Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
THE DANGER REMOVED
The Fall of Haman
CHAPS. 6, 7
A.—HAMAN, EXPECTING THE HIGHEST HONOR, IS BROUGHT LOW. HE MUST GIVE THE HIGHEST HONOR TO MORDECAI
I. Ahasuerus is reminded of Mordecai’s former meritorious act and desires to know what reward has been given him. Esther 6:1–5
1ON that night could not the king sleep [the sleep of the king fled]; and he commanded [said] to bring the book of records [memorials] of the Chronicles [words of the days]: and they were read1 before the king. 2And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of [upon] Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains [eunuchs], the keepers of the door [threshold], who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 3And the king said, What honour and dignity [greatness] hath been done to Mordecai for [upon] this? Then [And] said the king’s servants [young men] that ministered unto him [his attendants], There is nothing [has not a word been] done for [with] him. 4And the king said, Who is in the court? (Now [And] Haman was [had] come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak [say] unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows [tree] that he had prepared for him). 5And the king’s servants [young men] said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth [is standing] in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.
II. Human describes the mode of honoring a deserving man, and Ahasuerus commands him to bestow such on Mordecai. Esther 6:6–11
6So [And] Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done [is there to do] unto [in the case of] the man whom the king delighteth to honour [in whose honour the king delighteth]? (Now [And] Haman thought [said] in his heart, to whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?). 7And Haman answered [said to] the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour [in whose honour the king delighteth], 8Let the royal apparel be brought [let them bring, etc.] which the king useth to wear [with which the king has clothed himself], and the horse that the king rideth [has ridden] upon, and the crown-royal which is set upon his head: 9And let this [the] apparel and [the] horse be delivered to [given upon] the hand of one [a man] of the king’s most noble princes,2 that they may array [and let them apparel] the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour [in whose honour the king delighteth], and bring him on horseback [cause him to ride on the horses] through [in] the street [wide place] of the city, and proclaim [let them call] before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king 10delighteth to honour [in whose honour the king delighteth]. Then [And] the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said [spoken], and do even so to Mordecai the Jew that sitteth [the one sitting] at [in] the king’s gate: let nothing fail [not a word fall] of all that thou hast spoken. 11Then [And] took Haman the apparel, and the horse, and arrayed [apparelled] Mordecai, and brought him on horseback [caused him to ride] through [in] the street [wide place] of the city, and proclaimed [called] before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour [in whose honour the king delighteth].
III. The vexation of Haman is only increased through the evil prophecy of his friends. Esther 6:12–14
12And Mordecai came again [returned] to the king’s gate: but [and] Haman hasted [urged himself] to his house mourning, and having his head covered [veiled as to the head]. 13And Haman told [recounted to] Zeresh his wife and all his friends [lovers] every thing that had befallen him. Then [And] said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against [be able to] him, but [for thou] 14shalt surely fall before him. And while they were yet talking with him [and, i.e., then] the king’s chamberlains [eunuchs] came [approached], and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared [made].
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
1 [The original is very explicit, וַיִהְיקּ נִקְרָאִים, “and these were in the act of being called over.”—TR.]
2 [“The princes, the Parthemim,” a term apparently of special distinction.—TR.]
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Esther 6:1–5. As in the former chapter the danger for Mordecai rose to the highest point, and we may expect nothing more than that both opponents, if left to themselves, should destroy each other on the following morning, even before the careful Esther has as yet accomplished her mission, we now perceive how timely is the occurrence of an event in the intervening night, which not only prevents Esther’s intercession for Mordecai from being too late, but also brings about the beginning of the downfall of Haman. The author ascribes this occurrence to the troubled sleep of Ahasuerus. Thus any who merely take a superficial view of things might ascribe it to chance. But to judge from what we have already seen, it is certainly not opposed to his view, that the second Targum in all things transpiring takes God into account, and represents things as if the angel of God’s mercy were well informed of the lamentations of the daughters of Israel, and at God’s command had disturbed the sleep of Ahasuerus.
