Christian Churches of God

No. F017





Commentary on Esther: Introduction and Part 1

(Edition 5.5 19940824-20000122-20090211-20190218-20240109-20240123)


Chapters 1-3


Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA




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Commentary on Esther: Introduction and Part 1


ESTHER. By E.W. Bullinger

One of the five Megilloth. For its place in the Hebrew Canon see Appdx-1. Read at the Feast of Purim. Comes chronologically thus: (1) Daniel; (2) Esther; (3) Nehemiah; (4) Ezra. The Divine name does not occur, except five times in the form of an Acrostic (Appdx-6). See Appdx-60, and notes on Esther 1:20Esther 5:4Esther 5:13Esther 7:5Esther 7:7Esther 1:2 Esther 2:20.



Commentary on Esther (No. 063)

“The implications contained in the Book of Esther have great significance for modern Christianity. This Commentary uses the rabbinical commentaries and exposes them to Christian biblical exposition, which produces some significant results.


The commentary on the Book of Esther is a wonderful story about a lady who became queen of Persia, or it is a story about the millennial reign of Jesus Christ or it is both? We will find out from the commentary that it is both. What it teaches us is how we, with the Jews, will inherit the Kingdom of God. It is the equivalent of a time span or a plan of salvation for the Jews so that the sequence is understood. It is very carefully concealed and often by the rabbis themselves, because it has information that is quite extraordinary. There are a number of things which require discussion. The king involved is Ahasuerus. God is nowhere mentioned in this book. This fact is quite extraordinary and the reason for this is because the controlling of affairs, or the power of God, is exercised under the identity of Ahasuerus. So there is no necessity for God to be named, because the kingdom and the kingship rest in the entity who exercised the power of God. Ahasuerus adopts that position in the story as it unfolds, especially in the millennial perspective. The actors themselves take on an enormous significance in relation to the Church, Christ, the fallen Host, and the time sequence of the end.


Ahasuerus is generally recognised as being identical with Xerxes who reigned from 485 to 464 BCE. The Hebrew Achashwerosh is an attempt to represent the Persian word Khshayarsha from which the Greeks derive the name of Xerxes (see Soncino fn. to v.1). They were difficult pronunciations and the names are transliterations. The king is Xerxes. He is the king in Ezra 4 who reigned after Darius 1 and before Artaxerxes and who stopped the construction of the temple. Ezra 4 has the sequence of the building of the temple.


So they frustrated or stopped construction on the temple in the reign of Cyrus until the reign of Darius king of Persia who was not Darius 1. Modern Judaism and modern Christianity have a vested interest in making the temple complete in the reign of Darius 1 (Hystaspes). The temple was not, and could not have been, completed in the reign of Darius 1 at all. That is a direct contradiction to the express words of the Bible in Ezra 4:6.


The rabbinical commentaries on the Midrash on Esther say he stopped construction on the temple in the beginning of his reign and promulgated the decree against the Jews in his later years (see Soncino, Midrashic Approach To Esther, p. 125). That is why attempts are made to make Ahasuerus Cambyses who was the son of Cyrus, so they could fit the construction of the temple in the reign of Darius 1.


Quite simply, Ahasuerus was petitioned in the court, (also from the Midrash) to stop construction and Artaxerxes who followed him, was also petitioned and according to the Bible in Ezra 4:24, work on the House of God stopped until the reign of Darius the Persian. Now it follows, as night the day, that the Darius the Persian referred to in verse 24 cannot be Darius I who ruled before both king Xerxes and king Artaxerxes. The significance of this is that attempts are made to confine construction of the Temple to the reign of a king, who reigned two reigns before Artaxerxes and prior to Ahasuerus, the king in question here. There is significance in the Book of Esther for, or relating to, the completion of the Temple of King Solomon, which is important.


The concepts of the names are important. There were other kings named Ahasuerus. The Soncino on the rabbinical commentaries gives understanding of what is meant by these texts.”



Esther Chs. 1-3 (RSV)


Chapter 1

1In the days of Ahasu-e'rus, the Ahasu-e'rus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, 2in those days when King Ahasu-e'rus sat on his royal throne in Susa the capital, 3in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his princes and servants, the army chiefs of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces being before him, 4while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days. 5And when these days were completed, the king gave for all the people present in Susa the capital, both great and small, a banquet lasting for seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace. 6There were white cotton curtains and blue hangings caught up with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars, and also couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones. 7Drinks were served in golden goblets, goblets of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. 8And drinking was according to the law, no one was compelled; for the king had given orders to all the officials of his palace to do as every man desired. 9Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace which belonged to King Ahasu-e'rus. 10On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehu'man, Biztha, Harbo'na, Bigtha and Abag'tha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served King Ahasu-e'rus as chamberlains, 11to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to behold. 12But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him 13Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times--for this was the king's procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, 14the men next to him being Carshe'na, Shethar, Adma'tha, Tarshish, Meres, Marse'na, and Memu'can, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom-15"According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasu-e'rus conveyed by the eunuchs?"16Then Memu'can said in presence of the king and the princes, "Not only to the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also to all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasu-e'rus. 17For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt upon their husbands, since they will say, 'King Ahasu-e'rus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.' 18This very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's behavior will be telling it to all the king's princes, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. 19If it please the king, let a royal order go forth from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is to come no more before King Ahasu-e'rus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, vast as it is, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low." 21This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memu'can proposed; 22he sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be lord in his own house and speak according to the language of his people.


