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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Esther 8

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. VIII.

Esther requesting that the letters devised by Haman might be reversed the king informs her, that no man may reverse what is sealed with the king's seal; but he gives leave for other letters to be signed with the royal signet, permitting the Jews to defend themselves, and destroy their enemies.

Before Christ 474.


Verse 2

Esther 8:2. The king took off his ring—and gave it unto Mordecai That is, he made him the keeper of the royal signet, in the same manner as Haman had been before him.


Verse 10

Esther 8:10. And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, &c.— Josephus has given us a true copy, as he says, of this decree, or, as he terms it, of the letters which Artaxerxes sent to all the nations which lie between India and Ethiopia; wherein he represents the abuse which favourites are wont to make of their power and credit with their prince, by insulting their inferiors, flying in the face of those who raised them, and, to gratify their resentments, calumniating the innocent, and putting honest men in danger of their lives, &c. It is observable, that this decree allows the Jews to defend themselves, and therefore may, in some measure, account for the slaughter which they made of their enemies, as related in the next chapter; and, no doubt, the great sum which Haman had offered to gratify his revenge against the Jewish nation, was an additional provocation to them to slay every one who came to annoy them. But it should be remembered, that in this they acted by virtue of a royal edict, which authorized them to stand upon their own defence; that they were not the first aggressors, but only opposed those who openly assaulted them, and were for putting in execution an unjust and cruel decree against them; and as the Amalekites, who might be dispersed throughout the Persian dominions, were the known and inveterate enemies of the Jews, and, following now the fortune of Haman, might be forward enough to execute the decree which he had procured against them, it is reasonably presumed that most of those whom the Jews destroyed in their necessary defence, both at Shushan and in the provinces, were of that devoted nation, and that by this their slaughter the prophesies against Amalek were remarkably accomplished. See Bishop Patrick.


Verse 15

Esther 8:15. And with a great crown of gold The word royal is not added here, as in the 8th verse of the sixth chapter; nor is the horse mentioned, as there, because no extraordinary honours are here spoken of, but only that honour and that habit which immediately belonged to the keeper of the royal signet. Houbigant.

REFLECTIONS.—Just execution having been performed on the person of the wicked Haman, we have here,

1. The disposal of his estate, which, as forfeited, the king bestows on the queen. The ten thousand talents which were offered as the price of blood, become the property of those whose lives were marked out for a prey.

2. Mordecai is highly advanced. Though the queen had before concealed her kindred, she thinks it a proper season now to own her relation and obligations to Mordecai, whose good services had already so highly recommended him to the king; but this more especially engaged the royal favour to him. He is immediately introduced; and, as a token of the warmest regard, the king presents him with the ring from his finger, and thus he becomes, in the king's favour and in dignity, the worthy successor of the wicked Haman. To his trust also the queen commits the management of the forfeited estate: thus completely were the tables changed; the wickedness of the wicked was upon him, and the wealth of the sinner laid up for the just. Note; (1.) This world is a changing scene, kings' favours are precarious, and riches make themselves wings and fly away. Let it admonish us to secure his favour whose regards are unchangeable to the good, and those riches which are abiding, even eternal in the heavens. (2.) God's providence often in this world displays the justice of his government.

3. Esther again appears before the king; though uncalled, yet confident of his regards, the golden sceptre bids her be comforted, and she humbly presents her petition. With tears she pleads the danger of her kindred and people, and the insupportable grief of seeing them massacred; with deep submission represents the case to the king, and hopes that the bloody edict may be reversed, which Haman, by misrepresentations, had obtained. Note; (1.) Though we have justice on our side, yet as inferiors it becomes us to use entreaty. (2.) Some men's mischief survives them: they murder even after death, by the pernicious writings and sentiments that they have propagated. (3.) Our advancement must never make us forget our poor relations, or be unconcerned for their distresses.

4. The king kindly receives her request, and instantly prepares to counteract the mischief of the former decree. Note; When we have done wrong, we cannot too soon endeavour to prevent, to the utmost of our power, the mischievous consequences that might ensue.

5. When the Lord pleases to work, how soon can he give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness! We have,

(1.) Mordecai in royal apparel, robed in purple and fine linen, with a coronet of gold upon his head: a great distinction this; but poor, compared with the brighter robes with which the King of glory shall array his redeemed when he shall put on their heads a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

(2.) On his advancement a general joy was diffused around: the city promised themselves prosperity under his wise and just administration: the Jews with gladness heard the unexpected tidings of deliverance; and whilst with exultation they rejoiced, the people around them, now perceiving the court-favour towards them, paid them all honour and respect. Note; [1.] A happy change of administration, from bad men and bad measures, is a truly national joy. [2.] The anguish and sorrow that a christian sometimes feels, only serves to heighten his joy when the Lord turns and refreshes him, and brings him from the depths of the earth again.

(3.) A great accession of converts was made to the Jewish church on this occasion. The evident finger of God seen in their deliverance, their present happy and prosperous estate, and the fear of the power with which they were invested, wrought upon multitudes, who, to avoid their resentment, or to obtain court-favour, or perhaps from better motives of divine conviction, became proselytes. Note; When the church is in prosperity professors are numerous, but the faithful are proved in adversity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Esther 8:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/esther-8.html. 1801-1803.

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