Esther 5:14
Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Gallows.—Literally, tree; the Hebrew word, as well as the corresponding Greek word used by the LXX., standing both for the living tree and the artificial structure. Doubtless the punishment intended for Mordecai was crucifixion, for hanging, in the common sense of the term, does not seem to have been in use among the Persians. The same Hebrew word occurring above (Esther 2:23) is rendered tree. The Greek word employed is the same as that used in the New Testament for our Saviour’s cross (Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39, &c). The Latin Vulgate here actually renders the word on its last occurrence by crucem.

Fifty cubits high.—That is, about seventy-five feet; the great height being to call as much attention as possible to the execution, that thereby Haman’s glory might be proportionately increased.

Esther 5:14. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends — They saw how gladly he would dispense with his own resolution, of deferring the slaughter till the time determined by the lot, and therefore advise him to take an earnest of the satisfaction he then expected, in the speedy execution of Mordecai: Let a gallows be made — They advise him to have one made ready, that, as soon as he could get the warrant signed, there might be no delay of the execution, and to cause it to be made fifty cubits high, that it might be more conspicuous to all, and thereby be more disgraceful to Mordecai, and might strike all Haman’s enemies with the greater dread of despising or opposing him. And to-morrow speak thou unto the king — They advise him to go early in the morning to get an order from the king for hanging Mordecai, which they doubted not would be readily granted to one that was so much the king’s favourite, and who had so easily obtained an edict for the destruction of the whole nation of the Jews. Then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet — Having thus triumphed over thy implacable enemy, and got rid of all that vexes thee and imbitters thy prosperity and glory. And the thing pleased Haman — He approved of their advice, and caused the gallows to be erected accordingly. “And now,” says Henry, “we leave Haman to go to bed, pleased with the thoughts of seeing Mordecai hanged the next day, and then going merrily to the banquet, and not dreaming of handselling his own gallows.”

5:9-14 This account of Haman is a comment upon Pr 21:24. Self-admirers and self-flatterers are really self-deceivers. Haman, the higher he is lifted up, the more impatient he is of contempt, and the more enraged at it. The affront from Mordecai spoiled all. A slight affront, which a humble man would scarcely notice, will torment a proud man, even to madness, and will mar all his comforts. Those disposed to be uneasy, will never want something to be uneasy at. Such are proud men; though they have much to their mind, if they have not all to their mind, it is as nothing to them. Many call the proud happy, who display pomp and make a show; but this is a mistaken thought. Many poor cottagers feel far less uneasiness than the rich, with all their fancied advantages around them. The man who knows not Christ, is poor though he be rich, because he is utterly destitute of that which alone is true riches.A gallows, in the ordinary sense, is scarcely intended, since hanging was not a Persian punishment. The intention, no doubt, was to crucify (see the Esther 2:23 note) or impale Mordecai; and the pale or cross was to be 75 feet high, to make the punishment more conspicuous.

Speak thou unto the king ... - Requests for leave to put persons to death were often made to Persian kings by their near relatives, but only rarely by others.

8. let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare—The king ate alone, and his guests in an adjoining hall; but they were admitted to sit with him at wine. Haman being the only invited guest with the king and queen, it was natural that he should have been elated with the honor. Fifty cubits high; that it might be more conspicuous to all, and thereby be more disgraceful to Mordecai, and strike all Haman’s enemies with the great dread of despising or opposing him.

Then said Zeresh his wife, and all his friends, unto him,.... His wife very probably first moved it, and all his friends present approved of it and united in it:

let a gallows be made, of fifty cubits, high; that the person hanged thereon might be seen at a distance, and so be a greater reproach to him, and a terror to others, to take care they were not guilty of the same offence: Cartalo was ordered by his father to be fixed to the highest cross in the sight of the city (l); and it was usual for crosses to be erected very high (m) both for that purpose, and for greater infamy and disgrace (n):

and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon; get a grant from him for it; of which they made no doubt, since Haman had such an interest in him, and had already obtained an order to destroy all Jews in his dominions:

then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet; eased of the burden of his mind, and honoured to be a guest with the royal pair:

and the thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made; but it was for himself, as it proved in the issue. See Esther 7:10.

(l) Justin e Trogo, l. 18. c. 7. Vid. l. 22. c. 7. (m) Vid. Lipsium de Cruce, l. 3. c. 13. (n) Suetonius in Galba, c. 9.

Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty {g} cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.

(g) Meaning, the highest that could be found.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Let a gallows be made] Heb. tree. See Esther 2:23. ‘Fifty cubits’ is a hyperbolical expression meaning exceedingly high. The cubit at this time was probably equal to six handbreadths, and thus approximately 1½ feet in English measure. Zeresh and the rest considered it a safe assumption that one who had such influence with the king as to be permitted to condemn a whole nation to be exterminated within a few months, might reckon absolutely on obtaining authority to put an individual of that nation to death at once. Hence the order for the erection of the ‘gallows’ might be made beforehand, although according to Persian law the power of life and death resided in the king alone.

Verse 14. - Let a gallows be made. Rather, "a pale" or "cross." The Persians did not hang men, as we do, but ordinarily executed them by impalement (see the comment on Esther 2:23). Fifty cubits high. This is a very improbable height, and we may suspect a corruption of the number. It occurs, however, again in Esther 7:9. Speak thou unto the king. Haman's wife and friends assume that so trifling a matter as the immediate execution of one Jew will be of course allowed at the request of the chief minister, who has already obtained an edict for the early destruction of the entire people. It certainly would seem to be highly probable that Xerxes would have granted Haman's petition but for the accident of his sleeplessness, as narrated in the next chapter.



Esther 5:14His wife and all his friends advise: "Let a tree be made (set up) fifty cubits high, and to-morrow speak to the king, that Mordochai may be hanged thereon (i.e., impaled; see on תּלה Esther 2:23); and then go in merrily with the king to the banquet." The counsellors take it for granted that the king will without hesitation agree to Haman's proposal to execute Mordochai, and therefore advise him at once to make the necessary preparations, so that the hated Jew may be hanged on the morrow before the banquet, and Haman may then go with the king to the feast prepared by the queen, free from all annoyance. גב עץ עשׂה, to make, i.e., to erect a high tree. The higher the stake, the farther would it be seen. The 3rd pers. plur. יעשׂוּ stands instead of the passive: let them make equals let ... be made. So too יתלוּ for let ... be hanged. This speech pleased Haman, and he caused the stake to be erected.
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