Esther 6:1. On that night could not the king sleep—but not because the issued edict against the Jews had caused him unrest. In consequence he commanded to bring the book of records of the Chronicles, in which, according to Esther 2:23, Mordecai’s deed was inscribed. He caused it to be read, not in order to find out whether the Jews had really deserved their extermination. This would have been worthy of a better king, but it is opposed by the facts in Esther 6:10 and Esther 3:15, and also Esther 7:5. His object was simply to entertain himself with the records of the past. Still it is remarkable that just that point, treating of Mordecai’s act, should have been read. On any other than a providential view, one would be inclined to think that he had commanded first of all to read those passages referring to the Jews.3 The use of the participle וַיִּהְיוּ נִקְרָאִים signifies that the reading lasted for some time, perhaps extended through the night. Hence we may not be astonished that when the passage referred to came to be read, Haman already waited in the outer court.
Esther 6:2, 3. The name Bigthana reads Bigthan in Esther 2:21. The question of the king: what honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? means, What honor and reward has been assigned him? עַל־זֶה, because of this report. עָשָׂה with עִם means: to apportion, to requite, (comp. 2 Sam. 2:6; 3:8et al.).4
Esther 6:4. The question: who is in the court? means, what officer is now present? The king desired to consult with him as to what distinction would be appropriate to Mordecai. It seems that those desiring to be admitted to the king’s presence had to wait in the outer court. With reference to the king’s intention to distinguish Mordecai, comp. Brisson De reg. Pres. princ. I., c. 135.
Esther 6:5. Even though other officers were there already, still Haman stood first in choice 5Doubtless he was the most acceptable to the king. יָבוֹא is a short order: “Let him come in,” namely into the house of the king.
Esther 6:6–11. Convinced that he only could be the man whom the king delighted to honor, Haman at once designates the very highest honor, and is immediately commanded to award it to Mordecai. Our author very strikingly portrays how Haman, in the very moment in which he expected to receive the highest distinction for himself, was most effectually and painfully brought low; and that his opponent, whom he hoped to destroy, was elevated to the highest place of honor. Both of these things, too—and this adds an additional charm to the whole— were brought about by Haman himself, by his own expressed judgment, indeed by his own hand.
Esther 6:6. “When the king had asked the question, Haman thought within himself (אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ), to whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?—יוֹתר מִמֶּנִּו, going beyond me, more than myself. יֹוֹתֵר occurs in this form only in a later period (comp. Eccl. 12:12,9; also Esther 2:15; 7:11, 16).
Esther 6:7. Haman was quickly prepared to give answer, and without any difficulty called up one distinction of honor after another. The sentence: For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, is placed in advance as being a theme brought up by the king and pleasant for his own ears to hear. We can replace it with the Nomin. Abs. in this way: As regards the man, etc. Thereafter he adds honor upon honor that should be bestowed on such a one, and seems hardly to know where to stop. But his aim is that the king should thereby designate this man to be thus honored as his second or other self, which in view of the divine dignity of the Persian kings, implied a great deal.
Esther 6:8. Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear.—The constr. of לָבַשׁ with בְּ occurs only here and in the Arabic; in other places לָבַשׁ is followed by the accus., or by עַל with a distinct part of the body. The garment is not to be one such as the king is accustomed to wear, but as the perfect tense fully shows, one which he has worn. Hence it is not to be a common apparel for a special occasion, or the so-called Median dress, which the king himself wore, as also those distinguished by him, especially his princes (comp. Herod. III. 84; VII. 116; Xenophon’s Cyrop. VIII. 3, 1 as also Bähr’s annotation on Herod. III. 84); but it was a costly garment, whose value was much enhanced by the fact that the king had worn it. It is not expressly related that, the king gave as a present his own garments as a mark of honor, at least not by the Grecian authors. Plutarch, however, relates (in his Artax. 24), that Tiribazus had asked of the king that he put off his royal apparel and present it to him (Tiribazus, and doubtless as a mark of honor); but that the king had presented him with it, yet forbade him to wear it. 6 It is therefore to be remarked that those things which were used by the king, and which he had directly touched, especially his garments, were through him sanctified. A courtier even called the table sacred, from which Darius Codomannus had eaten, and wept when he saw Alexander the Great place his feet upon it. The steed upon which the king had ridden wore a crown, and was thereby designated as royal and sacred. נִתַּן can only be tertia præt. Niph., not prima Plur. Imperf. Kal, as in Judg. 16:5. אֲשֶׁר בְּרֹאשׁוֹ does not have reference to the head of a man, as if one could with Le Clerc, Rambach and others translate: “that the royal crown was placed on his head” (to this is opposed the præter נִתַּך, instead of which the Imperf. should have been chosen); but it rather means: upon the head of the horse. That the royal riding horse was thus crowned is also not expressly stated, still it is not improbable, since, according to Xenoph., Cyrop. I. 3, 3; 8:3, 16, to him belonged a golden harness. Besides all this there is seen on Assyrian and Old Persian monuments, not so distinct on the latter, horses of the king, and perhaps also of princes, that wear an ornament on their heads terminating in three points, which can easily be taken for a crown.7
Esther 6:9. And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes,etc.—נָתוֹן, the infinitive, is the supplement of the optative יָביִאוּ (comp. Esther 2:3). Delivered to the hand of, i.e., given over to, given up to. As regards הַפּרְתְּמִים, comp. Esther 1:3. The place רְהוֹב הָעִיר, upon which the man to be honored should ride up and down, must, according to Esther 4:6, have been before the king’s gate and palace, and therefore a public thoroughfare. According to Gen. 41:43, a similar honor was bestowed upon Joseph.
