« PreviousContinue »
A. M. 3475. A. C. 329; OR ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4947. A. C. 464. EZRA iy. 7-END, EST. NEH. PART OF HAG. ZECH. MAL. hard fate, even until he came to the palace-gate ; which, upon his throne in the inner part of the palace. Upon when the queen understood, and sent to inquire the the first sight of her, he held out his golden sceptre, (a the cause, he returned her a copy of the king's decree, token that he pardoned her presumption and spared her whereby she might plainly perceive what mischief was life, and then asked her, what the request was that she intended against all the nation, unless, by a timely had to make to him. At the extension of this favour, intercession with the king, she would endeavour a to she approached nearer, and having touched d the end prevent it.
of his sceptre, only desired that he and Haman would Esther, at first, excused herself from engaging in this come to a banquet which she had prepared for him. affair, because an ordinance was passed, inhibiting any Haman, who happened then to be absent, was called 10 person, whether man or woman, upon pain of death, attend the king; and when the king and he were at the from approaching the king's presence, without a special banquet, he asked her again concerning her petition, proorder. But when he returned her in answer, that the mising that he would grant it her, even were it to extend decree extended to the whole Jewish nation, without any to half his kingdon : but e her request again was no exception; that if it came to execution, she must expect more, than that he and Haman would favour her again, to escape no more than the rest ; that God very probably the next day, with their company at the like entertainraised her to her present greatness, on purpose that she ment, and that then she would not fail to disclose her might save and protect his people : but that if she ne- request. glected to do this, and their deliverance should come some
Haman I was not a little proud of the peculiar honour other way, then should she, and her father's house, by Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, out of the fiery furnace, and the righteous and just judgment of God, most certainly Daniel from the lion’s den, so deliver me now out of the hand perish :' which so roused her drooping courage, that she of the king, and give me grace and favour in his eyes,' &c. sent him word again, that he and all the Jews in Shu
d A sceptre was the ensign of the highest and most absolute shan should 6 fast for her three days, as she herself in- cai was advanced to the greatest dignity next the king, having
authority; and therefore some have observed, that when Morde. tended to do, and offer up their humble supplications to the royal robes on, and other ensigns of royal dignity, no menGod, that he would prosper her in so hazardous an under- tion is made of any sceptre, for that was proper and peculiar to taking, and then she would not fail to address the king, it, was a token of her subjection, and thanksulness for his favour.
the king; and the queen's touching, or, as some say, kissing though it were at the utmost peril of her life.
But Josephus has mightily improved upon the story; for he tells The people fasted as she had enjoined them; and on us, " that as the queen with her two handmaids approached the the third day she dressed herself in her royal apparel, room where the king was, leaning gently upon one, and the other and e went toward the room where the king was sitting bearing up her train, her face being covered with such a blush,
as expressed a graceful majesty, but at the same time, some
doubtful apprehensions upon her approaching of the king, mountand all these things are come upon thee in the latter days, if ed on his throne, and the sparkling glory of his robes, that were thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient to his voice all over embroidered with gold, pearl, and precious stones, she (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God), he will not forsake was taken all on a sudden with a trembling at so surprising a thee, nor destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers, sight; aud upon fancying that the king looked upon her as if he which he sware unto them.' After which he exhorted them to were uneasy, and out of humour, she fell into the arms of one of fasting, humiliation, and repentance, according to the example her maids in a direct swoon. This accident, says he, by the of the Ninevites.- Patrick's Commentary.
