Esther 6:8
Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:
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(8) Let the royal apparel be brought . . .—These exceedingly great distinctions Haman suggests, thinking with unaccountable vanity (for nothing is said or implied as to any service rendered by him to the king) that the king must necessarily have been referring to him, and in a moment he is irretrievably committed. Whether Hainan’s character had at its best estate much discretion, or whether he rose to his high position, not by the qualities that should commend a statesman to a king, but, like many another Eastern Vizier, had by flattery and base arts gained the royal favour, we cannot say; here he shows the lack of the most ordinary discretion, his vanity is so inordinate that he cannot see the possibility of any one’s merits save his own. The request which Haman made may be illustrated by the permission granted by Xerxes to his uncle Artabanus to put on the royal robes and sleep in the royal bed at Susa (Herod, vii. 15-17).

The horse that the king rideth upon.—Thus Pharaoh, desiring-to honour Joseph, made him ride in his own chariot (Genesis 41:43): David, wishing to show that Solomon had really become king in his father’s lifetime, commands that he should ride on the king’s mule (1Kings 1:33; 1Kings 1:44).

And the crown royal which is set upon his head.—If we take the Hebrew here quite literally, the meaning must be and on whose (i.e., the horse’s) head a royal crown is set. The only objection to this view is, that there appears to be no evidence of such a custom among the Persians. Some render, and that a (or the: the Hebrew is necessarily ambiguous in such a case) royal crown be set, but this we consider does violence to the Hebrew. It must be noted that both the king in his reply, and the writer in describing what actually took place, make no mention of a crown as worn by Mordecai, nor does Haman in the following verse.

6:4-11 See how men's pride deceives them. The deceitfulness of our own hearts appears in nothing more than in the conceit we have of ourselves and our own performances: against which we should constantly watch and pray. Haman thought the king loved and valued no one but himself, but he was deceived. We should suspect that the esteem which others profess for us, is not so great as it seems to be, that we may not think too well of ourselves, nor trust too much in others. How Haman is struck, when the king bids him do honour to Mordecai the Jew, the very man whom he hated above all men, whose ruin he was now designing!The honors here proposed by Haman were such as Persian monarchs rarely allowed to subjects. Each act would have been a capital offence if done without permission. Still, we find Persian monarchs allowing their subjects in these or similar acts under certain circumstances. 8. the royal apparel … which the king useth to wear—A coat which has been on the back of a king or prince is reckoned a most honorable gift, and is given with great ceremony.

the horse that the king rideth upon—Persia was a country of horses, and the highbred charger that the king rode upon acquired, in the eyes of his venal subjects, a sort of sacredness from that circumstance.

and the crown royal which is set upon his head—either the royal turban, or it may be a tiara, with which, on state processions, the horse's head was adorned.

The royal apparel; his outward garment, which was made of purple, interwoven with gold, as Justin and Curtius relate. The horse that the king rideth upon usually; which was well known, both by his excellency, and especially by his peculiar trappings and ornaments: compare 1 Kings 1:33.

Upon his head; either,

1. Upon the king’s head; or,

2. Upon the horse’s head; which seems best to agree,

1. With that ancient Chaldee interpreter, and other Jews, who take it thus.

2. With the signification and order of the Hebrew words.

3. With the following verses, in which there is no further mention of this crown, but only of the apparel, and of the horse, to which the crown belonged, as one of his ornaments.

4. With the custom of the Persians, which some affirm to have been this, to put the crown upon the head of that horse upon which the king rode.

Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear,.... Not a whole suit of clothes, but a single garment; the purple robe, as both the Targums, such as kings wore; that which Cyrus appeared in public in was half purple, and half white, and no other person besides might wear such an one (p); it was a capital crime with the Persians to wear any of the king's apparel; Trebazus, an intimate of Artaxerxes, having begged an old gown of him, it was granted, on condition that he would not wear it, it being contrary to the laws of Persia; but he, regardless of the order, appeared in it at court; which affront to the king was so resented by the Persians, that they were for punishing him rigorously, according to the law, had not Artaxerxes declared, that he had ordered him to appear in that dress as his fool (q); hence Artabanus, though uncle to Xerxes, was very unwilling to obey his orders, to put on his royal robes, sit on his throne, and sleep on his bed (r); so that this was a daring proposal in Haman, which he would never have ventured to have made, had it not been for the great confidence he had in the king's favour:

and the horse that the king rideth upon: the kings of Persia, as Herodotus (s) relates, had horses peculiar to them, and those were Nisaean horses, which were brought from Armenia, as Strabo says (t), and were remarkable for their beauty (u); and if the same law obtained in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride on the king's horse any more than sit on his throne, or hold his sceptre (w) and perhaps this horse here was not proposed for the person to ride on, but to be led in state before him; and though it is afterwards said that Mordecai rode on horseback, yet it might not be on the king's horse, which might be only led; and what follows seems to confirm it:

and the crown royal which is set upon his head; or, "let it be set", &c. not the head of the man, but on the head of the horse; and so Aben Ezra; and which sense is countenanced by the Targum, and by the Syriac version, and is approved of by Vatablus and De Dieu; and which the order of the words requires, the horse being the immediate antecedent; and no mention is made of the crown afterwards, as set on the head of Mordecai; nor would Haman have dared to advise to that, nor could it be granted; but this was what was wont to be done, to put the royal crown on the head of a horse led in state; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia (x), as it is with the Ethiopians to this day (y); and so, with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were crowned (z) which Tertullian calls (a) public horses with their crowns.