Esther 6:10, 11. The king perfectly agreed to the proposition of Haman at once—and this must no doubt surprise the reader; he orders this designated honor to be shown to Mordecai. That Mordecai was a Jew and accustomed to sit in the king’s gate could be well known to him from the records of the chronicle of the empire, or from the courtiers, who read the history to him, and who had doubtless also given him still other information respecting Mordecai.8 It is very remarkable that the king did not here remember, or at least overlooked the fact that he had decreed the destruction of the Jews, and had even given them over to Haman; but this is not entirely inexplicable, as may be seen from his usual mode of doing things.—Let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken,i.e., omit nothing of all these things (comp. Josh. 21:45; Judg. 2:19).
Esther 6:12–14. While Mordecai returns, loaded with honors, to his usual place of station, the gate of the king,9 Haman, with covered head and sorrowful heart, hastens home to his friends and wife only to hear the discouraging prophecy that the unfortunate occurrence will be the beginning of his end. To cover the head was a sign of deep shame and distress (comp. 2 Sam. 15:30; Jer. 14:4).10His friends are now called wise men, at least some of them, because they undertook to forecast his future. Perhaps there were among them some magicians, who, according to Cicero, Divin. I. 23, were a nation of wise and learned men. They very wisely concluded: If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, thenלֹא תוּכַל לוֹ, thou shalt not prevail against him; then shalt not thou be the conqueror, but he (comp. Gen. 32:26, נָפוֹל תִּפּוֹל), either thou wilt entirely, or at least surely fall. It may be asked, how did they arrive at such a conclusion? If they only attributed enmity on the part of Mordecai, then they needed only to recall the edict against the Jews and published by Haman. But they also attribute a superior power to him, because he is a Jew. Hence they must base themselves on something else. Most interpreters, among them also Bertheau and Keil, think that although these friends had before counselled Haman to have Mordecai, the unfortunate Jew, hung, yet now when he had become a highly honored person on the part of the king, and this too, as it were, through a miracle, the truth impresses itself upon them that the Jews must be under the especial divine protection. And indeed we find far more indicated here than a fear of the shrewdness and energy of the Jews. The fact that the Jews still existed in spite of all afflictions which they had endured must have impressed many with the conviction that there was a higher power assisting and caring for them. But these persons are more concerned now to appear very wise. Hence they act as if they had not known that Mordecai was a Jew, although Haman, in Esther 5:15, had expressly so stated.
Esther 6:14. In order that the narrative may make a very strong impression, there must now follow blow upon blow in quick succession. Hardly had the prophecy been uttered before its fulfillment begins. Accordingly the eunuchs of the king arrive, who press Haman to come to the banquet of the king.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
Esther 6:1sq. 1. Mordecai, according to Esther 4:14, was convinced that if Esther would not undertake the rescue of her people, there would be found other means and ways. He had placed his trust less in her than in the general providence which watched over him. Now it is seen that though Esther had become willing to intercede, he was correct in his position. Even before Esther had ventured to express her request for her people, Mordecai himself was threatened with destruction; and before he could do anything to avert, or was even acquainted with his danger, it was already removed. It seems to have been a very insignificant means of which Providence availed itself for his protection. But it was one which, because it clearly lay above human co-operation, very definitely revealed the higher activity in his behalf: it was the sleeplessness of Ahasuerus. When the Lord is desirous of protecting or saving His people, something must serve Him of which men least thought before. Nothing is either too great or too small for Him.