intervention of God's holy will and providence, put the king into a Ever since the reign of Dejores king of Media, Herodotus, a fright, for fear she might not come to herself again; so that (b. i.) informs us, that, for the preservation of royal majesty, it making what haste he could from his throne, he took her up in was enacted, “That no one should be admitted into the king's his arms, and with the kindest words that could be, gave her this presence; but that, if he had any business with him, he should comfort:- That no advantage should be made of the law to her transact it by the intercourse of his ministers.” The custom prejudice, though she came without calling, because the decree passed from the Medes to the Persians; and therefore we find it extended only to subjects; whereas he looked upon her as his in the same historian, (b. iii.) that after the seven Persian princes companion and partner in the empire.”—Jewish Ant. b. xi. c. 6. had killed the Magian who had usurped the throne, they came e Her intention in desiring thus to entertain the king twice at to this agreement, that whoever should be elected king, should her banquet, before she made known her petition, was, that allow the others to have at all times a ready access to his pre- therehy she might the more endear herself to him, and dispose sence (which is an implication that they had it not before), him the better to grant her request, for which reason she thought whenever they should desire it, except only when he was accom- it a piece of no bad policy to invite his first favourite to come panying with any of his wives. This, therefore, was the ancient along with him. But in the whole matter, the singular provilaw of the country, and not procured by Haman, as some ima- dence of God is not a little conspicuous, which so disposed lier gine: though it cannot be denied, but that the reason of the law mind, that the high honour which the king bestowed upon Morat first might be, not only the preservation of the majesty and decri the next day, might fall out in the mean time, and so safety of the king's person, but a contrivance likewise of the great make way for her petition, which would come in very seasonably officers of state, that they might engross the king to themselves, at the banquet of wine: for as then it was most likely for the by allowing admittance to vone but whom they should think king to be in a pleasant humour, so it was most usual for the proper to introduce.—Poole's Annotations; and Le Clerc's Com- Persians to enter upon business of state, when they began to mentaries.
drink.—Le Clerc's and Patrick's Commentaries, and Prideaux's 6 This is not to be understood, as if the people were to take Connection, anno 453. no manner of sustenance for three days, because few or none f Athenæus mentions it as a peculiar honour, which no Gre. could undergo that, but only, either that they should abstain from cian ever had before or after, that Artaxerxes vouchsafed to all delicacies, and content themselves with coarse fare, as Jose-invite Timagoras the Cretan to dine even at the table where his phus expounds it, or that they should make no set meals of dinner relations eat, and to send sometimes a part of what was served or supper in their families, but eat and drink no more than would up at his own; which some Persians looked upon as a diminu. suffice to sustain nature, and support them in prayer to God for tion of his majesty, and a prostitution of their nation's honour. a blessing upon her undertaking. -- Patrick's and Le Clerc's In the life of Artaxerxes, Plutarch tells us, that none but the Commentaries.
king's mother, and his real wife, were permitted to sit at his c But first, says the latter Targum, she made a solemn prayer table; and therefore he mentions it as a condescension in that to God, with many tears, as soon as she was dressed, saying, prince that he sometimes invited his brothers. So that this par“ Thou art the great God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and ticular favour was a matter that Haman had some reason to Jacob, the God of my father Benjamin; as thuu didst deliver | value himself upon.--Le Clerc's Commentary.
A. M. 3475. A. C. 529; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4947. A. C. 464. EZRA iv. 7-END, EST. NEH. PART OF HAG. ZECH. MAL which both the king and queen had done him; but
Haman, who never dreamed but that the person he his return home, seeing Mordecai sitting at the palace meant of was himself, was resolved to lay it on thick ; gate, and refusing to show him the least obeisance, and therefore he gave advice, d that the royal robe though a he restrained himself at present, yet so moved should be brought, which the king, on solemn occasions, was he with indignation against him, that when he was wont to wear; the borse, which was kept for his own came home, and related to his family the favours riding, e and the crown, which was used to be set upon which that day he had received, he could not forbear the horse's head, and that, with this robe, the person complaining of the affront and disrespect which Morde- whom the king thought proper to distinguish should be cai bad put upon him; insomuch, that his wife, and arrayed, and the chief man in the kingdom appointed to others that were present, advised him to have a gibbet of lead his horse by the reins, walking before him in the 0 fifty cubits high instantly erected, and the very next quality of an officer, and proclaiming, “ Thus shall it be morning to go to the king, and obtain a grant of him to done to the man whom the king delights to bonour.' have that insolent fellow hanged upon it.
* Take then the horse and the robe,' says the king, ' aud This project he liked very well, and therefore caused do all that thou hast mentioned to Mordecai the Jew, the gibbet to be set up : but when he came to court in who has not been yet rewarded for the discovery of the the morning, he found that things had taken quite ano treason of the two eunuchs that intended to have taken ther turn. The king, that very morning, happened to away my life.' awake sooner than ordinary, and being not able to com- Nothing certainly could cut a proud man more to the pose himself to sleep again, he called for < the annals of his reign, and ordered a person that was then in wait- d To form a notion of that height of pride and arrogance to ing to read them to him. The reader went on, until he which Haman (who thought all the honours he specified were came to the passage which made mention of Mordecai's designed for him) was arrived, we may observe, that, for any
one to put on the royal robe, without the privity and consent of discovery of the treason of the two chamberlain's ; and the king, was, among the Persians, accounted a capital crime, when the king upon inquiry was given to understand, To which purpose Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, las related that the man, for so signal a service, had received no this story :-" That one day, when in hunting, the king bapa reward at all, he called unto Haman (who was waiting pened to tear his garment, and Tiribazus was telling him of it,
the king asked him what he should do. Why, put on another, for admittance upon a quite different intent), and asked says Tiribazus, and give that to me. That I will, says the king, him, What it was he would advise him to do to the man, but then I enjoin you not to wear it. Tiribazus, however, who on whom he designed to confer some marks of his fav was a good kind of a man enough, but a little weak and silly, our ?
