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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Esther 6

 

 

Verse 1

Esther 6:1 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.

Ver. 1. On that night] That very night before Mordecai should have been hanged on the morrow morning, and so early that Esther could not have begged his life, would she never so fain. God will appear for his poor people, εν τω καιρω, in the nick and opportunity of time, 1 Peter 5:6. He will be seen in the mount, he will come as out of an engine.

Could not the king sleep] Heb. the king’s sleep fled away, and, like a shadow, it fled away so much the faster as it was more followed. Sleep is best solicited by neglect, and soonest found when we have forgotten to seek it. They are likeliest for it who, together with their clothes, can put off their cares, and say as Lord Burleigh did when he threw off his gown, Lie there, Lord Treasurer. This great Ahasuerus cannot do at present, for crowns also have their cares, thistles in their arms, and thorns in their sides. Lo, he that commanded one hundred and twenty-seven provinces cannot command an hour’s sleep: how should he when as sleep is God’s gift? Psalms 127:2. And it was he that at this time kept him awake for excellent ends, and put small thoughts into his heart for great purpose, like as he did into our Henry VIII, when the bishop of Baion (the French ambassador), coming to consult with him about a marriage between the lady Mary and the duke of Orleans, cast a scruple into his mind which rendered him restless, whether Mary were legitimate, &c. (Life and death of Card. Wolsey, 65). If it were his surfeiting and drunkenness the day before that hindered Ahasuerus from sleeping, habent enim hoc ebrii, ut neque dormiant, neque vigilent (Plin.), They have this from drinking so that they are neither asleep nor awake. God’s goodness appeareth the more, in turning his sin to the good of the Church. Venenum aliquando pro remedio fuit, saith Seneca, He can make of a poisonous viper a wholesome treacle; and by an almighty alchemy draw good out of evil.

And he commanded to bring the book of records] Perhaps some special notes or commentaries, written for the king’s own use, as M. Aurelius had his τα εις εμαυτον. Julius Caesar had his commentaries written with his own hand, and for the help of his own memory, υπομνηματα. Tamerlane had the like book, wherein he read a great part of the night before the mortal battle between him and Bajazet (Turk. Hist.).

Of the chronicles] Perhaps, besides the former book of remembrances, or else the same, Librum Commentariorum, Chronica, as Tremellius rendereth it, the book of commentaries, even the chronicles, but the Vulgate and Tygurine make them different books.

And they were read before the king] Perhaps as a recipe, to bring on sleep, or at least to deceive the time; and yet it may be too for a better purpose, viz. to better his knowledge, and to stir up his memory, that dignity might wait upon desert; as it did in Tamerlane’s time, who kept a catalogue of their names who had best deserved of him, which he daily perused, oftentimes saying, that day to be lost wherein he had not done something for them. This Ahasuerus had not yet done for Mordecai, who therefore haply held with the poet,

Omnia sunt ingrata nihil fecisse benigne est.

But God was not unrighteous to forget his work and labour of love, Hebrews 6:10, though men were unthankful. Vetus gratia dormit. (Pindar). Per raro grati reperiuntur (Cicero).


Verse 2

Esther 6:2 And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.

Ver. 2. And it was found written] It was God who directed the reader to that very place; like as he did the eunuch to Isaiah 53:7-8, where, reading of the meekness of Jesus Christ, he was transformed into the same image; as was likewise Johannes Isaac, a Jew, converted by reading the same chapter. Hoc ego ingenue profiteor, saith he, caput illud ad fidem Christi me adduxisse: This I confess ingenuously, that lighting upon that chapter, I was brought thereby to the faith of Christ. Austin thought he heard a voice, saying, Tolle, lege, take up the Bible and read; accordingly he took it up, and opening it, fell upon that text in Romans 13:14, which was the main means of his conversion.

That Mordecai had told of Bigthana, &c.] See Esther 2:21-23.


Verse 3

Esther 6:3 And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.

