Matthew Poole's Commentary
On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.Mordecai is advanced over the house of Haman, Esther 8:1,2. Esther maketh a petition to the king to reverse Haman’s letters, Esther 8:3-6. Ahasuerus granteth to Esther and Mordecai, Esther 8:7, to write to the Jews to defend themselves, Esther 8:8. Mordecai’s letters in the king’s name to defend themselves and destroy their assailants, Esther 8:9-14. Mordecai’s honour, and the Jews’ joy, Esther 8:15-17.
The house of Haman, with all his goods and estate, which being justly forfeited to the king, he no less justly bestows it upon the queen, to compensate the danger to which Haman had exposed her.
Mordecai came before the king, i.e. was by the queen’s desire admitted into the king’s presence, and favour, and family, and, as it seems, made one of the seven princes.
What he was unto her, i.e. how nearly he was related to her; which till this time she had wisely concealed, this being the fit season to declare it.
And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.The king took off his ring; that ring which he had formerly given to Haman for that present or any further use, Esther 3:10, he now gives to Mordecai, and with it that power and authority whereof this ring was a sign, making him, as Haman had been, the keeper of his signet.
Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman; as her steward, to manage that great estate for her as he thought fittest.
And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.To put away the mischief of Haman; to repeal that cruel decree, of which see Esther 3:13.
Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,The king held out the golden sceptre; in token that he accepted her person and petition, and that she should stand upon her feet.
And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces:She useth various expressions, that she might insinuate herself into the king’s favour, by such a full and repeated resignation and submission of herself to the king’s good pleasure.
To reverse the letters devised by Haman; she prudently takes off all the envy and hatefulness of the action from the king, and lays it upon Haman, who had for his own wicked and selfish ends contrived the whole business, and circumvented the king in it; which she allegeth as a reason why it should be repealed, because it was surreptitiously and craftily procured.
For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?My heart will sink under it, and I shall never be able to survive it.
Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.You see how ready I have been to grant your requests, and I do not repent of my favour to you, and am ready to grant your further desires, as far as the law will permit me to do.
Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.For the Jews; on their behalf, to the governors and commanders of the king’s forces, or to whom you please.
Seal it with the king’s ring; I offer you my authority and seal to confirm whatsoever you shall think fit to write.
For the writing which is written in the king’ s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse: this reason may belong either,
1. To the writing of these present letters; and so the sense is, These letters will be most effectual, being no less irrevocable than the former, and coming last will repeal the former. Or,
2. To the former letters, as a reason why he could not grant their desires in recalling them, because they were irrevocable by the law of the Medes and Persians. And this sense, though rejected by many, seems to be the truest, because here is no mention of reversing Haman’s letters, which Esther had desired, Esther 8:5, and the king denied for the reason here alleged; and because the following letter doth not contain one word about the reversing of the former, nor doth it take away that power which was given to all rulers to destroy all the Jews, Esther 3:12,13, but only gives the Jews power and authority to stand up in their own defence, Esther 8:11, which, all circumstances considered, was sufficient for their preservation.
Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.In the third month, on the three and twentieth day thereof; which was above two months after the former decree; all which time God suffered the Jews to lie under the terror of this dreadful day partly, that they might be more thoroughly humbled for and purged from those many and great sins under which they lay; partly, and particularly, that they might be convinced of their great sin and folly in neglecting the many offers and opportunities they had of returning to their native country, and to the free and full exercise of the true religion, which could be had no where but in Jerusalem; by which means they being now dispersed in the several parts of this vast dominion, were like to be a very easy prey to their enemies, whereas their brethren in Judea were in a better capacity to preserve themselves; partly, that their most malicious and inveterate enemies might have an opportunity of discovering themselves to their ruin, as the event showed; and partly, for the greater illustration of God’s glorious power, and wisdom, and goodness, in giving his people such an admirable and unexpected deliverance. Yet God so ordered things, that this letter should be sent in due time before it was too late; for there were yet near nine months to come before that appointed day.
It was written unto the Jews; that they might understand their liberty, and be encouraged to use it for their own defence.
And to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces; that they should publish and disperse them into all parts, that both themselves and others might take notice of the king’s pleasure and kindness to the Jews.
And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:Which were not employed in the sending of the former letter; but this coming later required more care and speed, that the Jews might be eased from the torment of their present fears, and have time to furnish themselves with necessaries for their own defence.
Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,To stand for their life; to stand up and fight for the de fence of their lives against all that should seek to destroy them.
All the power of the people; either governors or governed, without any exception, either of age, dignity, or sex, as it follows.
Both little ones and women; which is here added, because it was put into the former decree; and to strike the greater terror into their enemies; and according to the laws and customs of this kingdom, whereby children were punished for their parents’ offences; which also in some cases was allowed and practised in sacred story. Yet we read nothing in the execution of this decree of the slaughter of women or children, nor is it probable that they would kill their innocent children, who were so indulgent to their families, as not to meddle with the spoil.
Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.No text from Poole on this verse.
The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.No text from Poole on this verse.
So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace.By the king’s commandment; by his particular. and express command to that purpose.
And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.With a great crown of gold; which the chief of the Persian princes were permitted to wear, but with sufficient distinction from the king’s crown.
The city of Shushan; not only Jews, but the greatest number of the citizens, who, by the law of nature written upon their hearts, had an abhorrency from bloody counsels and designs, and a complacency in acts of benignity and mercy; or for other reasons, of which See Poole "Esther 3:15".
The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.Light is oft put for
gladness, as 2 Samuel 22:29 Job 18:5,6 Psa 27:1, because light is pleasant and disposeth a man to joy, whereas darkness inclines a man to sorrow.
Gladness and joy: this explains the former metaphor by two words expressing the same thing, to note the greatness of the joy.
Honour, instead of that contempt under which they had lain.
And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.A feast and a good day, i.e. a time of feasting and rejoicing, and thanksgiving,
The fear of the Jews; when possibly they had irritated by their former threatenings, and now gave this evidence of their repentance, that they were willing to submit to that severe precept of circumcision.