adventured to put it on, with all its fine ornaments; and when some of the nobles began to resent it, as a thing not lawful
for any subject to do, I allow him, says the king, laughing at the a It may seem a little strange, that so proud a man as Haman figure he made, to wear the fine trinkets as a woman, and the was, should not be prompted immediately to avenge himself on robe as a madman."--Le Clerc's Commentary. Mordecai for his contemptuous usage of him, since he had e There was a custom, not unlike this, among the Hebrews, enough about him, no doubt, who, upon the least intimation of as appears from the history of Solomon, (1 Kings i. 33,) for the his pleasure, would have done it; and since he, who had interest person that was to be declared successor to the crown, on the enough with his prince to procure a decree for the destruction of day of his inauguration, to be mounted on the king's horse: and a whole nation, might have easily obtained a pardon for having to the like custom among the Persians, it is highly probable that killed one obscure and infamous member of it. But herein did the poet Statius, in his description of a young king succeeding to the wise and powerful providence of God appear, that it dis- his father's throne, may allude :-“ As an Achemenian youth, posed Haman's heart, contrary to his own inclination and on receiving the throne and lands of his ancestors, hangs in aninterest, instead of employing his power against his enemy, to certainty while deliberating to whom he may entrust the various put fetters, as it were, upon his own hands.-- Poole's Annota- boundaries of his kingdom, he is still afraid to handle the bow tions.
and mount his father's steed, and to himself he seems scarce able 6 That men might at a great distance see him, to the increase to bear the load of empire, or as yet to use the badge of majesty." of his disgrace (as Haman might think), and that, struck with - Thebaid. b. viii. the greater terror by that spectacle, they might not dare for the s Commentators are not agreed whether this crown was future to despise or oflend him.-- Patrick's Commentary, and placed upon the king's head or his horse's. Those who refer it to Poole's Annotations.
the king, will have it to be what we call a turban, made of fine c In these diaries (which we now call journals) wherein was white and pure linen, which it was death for any one to put on set down what passed every day, the manner of the Persians was his head, without the king's express order; to which porpose to record the names of those who had done the king any signal Arrian (Alex. Exped. b. vii.) tells us this story:—"That as service. Accordingly Josephus informs us, “That upon the Alexander was sailing on the Euphrates, and his turban bapsecretary's reading these journals, he took notice of such a per- pened to fall off among some reeds, one of the watermen immeson, who had great honours and possessions given him as a re- diately jumped in and swam to it; but as he could not bring it. ward for a glorious and remarkable action; and of such another, back in his hand without wetting it, he put it upon his head, who made his fortune by the bounties of his prince, for his fidel- and so returned with it. Whereupon mosi historians that have ity; but that, when he came to the particular story of the con- wrote of Alexander (says he) tell us that he gave him a talent spiracy of the two eunuchs against the person of the king, and of silver for this expression of his zeal to serve him, but, at the of the discovery of this treason by Mordecai, the secretary read same time, ordered his head to be struck off, for presuming to it over, and was passing forward to the next, when the king put on the royal diadem." Other commentators are
opinion, stopped him, and asked if that person had any reward given him that this keter, which we render crown, being a word of a large for his service?" &c., which shows indeed a singular providence signification, will equally denote that ornament which the horse of God, that the secretary should read in that very part of the that the king rode wore upon his head. As it must he acknowbook, wherein the service of Mordecai was recorded. But the ledged that this application of the thing agrees better with the latter Targum, to make a thorough miracle of it, tells us, that signification and order of the Hebrew words; with the following when the reader opened the book at the place where mention verses, wherein no mention is made of the keter, but only of the was made of Mordecai, he turned over the leaves, and would robe and the horse to which this crown belonged; and with the have read in another, but that the leaves flew back again to the custom of the Persians, who used to put a certain ornament in same place where he opened it at first, so that he was forced to Italian called fiocco) upon the head of that horse wherean the read that story to the king.-Patrick's Commentary, and Jew- king was mounted. -- Le Clerc's and Patrick's Commentaries, ish Antiq. b. xi. c. 6.
and Poole'. Annotations.