BRENZ: “This is as it is written in the Psalm: ‘He suffered no man to do them wrong; nay, He rebuked even kings for their sake.’ For the pious are so great a care to God, that in order to preserve them He does not even spare kings, but brings upon them various calamities.”
FEUARDENT: “Let every one bear in mind day and night that pious proposition of Augustine concerning the solicitude of God for His saints (Conf. iii. 11): “So day and night dost Thou watch for my safe-guard as if, forgetful of Thy whole creation in heaven and earth, Thou consideredst me alone, and hadst no care for others.’ ”
Berl. Bible: “O Lord, it is good to trust in Thee in the expectation of Thy help! Thou dost continually watch over the souls left in Thy care. And though Thou dost even wait until things have come to extremities, in order to cause the greater exercise of faith, so that none may despair of Thy assistance, still at the right time Thou art ever ready to help.—What indeed is more natural than that a king cannot sleep, and that he should wish something read to him? It is this altogether natural, yet wonderful leading, which causes the hearts of those who experience it to rejoice! To all other hearts this is dark. This wise, divine Providence is still unknown to those who only live in and for themselves.”
2. It does not appear that Ahasuerus had a restless night because he had grievous thoughts regarding the edict of destruction against the entire Jewish peeple. We find that he is far too careless, much too indifferent and superficial, for such a state of mind (comp. Esther 3:15; 7:5). Still we would have naturally expected it, and it would have been well for him if it had been so. Had he been concerned about the great number of subjects that would thus be murdered, it would not have been necessary for him first to be reminded of the fact, through the reading of the history of his reign, that he had once been in danger of being murdered himself. He would have spontaneously remembered that only a Mordecai saved him from his fate of destruction. It would have been quite just that he, while robbing so many of their rest and sleep, whom he had destined to a doom of death, should be sleepless not one, but many nights. Would that every one whose eyes cannot find sleep at night might ask whether he had at any time or in any manner done wrong, which he should be in haste to set right; or whether he does not still owe thanks for some benefit received! Would that all those who must be awake at night were clearly conscious of the fact that there is Another who is also awake, and that He it is who imposes upon us this sleeplessness! Only when we look up to Him can we find true rest (comp. Ps. 119:55).
3. It was soon after the marriage of Ahasuerus with Esther that Mordecai discovered and reported the conspiracy. Hence it was now over five years that this meritorious deed had been recorded, but not yet rewarded. Instead of reward, he was threatened with destruction. Those who are diligent for the welfare of others must often give up the hope of receiving their well-merited reward, even at the present day. What is more sorrowful still is the fact that one is often inclined to impugn both their motives and their work, as if they had not designed it or exerted themselves to effect it. Mordecai’s history may be very instructive and comforting to such. Ahasuerus too may here again as elsewhere remind us of a faithful watchman, who, however it may go with him, never sleeps nor slumbers. The works of the good are not only recorded on earth, where they are often and easily forgotten, but they are above all recorded in heaven. It is because God saves men by His grace that He will render unto all according to their work—to those not obedient to the truth, but obeying unrighteousness, displeasure and wrath; and to the others according to their patience in good works, glory and honor (Rom. 2:7). The seed that they have scattered, if it was good, is indestructible, and cannot be lost; and when the time comes, God will bring it to maturity, so that it may bear abundant fruit either to the sowers or to others (comp. Gal. 6:9).
BRENZ: “Although men are unmindful of benefits received, and, as Pindar says, old thanks sleep, still our Lord God is never forgetful.” When God’s time for reward has come, then even the zeal of enemies must assist Him, as we have seen in our history of Haman. However watchful and diligent our enemies may be in order to utterly destroy the pious, yet all their acts and labor form only the ground of the scene, which by the help of God is made to serve in perfecting the web of His leadings.—BRENZ: “This is the right hand of the Most High which brings it to pass that those good things occur to the pious which the wicked hope for; and to the ungodly there come those evils which they have prepared for the godly.” For the wicked are only the bearers of that power which is ever desirous of evil, and yet ever produces good.