Ver. 3. And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?] Lyra saith that he had waited six years for reward and had none. In princes’ courts men are sure to meet with two evils, Aναβολη and Mεταβολη, not so in heaven. The butler forgat Joseph. Solomon speaketh of a poor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered the city, yet no man remembered that same poor man, Ecclesiastes 9:15. This is merces mundi, the world’s wages. Mordecai had saved the king’s life, and yet is unrewarded. The kings of Persia used to be very bountiful to those that had well deserved them, or of the commonwealth; calling such Orosangae, and setting down both their names and their acts in the Chronicles, as Herodotus testifieth. Among the rest he mentioned one Phylacus, Qui inter bene de rege meritos ascriptus est, et multo tractu soli donatus, who was put upon record for his good service to the king, and rewarded with a great deal of land given him. Others had great store of gold and silver, and a gallant house, as Democedes Crotoniates, the physician who cured Darius, had at Susis. It is well known out of Xenophon, what rich gifts Cyrus gave to his friends and followers, chains of gold, armlets, bridles embossed with gold, Persian stools, called Dorophoricae, &c. Herodotus telleth us, that this Ahasuerus, alias Xerxes, gave Megabyzus, for his good service at Babylon, a golden mill weighing six talents. Plutarch writeth, that he gave Themistocles over two hundred talents, and three cities besides, viz. Magnesia, Lampsacus, and Myuntis, to find him food, and for clothing and furniture two more, viz. Percos and Palaescepsis. How came it then to pass that good Mordecai was so forgotten? Surely it was a great fault in this ungrateful king, but God’s holy hand was in it, that Mordecai should not have a present recompense, but that it should be deferred till a fitter opportunity, when God might be more glorified in the preservation of his people and destruction of their enemies. Let us not therefore be weary of well doing; for (however men deal by us) we shall be sure to reap in due season if we faint not, Galatians 6:9. God best seeth when a mercy will be most sweet and seasonable. When his people are low enough, and the enemy high enough, then usually it appeareth that there is a God that judgeth in the earth, and a rich reward for the righteous. Men may neither remunerate nor remember the good turns we have done them; but there is a book of remembrance written before tbe Lord for all them that fear him, and that think upon his name, Malachi 3:16. See my treatise on that text, called, The Righteous Man’s Recompense, annexed to my Comment upon the Small Prophets.

Then said the king’s servants] The eunuchs or gentlemen of the bedchamber: ingenuous men they were, and not disaffected to Mordecai, whom yet they could not but know to be a great eyesore to Prince Haman. Si iuvenes isti vulgari invidentiae morbo laborasscnt, saith Lavater. If these young men had been sick of that common disease of envy, they would have extenuated his good service, and have said, Mordecai is a despised Jew, a stranger, a captive. If he revealed the conspiracy, he did but his duty, and provided thereby well for his own safety. Is it not reward enough that he lives, and at court, where he hath a place, an office, &c.? Courtiers, we know, love not to have others come over their heads, but think all lost which themselves acquire not, as Seneca saith Sejanus did, Quicquid non acquiritur damnum est. Whatever he did not own, was consumed. We know how it was in the courts of Pharaoh, Saul, Herod. That is a rare commendation that is given by Xenophon of Cyrus’s courtiers, that though a man should seek or choose blindfold, he could not miss of a good man, Eνθα καν μυων βαλη τις ουκ αν αμαρτοι ανδρος αγαθου (Xen. Cyrop. 1. 8). David’s court might very well be such, Psalms 101:1-8, and Queen Elizabeth’s, and George’s, prince of Anhalt, of whom Melancthon writeth, that his chamber was Ecclesia, Academia, Curia, a church, a university, and a court; Palaestra pietatis et literarum, as Tremellius saith of Cranmer’s family, a school of piety and learning.

There is nothing done for him] And yet the Apocryphal additions, Esther 12:5,6, say otherwise.


Verse 4

Esther 6:4 And the king said, Who [is] in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

Ver. 4. And the king said, Who is in the court] Josephus saith, that he first asked what time it was, and understanding that it was morning’s light (for so long he had heard his servants read, and till then it was not that Mordecai’s matter was mentioned, Haman being now ready to get a warrant for his execution), he asked, who is there without? as desirous to proceed by counsel in a business of that consequence.

Now Haman was come, &c.] He was early up (and at court for a mischief), but never the nearer, save only to his own utter ruin.

To speak to the king to hang Mordecai] Which till it were done, he could neither sleep in quiet nor eat with comfort. Little considered he how the gallows groaned for himself. "The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead," Proverbs 11:8.

Vivit adhuc Christus, regnat, regnabit et usque:

Atque hostes omnes sub ditione premit.