A. M. 3475. A. C. 529; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4917. A. C. 464. EZRA IV. 7-END, EST. NEH. PART OF HAG. ZECH, MAL. beart, than to be employed in such an office; but the against him; and when the chamberlain, who had been king's command was positive, so that Haman was forced to call him to the banquet, acquainted the king of the to do it, how much soever it might go against the grain: gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, who had and when the irksome ceremony was orer, he returned saved the king's life, he gave immediate orders, that to his house, lamenting the disappointment and great he should be hanged thereon (which accordingly was mortification he had met with, in being forced to pay so done), and his whole estate given to the queen, whereof signal an honour to his most hated enemy. But while she appointed Mordecai her steward. At the same time he was relating this to his family, and they thereupon she informed the king of her near relation to Mordecai; expressing some uneasy apprehensions, as if this were so that he took him into his royal favour, advanced him a very bad omen, one of the queen's chamberlains came to great power, riches, and dignity in the empire, and to his house to hasten him to the banquet; and, having made him keeper of his signet, in the same manner as seen the gallows which had been set up the night before, Haman had been before. he fully informed himself of the intent for which it was But though Haman was thus removed, yet the decree prepared.
which he had procured remained still in full force; nor When the king and Haman were set down to the could it be repealed, because the laws of the Medes entertainment, the king asked Esther again, what her re- and Persians were such, that nothing written in the quest was ; renewing his promise, that he would not fail king's name, and signed with the royal signet, could be to grant it her, even though it extended to the half of reversed. All therefore that the king could do, upon his kingdom. But my petition, O king,' says she, is the queen's second petition, to have the decree cancelonly for my own life, and the life of my people, because led, was to grant the Jews, by another e decree, such a there is a design laid against us, not to make us bond power to defend themselves against all that should asmen and bond-women (for then I should have been si-sault them on the day f when the former decree was to lent), but to slay and destroy us all. It' therefore I have found favour in thy sight, o king, let my life and bind his hands, muffle his head, hang him on the fatal tree.” –
Ep. the life of my people be given at my request.' At this
d Josephus indeed tells us, that he died on the cross: but the king asking, with some commotion, who it was that others have observed, that crucifixion was not a Persian punishdurst do any such thing? the Haman then present, she ment; and Salmasius (in his book de Cruce) shows that it was told him, was the contriver of all the plot : whereupon the manner of the Persians first to cut off the heads of malefacthe king rising up from the banquet in a passion, a went tors
, and then to hang them on a gibbet. However this be, "I
cannot pass over the wonderful harmony of providence," says into the garden adjoining; and Haman, taking this op- Josephus, " without a remark upon the almighty power, and the portunity, fell prostrate on the bed where the queen admirable justice and wisdom of God, not only in bringing was sitting, to supplicate his life; but the king, coming Haman to his deserved punishment, but entrapping him in the in the mean time, and seeing him in this posture, What, very same snare that he had laid for another, and turning a
malicious invention upon the head of the inventor." Neither is will he ravish the queen before my eyes!' cried out there any law more just, than to enspare the murderer by his aloud : wbereupon those that were in waiting came and own artifice.---Antiq. b. xi. c. 6. covered his face, as a token of the king's indignation
e Josephus has given us a true copy, as he says, of this decree, or, as he calls it, of the letters which Artaxerxes sent to the ma
gistrates of all the nations that lie between India and Ethiopia, a Partly as disdaining the company of so audacious and un- under the command of a hundred and seven and twenty pringrateful a person; partly to cool and allay his spirit, boiling and ces:-"Wherein he represents the abuse which favourites are struggling with such a variety of passions; and partly to consider wont to make of their power and credit with their prince, by within himself the heinousness of Haman's crime, the mischief insulting their inferiors, by flying in the face of those that raised which himself had like to have done by his own rashness, and them, and, to gratify their resentments, calumniating the innowhat punishment was fit to be inflicted on so vile a miscreant. cent, and putting honest men in danger of their lives: wherein - Patrick's Commentary, and Poole's Annotations.
