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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



ESTHER 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Aman means, "a disturber."  H. --- Who.  Sept. add, "Bougaios, or Gogaios."  Gog designates Scythia, where Aman might have been born.  Pliny (iv. 12.) places there the lake and river Ruges.  But the Bugean, in Greek, may mean, "greatly puffed up:" or it may stand for Bagoas, "an eunuch," (Judith xii. 11.) like Putiphar. --- Agag, the king of Amalec.  1 K. xv.  This title, like that of Macedonian, (C. xvi. 10.) is probably used out of contempt, as the Jews fequently styled their enemies, "race of Chanaan."  Ezec. xvi. 3.  Dan. xiii. 56.  C. --- Sulpitius takes Aman to have been a Persian.  His Amalecite ancestors may have fled before Saul into Macedonia, though he himself resided in Persia, so as to belong to all those nations.  T.  M. --- Throne.  Thus were Joseph and Joakim exalted.  Gen. xli. 40. and 4 K. xxv. 28.  C. --- The Persians gave places according to merit, (H.) or as a reward.  Brisson.

 

Ver. 2.  Worship him, with divine honours, as he required, in imitation of the kings.  Judith iii. 13.  On certain solemn occasions, the latter at least exacted this respect from their subjects.  But the pious Jews avoided appearing at such times, or the kings dispensed with them.  The mere bending the knee, out of civil respect, would not have been objected to; and Mardochai says, he would not have refused to kiss the footsteps of Aman.  C. xiii. 12.  C.  S. Tho. 2. 2. q. 84.  T. --- But he could not give such worship as was claimed by the minor gods.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Resolution.  The did not mean to injure Mardochai, who had an employment at court.  C. xii. 5.  C. --- Jew, and of course hindered by his religion from giving divine worship to any man.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Counted.  Sept. "consulted how to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom." --- Assuerus.  Heb. adds, "the people of Mardochai."

 

Ver. 7.  Lot.  The Persians were much addicted to divination.  The superstitious Aman, though he would appear a deity, was to be regulated by lots!  Providence caused almost a whole year to intervene, before the cruel execution was to commence.  C. --- Reason began to shew the futility of divination, (Cicero) but the Christian religion alone has been able to counteract its baneful influence.  C. --- India is till much infected with it.  Bernier. --- Phur.  Heb. "they cast Pur, that is the lot, before Aman."  H. --- The explanation intimates that Pur is a Persian word.  D. --- Yet Pagnin maintains that it means in Heb. "to crush," a wine-press, or vessel; and the lot, which is thrown therein.  M. --- Tickets, with the names of the twelve months, were probably drawn; and after the month was thus determined, Aman put in the urn as many tickets as it had days, and was directed to pitch upon the 13th.  Sept. have the 14th, both here and v. 13.  C. --- How preposterous was the (H.) fury of this man, thus to decide upon the day before he had the king's leave!  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Another, as the ten tribes were from Juda, or rather (H.) they were scattered about the empire.  C. --- Heb. "and dispersed; and their laws are different from all other people's; neither do they observe the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to tolerate them."  H. --- These are the old calumnies repeated by Tacitus, (Hist. v.) and ably refuted by Josephus.  c. Ap.  Almost all Israel still continued about Media.  Few had taken advantage of the decree of Cyrus.

 

Ver. 9.  Talents.  Heb. &c. add, "of silver."  M. --- If the Heb. talent be meant, this sum would be immense for an individual; (C.) though Aman might expect to raise it by the confiscation of the Jews' effects, v. 13.  Some think he speaks of the Babylonian talent, on which supposition the sum would amount to twenty-one millions of French livres, (Bude.  C.) or of the Attic one, which is worth half the Heb. talent.  The king might thus be prevented from thinking that the tributes would be lessened.  T.

 

Ver. 10.  Ring, to transfer his power to him, for the time.  Gen. xli. 42.  Alexander gave his ring to Periccas, and was generally supposed thus to designate him for his successor.  Justin. xii.  See 1 Mac. vi. 14. 15.

 

Ver. 12.  Lieutenants.  Lit. "satraps."  Heb. achashdarpene, "courtiers," (H.) or those who are int he presence of his majesty, or porters.  C. --- They were entrusted with the care of the different provinces.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Messengers.  Lit. "runners."  H. --- Posts were first established in Persia, and were the admiration of other nations, though nothing compared with ours, as they were not regular, nor for the people.  They called these messengers Astandæ, or Angari.  Mat. v. 41.  Darius Condomanus was one of these postilions, before he came to the crown.  C. --- At first the kings had people stationed on eminences, at a convenient distance, to make themselves heard, when they had to communicate some public news.  Diod. xix. p. 680. --- Cyrus afterwards appointed horsemen, to succeed each other.  Xenophon, Cyrop. viii. --- Cæsar made some regulations on this head, which were perfected by Augustus and Adrian; but being neglected, Charlemagne strove to restore them: yet it is thought that the posts were not established, in France, till the reign of Louis XI.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Letter.  It should appear here, as it is in Gr. but the Heb. &c. omitting it, the Vulg. give it, C. xiii. 1.

 

Ver. 15.  Jews.  Heb. "but the city of Susan was in perplexity."  Gr. "troubled."  C. --- Even the pagans could not view such a cruel decree, without horror.  H.

 

 








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