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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Esther 7

 

 

Verse 2

Esther 7:2. The king said again to Esther, What is thy petition, Queen Esther? &c. — If the king had now forgot that Esther had an errand to him, and had not again asked what it was, she could scarce have known how to renew it herself; but he was mindful of it, and now was bound with the three-fold cord of a promise, thrice made, to favour her.


Verse 3

Esther 7:3. Then Esther the queen answered and said, &c. — Esther, at length, surprises the king with a petition, not for wealth, or honour, or the preferment of some of her friends to some high post, which the king expected, but for the preservation of herself and her countrymen from death and destruction. O king, let my life be given me at my petition — It is my humble and only request, that thou wouldst not give me up to the malice of that man that designs to take away my life, and will certainly do it, if thou do not prevent it. And my people — That is, the lives of my people, of the Jews, of whom I am descended. Even a stranger, a criminal, shall be permitted to petition for his life. But that a friend, a wife, a queen, should have occasion to make such a request, was very affecting!


Verse 4

Esther 7:4. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, &c. — By the cruelty of that man, who offered a great sum to purchase our destruction. We have not forfeited our lives by any offence against the government, but are sold to gratify the pride and revenge of one man. If we had been sold for bond-men and bond-women — Sold merely into slavery; I had held my tongue — I would not have complained, for in time we might have been ransomed and delivered. But it is not our liberty only, but our lives that are sold. Although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage — His ten thousand talents would not repair the king’s loss in the customs and tributes, which the king receives from the Jews within his dominions, nor the injury his kingdom would sustain, by the loss of so many industrious hands out of it. To persecute good people is as impolitic as it is impious, and a manifest wrong to the interests of princes and states, which are weakened and empoverished by it.


Verse 5

Esther 7:5. Then the king said, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? — What! contrive the murder of the queen and all her friends? Is there such a man, or such a monster, rather, in nature? The expressions are short and doubled, as proceeding from a discomposed and enraged mind. The Hebrew is, Whose heart has filled him, as in the margin; or, Who hath filled his heart, to do so? He wonders that any one should be so wicked as to conceive such a thing, or that any one should be so bold as to attempt to effect it; that is, to circumvent him, and procure a decree, whereby not only his revenue should be so much injured, and so many of his innocent subjects destroyed, but his queen also involved in the same destruction. We sometimes startle at that evil which we ourselves are chargeable with. Ahasuerus is amazed at that wickedness which he himself was guilty of: for he had consented to the bloody edict; so that Esther might have said, Thou art the man!


Verse 6

Esther 7:6. Esther said, The enemy is this wicked Haman — It is he that has designed our murder, and I charge him with it before his face: here he is; let him speak for himself, for therefore he was invited. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen — It was time for him to fear, when the queen was his prosecutor, the king his judge, and his own conscience a witness against him; and the surprising operations of providence against him that same morning could not but increase his fear. Now he has little joy of his being invited to the banquet of wine, but finds himself in straits when he thought himself in the fulness of his sufficiency.


Verse 7

Esther 7:7. And the king arising from the banquet in his wrath — As disdaining the company and sight of so ungrateful and audacious a person; went into the palace-garden — To cool and allay his troubled and inflamed spirits, being in a great commotion by a variety of passions boiling and struggling within him; and to consider with himself the heinousness of Haman’s crime, the mischief which himself had like to have done by his own rashness, and what punishment was fit to be inflicted on so vile a miscreant. Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther — He first stood up, and then fell down at her feet, to beg she would save his life, and take all he had. They that are most haughty, insolent, and imperious, when they are in power and prosperity, are commonly the most abject and poor-spirited, on a reverse of condition and circumstances. Esther’s sworn enemy now owns that he lies at her mercy, and begs his life at her hand. Thus did God regard the low estate of his handmaiden. For he saw that there was evil determined against him — This he discerned by the violent commotion of the king’s mind, apparent in his countenance, and by his going out of the room in a great rage.