Intent of Chapter 1

Commentary on Esther (No. 063)

v. 1 “The listing of the provinces is as being over seven and twenty and a hundred provinces. Darius 1 was set up over the kingdom and set the kingdom into a hundred and twenty satraps and the inscriptions list approximately a hundred and twenty-seven nations according to Markus and the Soncino. In Daniel 6:2 the 120 satraps are mentioned, so we are dealing with the possibility that we are looking at a sequence of not 127, but at 7 principal governors and 120 satraps. That might be more evident perhaps later. The areas concerned are from Ethiopia to India, and the India here is from the Hebrew Hodu, which is the Indus Basin. Ethiopia was conquered by Cambyses king of Persia from 529 to 522 BCE. So all these things are set up from Cambyses and Darius. Thus we are looking at Xerxes who has taken over the kingdoms established from Ethiopia by Cambyses and the provinces by Darius. So this king is the one who reigns after Darius and thus must be Xerxes.”

(see Ezra 4:6; Dan. 9:1). Xerxes 1 (485-464) ruled from The Indus Valley to Ethiopia or the modern Nubia. Herodtus mentions twenty satrapies (subdivided into provinces) (Hist. III, 89).


vv. 2-4 Here we are looking at a 180-day party. These feasts of the Persians were commemorative feasts, which were extraordinarily luxurious. One of the reasons for the injunctions against holding birthdays was because the holding of birthdays was a custom of the Persians. The matter is also examined in the paper Birthdays (No. 287). They sacrificed during these great feasts to foreign gods and held all sorts of other activities. The concepts and antipathy between Judah and the Persians in relation to these birthday festivals formed the basis of the abhorrence, which did develop amongst the churches against birthdays. The fact is that this custom is derived from the worship of the Assyro-Babylonian system and the worship of Baal and Istar or Easter system.

Persepolis was the capital; Susa was the citadel in Elam used as his winter residence.

v. 3  Excavations at Susa have uncovered such a court as described here.


vv. 5-8 In those days they were regulated by toastmasters. The rabbinical comment is that they were allowed to drink of their own wine and that they drank as they pleased (see Soncino). As a consequence, all sorts of concepts come out of this. The Persians were great drinkers and Xenaphon said of them, they drink so much they cannot stand on their feet and must be carried out. Ahasuerus feared an uprising should his guests become intoxicated. The records of Xerxes show that he did not have a strong grip on the kingdom, but the concepts are that there is, as we understand it, a rebellion in the heavens and that this problem within the Host was reflected within the empire.


vv. 9-10 The Midrash says, this refers to Vashti the queen (Vashti means the best). The name is Elamitish and may indicate that she was a royal concubine. Reportedly Xerxes' queen was Amestris the Persian (see OARSV n.). Vashti had prepared the women in the king's house, not in the house of the women, and the purpose of this was to dishonour the women. We are dealing with the proposition that there are spiritual concepts in everything that happens. The females here convey concepts in relation to the Church or are used to explain or convey the concept of a Church and its relationship with the fallen Host. Vashti was planning to cause the women to sin. According to the Midrash the explanation was that Ahasuerus' plan was to cause the Jews to sin and

thus he would be assured they would be punished by God and would not be restored to their land. He therefore refrained from coercing them to infract any law of the Torah lest they have any excuse for their sins. He rather tempted them to take of the delicacies served at the banquet, but did not compel them to do so (Soncino fn. to Est. 1:8).


The Jews see this as an example of trying to break their position with God. They see the activities of Ahasuerus in line with Vashti, as improper in the first instance. But that is not the correct intention of the matter. The intention is to show that there was a select female, the queen and her entourage, who was selected as the best and placed in the kingdom as the wife of the king. That was Israel, the congregation, and thus she represents the congregation of Israel set apart to become the elect. Now on the seventh day when the heart of the king was merry, he commanded these seven principal men. Perhaps the concept of the 127 derives from the fact that these seven principal men had administrative command over the 120 satraps; but this is conjecture.


1:10-2:4 Vashti's Fall

v. 11 Spiritually, the seven representatives appear to equate with the seven angels of the Churches of God, who were commanded to bring Israel before God. Israel did not come before God. Israel rebelled and sinned. Crown indicates she was to appear in royal attire.


v. 12 These seven eunuchs who appeared before the face of the king appear to relate to the prophets who saw the face of God; the presence or the Angel of God. Seven prophets (Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel), who literally stood before the face of God through the Angel of the Presence, were commanded to prepare Israel after Moses, from the occupation onwards, to bring Israel before God in right order, so that Israel might be crowned as the leading nation of the world – as the queen of the world. Israel had a responsibility to prepare itself and did not.  The civil explanation is that it may refer to seven privy councillors over the 120 satraps (Ezra 7:14; Herodotus Hist. III, 31, 84). 


v. 13 The Talmud understands this as referring to astrologers, but the phrase is parallel with all that knew law and judgment. The Law and the judgment are derived from the knowledge of the Law through the Holy Spirit. This was given in the first part through the prophets. The Soncino says with all that knew law and judgment and probably means those who are familiar with historical precedents having the power of the law. This derives from Ibn Ezra's commentaries. For so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment, because all those who are righteous have the power of judgment; that is the function of righteousness. So those who know the Law and judgment are righteous. The king was disposed - that is the power of God is well disposed - to those who know righteousness, law and judgment.


v. 14 These are the principal prophets who stood before the face of God, as mentioned previously.

v. 15 So Israel did not obey the prophets. Israel did not prepare itself to come before the king. Israel had rendered itself naked by their behaviour, as Vashti by her behaviour had also done. The Midrash commentaries say that she was naked and the comments refer to the fact that she had only the crown on. She refused to come because of the way she was attired and that she personally saw her nakedness.


