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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



ESTHER 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Shewing.  Sept. old Vulg. and Josephus, "a nation which has done no wrong, is to be cut off."  The eastern nations were accustomed to such marks of sorrow.  Jon. ii. 6.  The citizens of Susa tore their garments, and cried aloud, for many days after the defeat of Xerxes.  Herod. viii. 98. --- The domestics of Darius and Alexander tore also their hair, &c. after their masters' death.  Curt. iii. and xi.

 

Ver. 2.  Sackcloth.  Gr. adds, "and ashes."  Such an appearance was deemed disrespectful.  God forbids his priests to act thus.  Lev. xxi. 1.  See Gen. xli. 14.  Yet the miserable ought not to be entirely excluded from the king's presence, as he ought to be their protector.

 

Ver. 3.  Edict.  Lit. "dogma;: H. a word used in this sense, (Acts xv. 16.) and by Demosthenes, &c.  T. --- Mourning.  The most effectual means of redress, is to do works of penance for past transgressions.  1 Cor. xi. 31.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Her, concerning the unusual distress of one of the courtiers.  They knew not, (M.) perhaps, that he was related to her.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Money.  Heb. "the sum of money."  Sept. "then thousand talents."

 

Ver. 8.  Entreat.  Sept. "to put in a counter-petition, and entreat," &c. --- People.  Sept. add, "and country, remembering the days of thy lowly state, how thou wast fed by my hand; for Aman, the second after the king, has spoken against us, to have us destroyed.  Call then upon the Lord, and speak to the king for us, and rescue us from death."  H. --- This servant must have been very trusty, as the secret was confided to him, respecting the nation to which the queen belonged.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Inner court, with regard to many others around, though there was one still more retired, (T.) where the king alone could enter.  This admitted the light only by the door, before which hung a curtain, so that the king could see (C.) who came into the hall of audience, (H.) without being seen.  None durst come even to this antichamber, without being called.  It was also death to appear with their  hands out of their sleeves, (Cyrop. ii.) or to sit down, (Diod. xvii.) or look at any of the king's wives in the face, &c.  Plut. Artax. --- This gloomy retirement was intended to keep up the idea of his majesty being something more than man.  H. --- Apud Persas persona regis, sub specie majestatis, occulitur.  Justin. i. --- The king's secret cabinet (C.) resembled, in magnificence (C. xv. 9.) the description which Ovid has given us of the palace of the sun.  T. --- It was covered with gold and precious stones.  Here he continued, almost inaccessible, and business was despatched slowly.  C. --- Agesilaus, king of Sparta, shewed how ridiculous these customs were, by acting quite the reverse, appearing frequently among his subjects, and granting their just requests without delay.  Xenophon. --- Thirty.  She might apprehend that the king's affection was beginning to cool.  God was pleased thus to try her the more.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Only.  Aman would contrive to effect her ruin with the rest.

 

Ver. 14.  Occasion.  Wonderful confidence!  Gr. "if thou wilt not hearken (C.  to me; (H.) or, if thou obstinately despise) at this time, the Jews shall be assisted and protected by some," &c.  H. --- As this.  So Joseph was raised up in Egypt, (C.) that he might save all his family.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Pray.  Heb. "fast."  They might take some refreshment in the evening, (Lyran) of dried meats.  Joseph. Grot. --- Few constitutions could have done without any thing.  Yet after two  nights and one full day were elapsed, Esther ventured to go to the king.  C. v. 1.  We have here another instance of places for prayer.  Judith vi. 21.  The old Vulg. has, "publish a fast, and tell the ancients to fast.  Let the infants be  kept from the breast during the night, and let no food be given to the oxen and other animals, while I and my maids shall fast," &c.  Then at the end of this chapter, in the Sept. follow the prayers of Mardochai and of Esther, (C. xiii. 8. and C. xiv.  H.) which is their proper place.  C.

 

 








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