partly that there might be time enough to send the letters everywhere, even to the most distant parts; and chiefly lest Ahasuerus should change his mind, and be prevailed upon to revoke his grant; and, it may be, either to keep the Jews in continual dread, or cause them to flee.

Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. scribes] secretaries, such as attended Xerxes in his expedition against Greece.[70]

[70] Herodotus says that “seated beneath a golden awning [in a Sidonian galley] he sailed along the prows of all his vessels … while he made enquiries again, as he had done when he reviewed the land-force, and caused the answers to be recorded by his scribes” (Herod. vii. 100). Again, “During the whole time of the battle [of Salamis] Xerxes sat at the base of the hill called Aegaleos, over against Salamis, and whenever he saw any of his own captains perform any worthy exploit, he enquired concerning him, and the man’s name was taken down by his scribes, together with the names of his father and his city” (viii. 90).

in the first month, on the thirteenth day thereof] The thirteenth having been found to be a lucky day for the massacre itself, Haman may have thought it advisable to choose the same day of the first month for entering upon the preparation for it.

satraps] A.V. lieutenants. The original word is aḥashdarpan, a Hebraised form of the word khshatrapava, which occurs in Persian inscriptions in the sense of governor. Our word satrap comes through the Græcised form (σατράπης) of the Persian word.

governors] Heb. pakhoth, plural of pekhah. The satrap held sway over a province, the pekhah over a smaller district or petty kingdom. The latter is a loan word from the Assyrian pakhâti, lord of a district. Nehemiah was a pekhah (Nehemiah 5:14).

the princes] A.V. the rulers. These were the chiefs of the conquered peoples. The Persians in this respect followed the same course which we have adopted in India, and placed a good deal of power in the hands of the existing native rulers.

in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written] See on Esther 3:10.Verse 12. - Then were the king's scribes called. "Scribes" (in the plural) are spoken of as attending on Xerxes throughout the Grecian expedition (Herod., 7:100; 8:90). Such persons were always near at hand in the palace, ready to draw up edicts. On the thirteenth day of the first month. It is conjectured that Haman cast his lots on the first day of the year (Berthcau), as an auspicious time for taking anything in hand, and having obtained a thirteenth day for the massacre, adopted the same number as probably auspicious for the necessary appeal to the king. Having gained the king s consent, he sent at once for the scribes. The king's lieutenants. Literally, "the king's satraps." The actual Persian word is used, slightly Hebraised. And to the governors. The word used has been compared with pasha (Stanley), and again with beg or bey, but is probably distinct from either. It designates a provincial governor of the second rank-one who would have been called by the Greeks ὑποσατράπης. The number of these subordinate officials was probably much greater than that of the satraps. And to the rulers of every people. i.e. the native authorities - the head men of the conquered peoples, to whom the Persian system allowed a considerable share of power. In the name of king Ahasuerus was it written. All edicts were in the king's name, even when a subject had been allowed to issue them. See the story of Bagseus in Herodotus (3:128), where the edicts, of which he alone was the author, have the form of orders from the king. And sealed with the king's ring. Or "signet" (see note on ver. 10). When, then, Haman, whose attention had been called to the fact, saw, when next he went in unto the king, that Mordochai did not fall down before him, he was full of wrath, and (Esther 3:6) thought scorn, i.e., in his pride esteemed it too contemptible, to lay hands on Mordochai alone, i.e., to execute him alone, for this opposition to the royal commands; for they had showed him the people of Mordochai, i.e., had told him that as a Jew Mordochai had refused this act of worship, and that the whole Jewish nation thought and acted accordingly. Therefore he sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahashverosh, the people of Mordochai. The subject Haman is repeated before ויבקּשׁ for the sake of clearness, because it was not expressly named with ויּבן. מרדּכי עם is in apposition to כּל־היּהוּדים: all the Jews as the people of Mordochai, because they were the people of Mordochai and shared his sentiments.
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