Esther vi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Sleep. Anxious what Esther could desire. Septuagint, “But the Lord removed sleep from the king that night.” (Haydock) — Providence watched over the welfare of his people. — Chronicles. The kings took particular care (Calmet) to have their benefactors mentioned in history and rewarded. (Herodotus viii. 85.) Assuerus had not recourse to musicians, &c., wisely (Tirinus) reflecting that history is the most pleasing and useful amusement. (Cicero, &c.) (Tirinus) — God directed him on this occasion, as his eye never sleepeth. (Josephus) (Worthington)

Ver. 3. No reward at all. He received some presents from the king; (chap. xii. 5.) but these were so inconsiderable in the opinion of the courtiers, that they esteemed them as nothing at all; (Challoner) and they were not specified in the history. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Inner court. To which only such favourites and noblemen had access. (Herodotus iii. 72., and 84.) This king had himself come thither with six others, when they conspired to destroy Smerdis. Hebrew, &c., read, “the outward court,” in which Aman was, till he heard the king was awake, and called for him. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. Apparel. Greek, “of byssus,” which was very superb, chap. xv. 9. The king alone could wear the tiara upright. The nobles wore it hanging backwards. Cyrus allowed his nobility to appear in purple, but he would have only his own robes striped with white. (Cyrop. viii.; Curtius iii.) — The kings often made presents of garments, &c., to ambassadors, and to those who were styled “their relations.” — Horse: 200 such appeared in the train of Cyrus, with golden bits, which none were permitted to use without special leave. — Head. Greek seems to refer this to the horse, which might indeed have a sort of crown. But the golden one was more probably worn by the person honoured, chap. viii. 15.

Ver. 9. Nobles. Literally, “tyrants.” (Haydock) — But this word was not formerly odious; as it only denoted “a prince.” Pars mihi pacis erit dextram tetigisse tyranni. (Vigil, ├ćneid vii.) — Abuse of power caused it to become hateful. (Tirinus)

Ver. 10. Spoken. The distinction was not for one day only. Mardochai might afterwards wear the tiara, &c. God thus clearly manifested that he would resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. (St. James iv. 6.) The exaltation of Joseph in Egypt, (Calmet) and lately of Daniel at the court at Babylon, (Tirinus) was hardly less wonderful, Genesis xli., and Daniel vi. (Calmet) — We may easily conceive the astonishment which would fill the breast of Aman, as well as of Mardochai, on this occasion. The Greek published by Usher, has expressed these sentiments; (Haydock) and the Chaldean has added many embellishments, which are of no authority. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Covered. To hide his shame, (Tirinus) as Demosthenes did, when the people kissed him. (Plutarch) See 2 Kings xv., and Ezechiel xii. 6.

Ver. 13. Wise men. Probably the magi, who concluded, from the first miscarriage, that the undertaking would prove abortive, (Calmet) as they were also informed of God’s protection given repeatedly to the Jews. Septuagint, “because the living God is with him.” (Chaldean) They might have heard of the fate of Sennacherib and of Holofernes, (Calmet) or of God’s promises, (Genesis xiii., and xv.) unless they were guided by human prudence. (Worthington)

Ver. 14. As. Thus from morning till noon, (Tirinus) or night, had this petty god (Haydock) been forced to stoop to the meanest offices, and durst not say a word in opposition. (Tirinus) — He would gladly have now absented himself from the feast, (Menochius) with the idea of which he had been enraptured. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The king hearing of the good service done him by Mardochai, commandeth Aman to honour him next to the king, which he performeth.

1 That* night the king passed without sleep, and he commanded the histories and chronicles of former times to be brought him. And when they were reading them before him,

2 They came to that place where it was written, how Mardochai had discovered the treason of Bagathan and Thares, the eunuchs, who sought to kill king Assuerus.

3 And when the king heard this, he said: What honour and reward hath Mardochai received for this fidelity? His servants and ministers said to him: He hath received no reward at all.

4 And the king said immediately: Who is in the court? for Aman was coming in to the inner court of the king’s house, to speak to the king, that he might order Mardochai to be hanged upon the gibbet which was prepared for him.

5 The servants answered: Aman standeth in the court. And the king said: Let him come in.

6 And when he was come in, he said to him: What ought to be done to the man whom the king is desirous to honour? But Aman thinking in his heart, and supposing that the king would honour no other but himself,

7 Answered: The man whom the king desireth to honour,

8 Ought to be clothed with the king’s apparel, and to be set upon the horse that the king rideth upon, and to have the royal crown upon his head,

9 And let the first of the king’s princes and nobles hold his horse, and going through the street of the city, proclaim before him and say: Thus shall he be honoured, whom the king hath a mind to honour.

10 And the king said to him: Make haste and take the robe and the horse, and do as thou hast spoken to Mardochai, the Jew, who sitteth before the gates of the palace. Beware thou pass over any of those things which thou hast spoken.

11 So Aman took the robe and the horse, and arraying Mardochai in the street of the city, and setting him on the horse, went before him, and proclaimed: This honour is he worthy of, whom the king hath a mind to honour.

12 But Mardochai returned to the palace gate: and Aman made haste to go to his house, mourning, and having his head covered:

13 And he told Zares,his wife, and his friends, all that had befallen him. And the wise men whom he had in counsel, and his wife answered him: If Mardochai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou canst not resist him, but thou shalt fall in his sight.

14 As they were yet speaking, the king’s eunuchs came, and compelled him to go quickly to the banquet which the queen had prepared.

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1: Year of the World 3495.