There are a couple of the commentaries which say that she had on nothing, but she was asked to appear naked wearing only the crown, which is why she refused. But when she looked in the mirror she saw she was leprous in the face, but nobody else saw it, and she refused to come because she saw her own nakedness through her rebellion. The rabbinical commentators get this far, but do not make the connection that it was Israel through its rebellion that was unfit, having rendered itself naked and could not go before God. This is of enormous significance. The rabbis have understood this for a long time yet continue to try to tie it down and the Midrash starts to extrapolate into non-biblical positions, in order not to deal with the fact that they rendered themselves incapable of coming before God into judgment. Memucan was the last mentioned of the seven and it is said from that he is an unknown character and the rabbis identify him as Haman. The rabbis try and push the point that he was an ignoramus because he spoke first, because the rabbinical commentaries say that only an ignoramus speaks first. These comments come from Megillah (Meg.) 12B.


Haman had reason to resent Vashti, so they are trying to work out who resented Vashti. Haman was an Agagite and Agag was an Amalekite. We are dealing with the concepts of Amalek versus Israel. It was Amalek who came upon Israel before they came into the Promised Land and Moses had to stand there with his arms being held up, in order that Israel would prevail against Amalek before they went into the Promised Land. So we are dealing with the concept at the very final part before we enter into the Promised Land; dealing with the forces of Satan in the guise of Amalek and that is why Haman the Agagite, an Amalekite, is represented here in the destruction of Judah. There the rabbis say there are two instances – they were ordered to destroy the Canaanites, and the Canaanites referred to incorporated the Amalekites. This is the third instance of the Amalekites trying to destroy the chosen. This event refers to the final destruction; the final wars before we go into Israel under Messiah for the millennial restoration (see No. 141C). This will develop as we go through the texts. We are dealing with the final wars of the end. Haman being an Amalekite in this text is not accidental. The Book of Esther is talking about entities under Satan and under Christ, the Church against the world to go into judgment and take control of the world. This is the argument of the battle of the Last Days. It is quite sweeping in its impact. From comments from the Midrash and the Megillah there are various comments as to why Haman had a dislike of Vashti, but there is no doubt why the dislike of the Jews was extant among the Amalekites. The Amalekites were the most ancient enemies of Israel, and we are dealing with the concepts of the enemies of the elect right up to the Last Days. The Wars of the End are examined in the various papers on the topic and the 141 series from 141C to 141H.


This judgment of Vashti was according to law. The rabbis say that Memucan added “according to law” because he knew that Ahasuerus did not want to kill Vashti. That is true. God did not want to destroy Israel for its rebellion. The Law was given to Israel and Israel is judged according to law. So Vashti is judged according to law. For as much as she has not done the bidding of King Ahasuerus by the Chamberlains, Israel did not obey the Law through the prophets. They did not obey God.


vv. 16-17 What is being said is that the rebellion in one part of the Host extends to the entire Host and that the rebellion in Israel affected all. The restoration of Israel was the primary step in the conversion of the planet. Israel had to be brought in so that all of the Gentiles could be brought in. But Israel in the eyes of Judah did not see the Gentiles as being brought into Salvation. The relationship between God and Israel under the Law is explained in the papers Law and the First Commandment (No. 253); Law and the Fifth Commandment (No. 258) and Law and the Seventh Commandment (No. 260) (cf. also the paper The Law of God (L1) and the other texts there).


Israel saw Salvation as being only for Israel and yet they rendered themselves unfit to come into judgment. That is why Israel has to be punished, because the world will not be converted until Israel is converted. The world will not be brought into the millennial rest until all of Israel is brought into the millennial rest. Judah has to be forced to come into the millennial rest, so that the world can come into the millennial rest. Judah will become Christian at the point of a sword. It will be the sword of God and of truth and God will open their eyes in the Last Days. He will force their understanding and when that spirit is poured out upon them they will understand, but here they did not and they wilfully rejected God and rendered themselves unfit to come into the Kingdom of God.


vv. 18-19 The law of the Medes and the Persians was that if the king made a decree, then it was unalterable. In this context the premise comes from the concepts that what issues from the mouth of God does not return empty and that once God has commanded or expressed His will, it is. So that things occur by the divine utterance of God and God does not make mistakes. God issues from His mouth a decree expressing His will and that comes into being by edict, so that divine edicts are irreversible (see also 8:8; Dan. 6:8).


vv. 20-21 The honour given to the husbands was that they were to come in to be the bride of Christ and that all people ultimately will come into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as the Bride of Christ. This is done in sequence as seen before, through the wise and the foolish virgins in the First and Second Resurrections. That has to be brought into this concept, so that Israel was dealt with in order that the point could be made. The Marriage Supper was given to other people better than Israel; salvation was to go to the elect amongst the Gentiles. That was the concept.


v. 22 The concept of every people after their language is that the letters that were sent to every province and every people after their language was representative of the Bible and the epistles of the Bible. Because of the confusion, they were written in the language of the people concerned, so that salvation can come to everyone, all Gentiles. The rabbinical commentaries have: speak according to the languages of the people. So the relevance of the second part of the decrees is derived. A vast number of languages were spoken in the Persian Empire in the time of Xerxes. The Midrash and Jewish commentators take the phrase to mean that if a husband and wife were of different race and language they were to compel her to speak his tongue. That is the symbolism of us being given a new language when Christ comes. We will all be compelled to speak the language of our husband, the bridegroom. Aramaic was normally used for official correspondence. Here a rhetorical exaggeration (see also 3:12; 8:9).


