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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Esther 7

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. VII.

Esther petitions for her own life, and that of her people, whose destruction Haman had designed. The king, enraged, orders him to be hanged on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai.

Before Christ 474.


Verse 4

Esther 7:4. But if we had been sold for bond-men, &c.— Would to God we had been sold for bond-men and bond-women! then I would have held my peace: although our enemy is not of so much worth that damage should be brought on the king. Houbigant. Esther means, that Haman was not a man of such consequence as to countervail the infamy which would fall on the king, and the loss which his kingdom would sustain, by the sacrifice of a whole nation to his resentment.


Verse 7

Esther 7:7. The king—went into the palace-garden Partly as disdaining the company of so infamous a person as Haman; partly to cool and allay his spirit, boiling and struggling with a variety of passions; and partly to consider within himself the heinousness of Haman's crime, the mischief which himself had nearly done by his own rashness, and what punishment was fit to be inflicted on so vile a miscreant.


Verse 8

Esther 7:8. Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was It was a custom among the Persians, as well as other nations, to sit, or rather lie, upon beds when they ate or drank; and therefore, when Haman fell down as a suppliant at the feet of Esther, and, as the manner was among the Greeks and Romans, and not improbably among the Persians, embraced her knees, the king might pretend that he was offering violence to the queen's chastity; not that he believed that this was his intention; but in his furious passion he turned every thing to the worst sense, and made use of it to aggravate his crime. The king's design was evident enough from his words; and therefore they immediately covered Haman's face. As the dignity of a prince made the being arrayed in his clothes a mighty honour, so it should seem it did not allow of a malefactor's setting eyes upon him. The majesty, at least, of the kings of Persia did not allow of this, as appears in the case of Haman, whose face was covered as soon as the courtiers perceived Ahasuerus looked upon him in that light. Some curious correspondent examples have been produced from antiquity, and may be met with in Poole's Synopsis; but, perhaps, it may be amusing to find that this custom still continues; as well as useful to ascertain more clearly the meaning of covering the face, which has been differently understood by learned men. I shall therefore set down, from Bishop Pococke's Travels, the account that he gives of an artifice by which an Egyptian bey was taken off. It was this: a man, being brought before him like a malefactor just taken, with his hands behind as if tied, and a napkin put over his head, as malefactors commonly have, when he was brought before the bey, suddenly shot him dead. The covering of Haman's face, then, was the placing him before Ahasuerus as a malefactor to hear his doom, who had just before been considered as the king's confident. See Observations, p. 282 and Explication des Textes Difficiles, p. 261.


Verse 10

Esther 7:10. So they hanged Haman, &c.— I cannot pass over the wonderful harmony of Providence, says Josephus, Antiq. 50:11; 100:6 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 entrapping him in the very snare which he had laid for another, and turning a malicious invention upon the head of the inventor. Well says the heathen poet,

———Nec lex est justior ulla Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.

No law is more just, than that the workers of wickedness should perish by the means of their own subtilty.

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 of 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 lie awake at that time, especially when Haman was watching to destroy the Jews; that in the chronicles of the kingdom they should light on that place where Mordecai's unrewarded services were recorded; that the king should forthwith resolve thereupon 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.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Esther 7:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/esther-7.html. 1801-1803.

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