FEUARDENT: “In Haman thou perceivest how blind and erring is the temper of every ambitious man. He admires and regards only himself; he fancies himself worthy of all honor and reverence, and thinks that all things are due to him.’ He despises all others as obscure, abject and vile. It is well, however, that there is a God in heaven who laughs to scorn, contemns, judges and hurls down the proud from their seats, but glorifies the humble: so that all may learn to be wise concerning themselves, and to be content with moderate fortune.… Let all the pious therefore take courage, nor ever fail or despair of divine help on account of the rage and greatest power or violence of tyrants. For Christ still lives; He reigns, and will forever reign; and He puts all His enemies under His feet.”
STARKE: “Princes should have diligent care that none who have deserved well of the State or of themselves are left to go unrewarded (Gen. 41:42; Dan. 2:48). God knows our acts of kindness; and though we may regard them as lost or ignored, yet He can bring them to the light at the proper time to receive even a greater reward than if they had been immediately rewarded (Gen. 41:12 sq., 39sqq.).”
Esther 6:6 sq. FEUARDENT: “Diligently weigh the change of the right hand of the Most High. Haman had come into the court in order that by authority of the king he might destroy Mordecai by an ignominious death. Him, however, he is compelled to exhibit and proclaim to all in royal magnificence. He had come for the purpose of raising him aloft fastened upon a very high cross with the utmost shame. But on the contrary he is compelled to adorn this very man with regal splendors, to set him on the king’s horse, and to herald him publicly as the monarch’s most dear and honored friend. He had come with the design of bringing a capital charge against him; and he has the task of decorating his head with the royal diadem.”
It seems to us to be like a divine irony in the destiny of Haman that he is himself compelled to assign the highest distinction to his mortal enemy, and that the king instructs him to impart this honor with his own hands, thus making his downfall the more striking and lamentable. But in fact this same truth is plainly shown daily over the entire ungodly world. The world must ever concede honor and glory to those who have deserved well respecting the welfare of mankind; but it is by no means its heroes and divinities who can claim this merit, though they have been regarded as the men of glory from antiquity (Gen. 11:4).11 What the latter have accomplished has been deception, wars and vain labors. It is those whom the world regards least of all fit for their work that have done most for it. And whose will be all that the world has brought forth and fostered, and which it regards as great and beautiful? When the judgments of God shall have been consummated upon the world, lambs will pasture upon it as if upon their own pasture, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat (Isa. 5:17).
Esther 6:12–14. 1. When Haman had bestowed the highest dignity on Mordecai, he hastened home, sad and with covered countenance. It is a bad sign that he knew nothing better to do in such an hour. Those are upon difficult paths who feel themselves humbled when they have been obliged to show deserved honor to others. Even in the estimation of the world it would have been far better if he had endeavored to change his enemy into a friend. And had he but reflected and correctly apprehended his present position, he would have recognized the warning voice of God, which endeavored in a firm, but yet kind tone to lead him in the way of his salvation. The final judgments of God are ever preceded by other heralds. They are indeed the announcement of the beginning of the revelations of the wrath of God; but they are also proofs of the long-suffering and love of God, which would, even in the eleventh hour lead to salvation. But it is a remarkable fact that when the worldly need their wisdom most, especially they who have usually been regarded as wise, just then they are utterly bereft of counsel; and hence their proud and stubborn hearts all at once become faint.
FEUARDENT: “In prosperity he is highly insolent and cruel; but in adversity he is so broken and dejected that he knows not which way to turn.” But his counsellors are no better off than himself. FEUARDENT: “His friends do not console him, nor show him any plan for escaping his danger, which nevertheless was then the most needful help for Haman; but they throw him, just hesitating between hope and fear, into despair. ‘Thou wilt surely fall in his sight,’ say they. Had they admonished him indeed of his many and heinous sins toward God and His servants, of his duty of recognizing the inevitable judgment of God, of repentance, of reconciliation; then perchance it may have turned out better with him.”—When our author permits these advisers to give expression of the superiority of the people of God, their words are much more to the point and weighty, as FEUARDENT says: “The power and efficacy of truth is so great that even its enemies and all the ungodly bear testimony to it. So the magicians of Pharaoh are compelled to explain: ‘This is the finger of God;’ and the Egyptians cry: ‘Let us flee before Israel, for the Lord fighteth for them’ (Ex. 8:19; 19:25).”
