Esther Chapter Eight
New King James Version (NKJV)
Esther 8:1. On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.
YLT 1On that day hath the king Ahasuerus given to Esther the queen the house of Haman, adversary of the Jews, and Mordecai hath come in before the king, for Esther hath declared what he [is] to her,
On that day did the King, Ahasuerus, give the house of Haman, the Jews' enemy, unto Esther the queen,....
That, and all the goods in it, and estate belonging to it; which being confiscated to the king, he gave to Esther, who would have been the sufferer, had his scheme taken place; so the Targum adds,"and the men of his house, and all his treasures, and all his riches:"
and Mordecai came before the king;
was introduced into his presence, became one of his privy counsellors, one of those that saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom, Esther 1:14
for Esther had told what he was unto her;
what relation he stood in to her; her uncle, according to the Vulgate Latin version, and so Aben Ezra and Josephus, but wrongly, for she was his uncle's daughter; so that they were brother's children, or own cousins, see Esther 2:7.
Esther 8:2. 2 So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.
YLT 2and the king turneth aside his signet, that he hath caused to pass away from Haman, and giveth it to Mordecai, and Esther setteth Mordecai over the house of Haman.
And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai,....
which, with the Persians, was a token of the strongest affection and strictest friendshipF26Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 26. & l. 2. c. 19. ; the Targum calls it his signatory ring, that with which he signed laws, edicts, letters, patents, &c. and so hereby made him keeper of the seals:
and Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman;
appointed him her steward of the estate of Haman, the king had given her.
Esther 8:3. 3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.
YLT 3And Esther addeth, and speaketh before the king, and falleth before his feet, and weepeth, and maketh supplication to him, to cause the evil of Haman the Agagite to pass away, and his device that he had devised against the Jews;
And Esther spake yet again before the king,....
Went into his presence, without being called for as before, with a new petition:
and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears;
the more to work upon his affections, and move him to grant her request; which she might be the more encouraged to hope for, through the success she already had:
to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews;
to revoke, abolish, and make void a mischievous scheme Haman had devised against the Jews, to root out the whole nation of them in the Persian empire.
Esther 8:4. 4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king,
YLT 4and the king holdeth out to Esther the golden sceptre, and Esther riseth, and standeth before the king,
Then the king held out the golden sceptre towards Esther,....
As a token that she had not incurred his displeasure by coming into his presence without leave, and that she was admitted to speak and make her request; see Esther 5:3
so Esther arose and stood before the king;
she rose from the ground on which she lay prostrate, and stood upon her feet, in an humble manner, to make her speech, and present her petition to the king.
Esther 8:5. 5 and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.
YLT 5and saith, `If to the king [it be] good, and if I have found grace before him, and the thing hath been right before the king, and I [be] good in his eyes, let it be written to bring back the letters -- a device of Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite -- that he wrote to destroy the Jews who [are] in all provinces of the king,
And 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,....
This heap of phrases, which signify much the same thing, are used to work upon the king's affections, and to show how submissive she was to his will:
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.
She wisely takes no notice of any concern the king had in them, but suggests as that she looked upon them as forged by Haman, who put the king's name and seal to them, without his knowledge and consent.
Esther 8:6. 6 For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”
YLT 6for how do I endure when I have looked on the evil that doth find my people? and how do I endure when I have looked on the destruction of my kindred?'
For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people?....
I cannot bear it; it will break my heart; I shall die to see all my people massacred throughout the realm; the thought of it is shocking and shuddering; to see it, intolerable: or "how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?" the same thing in different words, and somewhat more express and explanative. She explains the evil coming upon her people of the utter destruction of them, not barely an oppression, but an extermination of them; and she makes use of a word expressive of their relation to her, as more endearing, being her kindred; she and they being, as it were, of the same family, and with whom she could not but sympathize in distress.
Esther 8:7. 7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews.
YLT 7And the king Ahasuerus saith to Esther the queen, and to Mordecai the Jew, `Lo, the house of Haman I have given to Esther, and him they have hanged on the tree, because that he put forth his hand on the Jews,
Then the King Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen, and to Mordecai the Jew,....
Who was present at the same time, either at the desire of Esther, or by virtue of his office, being now one of those that saw the king's face, Esther 8:1,
behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman;
See Gill on Esther 8:1,
and him they have hanged upon the gallows;
which he had prepared for Mordecai, Esther 7:10
because he laid his hand upon the Jews;
intended to do so, and had prepared for it, and wrote letters, ordering their destruction on such a day. Now as the king had shown favour to Esther and Mordecai, and had punished Haman for contriving mischief against them and the Jews, which was publicly known, the people would be fearful of doing anything against them, lest they should incur the king's displeasure, and therefore might make themselves easy about this matter; but, however, to give them all the satisfaction he could, he directs them to do as follows.
Esther 8:8. 8 You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.”