Verse 8

Esther 7:8. Then the king returned out of the palace garden — Yet more exasperated than when he went into it. The more he thought of Haman’s conduct, the more enraged he was against him. Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was — Or by, or beside the bed, on which the queen sat at meat, after the manner of those times and countries. For it was then a custom among the Persians, as well as many other nations, to sit, or rather lie, upon beds, when they ate or drank. And Haman, it seems, fell down as a supplicant at the feet of Esther, laying his hands upon her knees, and beseeching her to take pity upon him: for it is not improbable that it was the custom among the Persians, as it was among the Greeks and Romans, to embrace the knees of those whom they petitioned to be favourable to them. Then said the king — Finding him in this posture; Will he force the queen also before me in the house? — Will he attempt my queen’s chastity, as he hath already attempted her life, and that in my own presence and palace? His presumption and impudence, I see, will stick at nothing. He speaks not this out of real jealousy, for which there was no cause in those circumstances; but from an exasperated mind, which takes all occasions to vent itself against the person who gave the provocation, and puts the worst construction on all his words and actions. They covered Haman’s face — That the king might not be offended or grieved at the sight of a person whom he now detested; and because they looked upon him as a condemned person, for the faces of such used to be covered.


Verse 9

Esther 7:9. And Harbonah said — The courtiers that adored Haman when he was rising, set themselves as much against him now he is falling, and are glad of an opportunity to sink him lower: so little sure can proud men be of the interest they think they have in others. Behold also the gallows, &c., standeth in the house of Haman — He had probably observed it, or been informed of it by some of his brethren, who were lately sent to Haman’s house: and this he said, either out of a dislike he had taken to Haman, for his great insolence and barbarous cruelty, or in compliance with the king and queen’s inclinations. Which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king — And, therefore, deserved a better requital than this, even from Haman, if he had not basely preferred the satisfaction of his own revenge before the king’s life. Now Mordecai is the favourite, and Haman being in disgrace, every thing is taken notice of that was to his disadvantage, or that might incense the king more against him. Then the king said, Hang him thereon — He takes no time to deliberate, but instantly passes sentence, without so much as asking Haman what he had to say in his own defence, or to offer why this judgment should not be passed upon him, and execution awarded.


Verse 10

Esther 7:10. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai — As the sentence was short, so the execution was speedy, and he that expected every one to do him reverence is now made an ignominious spectacle to the world on a gallows fifty cubits high: and himself is sacrificed to justice, who disdained that less than a whole nation should be sacrificed to his revenge. Thus does God resist the proud, and those whom he resists will find him irresistible! Thus did mischief return on the person that contrived it, and the wicked was snared in the work of his own hands. If he had not set up that gallows, the king probably would not have thought of ordering him to be hanged; but as he had unjustly prepared it for a good man, he was justly condemned to suffer on it himself. The enemies of God’s church have often been thus taken in their own craftiness. In the morning, Haman designed himself for the robes, and Mordecai for the gallows: but the tables are now turned, and Mordecai has the crown and Haman the cross. The Lord is known by the judgments which he executeth. “I cannot pass over this wonderful harmony of providence,” says Josephus, (Antiq., 50:2, c. 6,) “without a remark upon the almighty power, and admirable justice of the wisdom of God; not only in bringing Haman to his deserved punishment, but in trapping him in the very snare which he had laid for another, and turning a malicious invention upon the head of the inventor.” Bishop Patrick observes, on this wonderful deliverance of the Jewish nation, that “though, in the whole, there was no extraordinary manifestation of God’s power; no particular cause, or agent, which was in its working advanced above the ordinary pitch of nature; yet the contrivance, and suiting these ordinary agents appointed by God, is in itself more admirable than if the same end had been effected by means which were truly miraculous. That a king should not sleep, is no unusual thing, nor that he should solace his waking thoughts by hearing the annals of his own kingdom, or the journals of his own reign, read to him: but that he should be awake at that time, especially when Haman was watching to destroy the Jews, and that, in the chronicles of the kingdom, they should light on that place where Mordecai’s unrewarded services were recorded; that the king should resolve, thereupon, forthwith to do him honour; that Haman should come in at the very moment when he was so disposed; should ignorantly determine what honour should be done him, and be himself appointed to that ungrateful office: all this, no doubt, was from the Keeper of Israel, who neither slumbereth nor sleepeth, and was truly marvellous in his people’s eyes.” — See Dodd.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Esther 7:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/esther-7.html. 1857.

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