Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)The Jews slay their enemies, Esther 9:1-9, with the ten sons of Haman, Esther 9:10. Ahasuerus, at the request of Esther, granteth another day of slaughter, Esther 9:12-19. The days of Purim made festival, Esther 9:20-32.
In that day which was selected by Haman with great industry and art, as the most lucky day, and which their enemies had ofttimes formerly thought of, and no doubt threatened the Jews with it.
No text from Poole on this verse.
The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.No man could withstand them; their enemies, though they did and were allowed to take up arms against them, yet were easily conquered and destroyed by the Jews.
The fear of them; who had such potent friends at court, and so great a God on their side, who by such unusual and prodigious methods (whereof doubtless they had been particularly informed) had brought about such a mighty and unexpected deliverance.
And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.And officers of the king, Heb. and all them that did the king’s business, i.e. not only the chief persons designed by the foregoing words, but all his other ministers or officers, of what quality soever.
For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.Mordecai was great, i.e. the greatest in place, and power, and favour with the king, both for his near relation to his beloved queen, and for his good service done to him in preserving his life and managing his affairs, and for those excellent abilities and virtues which he discovered in him, and especially by the disposition of the heart-ruling God.
Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.No text from Poole on this verse.
And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.In Shushan the palace, i.e. in the city so called, as was noted before, Esther 1:2; it not being probable either that they would make such a slaughter in the king’s palace, or that they would be suffered so to do.
Five hundred men; whom by long experience they knew to be their constant and inveterate enemies, and such as would watch all opportunities to destroy them; which also they might possibly now attempt to do. Part of them also might be friends and allies of Haman, and therefore the avowed enemies of Mordecai.
And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,No text from Poole on this verse.
The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.Either because they were desirous it should come into the king’s treasury; or because they would leave it to their children, that it might appear that what they did that day was not done out of malice to their persons and families, or covetousness of their estates, but out of mere necessity, and by that great and approved law of self-preservation, and that they were ready to mix mercy with judgment and would not deal with their enemies so ill as it was apparent that their enemies intended to do against them.
On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.Possibly with evil design to incense thee king against the Jews.
And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? in which doubtless many more were slain. So that I have fully granted thy petition. And yet, if thou hast any thing further to ask, I am here ready to grant it.
Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.According to this day’s decree, i.e. to kill their implacable enemies. For it is not improbable that the greatest and worst of them had politicly withdrawn or hidden themselves for that day; after which, the commission granted to the Jews being expired, they confidently returned to their homes, where they were taken and slain by virtue of this private and unexpected decree.
Haman’s sons were slain before; now let their bodies be hanged upon their father’s gallows, for their greater infamy, and the terror of all others who shall presume to abuse the king in like manner, or to persuade him to execute such cruelties upon his own subjects. This custom of hanging up the bodies of malefactors after their death was frequent among the Jews, and Persians also, as is well known.
And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.No text from Poole on this verse.
For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.No text from Poole on this verse.
But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,No text from Poole on this verse.
On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.On the thirteenth day: this belongs not to the feast, but to the work done before it. The meaning is, This they did, i.e. they slew their foes, as was now said, Esther 9:16, upon the thirteenth day.
But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.No text from Poole on this verse.
Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.Therefore, to wit, because they did their whole work upon the thirteenth day, as was noted Esther 9:17, to which this manifestly relates, the 18th verse coming in as it were by way of parenthesis.
In the unwalled towns, Heb. in the cities of the villages, i.e. in the lesser cities and villages, which are here opposed to the great city Shushan, and those who dwelt in it.
And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,Mordecai wrote these things; either,
1. The letters here following. But that is distinctly mentioned in the next words. Or,
2. The history of these things, which was the ground of the feast; which Mordecai knew very well ought to be had in remembrance, and to be told to their children and posterity, through all ages, according to the many commands of God to that purpose, and the constant practice of the holy men of God in such cases.
To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,Because both these days had been set apart this year, the latter at Shushan, the former in other parts; and because that great work of God, which was the ground of this solemnity, had been done both upon the thirteenth and the fourteenth day.
As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.Which they used to give upon days of thanksgiving; of which see Nehemiah 8:10.
And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;Having by this means opportunity to gather themselves together upon any occasion, the chief of them assembled together, and freely and unanimously consented to Mordecai’s desire in this matter, and bound it upon themselves and posterity.
Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;No text from Poole on this verse.
But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.No text from Poole on this verse.
Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,i.e. Both for the respect which they justly bore to Mordecai’s letter, and because they themselves had seen and felt this wonderful work of God on their behalf.
The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;All such as joined themselves unto them, i.e. Gentile proselytes; who were obliged to submit to other of the Jewish laws, and therefore to this also; the rather, because they enjoyed the benefit of this day’s deliverance; without which the Jewish nation and religion had been in a great measure, if not wholly, extinct in the world.
According to their writing, i.e. according to that writing which was drawn up by Mordecai with Esther’s consent, Esther 9:23,29, and afterwards confirmed by the consent of all the Jews in the several places.
And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.No text from Poole on this verse.
Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.Wrote with all authority: the former letter, Esther 9:20, did only recommend, but this enjoins the observation of this solemnity; because this was not only Mordecai’s act, who yet had by the king’s grant a great power and authority over the subjects of that kingdom, and consequently over the Jews, but it was the act of all the Jews, binding themselves and posterity to it, Esther 9:27. Or, with all might, or efficacy, as that word usually signifies; he pressed it with all earnestness and vehemency.
And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,Or, even words of peace and truth; which may respect either,
1. The form of the writing, wherein after the custom he saluted them with hearty wishes of their true peace or prosperity, or of the continuance of those two great blessings of God,
truth, i.e. the true religion; and peace, either among themselves, or with all men, that they might peaceably and quietly enjoy and profess the truth. Or,
2. The manner of his writing, which was
with peace, i.e. friendship and kindness to his brethren;
and truth, i.e. sincerity; which is the more noted and commended in him, because it is so unusual in such great courtiers as he now was; compare Esther 10:3: or the matter of his writing, which was to direct and persuade them to keep both peace and truth, i.e. both to live peaceably and lovingly both one with another, and with all their neighbours, not insulting over them upon their confidence in Mordecai’s great power, or upon this late and great success, as men naturally and commonly do, nor giving them any fresh provocations, and yet holding fast the true religion in spite of all the artifices or hostilities of the Gentiles among whom they lived.
To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.For or about those great and overwhelming calamities which were decreed to all the Jews, and for the removing of which, not only Esther, and the Jews in Shushan, but all other Jews in all places, as soon as they heard those dismal tidings, did doubtless according to the precepts of Scripture, and the constant practice of their godly predecessors in all ages, fly to that last and only refuge of seeking to God by fasting, and earnest prayers, and strong cries unto God; which God was pleased graciously, to hear, and in answer thereunto to give them this amazing deliverance. And this was that which they were now to remember, to wit, the greatness of their danger, and of their rescue from it. And accordingly the Jews use to observe the first of those days with fasting, and crying, and other expressions of vehement grief and fear, and the latter with feasting, and thanksgiving, and all demonstrations of joy and triumph.
And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.Esther had received authority and commission from the king to impose this upon all the Jews.
In the book; either in the public registers of that kingdom; or rather, in the records which the Jews kept of their most memorable passages.