Esther 9:13 MEANING

Esther 9:13
(13) Then said Esther . . .--In the terse words of the heading, "Ahasuerus, at the request of Esther, granteth another day of slaughter, and Hainan's sons to be hanged." It seems impossible here to acquit Esther of simple blood - thirstiness. Before the slaughter of the 13th of Adar was actually over, it is obvious that the Jews were no longer in any danger. It was known that the sympathies of the Court were entirely with the Jews, and the officers of the king consequently took their part. After one day's slaughter, in which in the capital alone 500 men were killed, we may be quite certain that the Jews were masters of the situation, and therefore we do not hesitate to call Esther's fresh action needless butchery. Were anything needed to bring out the matter in its true light, it might be seen in the request that the sons of Haman might be hanged. They had already been killed (Esther 9:10), doubtless among the first, and Esther, therefore, asks for the dead bodies to be crucified, a gratuitous outrage on the dead. Because Esther was a person whom God made use of as an agent for a great purpose, we are not called upon to tone down and explain away the black spots in her history. To suggest that Esther had reason to fear "a renewal of the attacks of the enemies of the Jews" is out of the question, when the Jews had their feet on their necks. We must not, on the other hand, judge Esther according to the high Christian standard. It is true that the Old Testament taught "vengeance is Mine" but it needed the teaching of the New Testament to bring that truth home to men.

Verse 13. - Esther's request for a second day of slaughter has a bloodthirsty appearance; but, without a more complete knowledge of the facts than we possess, we cannot say that it was unjustifiable. It would seem that the Jews in Susa gathered themselves in the upper town on the appointed day, and were engaged there the whole day with their enemies. Esther asks that they may be allowed a second day - either in the upper or the lower town, it is not clear which to complete their work, and free themselves from all danger of further persecution from their foes. She is not likely to have made this request unless prompted to make it by Mordecai, who must have had means of knowing how matters really stood, and, as the chief minister over the whole nation, is likely to have been actuated rather by general views of policy than by a blind spirit of revenge. Still it must be granted that there is something essentially Jewish in Esther's request, and indeed in the tone of the entire book which bears her name

9:1-19 The enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them by the former edict. If they had attempted nothing against the people of God, they would not themselves have suffered. The Jews, acting together, strengthened one another. Let us learn to stand fast in one spirit, and with one mind, striving together against the enemies of our souls, who endeavour to rob us of our faith, which is more precious than our lives. The Jews, to the honour of their religion, showed contempt of wordly wealth, that they might make it appear they desired nothing except their own preservation. In every case the people of God should manifest humanity and disinterestedness, frequently refusing advantages which might lawfully be obtained. The Jews celebrated their festival the day after they had finished their work. When we have received great mercies from God, we ought to be speedy in making thankful returns to him.Then said Esther, if it please the king,.... For she was all submission to his will:

let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan; for no further did she desire the grant to be extended:

to do tomorrow also according to this days decree; one Targum makes the request only that they might keep the morrow as a festival, but the other, more rightly, to do according to the decree of this day; which was, to slay as many of their enemies as rose up against them; and whereas many might flee and hide themselves, who were implacable enemies of the Jews, Esther moves for a grant that the decree might be continued for the next day, that these might be found out and slain; in which she sought the glory of divine justice, in their righteous destruction, and the peace of the people of God, and not private revenge, or to indulge malice:

and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows; on which their father was; this was deferred, though they were already slain, for their greater reproach, and for a terror to others not to injure the people of God; and it was usual with the Persians to hang persons on a gallows, or fix them to a cross, after they were dead; as Polycrates was by Oroites (i), and Bagspates by Parysatis (k).

(i) Herodot. Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 125. (k) Ctesias in Persicis, c. 58.

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