Verse 5

Esther 6:5 And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.

Ver. 5. Behold, Haman standeth in the court] For into the presence he might not come uncalled. And to be thus called in he held it no small happiness; but was soon confuted. He came into the room (as men come to a lottery) with his head full of hopes, but he went thence with his heart full of blanks.

And the king said, Let him come in] See here, saith Merlin, a sweet and special providence of God in this, that Ahasuerus should take advice about honouring Mordecai, and not of his servants that attended upon his person, but of Haman then present (though for another purpose), and concealing the man he means, should make Haman say what was fit to be done, and then do it accordingly. Neither the king nor his servants, likely, would ever have thought of doing Mordecai so great honour as Haman prescribed. See here, as in a mirror, how the Lord by a secret providence bringeth about and overruleth the wiles of men, their affairs, times, counsels, words, and speeches, to the fulfilling of his own will and decree; and this when they think least of doing God’s will or serving his providence.


Verse 6

Esther 6:6 So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?

Ver. 6. So Haman came in] Merry and pleasent, but went out sad and heavy hearted. These hosts (profit, pleasure, and preferment), though they welcome us into our inn with smiling countenances, yet, if we watch them not, they will cut our throats in our beds. It is observed of Edward III, that he had always fair weather at his passage into France, and foul upon his return. Pharaoh had fair weather till he was in the heart of the Red Sea. The sun shone fair upon the earth that morning that Lot came out of Sodom, but ere night there was a dismal change. He that lives in the height of the world’s blandishments is not far from destruction.

And the king said unto him, What shall be done, &c.] Though the king knew of no difference between Haman and Mordecai (saith a grave interpreter, Mr Jackson), yet he suppresseth Mordecai’s name: and thus the Lord by his providence brought it about, that even Haman himself should, to his greater vexation, appoint the honours that should be done to Mordecai, and that at a time when he was come to desire of the king that he might be hanged, and with full assurance that he should have obtained his desire.

Now Haman thought in his heart] Heb. Said in his heart; the language whereof God very well understood, and here uttereth, to the perpetual shame of this monstrous ambitionist.

To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?] Ambition (as they say of the crocodile) groweth as long as it liveth; and self-love, like to a good stomach, draws to itself what nourishment it liketh, and casts off that which offends it. It maketh men unreasonable, and teacheth them to turn the glass to see themselves bigger, others lesser, than they are. Herodotus reporteth, that after the Greeks had got the better of this Xerxes and his Persians, and came together to divide the spoil, when it was put to the question who of all the commanders had deserved the best and chief reward? none would yield to other, but every man thought himself best deserving, and second to none. In the battle at Belgrade, where Mahomet, the Great Turk, was beaten and driven out of the field, Capistranus and Huniades were the chieftains there. And whereas both of them wrote the relation of that day’s work, neither of them so much as once mentioned the other (though both of them had done their parts gallantly), but each one took the whole praise of it to himself. Haman, though altogether unworthy of the least respect, yet holds himself best worthy of the greatest honours, and therefore will be sure to be no niggard in advising those ceremonies of honour, which he presumes meant to his own person.


Verse 7

Esther 6:7 And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,

Ver. 7. And Haman answered the king] After a short pause, he had his answer ready; but making a bridge of his own shadow, he soon fell into the brook. Ambition rideth without reins, and like those horses, Amos 6:11 runneth upon the rocks, where first she breaks her hoofs, and then her neck. It seemeth, by that which followeth, that Haman aspired to the kingdom: why, else did he ask the crown royal, and the kings horse? &c. When David would declare Solomon his successor in the kingdom, he set him upon his own mule, 1 Kings 1:33. But Haman little thought that his high hopes should end in a rope. So did Hanno’s, the Carthaginian, and Roger Mortimer’s in King Edward II’s time, and the false Edric in King Canute’s days; and lastly, Hadrian de Castello, an Italian legate, made by King Henry VII bishop of Hereford, who conspired with Alphonso Petruccio, and other sacred cardinals, to murder Pope Leo X, induced thereunto by the suggestion of a witch, who foretold to him, that one Hadrian, an old man of mean parentage, of great learning and wisdom, should succeed in the Papacy, the man, Haman-like, thought it must needs be himself; but another Hadrian, schoolmaster to Charles V, proved to be the man: and this our Hadrian lost by deprivation all his promotions whatsoever (for his life could not be come at) for his nefarious attempt (Paul Jovius).

