Table of Contents Ch. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Truth in Action
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Esther 1:1 Ahaseurus: See the introduction to Esther, "Background and Date.
Esther 1:1 Vashti's Demotion (HBH) The Persian King Khshayarsha was known as Ahasuerus in Hebrew and Xerxes in Greek. He is commonly identified with Xerxes I (485-464 B.C.), who is remembered for his devastating naval loss to the Greeks at Salamis in 481. The Greek historian Herodotus described his kingdom as consisting of twenty provinces and extending from India to Ethiopia.
The king convened a royal reception in his third year (483 B.C.) at Susa of Elam (modern SW Iran), which was the winter resort of the Persian kings (Esth. 1:1-3; Neh. 1:1; Dan. 8:2). Archaeological work has uncovered the elaborate royal palace of the city.
The assembly Xerxes called lasted for 180 days, during which he displayed the splendor of his wealth. It culminated in a seven-day feast of luxurious dining and drunkenness. The opulence of the Persian court is described to indicate the vast resources and power of the king (1:4-9).
In a drunken stupor, the king called for Queen Vashti to "display her beauty" before his guests (1:10-11). Her refusal, probably out of decency, threatened the king's reputation. At Memucan's advice, the king deposed her (1:10-22). Xerxes' action is a parody on Persian might, for the powerful king could not even command his own wife.
Esther 1:3 In the third year: This was 482 B.C. A banquet that lasted for 180 days (v.4). Persia: An ancient empire that flourished from 539 to 331 B.C. Media: The ancient name of the northwestern part of modern Iran; it was the most important province of Persia. The customs and laws of the Medes were interwoven with those of the Persians, and many Medes were given positions of responsibility in the empire.
Esther 1:5 The 180 days that the banquet lasted were followed by another, celebrated in the palace, that lasted 7 additional days, and which allowed the men of Shushan to attend.
Esther 1:10 Eunuchs: The king's trusted servants who attended to people of both sexes. Some of them were military functionaries or governors.
Esther 1:13 Wise men who knew the times: Men who were experts in the law.
Esther 1:17,18 See section 4 of "TRUTH IN ACTION" at the end of Esther.
Esther 1:17 Leadership implies such responsibilities as influence. With her rebellious attitude, Vashti ignored her responsibilities toward King Ahaseurus. The king's counselors feared that, because of Vashti's attitude, other women of the kingdom would follow her example.
Esther 1:19 The laws...that it not be broken: For the Persians and Medes the laws were immutable. Not even the king could change them.
Esther 2:1-3:15 The King's Decree to Destroy the Jews (HBH) The second section of the story concerns the exaltation of Esther (chap. 2) and the evil ploy by Haman to exterminate the Jews (chap. 3). The role of Mordecai as Esther's cousin and Haman's hated enemy links the two episodes.
Esther 2:1-23 Queen Esther's Rise (HBH) Xerxes, at his attendants' advice, ordered a search for Vashti's successor (2:1-4). The narrator revealed Esther's nationality by first identifying Mordecai's lineage as a Benjamite of the family of Kish. Mordecai was Esther's foster parent and elder cousin. Esther ("Hadassah," her Hebrew name) was among those brought to the king's palace because of her exceptional beauty (2:5-9). At Mordecai's advice she concealed her nationality, a factor that figured in here advantage over the enemy Haman.
One year of purification was required for an audience with the king. Esther was received by the king four years after the deposition of Vashti (479 B.C.; 2:16; 1:3). She won his approval and became queen (2:10-18). The western expedition against the Greeks by Xerxes' Persian ships ended in disaster at Salamis in 481 B.C. His selection of Esther occurred after this debacle.
Mordecai, who may have been in the king's service as a gatekeeper (2:19), discovered a plot to kill Xerxes (perhaps because of disaffection over his losses at Salamis). The two culprits were hanged on gallows, and Mordecai's heroism was recorded (2:21-23). From this incident Mordecai learned of Esther's new power at court. The concealment of her identity and the record of Mordecai's deed would lead to Haman's eventual undoing (6:1-2; 7:3-6). The traitors' gallows anticipated Haman's own death for the same crime of treachery (7:10).
