Esther 6:8 MEANING

Esther 6:8
(8) Let the royal apparel be brought . . .--These exceedingly great distinctions Haman suggests, thinking with unaccountable vanity (for nothing is said or implied as to any service rendered by him to the king) that the king must necessarily have been referring to him, and in a moment he is irretrievably committed. Whether Hainan's character had at its best estate much discretion, or whether he rose to his high position, not by the qualities that should commend a statesman to a king, but, like many another Eastern Vizier, had by flattery and base arts gained the royal favour, we cannot say; here he shows the lack of the most ordinary discretion, his vanity is so inordinate that he cannot see the possibility of any one's merits save his own. The request which Haman made may be illustrated by the permission granted by Xerxes to his uncle Artabanus to put on the royal robes and sleep in the royal bed at Susa (Herod, vii. 15-17).

The horse that the king rideth upon.--Thus Pharaoh, desiring-to honour Joseph, made him ride in his own chariot (Genesis 41:43): David, wishing to show that Solomon had really become king in his father's lifetime, commands that he should ride on the king's mule (1 Kings 1:33; 1 Kings 1:44).

And the crown royal which is set upon his head.--If we take the Hebrew here quite literally, the meaning must be and on whose (i.e., the horse's) head a royal crown is set. The only objection to this view is, that there appears to be no evidence of such a custom among the Persians. Some render, and that a (or the: the Hebrew is necessarily ambiguous in such a case) royal crown be set, but this we consider does violence to the Hebrew. It must be noted that both the king in his reply, and the writer in describing what actually took place, make no mention of a crown as worn by Mordecai, nor does Haman in the following verse.

Verse 8. - Let the royal apparel be brought. To wear a dress previously worn by the king was, under ordinary circumstances, a breach of Persian law (Plut., 'Vit. Artax.,' 5); but the king might allow it (Herod., 7:17) or condone it (Plut., 1. s.c.). The horse that the king rideth upon. Rather, "a horse that the king hath ridden." And the crown royal which is set upon his head. Rather, "and that hath a crown royal set on his head." Some peculiar ornament by which the royal steed was made conspicuous is intended, not his own crown, which even Xerxes would scarcely have allowed another to wear. See vers. 9 and 11, where the dress and the horse are referred to, but the crown, as an adjunct of the horse, not particularised.

6:4-11 See how men's pride deceives them. The deceitfulness of our own hearts appears in nothing more than in the conceit we have of ourselves and our own performances: against which we should constantly watch and pray. Haman thought the king loved and valued no one but himself, but he was deceived. We should suspect that the esteem which others profess for us, is not so great as it seems to be, that we may not think too well of ourselves, nor trust too much in others. How Haman is struck, when the king bids him do honour to Mordecai the Jew, the very man whom he hated above all men, whose ruin he was now designing!Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear,.... Not a whole suit of clothes, but a single garment; the purple robe, as both the Targums, such as kings wore; that which Cyrus appeared in public in was half purple, and half white, and no other person besides might wear such an one (p); it was a capital crime with the Persians to wear any of the king's apparel; Trebazus, an intimate of Artaxerxes, having begged an old gown of him, it was granted, on condition that he would not wear it, it being contrary to the laws of Persia; but he, regardless of the order, appeared in it at court; which affront to the king was so resented by the Persians, that they were for punishing him rigorously, according to the law, had not Artaxerxes declared, that he had ordered him to appear in that dress as his fool (q); hence Artabanus, though uncle to Xerxes, was very unwilling to obey his orders, to put on his royal robes, sit on his throne, and sleep on his bed (r); so that this was a daring proposal in Haman, which he would never have ventured to have made, had it not been for the great confidence he had in the king's favour:

and the horse that the king rideth upon: the kings of Persia, as Herodotus (s) relates, had horses peculiar to them, and those were Nisaean horses, which were brought from Armenia, as Strabo says (t), and were remarkable for their beauty (u); and if the same law obtained in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride on the king's horse any more than sit on his throne, or hold his sceptre (w) and perhaps this horse here was not proposed for the person to ride on, but to be led in state before him; and though it is afterwards said that Mordecai rode on horseback, yet it might not be on the king's horse, which might be only led; and what follows seems to confirm it:

and the crown royal which is set upon his head; or, "let it be set", &c. not the head of the man, but on the head of the horse; and so Aben Ezra; and which sense is countenanced by the Targum, and by the Syriac version, and is approved of by Vatablus and De Dieu; and which the order of the words requires, the horse being the immediate antecedent; and no mention is made of the crown afterwards, as set on the head of Mordecai; nor would Haman have dared to advise to that, nor could it be granted; but this was what was wont to be done, to put the royal crown on the head of a horse led in state; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia (x), as it is with the Ethiopians to this day (y); and so, with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were crowned (z) which Tertullian calls (a) public horses with their crowns.

(p) Xenophon Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 23. (q) Plutarch. in Artaxerxe. (r) Herodot. Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 15, 16. (s) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 192. (t) Geograph. l. 11. p. 365. (u) Julian. Opera, par. 1. Orat. 2. p. 94. (w) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 5. (x) Brisson. apud Castell. Lexic. col. 4008. (y) Alvarez Hist. Ethiop. c. 105. apud ib. col. 3869. (z) Paschal. de Coronis, l. 8. c. 5. p. 536. (a) De Corona Militis, c. 13.

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