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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.
Give the house of Haman - Confiscation of goods accompanied public execution in Persia as in other Oriental countries.
2And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
His ring - i. e. the royal signet by which the decrees of the government were signed.
Over the house of Haman - Not only the building and the furniture, but the household - the vast train of attendants of all kinds that was attached to the residence of a Persian noble.
3And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.
Though Haman was dead, his work was not yet undone. The royal decree had gone forth, and, according to Persian notions, could not be directly recalled or reversed Esther 8:8. Mordecai did not dare, without express permission from the king, to take any steps even to stay execution. And Esther, being in favor, once more took the initiative.
4Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,
5And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces:
6For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?
7Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.
8Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.
Write ... as it liketh you ... - (See the Esther 1:19 note. Practically, Ahasuerus reversed the "device" of Haman).
9Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.
Sivan corresponds nearly to our June; it was the second month from the issue of the first edict Esther 3:12.
10And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:
Riders on mules, camels and young dromedaries - Most moderns translate "riders upon coursers and mules, the offspring of mares;" but the words translated "mules" and "mares," are of very doubtful signification, since they scarcely occur elsewhere. The real meaning of the clause must remain doubtful; perhaps the true translation is, "riders upon coursers of the king's stud, offspring of high-bred steeds." So Esther 8:14.
11Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,
This fresh decree allowed the Jews to stand on their defense, and to kill all who attacked them. It has been pronounced incredible that any king would thus have sanctioned civil war in all the great cities of his empire; but some even of the more skeptical critics allow that "Xerxes" might not improbably have done so.
12Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
13The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace.
Being hastened - Between Sivan, the third month (June), when the posts went out, and Adar, the twelfth month (March), when the struggle was to take place, the interval would be one of more than 8 months; but all haste was made, with the object of their being no misunderstanding.
15And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
See the Esther 1:6 note. The "crown" was not a crown like the king's, but a mere golden band or coronet.
A garment - Or, "an inner robe." The tunic or inner robe of the king was of purple, striped with white.
16The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.
17And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Became Jews - Joined the nation as proselytes, so casting in their lot with them.