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AND on the third day Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's hall: now he sat upon his throne in the hall of the palace, over against the door of the house.

Ver. 1.  And.  Instead of these two verses, the Sept. place (H.) what we have C. xv. with some small variation from the present account in Heb.   But there is nothing incompatible with the truth.  C.


--- The king might be at first displeased; but, seeing the effect which it had upon Esther, he might feel his former sentiments of love rekindle.  C.  T.


--- House, or inner apartment, C. iv. 11.  The throne was surprizingly magnificent, yet inferior to that of Solomon.  3 K. x. 18.  C.


--- It was formed of gold and precious stones, with a curtain over it of purple and other colours.  Athen. xi. 2.

2 And when he saw Esther the queen standing, she pleased his eyes, and he held out toward her the golden sceptre, which he held in his hand: and she drew near, and kissed the top of his sceptre.

Ver. 2.  Golden.  "It is not this golden sceptre which saves the kingdom," said Cyrus, "but faithful friends are the most true and secure sceptre for kings."  Cyrop. viii.  C.


--- Kissed.  Heb. "touched."  H.

3 And the king said to her: What wilt then, queen Esther? what is thy request? if thou shouldst even ask one half of the kingdom, it shall be given to thee.

Ver. 3.  Kingdom.  C. vii. 2.  This compliment only (C.) meant, that every rational (H.) request should be granted.  Mar. vi. 23.

4 But she answered: If it please the king. I beseech thee to come to me this day, and Aman with thee to the banquet which I have prepared.

Ver. 4.  Prepared.  It was not prudent to declare her request, when many improper persons were present; and Aman was not there.  M.


--- She thought that the hilarity, occasioned by innocent feasting, (H.) might be a means of obtaining more effectually what she wanted.  M.


--- If the prudence of this world suggest much address, why may not virtue employ the same arts for good purposes?  Esther had to obtain two great points; to make the king retract his edict, andto abandon his favourite.  She is afraid therefore of being too hasty, (C.) and invites the king again, to increase by this delay his desire to of knowing her request, and that he might bind himself to grant it more effectually.  W.


--- She invites Aman alone, who would thus be more envied  by the other courtiers; (Lyran) while she manifested an open dispostion, and disdained to accuse the absent.  T.

5 And the king said forthwith: Call ye Aman quickly, that he may obey Esther's will. So the king and Aman came to the banquet which the queen had prepared for them. 6 And the king said to her, after he had drunk wine plentifully: What dost thou desire should be given thee? and for what thing askest thou? although thou shouldst ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it.

Ver. 6.  Wine.  The Persians did not drink till the end of the feast, (as the Turks are said to do at present.  Tavernier) when they fall upon wine without any moderation.  Ælian, Hist. xii. 1.

7 And Esther answered: My petition and request is this: 8 If I have found favour in the king's sight, and if it please the king to give me what I ask, and to fulfill my petition: let the king and Aman come to the banquet which I have prepared them, and to morrow I will open my mind to the king. 9 So Aman went out that day joyful and merry. And when he saw Mardochai sitting before the gate of the palace, and that he not only did not rise up to honour him, but did not so much as move from the place where he sat, he was exceedingly angry: 10 But dissembling his anger, and returning into his house, he called together to him his friends, and Zares his wife: 11 And he declared to them the greatness of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and with how great glory the king had advanced him above all his princes and servants.

Ver. 11.  Children.  After military glory, this was deemed the greatest.  The king sent presents yearly to those who had most children.  Herod. i. 136.

12 And after this he said: Queen Esther also hath invited no other to the banquet with the king, but me: and with her I am also to dine to morrow with the king:

Ver. 12.  But me.  It was thought very singular, when Artaxerxes invited his own brothers.  Plut.


--- But when he also admitted a foreigner, the nobility became jealous, as that honour was reserved for the king's relations.  Athen. i.


--- Dine, or feast.  Only one meal was taken, (Herod. vii. 120.) and that in the evening.  C.

13 And whereas I have all these things, I think I have nothing, so long as I see Mardochai the Jew sitting before the king's gate.

Ver. 13.  Whereas.  Sept. "all these things do not satisfy me, while I behold," &c.  Such is the insatiable nature of ambition!  H.


--- Gate.  He does not clearly mention that he wanted to be adored.  M.

14 Then Zares his wife, and the rest of his friends answered him: Order a great beam to be prepared, fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king, that Mardochai may be hanged upon it, and so thou shalt go full of joy with the king to the banquet. The counsel pleased him, and he commanded a high gibbet to be prepared.

Ver. 14.  High.  This was to increase the shame.  Hence Galba condemned a Roman citizen to be hung on a high white cross.  Sueton. ix.


--- The Jews formerly burned a man in effigy with a cross, pretending to do it in detestation of Aman, but in reality to deride our Saviour, till the emperors forbade the custom.  C. ix. 21.  C.  Just. and Theodos.  C.

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