For the man whom the king delighteth to honour] Heb. In whose honour the king delighteth. And what will not delight do, whether in good or evil? {See Trapp on "Micah 7:18"}


Verse 8

Esther 6:8 Let the royal apparel be brought which the king [useth] to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:

Ver. 8. Let the royal apparel be brought, &c.] This was very glorious and gorgeous; as is to be seen in Xenophon, Plutarch, Lucian, Dion, Chrysostom, and other good authors. The Persian kings wore on their heads an upright tiara or turban very sumptuous; a diadem also made of white and purple colour. On their bodies a rich purple stole, or robe of state, reaching down to the heels; this Curtius calleth pallam Persicam, a Persian pall, beset with gold and precious stones great store, and the pictures of wild creatures and fowls of the air. Curtius, describing Xerxes’s royal apparel, saith that golden hawks, encountering one another with their beaks, adorned his robe made of cloth of gold. Besides, they wore a rich cassock (called candy) bound to them with a golden belt, breeches also of scarlet, reaching to their knees; called therefore by the Greeks Pερισκελης, as Jerome testifieth (Ep. ad Fabiol.).

And the horse that the king rideth upon] The king of Persia did always ride, either on horseback or in a chariot, and had one special horse proper to himself, as had also David, 1 Kings 1:33, Alexander, Julius Caesar, &c. At this day the better sort in Persia fight, buy, sell, confer, and do all on horseback. The difference between the gentleman and the peasant is, that the peasant never rides, the gentleman never goes on foot.

And the crown royal which is set upon his head] This was monstrous ambition; appoint him the kingdom also, might Ahasuerus have said. Lyra noteth here, that Haman aspired to the kingdom, because none but the king could have the crown royal set upon his head; wherefore the king also in answering to the things propounded by him, saith, Take the robe and the horse, as thou hast said, but of the crown he maketh no mention. Some of the Hebrews by head here understand the horse’s head; Nam apud Persas solebat equus deferre diadema regni, the king’s horse was wont to carry the royal crown. Vatablus thinks this sense not unlikely, because the crown is not mentioned, Esther 6:11; and this might also peradventure be the custom and fashion of Persia, saith Diodati. Merlin noteth here, that Haman maketh no mention of rewards or gifts to be conferred upon him, because he had wealth enough already, and desired only more honours, instancing the uttermost that could be done to any subject, in seeking whereof he miserably failed.


Verse 9

Esther 6:9 And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man [withal] whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.

Ver. 9. And let this apparel and horse be delivered, &c.] All must be done in amplest manner; and if it had been done to himself, as he desired, what had all that been but a magnum nihil, as one saith, a great nothing, a glorious fancy, a rattle, to still his ambition for a while? Forte amplior fuisset, nisi veritas esset rem suspicione neutiquam carere (Lavat.). He, simple man, had wrought himself into the fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage, like as the Spaniards have in their dream of a catholic monarchy, divinitus debita, saith one, sed in Utopia. They were laughed heartily at Captain Drake and his company, when they took Sancta Domingo, A.D. 1585, and in the town hall found the king of Spain’s arms, and under them a globe of the world, out of which arose a horse with his forefeet cast forth with this inscription, Non sufficit orbis, Not enough territory. Pyrrhus, that ambitious king of Epirotes, had the like thought; but was slain at last with a tilestone thrown upon his head by a woman. And a like evil end befell Caesar Borgia, who, in imitation of Julius Caesar, would needs be aut Caesar, aut nullus, either Caesar or nothing, and soon after proved to be et Caesar, et nullus, Both Caesar and nothing. Had Haman but contented himself with his present condition (too good for such a captive), he might have lived in the world’s account happily, and have called himself, as that French king did Tres heureuse, thrice blessed; but that insatiable thirst after honour, that gluttonous, excessive desire after more and more greatness, undid him. So true is that proverb of the ancients, Turdus ipse sibi malum cacat, Of the blackbird’s dung is made the lime wherewith he is taken; so out of the dung of men’s sins doth God make his lime twigs of judgment to take them withal.

To one of the king’s most noble princes] Principibus maioribus paratimis. This would be no small addition to the honour of the man and splendour of the day, like as it was here in England, when Henry II, at the coronation of his eldest son, renounced the name of a king for that day, and, as server, served at the table.