Chapter 2

1After these things, when the anger of King Ahasu-e'rus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. 2Then the king's servants who attended him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. 3And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the capital, under custody of Hegai the king's eunuch who is in charge of the women; let their ointments be given them. 4And let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." This pleased the king, and he did so. 5Now there was a Jew in Susa the capital whose name was Mor'decai, the son of Ja'ir, son of Shim'ei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, 6who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconi'ah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon had carried away. 7He had brought up Hadas'sah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother; the maiden was beautiful and lovely, and when her father and her mother died, Mor'decai adopted her as his own daughter. 8So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many maidens were gathered in Susa the capital in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and put in custody of Hegai who had charge of the women. 9And the maiden pleased him and won his favor; and he quickly provided her with her ointments and her portion of food, and with seven chosen maids from the king's palace, and advanced her and her maids to the best place in the harem. 10Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mor'decai had charged her not to make it known. 11And every day Mor'decai walked in front of the court of the harem, to learn how Esther was and how she fared. 12Now when the turn came for each maiden to go in to King Ahasu-e'rus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women-- 13when the maiden went in to the king in this way she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. 14In the evening she went, and in the morning she came back to the second harem in custody of Sha-ash'gaz the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines; she did not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. 15When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Ab'ihail the uncle of Mor'decai, who had adopted her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king's eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16And when Esther was taken to King Ahasu-e'rus into his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18Then the king gave a great banquet to all his princes and servants; it was Esther's banquet. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces, and gave gifts with royal liberality. 19When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mor'decai was sitting at the king's gate. 20Now Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mor'decai had charged her; for Esther obeyed Mor'decai just as when she was brought up by him. 21And in those days, as Mor'decai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasu-e'rus. 22And this came to the knowledge of Mor'decai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mor'decai. 23When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the Book of the Chronicles in the presence of the king.


Intent of Chapter 2

Commentary on Esther (No. 063)

v. 1 “This concept of Ahasuerus remembering Vashti was seen by the rabbis as with remorse, realising that she had acted properly in refusing to display herself. This is not correct. This comment of acting properly is that they do not understand what is involved in Israel failing to come before God. The comment is that God will always remember us and there are a number of comments in the Psalms dealing with this, where we will not be forgotten and God will restore us and uphold us and these comments are taken up in the prophets.


vv. 2-4 Now one can see the development as it applies to the Church. It was to send out to all the provinces to call the elect. These people were brought in and prepared, being given to the king's chamberlain. The elect were given to the angels of the churches and officers were appointed to prepare them and that was the function of the shepherds of the Church. They were required to prepare the elect to be presented to the king (i.e. God), free of spot and blemish. These things were not being done, but that was the commandment (cf. the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251)). They went out and did it in sequence over a long period and one will see how the period develops.

v. 2 Servants refers to pages and not his counsellors.

vv. 3, 9 Harem Lit. house of women.

ointments - cosmetics.


2:5-23 Mordecai and Esther

2:5 Mordecai has two derivations. Mordecai has the origin, according to the rabbinical commentaries, of mera dachya, which means pure myrrh. It also has a derivative of Marduk, so that which was pure was misused or misapplied, in the sense of misnamed. So the concept is that Mordecai meant pure myrrh and his position has been misused. He was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish a Benjamite. This lineage raises all sorts of problems. Kish was the ancestor of Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, but Saul is not mentioned here. Agag was the enemy of Saul (see 3:1-15 n.). Now Saul is a king of Israel and much more important than was Kish. So why was not Saul mentioned in this? Thus the genealogy does not appear correct. It is important to note the names and what they mean. These names have spiritual significance. We read what the Talmudic commentaries say is the Midrashic approach to Esther from the Soncino page 128,


Note 6: Mordecai. Midrashically the name is associated with the Aramaic mera dachya......pure myrrh. Just as myrrh is the chief of the spices, so was Mordecai the chief of the righteous men of his generation.


So we are talking about the Prince of Righteousness. Torah Temimah explains that according to the Talmud his name from birth was Pethahiah. The name Mordecai was given to him later. Since this is a Gentile sounding name the Talmud and Midrash seek a Jewish origin to account for this appellation. As mentioned elsewhere, the man called Jesus Christ at birth was Joshua, or Jehoshua, which means righteousness. The name Jesus is a derivative of the Greek Iesous. The form was also found among the Hyperborean Celts, as a third of a trinity as Esus. It is not Hebrew but was used in the Septuagint. The name of the Messiah was changed. Now we go to son of Jair, which means: a son who enlightened the eyes of Israel with his prayer. Some of the rabbinical commentators say that these were taken from the lineage of Mordecai, but were his immediate lineage. This is probably the correct interpretation. It was done for a reason; to point towards Messiah as a son who enlightened the eyes of Israel with his prayer.


