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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Esther 7

 

 

Verses 1-10

Esther 7:4. The king’s damage, in the loss of subjects and of revenue.

Esther 7:8. They covered Haman’s face; an indignity done only to persons condemned to die.

Esther 7:9. Hang him thereon. The LXX read, “crucify him.”

REFLECTIONS.

We come now to the instructive close of this tragedy. It was, if we may consult the feelings of human nature, no small calamity, that while Haman was overwhelmed with mortifications, and assailed with desponding predictions from his friends, the royal attendants were at his gates to conduct him to the queen’s banquet; for when the heart is sick, it is difficult to counterfeit a cheerful countenance. While the attendants were waiting, they had the curiosity to enquire for whom the adjacent gallows was erected: for executions are interesting subjects, and a gallows so lofty they concluded could be designed for no common offender. They were told, servants being often prodigal of their master’s secrets, that Mordecai, whom their master had just been obliged to honour, was the victim. So Haman was conducted in state to the banquet, but the knowledge of the crime was conveyed with the man. By spending an evening in feasting and wine, he hoped to chase from his soul the painful recollections of the morning. But the banquet presented new sorrows. The parties were scarcely seated, before the king, urgent to know the request which afflicted his favourite queen, handsomely opened the way by requesting her to speak. And what was his astonishment when she prostrated, and in all the eloquence of a wounded heart, asked, neither honours for herself, nor promotion for her friends, but implored life for herself and for her people. Haman himself, if he could pity, was moved at her distress; for she had not told any one that she was a Jewess. The king, all indignant against the unknown traitor, demanded his name. The adversary and the enemy, it was replied, who has done all this, is no other than this wicked Haman, thy bosom friend. He has imposed on my lord by falsehood and lies; he has bought us for money, and devoted a whole people to destruction. Now Haman tasted Esther’s banquet. It was indeed a bitter cup; but bitterer still was his own guilt. The king, too indignant to bear the sight of the culprit, rushed into the garden. Harbonah, a eunuch and the chamberlain, confirmed all the words of Esther, by acquainting the king with the gallows erected for the faithful Mordecai, and advising him to hang the guilty on the very gallows he had erected for the innocent. Nec lex est justior ulta, quam necis artifices arte perire sua. Nor was there ever a juster law than that the insidious assassin should perish by his own art. The king, struck with the equity of the proposition, spake, and it was done.

From this history we may learn many valuable lessons.

(1) How awful are insupportable pride and implacable malice!

(2) How unwise and inhuman is it to persecute honest men for scruples of conscience. Mordecai bowed not to Haman, but he gave his reason; he said, he was a Jew; and consequently he refused not to bow, provided the idolatrous parts of the ceremony were removed. We may also add

(3) that they who persecute the church, however ignorant of what they do, or however specious their political pleas, fall into Haman’s errors, and Haman’s ruin. They seek the destruction of the king’s nearest relatives and dearest friends.

(4) But to see this man, this haughty minister, who held the world by a glance of his eye, and was but an hour before the greatest favourite of his master, hanging on the gallows erected for Mordecai, was a most instructive spectacle to Shushan, and the whole empire. Surely there is a God, and a providence, which shall render to every man according to his works.

(5) If a scene so tragic occurred in an earthly court, what must it be in the general day of account, when the innocent shall accuse the guilty, and bring to light a world of crimes which had passed with men for virtues. What must it be when truth shall raise her voice aloud, strip the base coin of its tinsel, and confound the delinquents; when the eyes of the king shall sparkle with fire, when his looks shall be terrific as the fiercest tempest, and when his voice, as the roaring of a lion, shall utter the accents of vengeance and eternal death. Be instructed, oh my soul, and abide by the cause of simplicity, equity and truth. Be instructed, oh ye kings, be wise, ye judges, to treat the humblest subject at the bar according to law and equity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 7:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/esther-7.html. 1835.

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