That they may array the man withal] Setting him forth to the greatest advantage, as our Henry VI did, when he crowned the Lord Beauchamp king of the Isle of Wight, and as Xerxes did Demaratus, when for honour’s sake he granted him to enter into Sardis, the chief city of Asia, arrayed like himself, with a straight tiara upon his head, which none might wear but kings only (Sen. 1. 6, de Benef.).

Through the street of the city] Of Susa, that he might be seen and cried up by many, for Honor est in honorante. Honour is in honour. As the meteor liveth in the air, so doth honour in the breath of other men. Plato reckoneth it among those dei ludibria quae sursum ac deorsum sub caelo feruntur, like tennis-balls bandied up and down from one to another.


Verse 10

Esther 6:10 Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, [and] take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.

Ver. 10. Then the king said to Haman] The king had no intent herein to ensnare Haman, or cross his humour, but God had a hand in it for the effecting of his own ends, which cannot but be ever exceeding good, since his will is not only recta, right but regula the rule.

Make haste, and take the apparel, and the horse, &c.] Here was no time left him of deliberation or liberty of contradiction; dispute he must not, but despatch what was given him in charge. Had he had but the least time, that, stepping out of the presence, he might have considered with himself or consulted with his friends, he would either have feigned himself sick, or found some other excuse, that he might not have done his enemy this honour. But God had so ordered it, and the king commanded it to be done forthwith; it was not, therefore, for Haman, vel responsare, vel repugnare, to chat or chaff, unless he would run the hazard of all; for, where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What dost thou?

And do even so to Mordecai the Jew] This word stabbed Haman to the heart, who had run many great hazards doubtless to domineer in his undeserved dignities; and now must perforce honour him whom he had hoped to have hanged; clothe him whom he hoped to have stripped; help him up to his horse, upon whose grave he hoped to have danced; prepare a triumph for him for whom he had prepared a tree; make proclamation before him as a crier, lead his horse as a lacquey, do all offices for him as a slave or underling; oh what a cut, what a cordolium was this to a man of his mettle and making! It was a wonder his heart burst not, as did Ahitophel’s, for pride so swelleth the soul many times, that it breaketh the case, the body, I mean, and endeth the life; but this had been here to have saved the hangman a labour. But base spirits will buckle and fall down to rise, crouch and creep to mount, &c.

That sitteth at the king’s gate] There you shall have him, and see that you mistake him not. Haman knew him well enough by his stiffness and stoutness, and wished him, of all the men in the world, out of the world.

Let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken] Perquam hoc durum est, sed ita lex scripta est, This is extremely hard, but so the law was written, saith the civil lawyer. This was a hard saying, and as hard meat to Haman’s stomach, that would ill go down, but there was no help for it, himself had advised it, and must therefore speedily execute it. Lata negligentia dolus est, This ignored is grief. says the lawyer; remissness is a kind of perfidiousness. Excuses would have been construed for refusals, delays for denials, &c.


Verse 11

Esther 6:11 Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.

Ver. 11. Then took Haman the apparel, &c.] Full sore against stomach be sure, but how could he help it? Thus God compelleth the devil and his limbs sometimes, though against their wills, to serve him as his servants. Canes lingunt ulcers Lazari. Dogs licked the sores of Lazarus, Saul pronounceth David more righteous than he. Judas and Pilate gave testimony to Christ’s innocency. These are the servants of the High God, which show unto us the way of salvation, said the Pythoness concerning Paul and his companions, Acts 16:17.

And arrayed Mordecai] Whose heart he could rather have torn out, and eaten it with salt. But courtiers are usually notable dissemblers, cunning politicians, &c. How busy is Haman now about Mordecai to array him, to mount him, and to attend upon him, whom yet he hated, and inwardly cursed to the pit of hell! Cavete ab osculo Iscariotico, ab officio Hamanitico. Beware of the eys of Judas and the office of hamen. Beware of men, Matthew 10:17 Josephus telleth us, that when Haman came to do those things to Mordecai, he (thinking that he had mocked him) answered with indignation, Thou most wicked man, dost thou thus insult over the miserable? But when he had told him, that indeed it was the king’s pleasure, he suffered him to do it. But what shall we say to reconcile those cross passions in Ahasuerus? Before he signed that decree of killing all the Jews, he could not but know that a Jew had saved his life; and now, after that he had enacted the slaughter of all the Jews as rebels, he giveth order to honour a Jew as his preserver. It were strange (saith a right reverend writer hereupon, Dr Hall) if great persons, in the multitude of their distractions, should not let fall some incongruities.