The son of Shimei means: a son whose prayer God heard, and the son of Kish means: a son who knocked on the doors of mercy. This is a derivative of Jesus Christ - I stand at the door and knock. He was knocking at the doors of mercy in order that mercy could be extended to all mankind through Israel (cf. also the paper Christ and the Koran (No. 163)) for the meanings of Al Tarikh, the Morning Star). So these names are not just names. They point to Messiah and his effect. Mordecai is a prototype in Esther of Messiah. The Talmud takes these names to have homiletic meanings, since Scripture does not trace his entire lineage back to Benjamin from Megillah 12B. So they have a homiletic meaning – the Talmud says so – but they don't take the next step that it is talking about Messiah, because there are all sorts of problems in this book.


The reason the rabbis can't take Esther to its logical extension is that they stand condemned by it. We need to deal with the omission of Saul. If it was a lineage back to Benjamin, Saul was taken by Manoth Halevi to be intentionally omitted since by his clemency to Agag he was responsible for Haman being born. It was Saul who spared Agag the Amalekite, when God told him not to, and because he did so we have the entire Agagite-Amalekites ready to destroy Israel in the reign of Xerxes. We read in Samuel, where Saul’s act appears to be an act of clemency to one man, but this has a repercussion hundreds of years later, which almost results in the entire destruction of part of the Israelite people, the Jewish people. Now that is taken back to the parallel of the clemency displayed to the Canaanites and the Amalekites in the first instance and will almost destroy our people in the end. Before we enter the Promised Land and enter the millennial structure, we will go through near destruction, because we did not purge unrighteousness from our people from the start. We did not obey the commands of God totally and it will almost destroy this planet. That is the concept that is being issued. So that little passage in 2:5 is a lot more profound than just a list of names.


v. 6 Who was being carried away; was it Mordecai that was carried away from Jerusalem with the captives, which had been carried away with Jechonias, king of Judah? If so, it makes him of extended age. So we would be dealing with Mordecai being of approximately 120 odd years, and we would deal with Zerubbabel who was also established with the temple of nearly 120 years. So we are talking about the same time-frame of the life of Moses and we are talking about the Plan of Salvation applied in three elements.


The Soncino says: To whom does the relative pronoun refer; to Mordecai or to Kish? This is one of the most controversial questions in the Book of Esther. They are assuming that Kish is a direct ancestor in the line – that is his father, his father's father, and his grandfather’s father – that is carried away, and not Kish the ancestor of Saul. Hebrew usage seems to demand that it refer to Mordecai, but Mordecai's age becomes a difficulty. If he had been carried away in captivity even as an infant with Jeconiah or Jehoiachin in 15/16 March 597 BC (cf. Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)), he would be 122 years of age when he became prime minister in the 12th year of the reign of Xerxes in 474 BC. He apparently enjoyed office for a considerable time afterwards from 10:2. This difficulty has led many to identify Ahasuerus with Cambyses, Darius or one of the earlier kings of Persia. Others refer the relative pronoun to Kish, who would then be an immediate ancestor of Mordecai, his great-grandfather and not the Kish of the Book of Samuel. Many commentators think that “carried away” means only that his ancestors were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar and he lived in captivity because of the exile. The rabbis, however, ascribe unusual longevity to Mordecai, who was a member the great Sanhedrin during the existence of the first temple and lived to see the second temple according to Yoseph Ibn Nachmiash. So they are talking about mythological lineage and time periods for these people. Certainly we are dealing with concepts of extended age periods, which relate to the life of Moses, the construction of the temple and the restoration of the people and they all deal with time-frames, which relate to the Jubilees and the Plan of Salvation. Jeconiah is Jehoiachin (2Kgs.24:6). That would make Mordecais a great age (120?).  He was Esther's foster father (Isa. 49:23).


v. 7 The rabbis try and muddy this up a bit and say he was actually married to her. That is not what it says. This whole process is that Hadassah was prepared and brought up as the daughter of Mordecai. Esther, as she came to be called, was his uncle's daughter and the uncle of the son of the Jews of the line of David and was the daughter of Israel. That tells us we are dealing with a concept that extends beyond Judah. There are a number of things about Hadassah, or Esther. Hadassah was a Hebrew name, according to the Soncino commentaries and Esther a Persian name given to her by the Gentiles. Hadassah is derived from the Hebrew word for Myrtle and Esther is derived from the Persian stara, (i.e. star from Meg. 13a) (Ostara is Istar or the goddess Easter goddess of Ostarricchi or modern Austria from 996 CE). According to some this is the planet Venus (Yalkut Shimoni), and according to others it is the moon (Rashi, Aruch). So we have the name being applied to the moon and Venus. This is not an accident. The Church is given of the Morning Star and the Church is the moon, which waxes and wanes and is married to the son that is Christ. That is why these names are applied. The star is in fact the Messiah that comes out of Israel and out of the lion of David, but it is given to the Church so that they are both the moon and share in the Morning Star, which is the rulership of the planet. That is what it means.


vv. 8-9 Ointments here refer to special food. From the Soncino it is not cosmetics but special foods, which were part of the preparation (see Dan. 1:5; The Hebrew word is the same as that for portions (of food) in 9:19, 22 according to Ibn Ezra). The comments on the portions and ointments were that they were given specific food and were thus prepared. The food is of course the word of God and the knowledge of the Law through the Holy Spirit.


The next point is in relation to the seven maidens given to her out of the king's house.