YLT 8and ye, write ye for the Jews, as [it is] good in your eyes, in the name of the king, and seal with the signet of the king -- for the writing that is written in the name of the king, and sealed with the signet of the king, there is none to turn back.'
Write ye also for the Jews as it liketh you,....
Whatever may be thought fit and proper for their safety and security:
in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring;
as the former letters were:
for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse;
which is a reason both for the writing and sealing of the present letters in this manner, and why the former could not be reversed; nor does it appear that they were, but that, in virtue of them, the people had power to rise and kill the Jews on the day appointed, if they dared, or were so disposed; and these empowered the Jews to rise in their own defence, and kill all that made any attempts upon them, for which they had the royal authority; and these letters coming after the other, though they did not formally reverse them, which might not be done, yet rendered them ineffectual.
Esther 8:9. 9 So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language.
YLT 9And the scribes of the king are called, at that time, in the third month -- it [is] the month of Sivan -- in the three and twentieth of it, and it is written, according to all that Mordecai hath commanded, unto the Jews, and unto the lieutenants, and the governors, and the heads of the provinces, that [are] from Hodu even unto Cush, seven and twenty and a hundred provinces -- province and province according to its writing, and people and people according to its tongue, and unto the Jews according to their writing, and according to their tongue.
Then were the king's scribes called at that time,....
As they were to write the former letter, Esther 3:12,
in the third month, that is the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof;
which answers to part of May, and part of June. This was two months and ten days after the writing of the former letters; so long the Jews had been in distress by reason of them, and was a just rebuke upon them for not returning to their own land when they might, as well as for other sins:
and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews.
Mordecai dictated to the scribes, and ordered what they should write; and which were sent to the Jews in the first place, partly to ease them of their present distress, and partly that they might prepare against that time for their defence, for which they had sufficient time, it being now more than nine months to it:
and to the lieutenants, and the deputies, and the rulers of the provinces, which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces.
The letters were directed to the same magistrates in the several provinces as the former, giving orders to them, that, notwithstanding them, they were to suffer the Jews to defend themselves, and not punish them for what should be done by them in self-defence; see Esther 1:1,
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;
some provinces spoke the Persian language, and used the character of it, others Chaldee, others Syriac, &c. and wrote in the usual characters, as the Jews did in Hebrew, and in the characters of that language; and now these letters were written in the language and character of the people of the several provinces they were sent to, that they might be easily read and understood.
YLT 10And he writeth in the name of the king Ahasuerus, and sealeth with the signet of the king, and sendeth letters by the hand of the runners with horses, riders of the dromedary, the mules, the young mares,
And he wrote in the King Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring,....
Which gave the letters authority, and made them irreversible, and for this Mordecai had the king's order, Esther 8:8
and sent letters by post;
by runners or couriers:
that rode on horses that were racers, that ran swiftly:
and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries;
which were all different creatures, and swift ones, according to our version, especially the latter; see Jeremiah 2:23 which were a kind of camels, but swifter, and would go more than one hundred miles a dayF1Isidor. Origin. l. 12. c. 1. Vid. Strabo Geograph. l. 15. p. 498. ; and, as Diodorus Siculus saysF2Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 683. , not less than 1500 furlongs or about two hundred miles: though it may be only one sort are meant, namely, "mules", for the next word, "ahashteranim", in the Persian language signifies mulesF3Castell. Dictionar. Persic. col. 29. Hottinger. Smegma Oriental l. 1. c. 5. p. 75. , and so Aben Ezra interprets it, and likewise Kimchi and Ben Melech; and the last words may be rendered "sons of mares", so David de Pomis; that is, such mules as are gendered by he asses and mares: and so the same writer observes, that the word in the Arabic language signifies "mares"; and such mules that come from them he says are stronger than those that come from she asses; so that the whole may be rendered to this sense, "riders on mules", (which in the Persian language are called "ahashteranim",) namely, such as are "sons of mares"; and which according to AelianusF4De Animal. l. 16. c. 9. and PlinyF5Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 44. are the swiftest; though the Persians had camels swifter than are common elsewhere, called "revatrie", the "goer", which trot as fast as an horse can gallopF6Universal History, vol. 5. p. 88. .
Esther 8:11. 11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions,
YLT 11that the king hath given to the Jews who [are] in every city and city, to be assembled, and to stand for their life, to cut off, to slay, and to destroy the whole force of the people and province who are distressing them, infants and women, and their spoil to seize.
Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together,....
In some part of the city they should choose, and remain in a body, being sufficiently armed:
and to stand for their life;
to defend themselves, and fight for their life, should any attack them, or attempt to take it away; in such case they might act offensively:
so as to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them;
every army of them, or as many as should join in a body to attack them, any mighty or powerful mob; and not men only:
but both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey;
the same words are used, and the same power is given them as were to their enemies, Esther 3:13, not that they made use of it to the utmost extremity, it is certain they did not in one point, in taking the spoil, Esther 9:10, and, since they spared that, it is highly probable they spared women and children.