And brought him on horseback] Whom before he could not endure to see sitting at the court’s gate. A great trouble it was to Haman to lead Mordecai’s horse, which another man would not have thought so: the moving of a straw troubleth proud flesh, &c.

Through the streets of the city] Where all men were now in an amazement at that sudden glory of Mordecai, and study how to reconcile this day with the thirteenth of Adar.

And proclaimed before him] Not without an honourable mention made of his loyalty and fidelity to the king, the cause of that great honour. This Haman was forced to proclaim, and that on foot, as a servant; when Mordecai, as a prince in his state, was on horseback. It is probable that Haman thought within himself that he should shortly have his penny worths of that vile varlet, whom now he thus far honoured, and that haply ere night yet, at the feast, he might prevail with the king to do by Mordecai as once Xerxes did by his steersman, when he came back with shame and loss from his wars with Greece. Xerxes was forced, saith the history, to flee back in a poor fisher’s boat; which, being over loaded, had sunk all, if the Persians by casting away themselves had not saved the life of their king; the loss of which noble spirits so vexed him, that having given the steersman a golden coronet for preserving his own life, he commanded him to execution as a co-author of the death of his servants.


Verse 12

Esther 6:12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.

Ver. 12. And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate] No whit overjoyed by his new honour, or thereby (as many would have been - a small wind bloweth up a bubble), only he conceiveth hope thereby for a better condition, and taketh every former mercy for a pledge of a future: this experience breedeth confidence. He doth not rush into the court at his return, and reach after a higher room, but came again to the king’s gate, where his office was and his business lay; he took up also, as some think, his old habit again (the king’s apparel and horse being restored to the right owner, he had as little delight in it as David once had of Saul’s armour); but it is rather probable, saith an expositor, that he now left that off, being full of hope, that as God had heard his prayers, to bring him out of danger and to high honour; so he should now be able to help his brethren the Jews out of theirs also. Meanwhile, he doth not envy his superiors, insult over his inferiors, trouble his equals, threaten his enemies, &c., but committeth himself and all his affairs to God’s good pleasure and providence; and this is the guise of a godly man, Psalms 131:1-2.

But Haman hasted to his house mourning] Or, vexed at heart, fretting within himself, that he was so very much disappointed. Merrily he made account to have gone to the queen’s feast, when he had first trussed up Mordecai. Of which not only missing, but made to do him public honour in that sort, and that by his own direction, this galled him and grieved him above measure; so bladder-like is the soul of an unregenerate man, that filled with earthly vanities, though but wind, it grows great, and swells in pride; but if pricked with the least pin of piercing grief it shriveleth to nothing.

And having his head covered] With his cap pulled over his eyes, as ashamed to look any one in the face. See 2 Samuel 15:30, Jeremiah 14:4.


Verse 13

Esther 6:13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every [thing] that had befallen him. Then 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 him, but shalt surely fall before him.

Ver. 13. And Haman told Zeresh his wife, and all his friends] Expecting comfort and counsel from them; but they read him his destiny, and add to his grief and desperation; letting him know, that his state was such as that there was neither hope for better nor place for worse; a just hand of God upon such a hard-hearted wretch, that had plotted the ruin of so many innocents. And his wife and friends, had they done well should have reminded him of, and stirred him up to repent of his wickedness against God, the cause of his present wretchedness, to be reconciled to Mordecai, whom he and they plainly saw to be God’s favourite, and now the king’s also, to take down that ugly gallows, that there were no further notice taken of it, the evidence and ensign of his insufferable pride, and their unsavoury counsel, to get the decree for the Jews’ massacre reversed or countermanded, &c. But not a word find we of anything this way tending. Graceless people neither have God in their heads, Psalms 10:4, nor hearts, Psalms 14:1, nor words, Psalms 12:4, nor ways, Titus 1:16, but stand in a posture of distance, nay, defiance, walking contrary to him; and therefore he also, to cry quittance, walketh contrary to them, Leviticus 16:1-34, showing himself as froward as they for the hearts of them, Psalms 18:26.