he makes mention of the uncommon favours and honours which 6 It was a custom of the Persians, as well as other nations, to he had bestowed upon Haman, the Amalekite, who had, notsit, or rather to lie upon beds, when they ate or drank; and withstanding, taken measures to supplant him of his kingdom, therefore, when Haman fell down as a supplicant at the feet of to destroy Mordecai, the preserver of his life, together with his Esther, and (as the manner was among the Greeks and Romans, dearest wife the queen, and to extirpate the whole nation of Jews, and not improbably among the Persians) embraced her knees, who were good and peaceable subjects, and worshippers of that the king might pretend that he was offering violence to the God to whom he was indebted for the possession and preservaqueen's chastity. Not that he believed that this was his intention of his empire: wherein he acquaints them, that for these tion, but, in his furious passion, he turned every thing to the wicked and treasonable practices, having caused him and his worst sense, and made use of it to aggravate his crime.—Pat- whole family to be executed before the gates of Susa, his royal rick's Commentary.
pleasure, by these presents, was that they should not only disc The majesty of the kings of Persia did not allow malefac-charge the Jews from all the pains and penalties to which they ors to look at them. As soon as Haman was so considered, his are made liable by his letters which Haman had sent them; but ace was covered. Some curious correspondent examples are that they should likewise aid and assist them in vindicating ollected together in Poole's Synopsis, in loc. From Pococke themselves upon those that spitefully and injuriously oppressed re find the custom still continues. Speaking of the artifice by them; and wherein he tells them, that whereas the time apibich an Egyptian bey was taken off, he says, (Travels, vol. ii. pointed for the utter destruction of these people, was to have been . 179) “A man being brought before him like a malefactor on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, his further pleasure ist taken, with his hands behind him as if tied, and a napkin was, that the same month and day should be employed in their ut over his head, as malefactors commonly have, when he came rescue and deliverance; and that if any person, either by disito his presence, suddenly shot him dead." - Harmer, vol. ii. p. obedience or neglect, should act in any thing contrary to the tero 5. This custom may be traced among the Romans in the pun- ror of this his imperial command, he should be liable to military hment of a patricide, who, when convicted, was immediately execution by fire and sword." oded, as upworthy of the common light, (Kennett's Rom. f It might be presumed that some, out of hatred to the Jews ntiq. part ii. b. 3, c. 20, p. 146,) and in that form of pro might be inclinable to obey Haman's decree: for though he himuncing sentence on a criminal ascribed by Cicero (Pro self was gone, yet it cannot be imagined, that all the friends and tio Rabirio, c. iv.) to Tarquinius Superbus. “Go, officer, 'creatures that he had made perished with him. He might have A, M. 3475. A. C. 529; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 1947. A. C. 464. EZRA iv. 7-END, EST. NEH. PART OF HAG. ZECH. MAL be executed, as might render it in a great measure in- In the beginning of the seventh year of Ahasuerus, effectual.
Ezra, a priest descended from C Seraiah the high priest, To this purpose, a fresh edict was drawn up in the who was slain by Nebuchadnezzar, when he bursed the third month, signed by the king, and transmitted to the temple and city of Jerusalem, a man of great learning, provinces : so that, when the thirteenth day of Adar came, and excellently a skilled in the knowledge of the Scripby the means of these different and discordant decrees, tures, who had hitherto continued in Babylon, with others a war was commenced between the Jews and their ene- of the captivity that had not yet returned, obtained leave mies, through the whole Persian empire ; but as the rulers of the king to go to Jerusalem, and to take as many of of the several provinces, and other officers of the king, well understood what power and credit Esther and Mor- name of Haman is pronounced, the children, with great fury, decai then had with hiin, they so favoured the Jews every they bring for that purpose. After that the reading is finished,
strike against the benches of the synagogues, with the mallets whith where, that on that day they slew, in the whole empire, they return home and have a supper, not of flesh, but of spori75,000 persons, and in the city of Shushan, on that day meat; and early next morning they arise and return to the syrisand the next, 800 moro; among whom were a the ten gogue ; where, after they have read that passage in Exodus, which sons of Hamnan, whom, by a special order from the king, book of Esther, with the same ceremonies as before, and so co
