INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 9
All of the Amalekites dwelling in the Persian Empire thought they were strong enough to take on the Jews. The entire group met with utter failure. Their properties and other belongings became the property of the state. Provincial governments because of the Kings signature on the forthcoming documents aided the Jews. Mordecai became great and Esther helped rule the kingdom and thus paved a way for future generations of the Jews who wanted to return to their homeland. A national holiday was enacted and it was called Purim by the decree of Esther.
EXPOSITION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 9
1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
The whole affair back-fired and just the opposite took place.
2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.
The Jews were armed and had the backing of the King.
3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.
The ruling provincial governments which would include the police force, sheriff department, and National Guard all join in on the side of Mordecai the Jew who now was in second command.
4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.
His prominence and reputation caused him to grow into a powerhouse.
5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.
They struck down and finished off the Jew haters.
6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.
I suppose that this was in the citadel or command post where they retained an army outpost to quill rebellion with and prevent any uprising.
7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, 8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, 9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, 10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.
Exo 20:5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
Exo 34:7 “who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Num 14:18 “The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.”
Deu 5:9 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
When Jehu took over the kingdom formerly held by Ahab and Jezebel he slew all 70 of his sons.
2Ki 10:7 And it came about when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to him at Jezreel.
2Ki 10:11 So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left him without a survivor.
1Ki 16:11 “And it came about, when he became king, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he killed all the household of Baasha; he did not leave a single male, neither of his relatives nor of his friends.”
1Ki 16:12 “Thus Zimri destroyed all the household of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke against Baasha through Jehu the prophet,”1Ki 16:13 “for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idols.”
Jer 39:6 “Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes at Riblah; the king of Babylon also slew all the nobles of Judah.”
All of the sons of King Saul were killed.
It must be noted here that the Jews were not after their money or property but was interested only in their own protection.
The Chaldea paraphrase says that none appeared against the Jews but Amalekites only, who were infuriated, and had their hearts hardened, as Pharaoh’s against Israel.
It does not appear that the Jews slew any person who did not rise up to destroy them.
11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king. 12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.
The king is totally committed to cleaning up this rat’s nest.
13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.
These sons would have profited thru the inheritance and legacy of Haman and Esther wants’ to make sure that such does not happen. In order for this to not occur in future generations she has Haman’s sons executed.
14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.
The names of Haman’s sons occur in verses seven, eight, nine and ten.
15 For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.
It was necessary for the Jews to kill all of these God hating enemies.
16 But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,
This number probably includes the total amount in the entire kingdom.
17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
This was not a day of mourning and fasting, but feasting and gladness. This was the day that they celebrated with a victory party.
18 But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
See comments on previous verse.
19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.
After feasting and celebrating they send portions of food to the people who are not able to come and join in the partying.
Christians retell the Christmas story each December, acting it out in church plays and manger scenes, the Jews commemorate great moments from their history. Jewish families read the book of Esther aloud on the day of Purim. Jews observe Purim on the 14th everywhere except in Jerusalem, which schedules it on the 15th.
20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,
His secretarial staff was busy writing these letters and sending them on their mail system to be announced in all town squares and posted in public buildings for all people in all languages to read.
21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
“I cannot but observe what a difference there is between Mordecai’s style and Nehemiah’s. Nehemiah, at every turn, takes notice of divine Providence and the good hand of his God upon him, which is very proper to stir up devout affections in the minds of his readers; but Mordecai never so much as mentions the name of God in the whole story. Nehemiah wrote his book at Jerusalem, where religion was in fashion and an air of it appeared in men’s common conversation; Mordecai wrote his at Shushan the palace, where policy reigned more then piety, and he wrote according to the genius of the place. Even those that have the root of the matter in them are apt to lose the savour of religion, and let their leaf wither, when they converse wholly with those that have little religion. Commend me to Nehemiah’s way of writing; that I would imitate, and yet learn from Mordecai’s that men may be truly devout though they do not abound in the shows and expressions of devotion, and therefore that we must not judge nor despise our brethren.” ( Matthew Henry’s commentary)
22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
This national holiday was observed with solemnity and with dancing and feasting and sending of portions to the people who were diseased or crippled or too old to attend, and giving of gifts. We are reminded at our national holiday of Christmas that Jesus our savior was born in Bethlehem and we too feast and celebrate and give gifts.
23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;
This feast of Purim has become a feast to be observed perpetually to all generations and is still observed today world wide.
24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;
The reason for the feast is clearly stated in the verse.
25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
At the request of Esther and her wise counsel the king writes to all the provinces that the Jews were to overthrow the devised plan against them. And that Haman’s sons are hanged.
26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
See comments on verse 23.
27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year.
Jews and Proselytes alike have made sure that this feast and celebration be carried out every year.
28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
The Jerome Biblical Commentary p.629 (A Catholic Commentary) says that this whole book was only a dream. If this was just a dream then how do we explain that in every generation, every family, every province, and every city in the entire world this celebration takes place every year? There has never been a dream that has created an International Holiday.
29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.
Perhaps some of the Jews were not enthusiastic about keeping the celebration year after year so Esther and Mordecai publish a second letter regarding Purim.
30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
The letters were not just filed away somewhere but sent to all points from India to Ethiopia.
31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.
It appears that these letters were confirming the official days appointed and matters of fasting and lamentation or mourning.
32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
The rules for conducting the entire celebration were written in a book.