King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Esther 9

The success of the Jews. (1-19) The feast of Purim in remembrance of this. (20-32)

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The success of the Jews

1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)

2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.

3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.

4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.

5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.

6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.

7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,

8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,

9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,

10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.

11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.

12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.

13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.

14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

15 For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.

16 But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,

17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

18 But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

The feast of Purim in remembrance of this

20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,

21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,

22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;

24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;

25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,

27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;

28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.

30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,

31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.

32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. As. Heb. “(which is the month of Adar) when the king’s command and edict drew near to be executed, in that day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it turned out that the Jews had dominion over those who hated them)” H. — To revenge, &c. The Jews, on this occasion, by authority from the king, were made executioners of the public justice, for punishing by death a crime worthy of death, viz. a malicious conspiracy for extripating their whole nation; (Ch.) so inscrutable are the judgments of God, who never wholly abandoned his people! The old Vulg. passes over the first 19 verses, with the 24th, 25th, and 28th. C. — In this whole history we cannot but admire the Providence of God. W.

Ver. 3. Extolled. Prot. “helped.” Sept. “the king’s secretaries honoured the Jews.” H.

Ver. 6. Sons. It seems as if they had been slain with their father, v. 10. See C. vii. 9. C. — Yet, as the contrary would appear from C. xvi. 18, we may suppose that they were at least H. imprisoned till this time, for a more exemplary punishment, while all the rest of the family perished with Aman. Serar. Salien. M. — These are the kindred, specified nine months before. C. xvi. T. — Some Masorets childishly (H.) write these ten names one over another, and with greater and lesser letters, to shew that they were hung one above another, and that the guilt of all was not the same, but the youngest son was the most malicious. Kennicott,

Ver. 10. Goods, in any place, (T.) that they might not appear to be actuated by the desire of riches, (C.) to fall upon the innocent. How often does this fatal cause blind Christian conquerors! The sons of Aman were married, and had separate establishments. C. viii. 1.

Ver. 13. Susan. Aman’s influence had been the greatest there, and had stirred up many enemies of the Jews, who were to be carefully sought out. H. — If we should consider only the dictates of clemency, we should think that the Jews were too eager in their revenge. But when we reflect, that their enemies had intended to destroy them all, and to seize their effects, we shall allow that they did not exceed the limits of justice, as they acted by royal authority, and abstained from touching any effects of the deceased. C. — In the capital, 800 men fell victims to their fury. But as the citizens of that place were probably the most guilty, we must not imagine that other cities would be treated with the like severity. H. — Gibbets, for a terror to the wicked. M. — This disgrace was not unusual. C. xvi.18. Polycrates was treated thus. Herod. iii. 125.

Ver. 16. Lives. In many cases they would probably be attacked, as Aman’s edict was perhaps still in force, as well as that of Mardochai. Hence both parties would be upon the watch. H. — Seventy-five. Rom. Sept. has only 15,000. Complut. 10,035. C.

Ver. 19. Meats, not only to the poor, but to all their friends, v. 22, and 2 Esd. viii. 10. C.

Ver. 21. Receive. Prot. “establish this among them, that they should keep the 14th…yearly.” 2 Mac. xv. 37. H. — None were obliged to keep more than one of these days, according to their respective dwellings. The 14th was for the provinces, the 15th for the Jews of Susan, v. 18. T. C. W. — Yet it would seem that both days were enjoined, v. 27, 28. H. — The Jews still observe, them, as they gratify their vanity and vindictive spirit. The 13th is kept a rigid fast, for all above sixteen, for twenty-four hours, during which they eat nothing. C. — If that day should be a sabbath, or its eve, they fast on the 11th or 12th. Drusius. — The day before the festival they give alms to their poor brethren, enjoining them to consume the whole in making good cheer. Each person must then contribute the half sicle, (Ex. xxx. 13.) which is bestowed on those who undertake a pilgrimage to the land of promise. At night, when the feast commences, they light the lamps, and begin to read the Book of Esther, as soon as the stars appear. They use an old parchment MS. roll, and, in the five places, the reader shouts with all his might, running over the names of the ten sons of Aman with all haste, to shew that they all died in a moment. Whenever Aman is mentioned, the children beat the benches with mallets; and formerly they used to strike at a stone, on which his name was cut, till it broke, v. 31. After the lecture, they take a repast at home. Early the next morning they return to the synagogue, and read the account of Amalec from the Pentateuch, and repeat the Book of Esther, with the aforesaid ceremonies. The rest of the day they spend in merriment. Their teachers allow them to drink till they are unable to distinguish the name of Aman from that of Mardochai. Basnage, vi. 15. — They also change clothes, in contradiction to the law; (Deut. xxii. 5.) and were formerly accustomed to crucify a man of straw, which they burnt with the cross, till Christian emperors put a stop to them; as it was concluded, from their curses, &c. that they had an eye to our Saviour. C. See C. v. 14. H.

Ver. 25. And. Heb. “But when she came.” Sept. “and how he came to the king, asking leave to hang Mardochai. But his machinations against the Jews, turned upon his own head; and so,” &c. H.

Ver. 28. Ceremonies. The king also enjoined (C. xvi. 22.) all his subjects (T.) to keep a day of rejoicing, (H.) as the death of Aman was deemed a public benefit. C.

Ver. 29. Second. The first might be the edict, (C. viii. 9.) or else the provisional establishment of the festival, as it could not have general authority till it was ratified by the high priest; after which, this second letter was dispatched. C. — Sept. “and queen Esther, daughter of Aminadab, &c….wrote all that they had done, and also the confirmation of the epistle of Phrourai.” They should say Phurim, as the former word means “guards.” Heb. “wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim;” (Prot. H.) or rather, “this letter, Phurim, of which this is a copy.” The Rom. Sept. only add for this and their advice; (C. Ed. Alex. “for their health and counsel.”) and Esther established for ever, and wrote as a memorial: My nation,” &c. H.

Ver. 30. Peace: receive these glad tidings, and faithfully observe the injunctions. C.

Ver. 31. Fasts and cries. See v. 21. C. — Prot. “the matters of their fastings and their cry: and the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.” H. — This feast, instituted by Mardochai, was accepted and observed by the Jews as a constitution agreeable to, and not contrary to the law. Deut. iv. 2. and xii. 32. W.