makes mention of the war of Amalek, they begin again to read the they hanged perhaps on the same gallows whereon their clude the service of the day, with curses against Haman and his father bad hung before ; and in memory of this, their wife Zeresh, with blessings upon Mordecai and Esther, and with wonderful deliverance, the Jews did then, and have ever praises to God for having preserved his people. Their resting since, on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month on this day is observed so religiously, that they will not so muel Adar, kept a great festival, which they called the ' feast it would not come up if they did; and therefore they either play
as set or sow any thing in their gardens, with full persuasion that of lots.' But proceed we now to some other affairs. at chess, and such like games, or spend the time in music and
dancing, until it be proper to begin their feasting, wherein they
indulge themselves to such an immoderate degree, that their feast a great party every where, and some of them so furiously enraged of purim has, with great justice, been called the Bacchanals of the at his fall
, as, even at the hazard of their own lives, would not Jews. They allow themselves to drink wine to excess, nas, fail to show their indignation at those who were the occasion of even to such a pitch, as not to be able to distinguish between the it: and therefore this second decree procured by Mordecai, gave blessing of Mordecai, and the curse of Haman, as themselves them authority, if any attempt was made upon them, either in speak; and amidst the other sports and diversions of the day, great bodies, or small parties, not only to defend themselves and they used formerly to erect a gibbet, and burn upon it a man made repel them, but to make as great a slaughter of them as they were of straw, whom they called Haman; but herein it was thought, that able, and even to take possession of their goods, as Haman had they might have a design to insult Christians, upon the death of procured them license (chap. iii. 13,) to seize the goods of the our crucified Saviour; and therefore Theodosius the second, Jews.- Patrick's Commentary.
(Anno Dom. 408,) forbade them to use this ceremony, under the a It is not unlikely, that many might be enraged at his death, penalty of forfeiting all their privileges. We have only farther and his sons, in particular, might set themselves at the head of to remark concerning this festival, that it is always kept for two those who were bold enough to attempt the destruction of the days together, and the reason hereof is this:-the Jews at ShuJews in Shushan, being resolved to revenge their father's death, shan had two days allowed them to revenge themselves of their though in so doing they were sure to meet their own. And this enemies, (Esther ix. 13,) but the rest of the Jews in other taseems to suggest the reason why Esther was so solicitous to have tions had but one. This caused, at first, some difierence in their their dead bodies (for they were slain already) hung upon the time of feasting; for the Jews in all other parts of the kingder, gallows, (chap. ix. 13,) even because they had shown more ma- having done execution on their enemies on the thirteenth day, lice and indignation against the Jews, and on the day when the kept their rejoicing feast on the fourteenth ; but the Jews at Shustai, cruel edict came to take place, had made more desperate attacks being engaged in this work both on the thirteenth and fourteenth upon them than any; though the reason of the state, in this days, kept their festival for their deliverance on the filteesta
. severity, might be to expose the family to the greater infamy, When Mordecai, however, had made a record of this great de and to deter other counsellers from abusing the king at any time liverance, he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the domain with false representations. For though the Jews suffered none ions of Ahasuerus, to establish it as a standing ordinance ama to hang on the tree, as they called the gallows, longer than till them, that they should keep both the fourteenth and fifteenth of the evening
of the day whereon they were executed; yet other the month Adar every year, as the days whereon the Jews nations let them hang until they were consumed, as appears from rested from their enemies: and this is the reason why the festithe story of the Gibeonites, (2 Sam. xxi. 9, 10,) or devoured by val continues for two days, though the former of them is only crows, vultures, or other ravenous creatures; from whence that kept with great solemnity. Patrick's Commentary. Howel's His vulgar saying among the Romans, pascere in cruce corvos, had tory, in the notes, and Calmet's Dictionary under the ward its rise. Patrick's Commentary, and Poole’s Annotations. Purim.