Esther 2:6 The captives: Those Jews who were led from Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 B.C.
Esther 2:7 Hadassah: "Myrtle": Esther: "Star". Mordecai probably changed her name when he adopted her.
Esther 2:8,9 Esther had been well educated socially and spiritually. The is evidenced by the favors the her superiors in the palace granted here. Clothing (KJV-"things for purification"; the Biblia Plenitud has "clothing and nourishment"): See the note for verse 12. And nourishment: This deals with special delicacies.
Esther 2:10 Although Esther came from anonymity and began to live in a completely different way, she continued obeying Mordecai's instructions. He wished to protect her from possible antisemitic reactions.
Esther 2:11 Mordecai continued caring for Esther, even when she was no longer by his side.
Esther 2:12 The time of her clothing (KJV-days of her purification): Persian law required that Esther be kept physically attractive. This entailed twelve months of preparations and the application of costly feminine ointments. However, to fulfill GOD's purpose, she also had to prepare herself spiritually. Esther offers the magnificent example of a woman of GOD, as described in I Peter 3:1-4.
Esther 2:13 All that she asked was given to her: This is a reference to attire and luxurious jewelry.
Esther 2:19 The second time: Gives the idea of things that occurred before verses 17,18. The king's gate: Where important legal transactions and negotiations took place.
Esther 2:20 Esther was learning that GOD links people according to his sovereign purposes. When GOD gave her prominence as queen, submissive now to the king's authority, she continued recognizing Mordecai's authority. The ties that GOD establishes are of a distinct category and obey different purposes.
Esther 2:22 The collaboration between Mordecai and Esther saves the king's life and destroys his enemies. Events of any importance in the kingdom were recognized in the book of chronicles, which shouldn't be confused with the books of I and II Chronicles in the Old Testament.
Esther 3:1 After these things: Indicates an indefinite period of up to five years. Haman is promoted to a high executive position.
Esther 3:1-15 Haman's Murderous Plan (HBH) The theme of power is continued by the introduction of Haman as second in position to the king. This incident took place about five years after the installation of Queen Esther (2:16; 3:7). Haman is identified as an "Agagite," perhaps a descendant of the Amalekite king, Agag, who was defeated but spared by King Saul (3:1; I Sam. 15). Israel and Amalek were enemies from Moses' time (Exod. 17:8-16). For the author, the contention between Haman and Mordecai, a descendant of Kish (as was Saul), typified the enmity between Israel and the Gentiles. This Agagite, however, would not be spared.
While others bowed to Haman, Mordecai refused t worship him because of his Jewish faith (3:2-4) - as Daniel had declined to worship Darius (Dan. 6). Haman masterminded a plot to exterminate all the Jews. The divinely appointed day and month was determined by the casting of the pur, meaning lot (Akkadian). The king was persuaded to permit the mass murder by official decree and sealed by the king's own signet ring (Esth. 3:7-11; compare 8:2,8). Couriers raced throughout the empire to deliver the decree that on the thirteenth day of Adar, some eleven months later, the Jews were to be destroyed (3:12-14). The common people of Susa were shocked by the cold-blooded decree in contrast to the conspirators, who meanwhile confidently celebrated (3:15).
Esther 3:2 See section 1 of "TRUTH IN ACTION" at the end of Esther.
Esther 3:7 They cast the lot: Possible, in order to determine the best moment to carry out Haman's plans.
Esther 3:8-15 See section 1 of "TRUTH IN ACTION" at the end of Esther.
Esther 3:10 When the king gave his ring to Haman he was handing over his symbol of royal authority.
Esther 3:12 Three levels of Persian dignitaries appear here. The satraps (KJV-lieutenants) were provincial governors; the captains (KJV-governors) assisted them as chiefs of the cities that were built there; and the princes of every people (KJV-rulers) were tribal chiefs.
Esther 3:13 Haman's plan (verses 5-9) was to be carried out 11 months later.
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