Esther 7:3
Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Esther 7:3. Then Esther the queen answered and said, &c. — Esther, at length, surprises the king with a petition, not for wealth, or honour, or the preferment of some of her friends to some high post, which the king expected, but for the preservation of herself and her countrymen from death and destruction. O king, let my life be given me at my petition — It is my humble and only request, that thou wouldst not give me up to the malice of that man that designs to take away my life, and will certainly do it, if thou do not prevent it. And my people — That is, the lives of my people, of the Jews, of whom I am descended. Even a stranger, a criminal, shall be permitted to petition for his life. But that a friend, a wife, a queen, should have occasion to make such a request, was very affecting!

7:1-6 If the love of life causes earnest pleadings with those that can only kill the body, how fervent should our prayers be to Him, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell! How should we pray for the salvation of our relatives, friends, and all around us! When we petition great men, we must be cautious not to give them offence; even just complaints must often be kept back. But when we approach the King of kings with reverence, we cannot ask or expect too much. Though nothing but wrath be our due, God is able and willing to do exceeding abundantly, even beyond all we can ask or think.It is quite consonant with Oriental notions that Mordecai, after receiving the extraordinary honors assigned him, should return to the palace and resume his former humble employment. CHAPTER 7

Es 7:1-6. Esther Pleads for Her Own Life and the Life of Her People.

It is my humble and only request, that thou wouldst not give me up to the malice of that man that designs to take away my life, and will certainly do it, if thou dost not prevent it.

And my people; and the lives (which is easily supplied out of the foregoing branch) of my people the Jews, of whom I am descended.

Then Esther the queen answered and said,.... Not rolling herself at the king's knees, as Severus (f) writes; but rather, as the former Targum, lifting up her eyes to heaven, and perhaps putting up a secret ejaculation for direction and success:

if I have found favour in thy sight, O king; as she certainly had heretofore, and even now:

and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition; not riches, nor honour, nor any place or post at court, or in any of the king's dominions for any friend of her's, was her petition; but for her own life, that that might not be taken away, which was included in the grant the king had made to Haman, though ignorantly, to slay all the Jews, she being one of them:

and my people at my request; that is, the lives of her people also, that was her request; her own life and her people's were all she had to ask.

(f) Hist. Sacr. l. 2.

Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 3. - Let my life be given me, etc. First of all, I ask at the king's hands my own life, which is threatened (Esther 4:13); secondly, I ask the life of my people, in whose sentence it is that I am involved. Some rhetorical skill is shown in separating the two, so as to make them correspond to the two clauses of the king's address "What is thy petition?" and "What is thy request?" Esther 7:3At this banquet of wine the king asked again on the second day, as he had done on the first (Esther 5:6): What is thy petition, Queen Esther, etc.? Esther then took courage to express her petition. After the usual introductory phrases (Esther 7:3 like Esther 5:8), she replied: "Let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request." For, she adds as a justification and reason for such a petition, "we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. And if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had been silent, for the enemy is not worth the king's damage." In this request עמּי is a short expression for: the life of my people, and the preposition ב, the so-called בּ pretii. The request is conceived of as the price which she offers or presents for her life and that of her people. The expression נמכּרנוּ, we are sold, is used by Esther with reference to the offer of Haman to pay a large sum into the royal treasury for the extermination of the Jews, Esther 3:9; Esther 4:7. אלּוּ, contracted after Aramaean usage from לוּ אם, and occurring also Ecclesiastes 6:6, supposes a case, the realization of which is desired, but not to be expected, the matter being represented as already decided by the use of the perfect. The last clause, וגו הצּר אין כּי, is by most expositors understood as a reference, on the part of Esther, to the financial loss which the king would incur by the extermination of the Jews. Thus Rambach, e.g., following R. Sal. ben Melech, understands the meaning expressed to be: hostis nullo modo aequare, compensare, resarcire potest pecunia sua damnum, quod rex ex nostro excidio patitur. So also Cler. and others. The confirmatory clause would in this case refer not to החרשׁתּי, but to a negative notion needing completion: but I dare not be silent; and such completion is itself open to objection. To this must be added, that שׁוה in Kal constructed with בּ does not signify compensare, to equalize, to make equal, but to be equal; consequently the Piel should be found here to justify the explanation proposed. שׁוה in Kal constructed with בּ signifies to be of equal worth with something, to equal another thing in value. Hence Gesenius translates: the enemy does not equal the damage of the king, i.e., is not in a condition to compensate the damage. But neither when thus viewed does the sentence give any reason for Esther's statement, that she would have been silent, if the Jews had been sold for salves. Hence we are constrained, with Bertheau, to take a different view of the words, and to give up the reference to financial loss. נזק, in the Targums, means not merely financial, but also bodily, personal damage; e.g., Psalm 91:7; Genesis 26:11, to do harm, 1 Chronicles 16:22. Hence the phrase may be understood thus: For the enemy is not equal to, is not worth, the damage of the king, i.e., not worthy that I should annoy the king with my petition. Thus Esther says, Esther 7:4 : The enemy has determined upon the total destruction of my people. If he only intended to bring upon them grievous oppression, even that most grievous oppression of slavery, I would have been silent, for the enemy is not worthy that I should vex or annoy the king by my accusation.
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