So there were seven maidens given to the Church and those seven maidens were the seven eras of the churches under the seven spirits of God, the seven angels of the Churches of God. The “house of women” is a function of the Church or the religious function of Israel.


v. 10 Most of the Church, Israel, remains hidden until the Last Days. It has not been made known properly. For Mordecai has charged her, she should not tell. This whole process is a charge of the Mysteries of God. There are a number of things of the Church concealed as the Mysteries of God until the Last Days. Some of the commentaries are quite interesting in relation to seven maidens and then the names. The rabbis explain from Meg. 13a that with these maidens she would count the days of the week in order to determine when the Sabbath fell. Rashi explains that she designated one maiden for each day of the week and when the maiden designated for the Sabbath appeared she knew that it was the Sabbath. They then turn that into an application on a weekly basis. They have the key, but do not unlock the door. The key is for the restoration to the millennial rest, to the Sabbath rest of Christ, but they do not take it through in a messianic context.


The commentators extrapolate other texts in the Bible messianically, but Esther is not extrapolated messianically because it is clear (but subordinationist). If we extrapolate Esther messianically we come to the concept of the Church and the removal of authority from Judah. That is why they are wilfully ignorant in relation to Esther. The Scribes who became the Pharisees deliberately hide the messianic application of Esther. When we go through that, to 'charged her not to tell', Mordecai must have reasoned something like this. If Esther is chosen as queen, it can only be because God desires to make her the instrument of His purpose. That is correct. God desired to make Esther, the Church, the instrument of His purpose. If then, she reveals the fact that she is a Jewess, and therefore a member of a subject people, she'll prejudice her election and therefore with that, the possibility of becoming God's instrument (according to Ralbag, see Soncino). That is why the Mysteries of God were concealed, because if they were explained and exposed early the Church would have been isolated and we would have been killed. So the Mysteries of God were to conceal the Church, up until these Last Days. The Mysteries of God are revealed only in the Last Days so that the Church was not prejudiced until it got to this stage and the full number of the elect could be drawn out and allowed to survive. That was the function. This interpretation is suggested in the Midrash. He thought to himself, how is it possible that this righteous maiden should be married to a non-Israelite. It must be because some great calamity is going to befall Israel that will be delivered through her. They understand it! That is as clear as a bell, yet they do not take the next jump. This concealment has been so often condemned, that it would be well to quote some of the many other explanations of it. Rashi comments that she did not declare her royal origin, (i.e. she was descended from the family of King Saul) so that the king might think she was of humble origin and send her away. That is their reasoning. But that is wrong; it was done to protect the elect.


v. 11 So this is Christ walking before the Church every day in order to maintain a watch on the Church. He presents it to God without blemish. His closeness to the harem is held to suggest he was a minor official, perhaps as a eunuch gatekeeper (see OARSV n.). There are then other implications.


v. 12 Mordecai is derived from the concept of pure myrrh and the Holy Spirit is directed through Christ in order to develop the elect. That is why they were given oil of myrrh for six months and then other sweet odours under the direction of Christ and the Host. Their beautifying was apparently by massage (see OARSV n.).


v. 13 This preparation of the elect over the period is that one is purged, and the concept of cleansing and preparing is done on a continual and progressive basis. There is also another concept in these days from Abib (Nisan) to Adar because this process goes through edicts from the 13th Nisan to 13 Adar, as we will see. It starts in the beginning of the sacred year and ends at the end of the sacred year. This is not an accident. These directives are all done in order to develop that process over a concept of a millennial plan.


When it comes time for the elect to go into the king's house, what they desire will be given to them. The Holy Spirit is the desired thing taken with the elect.


v. 14 Now that is a concept in itself. According to the Soncino and the commentaries, this second house of the women was where they would remain for the rest of their lives in practical widowhood. They would not be permitted to go into the world and marry after consorting with the king. Ibn Ezra says that. So once one has consorted with the king – once given the Holy Spirit – one does not go out into that world.  We are shut off. We are a prepared bride of Christ, and we don't go out into that world and we don't sully our garments. The Jews understand that and some of us don't.


v. 15 Esther did have a known ancestry here of Abihail, yet in the start it said she had no father or mother. The first instance is a reference to the fact that the elect are without genealogy. Their priesthood is not Aaronic; it is of Melchizedek. This is a reference to Hebrews. The elect have no father or mother. They are not required to be Aaronic priests. They do not require a lineage from Aaron; they are not required to be a Kohanim. They are part of the priesthood of Melchizedek forever. So even though we have lineage, we are not accounted to lineage for the purpose of the priesthood.


When Esther went into the king she required nothing. She said that she had whatever is enough. You have provided all that I need. She wanted nothing. Everything we are given for our salvation to be part of the elect as priests of God and part of the Melchizedek priesthood is given to us by the Eunuch, by the angels in charge of the churches. We are prepared and made ready and it requires our diligence. We are given everything we need. How we prepare ourselves is the lesson. What we do during the week at home is up to us. If we do not study, we will not be prepared and we will fall short. We have not got the time to waste on Sabbaths, slowing down the passage of information. We have to work.


v. 16 The significance of the Tenth Month Tebeth (December/January), in the seventh year of his reign, is imprecisely known. According to the commentaries, the names of the month in the Book of Esther are those adopted by the Jews in Babylonia and still in use (Yerushalmi Rosh Hashanah 1:2). This occurred in the seventh year shortly after his ignominious return from his defeat in the Greek war. So this process was a concept of facing a war and of facing a defeat. There appears to be a time sequence, which might or might not relate to the Bible, but that matter requires further study.


