Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Land. He conquered many countries on the continent, and several to which he could not come but by water, which the Jews call islands, whether they were surrounded on all sides by the sea or not. Hebrew has not the word all: but as the expressions are indefinite, they are usually taken in this sense. Yet we must not suppose, that the dominion of Assuerus extended over the whole world, no more than that of the Romans, who were styled masters of it. Before this king, the provinces had not paid tribute, but gave what they judged proper. But Darius laid a heavy tribute upon all, that, when half was afterwards remitted, they might esteem it a favour. The Persians hence looked upon him as a trafficker: Greek: kapelos. (Herodotus iii. 89., and iv. 44., and vi. 7., &c.) (Calmet) --- Providence punished them for thirsting after the possessions and blood of the Jews. (Tirinus)
Cleopatra. So the kings and queens of Egypt were styled after Lagus; whence we can only gather, that this translation was brought after the reign of Alexander, and most probably under Philometer, the sixth of his successors. He was a great admirer of the Jews, and employed one Dositheus as his general, who might be the priest here mentioned; as such an office was not incompatible with his character. (Tirinus) --- Usher is of this opinion. See Josephus, contra Apion ii. But would he then be mentioned as if he had been a person almost unknown? (Calmet) --- We may say that he only raised himself by merit, after this time. (Haydock) --- Philometer reigned 177 years, B.C.[before Christ]. The Septuagint (Calmet) who gave their version in the 7th year of Philadelphus, (St. Epiphanius) were not the authors of the Greek edition of Esther; (Calmet) or perhaps, they may have adopted this of Lysimachus, (Huet; Du Hamel) as far as it went; the letter of Purim being only the groundwork of this history. If they did, Lysimachus must have lived before the time of Philometer; or what seems as probable, (Haydock) that the celebrated version has been made by different authors, and at different times. (Hody.) --- Jerusalem. Here St. Jerome subjoins, "This beginning was also in the Vulgate edition, which does not occur in Hebrew or any interpreter," (Haydock) except the Septuagint. (Worthington) --- This must be referred to what follows.
At that time, is not in Greek. Capellus therefore argues in vain against the Greek author, as if this event took place in the 2d year. (Houbigant) --- The expression often occurs in Scripture, without determining the precise time. (Haydock)
"Hitherto," St. Jerome observes, "the preface extends. What follows, was placed in that part of the volume where it is written, And they, &c., (chap. iii. 13., where the edict should naturally appear. Calmet) which we have found only in the Vulgate edition." (Haydock) --- Josephus produces this edict at length, but with some variations, (Calmet) which are of no importance. (Haydock)
Fearing. Greek, "caught in the agony of death." The old Vulgate has many variations in this chapter. (Calmet) --- This prayer should be placed after that of Mardochai, at the end of chap. iv. (Menochius)
St. Jerome says, "These additions I also found in the Vulgate edition." (Haydock) --- This history is more succinctly related, chap. v. (Calmet) --- Her. Literally, "And he commanded her (no doubt Mardochai did Esther) to go," &c. The parenthesis was added by St. Jerome. (Haydock)
From India to Ethiopia. That is, who reigneth from India to Ethiopia. (Challoner) --- St. Jerome writes, "The copy of the letter of king Artaxerxes, which he wrote in favour of the Jews, to all the provinces of his kingdom, which also is not in the Hebrew volume." It should properly occur, chap viii. 13, as it does in Greek. The edict is well written in that language, which has induced a belief that it is not a translation. (Calmet) --- But that is no very strong argument. (Haydock)
Second year, the same when Darius gave an edict for building the temple, (1 Esdras iv.; Tirinus) and the year before the great feast, (chap. i. 3.) when the Jews little thought of such danger hanging over them. (Calmet) (Worthington) --- Benjamin. Chap. ii. 5., we read Jemini, which shews that they have the same import. (Tirinus)
When. Greek, "for he heart their deliberations." --- Told, by the mouth of Esther, chap. ii. 21. (Haydock)
World. This is an exaggeration. Princes are flattered with high titles, but none more so than those of the East. (Calmet) --- Quietly. Literally, "in silence." Greek, "undisturbed by the stormy billows, (Greek: akumantous) at all times; and that the kingdom might be rendered quiet, and the roads unmolested, to the very extremities; that peace, which is desired by all men, may be renewed." How amiable are these dispositions, which ought to be cherished by all princes! We might then hope soon to see peace restored. (Haydock)
Ointments. Greek, "instead of the proud sweets, she filled her head with ashes and dust." Such as might be soon cleansed again. (Haydock) --- Torn. Greek, "curled hair," (Greek: strapton trichon. Haydock) some of which she cut off. See Leviticus xix. 27., and xxi. 5. (Houbigant)
Remember. This is not here in Greek, but more regularly, chap. iv. 8. (Calmet)
Princes. Greek, "Beneficent," Luke xxii. 25. (Calmet) --- Greek, "Many of those who have been the most honoured by the kindness of the beneficent, have increased in folly, and not only endeavour to injure our subjects, but, unable to hear the weight of favours, devise schemes against their benefactors."
Seed. Benjamin (Itin.) informs us, that both he and the queen were buried in the chief city of the Medes, which he calls "the great Hamda;" perhaps the province Mardochæa, (or Greek: Amordakai. Ptol. v. 20.) near the Persian gulf, may have been called after this statesman. (Tirinus)
Court, afterwards. (Calmet) --- He had a dream in the second year. (Houbigant)
After. Greek, "of all kingdoms as a reward, Aman shewed me," &c. Josephus, "the second after me, for his fidelity and confirmed good will." (Calmet) --- It is a great hurt for a king to be governed by one counsellor, Proverbs xv. 22. (Worthington)
Death. St. Jerome subjoins, I found there "also what follows."