Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Suffered. He began to repent. The Persians used to deliberate when warm with wine: but their decrees were not ratified till they had examined them again the next day. (Herodotus i. 133.) --- This was not the case here; the king divorced his wife without any delay. (Calmet) --- Septuagint intimate that he presently lost thoughts of her. "He no longer remembered Vasthi with any affection, reflecting what she had said, and how he had condemned her." (Haydock) --- But the Alexandrian copy agrees with the Hebrew. (Calmet)
Beautiful. Thus Abisag was brought to David, 3 Kings i. 2. The Turkish emperors select women from all their dominion, without distinction of noble or ignoble; as all are their slaves.
House. Distinct from the palace, ver. 14. --- Women's. Hebrew, "things for rubbing, (Calmet) or purification;" (Haydock) such as perfumes, but not clothes.
Commanded. Hebrew, "did so."
Jew. He was of the tribe of Benjamin. But all went by this name, after the captivity. Mardochai had probably returned from Jerusalem, seeing things were unfinished there, 1 Esdras ii. 2. (Calmet) --- Semei, who cursed David. (Chaldean) --- Cis. The head of the royal family of Saul; whence authors have concluded that he and Esther were of royal blood, (Calmet) and descendants of Miphiboseth. (Tirinus)
Who. This may refer to Cis, the great-grandfather of Mardochai, if we postpone this history till the latter end of the Persian monarchy. (Du Hamel) --- But it more naturally applies to Mardochai himself, who (chap. xi. 4.; Tirinus) was led captive 80 years before, being then perhaps 10 years old, so that he would now be only 90; an age when many are fit for great things. (Calmet) (Cicero, de Senect.) --- He might even have been an infant when taken, and of course would not be much above 80 when he came into such favour. (Haydock)
Brothers. Josephus, ([Antiquities?] xi. 6.) the old Latin version of the Syriac, Abenezra, &c., suppose that Mardochai was uncle to Esther. But the Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, and Chaldean assert that he was only her cousin. Septuagint, "daughter of Aminadab, (or rather Abihail, ver. 15.) his father's brother, and her name was Esther; and after her parents were dead, he educated her for a wife;" Greek: eis gunaika, as some Rabbins also maintain, believing she was an heiress. Yet other Greek copies, Hebrew, &c., read, "he educated her as a daughter, Greek: thugatera: for the damsel was very beautiful." He had probably adopted her. (Calmet) --- Edissa. Hebrew hadassa, (Haydock) or hadassah, signified "of myrtle." (Menochius) --- Esther, "a sheep." (Calmet)
And he, Egeus, commanded the under eunuch. (Tirinus) --- Hebrew, "he quickly gave her her things for purifications, (ver. 3.) and her portions, with seven maids, suitable for her, out of the king's house; and he charged her and her maids to dwell in the best of the women's house," (Haydock) where things were the most commodious. (Calmet)
Would. Hebrew, "had not declared." He was not influenced to treat her thus on account of her royal extraction. (Haydock) --- In effect, the Jews were despised. (Calmet)
Court. He was one of the life-guards, chap. xi. 3. (Tirinus) --- This situation enabled him to disclose a conspiracy, (ver. 23., and chap. xii. 5.) as he often went to enquire after the health of Esther. (Calmet)
Turn. This was rigidly observed, in that country, where polygamy prevailed, Genesis xxx. 16. (Herodotus iii. 69.) --- The wives were "shut up in separate apartments," (Just. i. 9.) in the remotest parts of the palace. (Calmet) --- Twelfth. A full year elapsed before they could be admitted. --- A sweet. Protestants, "other things for the purifying of the women." (Haydock) --- It would be difficult to form an adequate idea of the luxury of the Persians, if the Scripture had not informed us. The kings were not satisfied with one wife. Assuerus had 400; (Josephus) and Darius Codomannus carried 360 with him, in his expeditions. (Curtius iii.) --- Parmenio took an incredible number of his concubines, at Damascus. (Atheneus xiii. 9.) --- They were not all treated alike, but all were very sumptuously adorned. Cities were allotted to furnish one with sandals, another with girdles, &c. (Cicero in Verrem. v.) (Calmet)
Abihail. Septuagint, "Aminadab, brother of Mardochai's father." (Haydock) (Ver. 7.)
Tenth. Septuagint and old Vulgate, "twelfth month, which is Adar." Tebeth corresponds with December and January. (Calmet) --- Notwithstanding all exertions, Esther had been near four years in preparing; (Tirinus; chap. i. 3.; Calmet) unless some years had elapsed before she was brought, ver. 12. (Haydock) --- She was guilty of no sin in becoming an inferior wife of the king. (Menochius) (Tirinus)
Crown. Literally, "diadem," (Haydock) which was a bandage "of purple, striped with white," by which the queen was distinguished from the other wives. (Calmet) --- The king wore "a four-square cidaris," with a similar ornament. (Alex. Genial. i. 27.) --- Only one queen was chosen from all the wives, and she was "adored" by the rest. (Dion. Athen. iii. l.) --- Though God had forbidden marriages with infidels, (Calmet) at least with those of Chanaan, (Haydock) a dispensation might be granted, (Exodus xxxiv.; Tirinus; 2 Kings iii.; Worthington) for a greater good. Esther was not puffed up with her exaltation, and refrained from all forbidden meats, chap. xiv. 15. (Calmet) --- If she be the Artystona of Herotous, (vii. 69.; Haydock) as it is most probable, (Tirinus) her two sons, Arsames and Gobryas, had a command in the famous expedition of Xerxes. (Usher, the year of the world 3524.) (Calmet)
Servants. Septuagint add, "seven days, and he magnified the nuptials of Esther." (Haydock) --- Rest, from labour. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "remission to all his subjects," of tribute, as was sometimes done. (Herodotus iii. 66.) (Tirinus) (Calmet) --- Gifts, on Esther. (Chaldean) (Malvenda)
And. Septuagint, "But Mardochai," &c. (Haydock) --- They say nothing of the gifts, ver. 18. --- Second. The same process had been observed before, when Vasthi was chosen. (Calmet) --- Mardochai was perhaps then one of the king's guards. (Haydock) (Ver. 11.) (Tirinus) --- This second inquiry is here specified, to introduce the following account. (Menochius)
Commandment. No one interrogated her, as she had been educated as Susa, and was taken for a Persian lady, ver. 10. (Menochius)
Bagathan, or Bagatha and Thara, chap. xii. 1. One of the chief counsellors was called Bagatha. (Haydock) --- But these two were porters, (Calmet) or guards, of the king, (Septuagint; Grotius) or of the treasury. (Vatable) --- Some Greek copies and the Chaldean insinuate that they were displeased at the advancement of Mardochai. The latter supposes that they meant also to poison Esther. (Calmet) --- It appears that they wished to make Aman king, (Menochius) and the detection was always resented by him, chap. xii. 6. (Calmet)
Notice of it, from Barnabaz, a Jew in the service of one of them. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xi. 6.) --- He might also hear some suspicious words. (R. Calom.) (Worthington)
King. Such histories were preserved with great care, 1 Esdras vi. 1. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "the king ordered a memorial to it to be kept in the royal library, for the praise of Mardochai's good will." (Haydock) --- The latter also wrote an account, chap. xii. 4.