v. 17 So that is the answer. The elect become queen instead, in place of the ancient Israelite and the Aaronic priesthood.


v. 18 This is the marriage supper of the Lamb.


v. 19 From 18, Esther's feast is the feast called in the celebration of the king's wedding with Esther (from Lekach Tob). The release, according to the Talmud, is that Ahasuerus freed all his provinces of taxes in honour of Esther. He hoped that she would reveal her kindred and her people because of this honour. The point is that release came through the Church. This is the second time. The Soncino says of verse 19 this is one of the phrases in the book, which is really difficult to understand. Why should there have been a second gathering of virgins. According to rabbinic interpretation its purpose was to arouse Esther's jealousy and thereby induce her to declare her kindred and origin. Some have suggested that these were the maidens who had not consorted with the king and they were gathered from the places they were kept and sent home (Yosef Lekach). Others explained that these maidens were the servant girls gathered for Esther's household. It was customary to put on new staff to serve a new queen (that is from Rokeach). This is not what it means at all. The second gathering is of the virgins. One is gathered as the elect, set aside and married and this is done at Pentecost.


As the period of the seven churches developed each of us is pulled out and the second time is the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb when the Messiah comes again and develops us. The Marriage Supper itself is in two parts. They are saying that these are the women who were sent home. That is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins that is actually being repeated in the rabbinical commentaries. There were some virgins who were sent home and brought again. It doesn't make Esther, the Church, jealous. It is simply the remainder of the Church being pulled in as the foolish virgins in the Second Resurrection. There are two marriages; there are two resurrections and two positions which are given to Jesus Christ under God. That is why they cannot understand it, because they do not understand the function of the elect, but they say it. They understand that these things related to two lots of virgins and they relate to two functions, but the Church is not even comprehended. It appears that Judah cannot open up this book until the Last Days. Judah's understanding of this book appears to be a function of the first angel's message prior to the destruction of the Babylonian system with the second angel and the Last Days of the Beast in the third angel's message (Rev. 14:6-10) (see the paper The Messages of Revelation 14 (No. 270)).


Mordecai sits in the king's gate. The rabbinical commentaries say this means the large, fortified entrance to the palace enclosures. Such gates have always been used in the East as courts of justice and meeting places of discussion and the exchange of news. Esther advises Ahasuerus to engage Mordecai as the royal confidant following the priests of the previous kings, who had appointed Daniel to this post. Why was Christ made the Messiah? It was for the elect. God nominated Christ and set him as High Priest and revealed the Mysteries of God for them. This whole process or meaning is that Christ sat in the king's gate for the elect’s sake.


v. 20 The elect obey the commandments of Jesus Christ. The rabbinical commentaries say that Esther had not made known her kindred, the purpose of the parenthetical statement in this place, was to make it plain that Mordecai was not known to be a relative of the queen and, therefore, conspirators were not likely to be on their guard against him (Yalkut Me'am Lo'ez). The rabbis explain that in spite of Ahasuerus' efforts to rouse her jealousy, Esther did not make known her kindred. The fact of the matter is that the full relationships of the elect are not known in the Last Days and are deliberately disguised and the rabbis do not understand that comment. But they get to one point. It can be seen just how close they get and then they pull back from the conclusions.


v. 21 The text is talking about the rebellion of the Host. It is talking about two of the Covering Cherubs who rebelled. Those are reflected in Satan and the Aeon, the lion headed system.


vv. 22-23 In other words they were removed from the book of life of the king. They were cursed. He who is hanged on a tree is cursed. That is the concept involved. They were removed from office. (see also No. 063)


Chapter 3

1After these things King Ahasu-e'rus promoted Haman the Ag'agite, the son of Hammeda'tha, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mor'decai did not bow down or do obeisance. 3Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mor'decai, "Why do you transgress the king's command?" 4And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mor'decai's words would avail; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5And when Haman saw that Mor'decai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was filled with fury. 6But he disdained to lay hands on Mor'decai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mor'decai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mor'decai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasu-e'rus. 7In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasu-e'rus, they cast Pur, that is the lot, before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 8Then Haman said to King Ahasu-e'rus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not for the king's profit to tolerate them. 9If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king's business, that they may put it into the king's treasuries." 10So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Ag'agite, the son of Hammeda'tha, the enemy of the Jews. 11And the king said to Haman, "The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you." 12Then the king's secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the princes of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasu-e'rus and sealed with the king's ring. 13Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces, to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. 15The couriers went in haste by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the capital. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was perplexed.


Intent of Chapter 3

Commentary on Esther (No. 063)

3:1-15 Haman and Mordecai

For the Benjaminite Agag enmity see 1Sam. 15:7-9. Haman was advanced to Grandvisier which was a rank to whom lower officials must make obeisance and which Mordecai would not do to an Agagite (2:5-23 n. 9:16 n.).

v. 1 “This takes us back into the concept of the promotion of the servants of Satan, Haman and the Amalekites, the forces of the world which are actually Haman himself – Haman becomes the adversary in notation. So we have the adversary's descendants and the adversary becoming synonymous. The king of Tyre becomes synonymous with Satan. We get the Babylonian system synonymous with Satan. So here Haman becomes the adversary, and we will see later on how he becomes the adversary, and he is referred to as the adversary in this text.


v. 2 This concept then takes us to the war in the desert, when Christ was put before Satan and he refused to bow down and worship Satan, even though the rulership of the planet has passed to Satan. Satan was the Morning Star of the planet. He was the ruler of the earth from Ephesians 2:2 (cf. 2Cor. 4:4) but Messiah as Mordecai was sent by God in order to deal with Satan, and he assumed rulership of the planet through his activities. His failure to be overcome by Satan is reflected in the concepts involved here.