YLT 12In one day, in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth of the twelfth month -- it [is] the month of Adar –
Upon one day, in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
The day appointed and fixed in the former letters for the destruction of the Jews, Esther 3:13.
Esther 8:13. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
YLT 13a copy of the writing to be made law in every province and province is revealed to all the peoples, and for the Jews being ready at this day to be avenged of their enemies.
The copy of the writing, for a commandment to be given in every province, was published to all people,....
A copy of the letters sent to the governors of provinces; the sum and substance of them was published by an herald, or fixed in public places, that all might know the contents thereof; and take care not to assault the Jews, as it would be to their peril:
and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies;
Abendana thinks this is to be restrained to those that were of the seed of Amalek, who were their principal enemies; but no doubt it includes all that should rise up against them.
Esther 8:14. 14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Shushan the citadel.
YLT 14The runners, riding on the dromedary, [and] the mules, have gone out, hastened and pressed by the word of the king, and the law hath been given in Shushan the palace.
So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out,....
Or on the mules, which in the Persian language were called "ahashteranim"; See Gill on Esther 8:10,
being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment;
who gave them a special order to make what haste they could, that the Jews might have time to prepare for their defence, and their enemies be the more intimidated:
and the decree was given at Shushan the palace;
the king's counsellors agreeing to it, and perhaps signing it, as they did the former; see Esther 3:15.
Esther 8:15. 15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
YLT 15And Mordecai went out from before the king, in royal clothing of blue and white, and a great crown of gold, and a garment of fine linen and purple, and the city of Shushan hath rejoiced and been glad;
And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king,....
And walked or rode about in the city to show himself to his friends:
in royal apparel of blue and white;
such as the Persian kings wore, and were not allowed to any other, as Xenophon writesF7Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 23. :
and with a great crown of gold;
a coronet, such as princes and nobles wear; the latter Targum calls it a great golden chain, and such the eastern kings used to give to their favourites; see Daniel 5:29,
and with a garment of fine linen and purple;
this must be an inner garment, since it is distinct from the royal robe before mentioned; though as the word signifies a wrap, or roll, it may design a turban, which was a roll of linen wrapped about the head; and such was the Persian diadem, according to CurtiusF8Hist. l. 3. c. 3. & l. 6. c. 6. Vid. Solerium de Pileo, sect. 9. , which was of a purple colour, mixed with white; and so the Septuagint version is, "and a diadem of fine linen, of a purple colour"; and if so, the crown of gold was not worn on his head, nor is it likely it should be allowed, but was carried before him; see Gill on Esther 6:8,
and the city of Shushan rejoiced, and was glad;
not only the Jews in it, but the native inhabitants of it, that had any sense of humanity, expressed their joy at the sight of Mordecai thus arrayed; that so good a man was advanced at court, and so bad a man as Haman was displaced and put to death; see Proverbs 29:2.
Esther 8:16. 16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.
YLT 16to the Jews hath been light, and gladness, and joy, and honour,
And the Jews had light,....
Prosperity, as opposed to the darkness of adversity in which they had been, see Isaiah 8:22, or lightsomeness and cheerfulness of spirit, as explained by the two next words:
and gladness and joy;
at the good news of their deliverance, so unexpected by them; thus light is explained by gladness, Psalm 97:11
among men; from their neighbours, who before were held in contempt, as a people doomed to destruction.
Esther 8:17. 17 And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.
YLT 17and in every province and province, and in every city and city, the place where the word of the king, even his law, is coming, gladness and joy [are] to the Jews, a banquet, and a good day; and many of the peoples of the land are becoming Jews, for a fear of the Jews hath fallen upon them.
And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came,....
As they did to every province in the realm, and to every city in the province, where there were any Jews:
the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day;
they expressed their joy on this occasion by keeping a festival, which in their language is called a good day; and such an one is annually kept by them unto this day, on account of their deliverance; of which see Esther 9:27
and many of the people of the land became Jews;
or were proselyted, as both the Targums and Jarchi interpret it; they embraced the Jewish religion, and submitted to the rites and ceremonies of it; were circumcised, as in the Septuagint version, and so were proselytes of righteousness; and indeed no other could they be, dwelling in their own land; many of them very probably were serious in it, observing the wonderful manner in which the Jews were delivered; wherein manifestly appeared to them the providence of God, the hand of the Supreme Being, and from hence concluded their God must be the true God, and they his favourite people, and their religion most correct; though others might only do it to gain the favour of Esther and Mordecai, who had now such great power and influence at court:
for the fear of the Jews fell upon them;
lest they should be slain by them, in virtue of this new edict.
──《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible》
New King James Version (NKJV)
a. Esther 8:10 Literally sons of the swift horses
b. Esther 8:12 Septuagint adds the text of the letter here.