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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



ESTHER 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  From India to Ethiopia.  That is, who reigneth from India to Ethiopia.  Ch. --- S. Jerom writes, "The copy of the letter of king Artaxerxes, which he wrote in favour of the Jews, to all the provinces of his kingdom, which also is not in the Heb. volume."  It should properly occur, C. viii. 13, as it does in Greek.  The edict is well written in that language, which has induced a belief that it is not a translation.  C. --- But that is no very strong argument.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Princes.  Gr. "Beneficent."  Luke xxii. 25.  C. --- Gr. "Many of those who have been the most honoured by the kindness of the beneficent, have increased in folly, and not only endeavour to injure our subjects, but, unable to hear the weight of favours, devise schemes against their benefactors."

 

Ver. 4.  Neither.  Gr. "And they not only take away gratitude from among men, but elated with good fortune, which they had not before experienced, they flatter themselves that they will escape the sentence of an all-seeing God, levelled against the wicked."  H. --- Artaxerxes insists with reason on the ingratitude of Aman, as it was a crime punishable by their laws; (Cyrop. i.  Brisson ii. p. 250.) and the Persian kings were particularly careful to reward those who had done them good.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  And.  Gr. "For oftentimes fair speeches, or (H.) revenge, (paramuqia. Isai. i. 24.  C.) has made several of those who have been in authority, and entrusted with the affairs of their friends, partakers in the spilling of innocent blood, and involved them in irremediable calamities, by the wicked craft of those who purposely lead astray the unsuspecting benevolence of governors."  H. --- Josephus (xi. 3.) gives nearly the same sense: (C.) "For some of these, being placed in power by their friends, and bearing a private hatred towards some, have deluded their princes by false reasons, and by accusations have persuaded them to stir up the wrath of those who have done no wrong; on which account, they have been in danger of perishing."  This author was not, therefore, unacquainted with the fragment, or part of the history, before us.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Proved.  Gr. "may be seen, not so much from ancient histories, as we have observed, but more so, if ye examine what wicked things have been done recently, by the fault (or cruelty) of those who have been unworthily in command: and if ye attend, in future, that we may without trouble settle our kingdom in peace for all men.  For though we make some changes, yet we make a discernment of what falls under our inspection, and other things with more equity."  He intimates that the former decree of Aman had been subreptitious.

 

Ver. 10.  Now.  Gr. "For as Aman, of Amadathos, a Macedonian, a stranger to the real blood of the Persians, and of a very different character from our goodness, and who, though a stranger to us, partook of that philanthropy which we have for every nation, insomuch as to be styled," &c.  H. --- At this time the Macedonians were hardly known.  Capel. --- But this may be questioned, as their kingdom was of ancient date.  Houbigant. --- some think that the Asiatic Macedonians may be designated.  Hardouin.  Pliny v. 30. 31. --- These, however, may have been so called only after the conquests of Alexander.  This king fought against the Greeks, of whom the Macedonians formed a part.  T. --- The name may here be placed only for a stranger.  C. --- Staining.  The faults of ministers often redound to the disgrace of those who employ them.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  Life.  This he might only suspect; (C.) or his machinations with the two porters, might be declared after his disgrace.  H. --- Capellus thinks it improbable that Aman intended to murder the queen, as he was so much elated at being invited by her to a feast, &c.  But his schemes were various: (Houbig.) and who can pretend to say what would have satisfied his cruelty and ambition?  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Without.  Gr. "abandoned."  H. --- Macedonians; or to himself, who was of that nation.  It was not necessary to call over forces, as Capellus would suppose.

 

Ver. 16.  God.  Cyrus had styled him, "the God of heaven."  Houbig.  1 Esd. i.  H. --- But Darius embraced the true religion, and adored God.  T. --- Fathers.  "Hystaspes was not a descendant of Cyrus, but he was of the same royal stock."  Just. i.  Herod. iii. 85. --- And is.  Gr. "by the best disposition.  You will therefore do well not to make use of the letter, sent by Aman."  The edict could not be repealed; (Capel.  Houbig.) though this seems doubtful, when it was manifestly subreptitious, (M.) unjust, and not sealed by the nobles.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Gibbets.  Aman was thus treated, several months before his ten sons.  C. vii. 10. and ix. 6.  Yet all the family might still be seen hanging, when this edict was dispatched.  Houbigant suspects that this and the following verses properly belong to the letter written by Esther and Mardochai.  The arguments are not very cogent.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Laws.  This was privilege often desired.  Joseph. xiii.4.

 

Ver. 20.  Kill.  Gr. "take revenge on those who in the day of distress shall fall upon them, on the 13th."

 

Ver. 21.  Sadness.  Gr. "destruction of his chosen race, into," &c.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Days.  A festival was kept in memory of the destruction of the maji, in which this king was a principal actor.  Herod. iii. 79. --- The Persians were ordered to keep the 13th of Adar, on account of the preservation of the royal family, and the ruin of a great enemy.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  All.  Gr. "Salvation is to us, and to all well-affected Persians: but a memorial of destruction to all who are traitors to us."

 

Ver. 24.  And.  Gr. "But every country or city throughout the kingdom, which shall not comply, shall be consumed with the spear and fire in wrath." --- Beasts.  Gr. adds hyperbolically, "and birds, and also be accounted most abominable for ever."  H. --- Similar expressions occur in the prophets, to denote an entire destruction.  Jer. ix. 10. &c.  Mardochai and Esther have left us in this work the most perfect example of virtue.  The latter is given us a pattern of Christian sovereigns, and a figure of the Church.  S. Jerom ad Paulin. (C.) and prol. in Sophon. --- Like Judith, she proved the salvation of her people, and the ruin of their adversaries.  Nothing could be more striking, (W.) or visible, than the hand of God in these transactions.  H. --- Esther was also a type of the blessed Virgin, by whose intercession the head of the serpent is crushed, and letters of grace succeed to the hand-writing that stood against us.  S. Thomas, prol. in ep. Cath.  W.

 

 








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