6 Pur, in the Persian language, signifies a lot, and the feast e In Ezra vii. 1, Ezra is called the son of Seraiab, but as the of purim or lots, which had its name from Haman's casting lots, death of Seraiah occurred 120 years before this time, our autour in order to divine which day would be most lucky to prefix for the very properly considers the term as implying here a descendasi
. murder of all the Jews in the whole Persian dominions, is, to-Ép. this very day, celebrated by the Jews, with some peculiar cere- d Both the Septuagint, Vulgate, and our translation, render monies, but most of them reducible to these three things, reading, the words sopher mahir, a ready scribe, (Ezra vii. 6,) as i resting, and feasting. Before the reading, which is performed have a quick hand at writing out the law, were any great perferin the synagogue, and begins in the evening, as soon as the stars tion, or that any aged man, as Ezra was, should be renowned for 8. appear, they make use of three forms of prayer: in the first of It was not then for writing, but for explaining the things to these, they praise God for counting them worthy to attend this tained in the Scriptures that Ezra was so famous. For as sopher divine service; in the second, they thank him for the miracu- signifies a book, so sopher denotes one skilled and learned in that lous preservation of their ancestors; and in the third, they bless book; and as there was no book comparable to the book of the his holy name, for having continued their lives to the celebration law, therefore sepher became a name of great dignity, and of another festival in commemoration of it. Then they read nified one that taught God's law, and instructed the people cute over the whole history of Haman from the beginning to the end, it; in which sense we find the word geapparuis,
, used bat not out of any printed book, for that is not lawful, but out of in the New Testament. Por when our Saviour is said to have a Hebrew manuscript, written on parchment. There are five taught the people, "as one having authority, and not as the places in the text, wherein the reader raises his voice with all his seribes,' this plainly shows, that these scribes were not transcrit might: when he comes to the place that mentions the names ofers, but teachers and expounders of the laws, though they did the ten sons of Haman, he repeats them very quick, to show that not do it with a proper
authority.- Patrick's and Le Cleri they were all destroyed in a moment; and every time that the 1 Commentaries.
A. M. 3475. A. C. 529; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4947. A. C. 464. EZRA iv. 7-END, EST. NEH. PART OP HAG. ZECH. MAL. his own nation with him, as were willing to accompany were with him, to the divine protection, on the twelfth him thither.
day he set forward for Jerusalem, where they all safely On the first day of the first month, which is called Ni- arrived on the first day of the fifth mouth, called Ab, san, and might fall about the middle of our March, he that is, about the middle of our July, having spent four set forward on his journey from Babylon, 4 with an am- wbole months in their journey from Babylon thither. ple commission and authority to restore and settle the Upon his arrival, Ezra delivered up to the temple the state, reform the church of the Jews, and regulate and offerings which had been made to it by the king, his nogovern both according to their own laws. When he bles, and the rest of the people of Israel that staid became to the river Ahava, 6 he there halted, until the hind, which d amounted to a very large sum, and having rest of his company was come up; and then, having, in communicated his commission to the king's lieutenants a solemn fast, c recommended himself, and all that and governors throughout all Syria and Palestine, he
betook himself to the executing of the contents of it. a It can hardly be imagined, but that some more than ordinary He had not been long in his government, before he means were used to obtain so great a favour from the king, as found that many of the people had taken wives of other this commission was; and therefore we may suppose that it was nations, contrary to the law of God; and that several granted at the solicitation of Esther, who was become the best beloved of the king's concubines, though not as yet advanced to
of the priests and Levites, as well as other chief men the dignity of queen: for seeing it was usual for the kings of of Judah and Benjamin, bad transgressed in this partiPersia, on some particular days and occasions, to allow their wa cular. And therefore after he had, e in mourning and men to ask what boons they pleased, it is not unlikely, that, by fasting and I prayer, deprecated God's wrath for so sad the direction of Mordecai, upon some such time and occasion as tuis, Esther, though she had not discovered her kindred and nation, might make this the matter of her request. — Prideaux's making application to the king for his protection and defence. Connection, anno 459. [It is not improbable that the king, Rather therefore than give any such umbrago, they were who in the seventh year of his reign, had made Mordecai the resolved to commit themselves entirely to God: but then it Jew his prime minister, and Esther the Jewess his queen, should was necessary that they should beseech that of him, which, withgive to Ezra the Jew, a commission conferring such full powers out giving offence, they could not request of the king.