And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the book.—It is doubtful what “the book” here means. The Vulgate explains it of the Book of Esther itself, and so many modern scholars. Still “the book” hardly seems a natural Hebrew way of referring to a work on the part of its author as he writes it, and no similar case is adducible. Others think it must have been a book written at the time on the subject of the festival, which is, perhaps, possible. Canon Rawlinson identifies it with “the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia.” Because such is the use of the word book elsewhere in Esther.
Esther 9:32. And the decree of Esther — Who had received authority and commission from the king to impose this upon all the Jews; confirmed these things — She commanded the forementioned decree, which confirmed or established the observance of the days of Purim, to be recorded and made a public act; and it was written in the book — Either in the records of the kingdom, or in those which the Jews kept of the most memorable passages of their own history. This feast of Purim, the reader will observe, is celebrated among the Jews to this very day, and that with several peculiar ceremonies, most of which, however, says Dr. Dodd, are “reducible to these three things, reading, resting, and fasting. Before the reading, which is performed in the synagogue, and begins in the evening as soon as the stars appear, they make use of three forms of prayer. In the first of these they praise God for counting them worthy to attend this divine service; in the second they thank him for the miraculous preservation of their ancestors; and in the third they bless his holy name for having continued their lives for the celebration of another festival in commemoration of it. Then they read over the whole history of Haman, from the beginning to the end; not out of any printed book, for that is not lawful, but out of a Hebrew manuscript, written on parchment. There are five places in the text wherein the reader raises his voice with all his might: when he comes to the place that mentions the names of the ten sons of Haman, he repeats them very quick, to show that they were all destroyed in a moment; and every time that the name of Haman is pronounced, the children, with great fury, strike against the benches of the synagogue with mallets brought for that purpose. After the reading is finished, they return home, and have a supper, not of flesh, but of spoon-meat. Next morning they arise early, and return to the synagogue, where, after they have read that passage in Exodus which mentions the war of Amalek, they begin again to read the book of Esther, with the same ceremonies as before, and so conclude the services of the day, with curses against Haman and his wife, with blessings upon Mordecai and Esther and with praises to God for having preserved his people. Their resting on this day is observed so religiously that they will not so much as set or sow any thing in their gardens, being fully persuaded that it would not come up if they did; and therefore they either play at chess, or such like games, or spend their time in music or dancing, till it be proper to begin their feasting, wherein they indulge themselves to such an immoderate degree, that their feast of Purim has, with great justice, been called the Bacchanals of the Jews. They allow themselves to drink wine to excess; nay, even to such a pitch as not to be able to distinguish between the blessing of Mordecai and the curse of Haman, as they themselves speak. Among the other sports and diversions of the day, they used formerly to erect a gibbet, and burn upon it a man of straw, whom they called Haman; but it being surmised that they might have a design herein to insult the Christians, Theodosius the Second forbade them to use this ceremony, under the penalty of forfeiting all their privileges. See Calmet’s Dictionary, under the word Purim. The most laudable particular in the feast of Purim, is the abundant charities, in money and food, which the rich bestow upon the poor, in order to put them in a capacity to celebrate the festival.” Esther 2:23; Esther 6:1; Esther 10:2 it seems best to give it the same sense here. Esther had received authority and commission from the king to impose this upon all the Jews. and it was written in the book; either in this book of Esther; or in the public acts and chronicles of the kings of Persia; or in a book by itself, now lost, as Aben Ezra thinks, as many others are we read of in Scripture, as the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, &c.
and it was written in the book; either in this book of Esther; or in the public acts and chronicles of the kings of Persia; or in a book by itself, now lost, as Aben Ezra thinks, as many others are we read of in Scripture, as the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, &c.And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. in the book] not meaning the Book of Esther, but most likely the book from which the compiler drew this part of his materials.Verse 32. - The decree of Esther. Rather, "a commandment of Esther." Some fresh act seems to be intended - something beyond the joint letter of Esther and Mordecai; though why it was needed, or what additional authority it could give, is not apparent. And it was written in the book. i.e. "this commandment of Esther was inserted in the book of the chronicles," where the writer probably found it. No other book being mentioned in Esther but this, "the book" can have no other meaning (see Esther 2:23; Esther 6:1; Esther 10:2).
Esther 9:28, and explains how it happened that these feast-days became a general observance with all Jews; namely, that because of all the words of this letter (of Mordochai, Esther 9:20), and of what they had seen concerning the matter (על־כּכה, concerning so and so), and what had come upon them (therefore for two reasons: (1) because of the written injunction of Mordochai; and (2) because they had themselves experienced this event), the Jews established, and took upon themselves, their descendants, and all who should join themselves unto them (proselytes), so that it should not fail (i.e., inviolably), to keep (to celebrate) these two days according to the writing concerning them and the time appointed thereby year by year.
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