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SO the king and Aman went in, to drink with the queen.

Ver. 1.  Drink.  Wine was only used at great feasts.  Eccli. xxxi. 17.  Water was served up first, from the river Choaspes only.  The king and his eldest son were allowed to drink of "the golden waters," of which they alone had 70 fountains.  Athen. xii. 2.

 

--- Their wine was brought from Chelbon, near Damascus.  Id. i. 22.  Ezec. xxvii. 18.  C.


2 And the king said to her again the second day, after he was warm with wine: What is thy petition, Esther, that it may be granted thee? and what wilt thou have done: although thou ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it. 3 Then she answered: If I have found Favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please thee, give me my life for which I ask, and my people for which I request.

Ver. 3.  People.  She was more concerned for these than for half of the kingdom.  Hence all fasted and prayed, and Esther obtained their deliverance.  W.


4 For we are given up, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. And would God we were sold for bondmen and bondwomen: the evil might be borne with, and I would have mourned in silence: but now we have an enemy, whose cruelty redoundeth upon the king.

Ver. 4.  Perish.  Three terms of the same import express the greatness of the misery.  H.

 

--- King.  Whose revenue will be greatly impaired, (C.) and character injured, for having given such power to a monster.  H.

 

--- The kings of Persia had taken many precautions not to be thus deluded, having appointed officers, who were styled "the eyes and ears" of the king, purposely to obtain all necessary information.  But these eyes were often darkened; these ears were often deaf, (C.) and unwilling to act with fidelity; (H.) though their diligence in make secret transactions known, caused the people to look upon their kings as gods.  Apul. Mund. Cyrop. viii.  C.


5 And king Assuerus answered and said: Who is this, and of what power, that he should do these things?

Ver. 5.  What.  Heb. "where, who durst entertain this design?"  H.



Esther Accusing Aman

Esther Accusing Aman

And king Assuerus answered and said: Who is this, and of what power, that he should do these things?

6 And Esther said: It is this Aman that is our adversary and most wicked enemy. Aman hearing this was forthwith astonished, not being able to bear the countenance of the king and of the queen.

Ver. 6.  Astonished.  Horror of a guilty conscience is the first punishment.  S. Chrys.  W.


7 But the king being angry rose up, and went from the place of the banquet into the garden set with trees. Aman also rose up to entreat Esther the queen for his life, for he understood that evil was prepared for him by the king.

Ver. 7.  Set.  Heb. "of the palace," (H.) belonging to the queen.  C.


8 And when the king came back out of the garden set with trees, and entered into the place of the banquet, he found Aman was fallen upon the bed on which Esther lay, and he said: He will force the queen also in my presence, in my own house. The word was not yet gone out of the king's mouth, and immediately they covered his face.

Ver. 8.  My own.  Heb. "will he force...in the house?"  H.

 

--- Those who know with what jealousy the Persians treated their wives, so at to punish with death those who crossed the road before the queens, (Plut. Artax.) or touched them, will not wonder at the indignation of Assuerus, (C.) though his suspicions were groundless.  H.

 

--- Aman wished to incline the queen to shew clemency, (M.) and intercede for him.  He threw himself as a suppliant at her feet, as she lay on the bed at table.  H.

 

--- Face.  His crime was notorious; no trial was requisite, and the kings could treat their subjects as slaves.  It was customary to cover the faces of those who were led to execution.  Philotas was thus conducted into the presence of Alexander.  Curt. vi.


9 And Harbona, one of the eunuchs that stood waiting on the king, said: Behold the gibbet which he hath prepared for Mardochai, who spoke for the king, standeth in Aman's house, being fifty cubits high. And the king said to him: Hang him upon it.

Ver. 9.  Harbona.  Cr. "Bougathan."  H. --- He had been to call Aman to the feast.  Jos. --- Little dependance is to be had on false friendship, when a man is disgraced.  W. --- Upon it.  His body was perhaps afterwards exposed in the street.  C. xvi. 18.  It is not clear that he was nailed to the cross, though this custom prevailed in the country.  1 Esd. vi. 11.  Alexander crucified many satraps.  Curt. ix. --- The old Vulg. observes that the wife and ten children of Aman suffered with him.  C. ix. 6.  C.


10 So Aman was hanged on the gibbet, which he had prepared for Mardochai: and the king's wrath ceased.
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