(p) Xenophon Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 23. (q) Plutarch. in Artaxerxe. (r) Herodot. Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 15, 16. (s) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 192. (t) Geograph. l. 11. p. 365. (u) Julian. Opera, par. 1. Orat. 2. p. 94. (w) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 5. (x) Brisson. apud Castell. Lexic. col. 4008. (y) Alvarez Hist. Ethiop. c. 105. apud ib. col. 3869. (z) Paschal. de Coronis, l. 8. c. 5. p. 536. (a) De Corona Militis, c. 13.

Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the {c} horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:

(c) Meaning by this that the king should make him next to himself as Joseph was known to be next to Pharaoh in Ge 41:43.

8. royal apparel] The extent of the honour which Haman sought is illustrated by the story in Plutarch’s Lives (Artaxerxes, 5), where we are told that Tiribazus made a similar request; but in that case, though the king granted him a royal robe, he forbade him to wear it. Other instances of the bestowal of garments upon another in token of favour or amity are to be found in Genesis 41:42; 1 Samuel 18:4; and so with regard to armour in Homer (Il. vi. 230, of Glaucus and Diomede).

the horse that the king rideth upon] Cp. David’s direction as to Solomon in 1 Kings 1:33.

and on the head of which a crown royal is set] Assyrian monuments represent the king’s horse as wearing a kind of head ornament resembling a crown. We can easily understand therefore that the same custom may have existed at the Persian court. Josephus (Ant. xi. 6. 10) adds—the thought being perhaps suggested by the story of Joseph (see above)—that a chain was to be placed about the favoured person’s neck.

The rendering of the A.V. ‘and the crown royal which is set upon his head,’ though retained in the marg. of the R.V., is impossible.

Verse 8. - Let the royal apparel be brought. To wear a dress previously worn by the king was, under ordinary circumstances, a breach of Persian law (Plut., 'Vit. Artax.,' 5); but the king might allow it (Herod., 7:17) or condone it (Plut., 1. s.c.). The horse that the king rideth upon. Rather, "a horse that the king hath ridden." And the crown royal which is set upon his head. Rather, "and that hath a crown royal set on his head." Some peculiar ornament by which the royal steed was made conspicuous is intended, not his own crown, which even Xerxes would scarcely have allowed another to wear. See vers. 9 and 11, where the dress and the horse are referred to, but the crown, as an adjunct of the horse, not particularised. Esther 6:8As soon as he enters the king asks: What is to be done to the man in whose honour the king delighteth? i.e., whom he delights to honour. And Haman, thinking (בּלבּו אמר, to say in one's heart, i.e., to think) to whom will the king delight to show honour more than to me (ממּבּי יותר, projecting before me, surpassing me, hence adverbially, beyond me, e.g., Ecclesiastes 12:12, comp. Ecclesiastes 2:15; Ecclesiastes 7:11, Ecclesiastes 7:16)? votes immediately for the greatest possible mark of honour, and says, Esther 6:7.: "As for the man in whose honour the king delighteth, let them bring the royal apparel with which the king has been clothed, and a horse on which the king has ridden, and the king's crown upon his head, and let them deliver this apparel and horse to one of the chief princes of the king, and let them array (i.e., with the royal apparel) the man in whose honour the king delighteth, and cause him to ride upon the horse through the streets of the city, and proclaim before him: Thus shall it be done to the man in whose honour the king delighteth." וגו אשׁר אישׁ, Esther 6:7, precedes absolutely, and the predicate does not follow till והלבּישׁוּ, Esther 6:9, where the preceding subject is now by an anacoluthon taken up in the accusative (את־האישׁ). Several clauses are inserted between, for the purpose of enumerating beforehand all that appertains to such a token of honour: a royal garment, a royal steed, a crown on the head, and one of the chief princes for the carrying out of the honour awarded. The royal garment is not only, as Bertheau justly remarks, such a one as the king is accustomed to wear, but, as is shown by the perf. לבשׁ, one which the king has himself already put on or worn. Hence it is not an ordinary state-robe, the so-called Median apparel which the king himself, the chief princes among the Persians, and those on whom the king bestowed such raiment were wont to appear in (Herod. 3.84, 7.116; Xenoph. Cyrop. 8.3.1, comp. with the note of Baehr on Her. 3.84), but a costly garment, the property of the sovereign himself. This was the highest mark of honour that could be shown to a subject. So too was the riding upon a horse on which the king had ridden, and whose head was adorned with a royal crown. נתּן is perf. Niph., not 1st pers. pl. imperf. Kal, as Maurer insists; and בּראשׁו אשׁר refers to the head of the horse, not to the head of the man to be honoured, as Clericus, Rambach, and most ancient expositors explain the words, in opposition to the natural sense of - בּראשׁו נתּן אשׁר. We do not indeed find among classical writers any testimony to such an adornment of the royal steed; but the circumstance is not at all improbable, and seems to be corroborated by ancient remains, certain Assyrian and ancient Persian sculptures, representing the horses of the king, and apparently those of princes, with ornaments on their heads terminating in three points, which may be regarded as a kind of crown. The infin. absol. ונתון is a continuation of the preceding jussive יביאוּ: and they shall give, let them give the garment - to the hand of a man, i.e., hand or deliver to him. The garment and horse are to be delivered to one of the noblest princes, that he may bring them to the individual to be honoured, may array him in the garment, set him on the horse, and proclaim before him as he rides through the city, etc. On הפּרתּמים, comp. Esther 1:4, and on the matter itself, Genesis 41:43. רחוב is either an open square, the place of public assemblage, the forum, or a collective signifying the wide streets of the city. יעשׂה כּכה as in Deuteronomy 25:9 and elsewhere.
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