Everything that had befallen him] The sad accidents of that day. Nothing now (as once, Esther 5:11) boasteth he to them of the glory of his riches and multitude of his children, and how the king had advanced him above all his other courtiers. Haman’s crowing was now turned into crying, &c.

Then said his wise men] Wizards haply, such as he made use of when he cast Pur for a lucky day, and into whose mouths the devil might put this answer. It is his use to bring his imps into the briars, and there to leave them, as he did Saul (whose funeral sermon he preached), and Judas, Julian, Valens, and others.

And Zeresh his wife said unto him] She is noted for a prudent woman, but here she proves as cold a comforter as before she had been an evil counsellor.

If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews] A nation noted as dear to God, often delivered by him, and that had also the faculty for gaining the good will of princes, by their excellent virtues, as it had been seen in Daniel and his companions, in Jechoniah, Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the whole nation, so graciously licensed by Cyrus to return into their own country. It is a good note that one gives here, A Jew may fall before a Persian, and get up and prevail; but if a Persian, or whosoever of the Gentiles, begin, to fall before a Jew, he can neither stay nor rise, &c.

Thou shalt mot prevail against him] But why did they not tell him this before, since they knew, as well as Haman, that Mordecai was of the seed of the Jews, and therefore advised him to prepare such a huge gallows? Surely, he that had so flattered himself deserved to be so flattered and undone by others; he that had given so evil counsel to the king against the Jews deserved by such evil counsellors to be cast into straits, and have no hand to help him out; they lead him to his bane, and there leave him, as familiars do their witches, when they have once brought them into fetters.

But shalt surely fall before him] Thus is Haman judged of all, condemned by all, and this with so great assurance of such an event, as if they had seen it. Utique coram eo concides Thou shalt surely fall before him, and that irrecoverably; as Eli fell, and as those idolaters are threatened, Amos 8:14. The Hebrew is, falling thou shalt fall, viz. to the lowest and utmost ebb of disgrace and misery, προν τ αιχεσιν αλγεα πειση.


Verse 14

Esther 6:14 And while they [were] yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Ver. 14. And while they were yet talking with him] But could not yield him one word of comfort. He hoped haply that they would have found out for him some good occasion, some means of supplanting Mordecai, now his co-rival and counterfactionist, and of incensing the king against him, that he might build upon his ruins. But the hope of unjust men shall perish, Proverbs 11:7, Etiam spes valentissimo perit, so some render it, and themselves with it. As Haman had not one to speak for him when the king frowned upon him; so here he hath not one to speak to his heart, or to shore him up, now that he is upon the fall. Those that before took crafty counsel against God’s people, and consulted against his hidden ones, Psalms 83:3, are now at their wits’ end, as seeing themselves taken as wild beasts in a snare, δρασσομενος, 1 Corinthians 3:19, "in their own craftiness," yea, they are mad for the sight of their eyes, which that day they should see, Deuteronomy 28:34.

Came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to brinq Haman] Heb. and hurried and headlonged in a turbulent manner; for it may be the king and queen tarried for him. Could he have been any way excused, he had no such mind to have gone. For his stomach was full, and what if he should meet Mordecai, the new favourite, there, and see him set above him? But now it is no time to consult further with friends, or cast perils by himself. Harbonah hasteneth him, having first taken notice of the lofty gallows, and (as Josephus saith) asked of one of the servants of the house what it meant, and for whom it was prepared? See Esther 7:9.

Unto the banquet that Esther had prepared] That fatal feast, Ubi manducaret quod apud inferos digereret (August.), where his food in his bowels was turned, it became the gall of asps within him, Job 20:14. Why then should any saint envy the wicked man his fed bits, his murdering morsels? is not his food sauced, his drink spiced, with the bitter wrath of God? Adonijah’s feast ended in horror; the ears of his guests were filled (because their bellies had prepared deceit, Job 15:35) with the sound of those trumpets, which at once proclaim Solomon’s triumph and their confusion. Ever after the meal is ended comes the reckoning, but at this banquet of Esther it came before, Esther 7:2. And Haman sped not so well as Caesar Borgia’s nobles, whom he invited to a feast, and after they had well dined, he cut off their heads.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Esther 6:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/esther-6.html. 1865-1868.

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