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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Esther 9

 

 

Verses 1-32

Esther 9:1. The enemies of the Jews. The Chaldean paraphrase says that no nation appeared in arms against the Jews but Amalek; and these were infatuated to their own destruction. The troubles which the Israelites experienced from them were perpetual. Hence Saul greatly erred in stopping his victories when he had taken their cities, their king, and their cattle. The number which fled was sufficient to multiply, and become a perpetual scourge to the nation that spared them. Now however they received the reward of their wickedness. God blotted out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Deuteronomy 25:17.

Esther 9:10. On the spoil laid they not their hand. That was the king’s right, as appears from the forfeiture of Haman’s estates. It was the law of the Persians, as it is of all nations, that those who fall in revolt, forfeit their lives and their lands to the crown.

Esther 9:16. The other Jews—stood for their lives. They could not easily counteract the first edict for their destruction; therefore they defended themselves, and probably to some excess of human blood.

REFLECTIONS.

The people of God are always surrounded with a host of foes, who watch and wait an occasion to do them harm. The Samaritan rancour, after a lapse of thirty years, had somewhat subsided. Now Amalek, and others, rejoiced in hope of giving the Jews a total fall. Hence it would be well for religious denominations to avoid persecuting one another, and to conduct themselves with prudence and good affection to all the world, for the world is sufficiently willing to act against them.

We see here the folly of this court in pretending to infallibility. The law of the Medes and Persians neither altered nor changed, they never revoked a decree; yet here they were obliged to counteract Haman’s decree by another, which authorized the Jews to defend themselves. Hence the Jewish enemies were confident, and so incautious, as not to conceal the murderous purposes of their hearts. They openly enrolled themselves in the unhappy list doomed to fall by the sword of the Jews. So on them as well as on Haman, the cruel enmity of their hearts was requited. Hence we see, that in God’s account, a wicked intention is a criminality next to the actual perpetration of the deed. The enemies thought the bloody day far too long postponed; but alas, when it came they thought it far too soon, seventy five thousand of them perished at a stroke.

The storm being over, the Jews had a day of triumph, not of massacre; a day of rejoicing, not of sorrow; a day of feasting, not of fasting. So when the darkest cloud menaces the sanctuary, the Lord is able to disperse it with a wind in one moment.

The Jews wisely ordained that those two days should be kept as a festival to all generations, that the recollection of this great salvation might never cease. They were struck, and all the empire could not but own, that the hand of God had directed the lucky day to fall by lot, in the middle of the last month. This circumstance, little in itself, gave sufficient time for the wheels of providence to move, and for the divine counsel to operate in all parts of the vast empire. The satraps, seeing Esther and Mordecai at the head of affairs, had time to consult their interests. So with perfect ease the Lord takes the wise in their own craftiness, and entangles the wicked in their own net. In this instructive history we see on the broadest scale, that no counsel against the Messiah or his people shall prosper, farther than as a sanctifying scourge. Let us therefore trust in God alone; for under his wings we have protection, and everlasting defence.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 9:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/esther-9.html. 1835.

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