–Paas we find vested in Ezra, (Ezra vi. vii. viii. 31 : Esther ii.; Dan. trick's Commentary. ix. 1.) Xerxes might hope, that by thus patronising the Jews, he d According to the account we have of them, (Ezra viii. 26, should obtain some favour after his imsuccessful campaigns from 27,) there were 650 talents of silver, which at 375 pounds to the the God of heaven, whom the Jews worshipped, and to whom talent, make 243,750 pounds. The silver vessels weighed 100 Cyrus attributed all his victories. This much seems to be inti- talents, which came to 37,500 pounds. The gold in coin was 100 mated by the words of the edict, (Ezra vii. 23.) The commis- talents, which at 4500 pounds per talent, made 450,000 pounds; sion of Ezra was given in the seventh year of the king, after the and besides all this, there were 20 basins of gold of 1000 drachms, retreat from Greece. It is no objection to our hypothesis, that and two vessels of fine copper, as valuable as gold.—Howell's Ezra began his journey on the first day of the first month, and History in the notes. (Sir J. Chardin, (MS. note,) has menarrived at Jerusalem on the first of the fifth month, in the tioned a mixed metal used in the east, and highly esteemed seventh year of Artaxerxes, while Esther is said to have been there, which might probably be of as ancient an origin as the declared queen in the tenth month of this year; for the book of time of Ezra. He says, I have heard some Dutch gentlemen Esther computes the months from harvest, or Tishri
, while Ezra speak of a metal in the island of Sumatra and among the Mareckons from spring or Nisan. Moreover, the favour of the king cassars, much more esteemed than gold, which royal personages towards the Jews did not commence with the elevation of Esther alone might wear. It is a mixture, if I remember right, of gold to the throne; for before this time Mordecai had a place among and steel. Calmbac, is this metal, composed of gold and copper ; the nobles in the court of the palace, and consequently he must it in colour nearly resembles the pale carnation rose, has a very have been one of the royal officers. The difference of the names fine grain, and the polish extremely lively. Gold is not of so Artaxerxes, Xerxes, and Ahasuerus, need occasion no difficulty, lively and brilliant a colour.)– Harmer, vol. ii. p. 490.-ED, for these are not so much proper names, as appellatives applied e The manner in which Ezra is said to have expressed his to every king at pleasure. Thus Daniel calls even Astyages, concern for the people's unlawful marriages, is, by 'rending his Ahasuerus of the Median line.]-Jahn's Hebrew Commonwealth, garment, and his mantle,' (chap. ix. 3,) that is, both his inner vol. i. p. 199.—ED.
and upper garment; which was a token not only of great grief 6 This was a river of Assyria, and very probably that which and sorrow, but of his apprehensions likewise of the divine disran along the Adiabene, where the river Diava, or Adiava, is pleasure; and by pulling off the hair of his head and beard,' known to be, and upon which Ptolemy places the city of Abane, which was still a higher sign of exceeding great grief among or Aavane. Here, some imagine, was the country which, in the other nations, as well as the Jews; and therefore we find in second book of Kings xvii. 24, is called Ava, from whence the Homer, that when Ulysses and his companions bewailed the king of Assyria translated the people called Avites into Pales- death of Elpinor, “ they sat together lamenting and tearing their tine, and, in their room, settled some of the captive Israelites. hair."-Odyss. X. It was a common thing for those that travelled from Babylon to f The prayer we have in Ezra ix, 6, &c. the purport of which Jerusalem, in order to avoid the scorching heat of the desert of is this:- That he was confounded when he thought of the Arabia, to shape their course northward at first, and then, turn- greatness of their sins, which were ready to overwhelm them, ing to westward, to pass through Syria, into Palestine; but Ezra and of the boldness and insolence of them beyond measure, even had a farther reason for his taking this route; for as he intended though they had seen the divine vengeance upon their foreto get together as many Israelites as he could, to carry along fathers, in so terrible a manner, that they had not yet worn off with him to Jerusalem, he took his course this way, and made a the marks of his displeasure. He had begun indeed to show halt in the country of Ava, or Ahava, from whence he might favour to some of them; but this so much the more aggravated send emissaries into the Caspian mountains, to invite such Jews their wickedness, in that, so soon after their restoration and setas were there to come and join him.-Le Clerc's Commentary tlement in their native country, they had returned to their old on Ezra viji., and Calmet's Dictionary under the word Ahava. provocations, notwithstanding the many admonitions in the law
• This they had the greater reason to do, because they carried and the prophets, to have nothing to do with the people of Canthings of considerable value along with them; were apprehensive aan, except it were to expel and root them out. What then can of enemies that lay in wait for them; and were ashamed to ask we expect, says he, but the utter destruction of the small remany guard of the king; who being not much instructed in divine nant that is left of us, if, after all the punishments which God matters, might possibly think that what they said of God's favour has inflicted on us, and his beginning now to be gracious unto towards them, and the prophecies concerning their restoration, us, we relapse into the same offences for which we have so avere but vain boasts, in case they should seem to distrust his severely suffered? For while we remain monuments of his power and favour, of whom they had spoken so magnificently, hy mercy, and yet appear before him in our abominations, we must