2. What Haman fears, and what is hinted at by his advisers, is the great truth that the Lord had laid a stone in Zion, upon which those falling upon it shall be broken. But it is just those that have placed themselves upon this stone, who are secure against all assaults by the world. And what the world daily and clearly demonstrates is the fact that it is not enough to recognize or apprehend the truth; but it is necessary also to give the heart a proper position with respect to it. Happy are they who need not fear, but who can console their hearts when the Lord says: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee;” “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (Ps. 105:15); “He who toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zech. 2:8).
STARKE: “Self-conceit, obstinacy and selfishness are three shameful and harmful evils that have plunged many into ruin (1 Tim. 6:9). Wordly persons seek their highest good in external pomp and appearance (Ps. 49:12).— Self-love appropriates all things to itself, and concedes nothing to its neighbor.—Men seek perishable honor; would that they strove diligently after the imperishable honor and glory of heaven!—The manner of wicked advisers is, when the haughty fare too well, to goad them on to vindictiveness; but if something unforeseen checks them, they drive them to despair.—God is the same always; He can bring it about that neither earth nor hell can prevail against us.—The wicked are nearest destruction when they deem themselves farthest from it (Ps. 73:7, 18, 19).”
[The original is very explicit, וַיִהְיקּ נִקְרָאִים, “and these were in the act of being called over.”—TR.]
[“The princes, the Parthemim,” a term apparently of special distinction.—TR.]
[“There is reason to think that the Persian kings were, in most cases, unable to read. (Rawlinson’s Ancient Monarchies. Vol. IV., p. 18). Hence documents, which they wanted to consult, were read to them.” RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[“It was a settled principle of the Persian government that ‘Royal Benefactors’ were to receive an adequate reward. The names of such persons were placed on a special roll (Herod. VIII. 5), and great care was taken that they should be properly recommended. (See Herod. III. 140; V. 11; VIII. 85; Thucyd. I. 138; Xenoph. Hel. III. 1 and 6, etc.). It is a mistake, however, to suppose (Davidson) that they were always rewarded at once. Themistocles was inscribed on the list in B. C. 480, but did not obtain a reward till B. C. 465. Other ‘benefactors’ waited for months (Herod. V. 11), or perhaps years (ib. IX. 107) before they were recompensed. Sometimes a ‘benefactor’ seems to have received no reward at all (ib. III. 138).“ RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[ “He was waiting in the outer court, till it should be announced that the king was ready to grant audiences.” RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[“The honors here proposed have been thought ‘excessive,’ and certainly they are such as Persian monarch rarely allowed to subjects. Each act would have been a capital offence if done without permission. Still there is nothing contrary to Oriental notions in their being done under sufferance.” RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[“The meaning of this clause is doubtful. Either it may be translated, ‘and on whose head a royal crown is set,’ the reference being to the horse, which conceivably might bear an ornament like a crown on its crest; or ‘and that a royal crown be set upon his head,’ the reference being to the man, and the suggestion being not to deprive the king of his own diadem, but to place on the head of the person about to be honored a crown similar in general character to the royal one. (Compare Esther 1:11). The grammatical construction is in favor of the former rendering; but we have in evidence that Persian horses even wore crowns on their heads.”— RAWLINSON. We may add that the latter idea is too fantastic for even Oriental taste.—TR.]
[“There is nothing strange in the king’s knowing the nationality and position of Mordecai. His nationality would probably have been noted in the book of the chronicles; and, when told that nothing had been done for him (Esther 6:3), the king would naturally have asked his position.” RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[“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. Ahasuerus regarding him as sufficiently rewarded, and not yet intending to do any thing more for him.” RAWLINSON.—TR.]
[It was also “through shame probably; not wishing any of his acquaintance to accost him.” RAWLINSON. —TR.]
According to Thiersch (Ueber den christliehen Staat, p. 209), Napoleon maintained that a prince who followed his conscience would be a good and noble governor, but not a great man.
On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.