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IN the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who said he was a priest, and of the Levitical race, and Ptolemy his son brought this epistle of Phurim, which they said Lysimachus the son of Ptolemy had interpreted in Jerusalem.

Ver. 1.  Cleopatra.  So the kings and queens of Egypt were styled after Lagus; whence we can only gather, that this translation was brought after the reign of Alexander, and most probably under Philometer, the sixth of his successors.  He was a great admirer of the Jews, and employed one Dositheus as his general, who might be the priest here mentioned; as such an office was not incompatible with his character.  T.

 

--- Usher is of this opinion.  See Jos. con. Ap. ii.  But would he then be mentioned as if he had been a person almost unknown?  C.

 

--- We may say that he only raised himself by merit, after this time.  H.

 

--- Philometer reigned 177 years, B.C.  The Sept. (C.) who gave their version in the 7th year of Philadelphus, (S. Epip.) were not the authors of the Greek edition of Esther; (C.) or perhaps, they may have adopted this of Lysimachus, (Huet.  D.) as far as it went; the letter of Purim being only the groundwork of this history.  If they did, Lysimachus must have lived before the time of Philometer; or what seems as probable, (H.) that the celebrated version has been made by different authors, and at different times.  Hody.

 

--- Jerusalem.  Here S. Jerom subjoins, "This beginning was also in the Vulg. edition, which does not occur in Hebrew or any interpreter," (H.) except the Sept.  W.

 

--- This must be referred to what follows.




2 In the second year of the reign of Artaxerxes the great, in the first day of the month Nisan, Mardochai the son of Jair, the son of Semei, the son of Cis, of the tribe of Benjamin:

Ver. 2.  Second year, the same when Darius gave an edict for building the temple, (1 Esd. iv.  T.) and the year before the great feast, (C. i. 3.) when the Jews little thought of such danger hanging over them.  C.  W.

 

--- Benjamin.  C. ii. 5. we read Jemini, which shews that they have the same import.  T.



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3 A Jew who dwelt in the city of Susan, a great man and among the first of the king's court, had it dream.

Ver. 3.  Court, afterwards.  C.

 

--- He had a dream in the second year.  Houbigant.


4 Now he was of the number of the captives, whom Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had carried away from Jerusalem with Jechonias king of Juda:

Ver. 4.  Juda.  This has been noticed already.  C. ii. 5.  But we need not be surprized at such repetitions.  We find the like in the books of Moses, and 1 K. xvi. 10. and xvii. 12. &c.  H.

 

--- S. Jerom says, "Librum Esther variis translatoribus constat esse vitiatum;" or, various historical documents may have been improperly inserted in the Greek, though they be true; and therefore S. Jerom has rightly removed the to the end.  Houbigant.



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5 And this was his dream: Behold there were voices, and tumults, and thunders, and earthquakes, and a disturbance upon the earth. 6 And behold two great dragons came forth ready to fight one against another.

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7 And at their cry all nations were stirred up to fight against the nation of the just.

Ver. 7.  Cry.  While Aman was full of indignation against Mardochai, and the latter would not submit to adore him, the various nations of the empire were instigated to fall upon the Jews.  H.


8 And that was a day of darkness and danger, of tribulation and distress, and great fear upon the earth. 9 And the nation of the just was troubled fearing their own evils, and was prepared for death. 10 And they cried to God: and as they were crying, a little fountain grew into a very great river, and abounded into many waters.

Ver. 10.  Waters.  Esther, by her tears, extinguished the rising flame.  W.


11 The light and the sun rose up, and the humble were exalted, and they devoured the glorious.

Ver. 11.  Rose up.  A bright sun (T.) represented God, (C.) or the king.  Grotius.


12 And when Mardochai had seen this, and arose out of his bed, he was thinking what God would do: and he kept it fixed in his mind, desirous to know what the dream should signify.

Ver. 12.  Signify.  He was convinced that it was from heaven.  C.


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