Esther 5:3
Then said the king to her, What will you, queen Esther? and what is your request? it shall be even given you to the half of the kingdom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) To the half of the kingdom.—This tremendous offer occurs in further promises of Ahasuerus (Esther 5:6; Esther 7:2). The same reckless promise is made by Herod Antipas to the daughter of Herodias (Mark 6:23).

Esther 5:3. What is thy request? &c. — So far was the king from accounting her an offender, that he was glad to see her, and desirous to oblige her. Thus God, in his providence, often prevents the fears, and outdoes the hopes of his people. It shall be given thee to the half of the kingdom — A usual form of speech among kings, when their hearts are enlarged and overflow with affection to others, or when they give persons the freest liberty to ask what they please. The meaning is, Nothing in reason shall be denied thee.5:1-8 Esther having had power with God, and prevailing, like Jacob, had power with men too. He that will lose his life for God, shall save it, or find it in a better life. The king encouraged her. Let us from this be encouraged to pray always to our God, and not to faint. Esther came to a proud, imperious man; but we come to the God of love and grace. She was not called, but we are; the Spirit says, Come, and the Bride says, Come. She had a law against her, we have a promise, many a promise, in favour of us; Ask, and it shall be given you. She had no friend to go with her, or to plead for her; on the contrary, he that was then the king's favourite, was her enemy; but we have an Advocate with the Father, in whom he is well pleased. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. God put it into Esther's heart to delay her petition a day longer; she knew not, but God did, what was to happen in that very night.It shall be even given thee ... - Xerxes, on another occasion, when pleased with one of his wives, offered to grant her any request whatever, without limitation. Compare the margin reference. 3. it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom—This mode of speaking originated in the Persian custom of appropriating for the maintenance of great men, or royal favorites, one city for his bread, another for his wine, a third for his clothes, &c., so that the phrase denoted great liberality. No text from Poole on this verse. Then said the king unto her, what wilt thou, Queen Esther?.... He supposed she had some business with him, some suit to make to him, by her coming in this manner:

and what is thy request? signifying he was ready to grant it, be it what it would:

it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom; as it was usual with the Persian kings to give their wives cities for certain purposes; see Gill on Esther 2:18, here Ahasuerus, out of his great affection to Esther, offers half of his dominions, his one hundred and twenty seven provinces; meaning that he would grant her anything, and everything that was reasonable, and even magnificent; it is an hyperbolical and courtly way of speaking, and which has been used in later times, and in other countries; see Mark 6:23.

Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even {c} given thee to the half of the kingdom.

(c) Meaning by this that whatever she asked would be granted as in Mr 6:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. it shall be given thee even to the half of the kingdom] The order of the words in the Heb. indicates the eagerness belonging to a rapid and authoritative declaration: to the half of the kingdom, yea, it shall be given thee. Cp. Herod’s promise to the daughter of Herodias (Mark 6:23). In Herod. ix. 109 we find Xerxes undertaking beforehand to grant whatever should be asked by his consort Amestris in return for a beautifully worked mantle which she had presented to him. He further tells us (Herod. ix. 110, 111) that on a certain day in the year a guest at the king’s table might make any request and that the king was bound to grant it.Verse 3. - What is thy request? It shall be even given thee. The practice of granting requests beforehand is one common among Oriental monarchs. Sometimes no limit at all is placed to the petitioner's liberty of choice - seldom any less wide limit than that of the present passage. According to Herodotus (9:111), there was one day in the year on which the king was bound to grant any request made by a guest at his table. To the half of the kingdom. Compare Mark 6:23, where Herod Antipas makes the same limitation. When what Esther said was reported to Mordochai, he sent word back to her (השׁיב): "Think not in thy soul (with thyself) to be saved in the house of the king above all the Jews; for if thou holdest thy peace at this time, recovery and deliverance will arise from another place, but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if thou hast attained to royalty for a time such as this?" By the words: "Think not that thou wilt be saved in the king's house above all the Jew," i.e., alone of all the Jews, Mordochai does not reproach Esther with being indifferent to the fate of her fellow-countrymen, but rather calls her attention to the fact that her own life is in danger. This is evident from the clause: if thou hold thy peace, will not intercede with the king for thy people, help will come from some other quarter. רוח equals רוחה, Exodus 8:11, ἀναψύξις, deliverance from oppressive restraint. יעמוד, rise up, arise, used according to later custom for קוּם, as in 1 Chronicles 20:4. The thought is: the Jewish nation cannot perish, its continuance is guaranteed by the divine promise. If thou wilt venture nothing for its safety, God will bring deliverance, but destruction will come upon thee and thy family. Though Mordochai neither speaks of God, nor alludes directly to His assistance, he still grounds his hopes of the preservation of his people upon the word and promise of God, and Brentius pertinently remarks: habes hic excellentem ac plane heroicam Mardochaei fidem, qua in praesentissimo ac periculosissimo discrimine videt futuram liberationem. The last clause of Esther 4:14 is by most expositors understood as saying: and who knows whether thou hast not for a time like this attained to royalty? This agrees with the sense, but cannot be verbally justified, for אם does not mean whether not. The sentence contains an aposiopesis. The clause depending on the conditional אם is unspoken, but understood. Besides, הגּעתּ is not in the imperfect. Hence it can only be translated: Who knows, if thou hadst not attained to royalty at or for such a time? Then the clause omitted would be: what thou then wouldst have done. יודע מי more frequently has the meaning of perhaps; and Mordochai says: perhaps thou hast attained to royalty (to the dignity of queen) for a time like this, sc. to use thy position for the deliverance of thy people. In the turn thus given to the sentence it contains the most urgent injunction to Esther to use her high position for the preservation of her fellow-countrymen.
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