Esther 7:5
Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said to Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that dared presume in his heart to do so?
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Esther 7:5. Then the king said, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? — What! contrive the murder of the queen and all her friends? Is there such a man, or such a monster, rather, in nature? The expressions are short and doubled, as proceeding from a discomposed and enraged mind. The Hebrew is, Whose heart has filled him, as in the margin; or, Who hath filled his heart, to do so? He wonders that any one should be so wicked as to conceive such a thing, or that any one should be so bold as to attempt to effect it; that is, to circumvent him, and procure a decree, whereby not only his revenue should be so much injured, and so many of his innocent subjects destroyed, but his queen also involved in the same destruction. We sometimes startle at that evil which we ourselves are chargeable with. Ahasuerus is amazed at that wickedness which he himself was guilty of: for he had consented to the bloody edict; so that Esther might have said, Thou art the man!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.The king now learned, perhaps for the first time, that his favorite was a Jewess.

Although the enemy ... - i. e. "although the enemy (Haman) would not (even in that case) compensate (by his payment to the treasury) for the king's loss of so many subjects."

4. we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed—that is, by the cruel and perfidious scheme of that man, who offered an immense sum of money to purchase our extermination. Esther dwelt on his contemplated atrocity, in a variety of expressions, which both evinced the depth of her own emotions, and were intended to awaken similar feelings in the king's breast.

But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue—Though a great calamity to the Jews, the enslavement of that people might have enriched the national treasury; and, at all events, the policy, if found from experience to be bad, could be altered. But the destruction of such a body of people would be an irreparable evil, and all the talents Haman might pour into the treasury could not compensate for the loss of their services.

Who is he? and

where is he? The expressions are short and doubled, as proceeding from a discomposed and enraged mind.

To do so, i.e. to circumvent me, and by subtlety to procure an irrevocable decree, whereby not only my estate should be so much impaired, and so many of my innocent subjects be destroyed without mercy, but my queen also should be involved in the same danger and destruction. Then the King Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen,.... The words in the original text lie thus, "and the King Ahasuerus said, and he said to Esther the queen"; which doubling of the word does not signify, as Jarchi suggests, that before he spoke to her by a messenger, or middle person, but, now he knew she was of a royal family, he spoke to her himself; but it is expressive of the ruffle of his mind, and the wrath and fury he was in, that he said it again and again, with a stern countenance and great vehemence of speech:

who is he? and where is he? who is the man? and where does he live?

that durst presume in his heart to do so; that has boldness, impudence, and courage enough to perpetrate so vile an action: or "that has filled his heart" (i); the devil no doubt filled his heart to do it, see Acts 5:3, but the king had either forgot the decree he had granted, and the countenance he had given him to execute it; or, if he remembered it, he was now enraged that he should be drawn in to such an action by him; and perhaps till now was ignorant of Esther's descent, and knew not that she would be involved in the decree.

(i) "qui replevit cor suum", Drusius; "implevit", De Dieu.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?
Verse 5. - Who is he? Ahasuerus asks the question to "make sure," as we say - not that he could really be in any doubt. That durst presume. Rather, "that hath presumed" (ὅστις ἐτόλμησε. - LXX.). After this honour had been paid him, Mordochai returned to the king's gate; but Haman hasted to his house, "sad and with his head covered," to relate to his wife and friends all that had befallen him. A deeper mortification he could not have experienced than that of being obliged, by the king's command, publicly to show the highest honour to the very individual whose execution he was just about to propose to him. The covering of the head is a token of deep confusion and mourning; comp. Jeremiah 14:4; 2 Samuel 15:30. Then his wise men, and Zeresh his wife, said to him: "If Mordochai, before whom thou hast begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, thou wilt not prevail against him, but wholly fall before him." לו תוּכל לא, non praevalebis ei, comp. Genesis 32:26. תּפּול נפול with an emphatic infin. absol.: wholly fall. Instead of the חכמיו אהביו are here named, or to speak more correctly the friends of Haman are here called his wise men (magi). Even in Esther 5:14 Haman's friends figure as those with whom he takes counsel concerning Mordochai, i.e., as his counsellors or advisers; hence it is very probable that there were magi among their number, who now "come forward as a genus sapientum et doctorum (Cicero, divin. i. 23)" (Berth.), and predict his overthrow in his contest with Mordochai. The ground of this prediction is stated: "If Mordochai is of the seed of the Jews," i.e., of Jewish descent, then after this preliminary fall a total fall is inevitable. Previously (Esther 5:14) they had not hesitated to advise him to hang the insignificant Jew; but now that the insignificant Jew has become, as by a miracle, a man highly honoured by the king, the fact that the Jews are under the special protection of Providence is pressed upon them. Ex fato populorum, remarks Grotius, de singulorum fatis judicabant. Judaei gravissime oppressi a Cyri temporibus contra spem omnem resurgere caeperant. We cannot, however, regard as well founded the further remark: de Amalecitis audierant oraculum esse, eos Judaeorum manu perituros, which Grotius, with most older expositors, derives from the Amalekite origin of Haman. The revival of the Jewish people since the times of Cyrus was sufficient to induce, in the minds of heathen who were attentive to the signs of the times, the persuasion that this nation enjoyed divine protection.
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