6. We see that Haman’s indignation naturally advances a pogrom of the Jews.


vv. 3-7 This casting of pur (an Akkadian word for the Lot), has a religious significance. It is not a gambling activity. The casting of lot was in fact a religious exercise and they were casting lot against the people of Mordecai (see also 1Sam. 14:42; Acts 1:26; Herodotus Hist. III, 128). They were casting lots against the Church and it is a process which goes from Abib (Nisan) to Adar, through the entire sacred year. Every month of the sacred year they were under lot; they were under spiritual attack to determine when they could be destroyed. The lot was thus to decide the appropriate date for the pogrom.


v. 8 So this authority, which is set up under the power of God, and all authority proceeds from power of God, is being asked to wipe out the elect. Some comments required about the casting of lots and diverse laws according to the rabbinical commentaries. The Soncino says of “pur” that there was no such word for lot. It (pur) has been traced in Persian, but in Accadian pur is indeed a lot, usually cubes of wood, which the diviner would cast before the enquirer and determine the auspicious time for an undertaking by the signs that came out on top of the cubes (Daath Mikra). Such cubes were found in the ruins of the palace of Suza. Each one was 1 centimetre wide and four and a half high. Even numbers indicated an affirmative reply and the odd ones a negative one (Soncino; Marcus). Now they seem to have gone from day to day and from month to month. Haman seems to have gone through the process of trying to cast for each day for the successive month. So in other words there is a continual process of attack from day to day and from month to month, undertaken in advance. The time-frames thus had been set from the beginning.


Haman rejoiced saying: “my lot has fallen on the month that Moses died”, but he did not know that Moses was also born in the month of Adar, from the Talmud. This concept has significance for the argument they were trying to make regarding the death of Moses. The destruction of Israel relates to the death of Moses because Israel will introduce the Law under Messiah, and Moses was the symbol of the Law as its instrument.


Satan, through the world systems symbolised by the Amalekites, had been trying to destroy Israel from the time of Moses. Moses died in that last period before they went into the Promised Land and Israel mourned 30 days.


So we are talking about the lot of the death of Israel and the Messianic system. The last 30 days is the war of the Amalekites, in order to destroy Israel. The concepts were that the destruction was established by lot, and in the Last Days there is an attempt to destroy Israel from a perversion of the understanding of the allotted time-frames and prophecy. The rabbinical commentaries talk about these comments of Haman; about a certain people scattered abroad as a slander. His hatred of Mordecai became a slander against all Jews so, in other words, the elect were killed for Mordecai's sake. It’s hatred for the Messianic kingdom that causes the activity against the elect. There would be no requirement against the elect if there was no Messiah and if there was not a new kingdom and a replacement. The Talmud says of Haman that no one knew better than he how to slander. There is only one who is the epitome of slander and that is Satan. He is the maker of railing accusations, and these are the concepts that are being addressed. The concept here that their laws are diverse concerns the regulation of the people under the law, which is quite different from the laws that Satan had set up to regulate the planet. We have a concept of a divergence in law and that the accusations are made that these people are under a different law than that which issues from the Law of God. Haman is saying these people won't obey the laws that have been set up and Mordecai has issued, if you like, a set of laws. More correctly, Israel and hence the Jews have been issued a set of Laws by the Angel of the Presence, which proceed from the nature of God and of course they are different from the surrounding world. It is a statement of fact, not an accusation of condemnation.


v. 9 This payment is quite a staggering amount. Ten thousand talents of silver was, according to the Soncino when it was written, three million, six hundred thousand pounds. The OARSV says the bribe was about $18 million. The comments regarding this were that this sum, many times more valuable than it is today, owing to the much greater purchasing power of money, was equal to the annual revenue in silver of the whole Persian Empire according to Herodotus. Perhaps Haman expected to obtain this sum from the plunder of the Jews they expected to exterminate. For which reason he expected to take the spoil of them for a prey. It is also possible he would pay this amount from his own assets, since he was known to be fabulously rich (according to Ralbag). The rabbis have also come up with a numerological equivalent of the money to the equivalent of 165, which is the mathematical construction of the gallows, so that there was an equal weight for the destruction of the people. The rabbinical studies may perhaps become absorbed in mathematics and numerological sequences.


See also:


v. 10 So this ring was his signet ring. The Soncino says: “the possession of which gave Haman full authority to act on the king's behalf”. He did have authority to act on the king's behalf and this is later transferred to Mordecai and the work (see 8:2,8; Gen. 41:42). The signet ring was given to Satan, by God. He was given power over this planet; he was made god (theos or elohim) of this earth.


v. 11 The silver is given back to him. The king gave him back his money. He still authorised the pogrom.


He said you have got them and you have the money, you deal with them as seems good to you. For if he had taken the silver he would have sold the people. The payment was not accepted. It was a judgment and he gave the lot to Haman, to Satan, in order to demonstrate the effect. God judged Satan by the way he dealt with the people. That was why there was no transference of money in this story. God also gave Job’s children to Satan and allowed them to be destroyed over their idolatrous use of birthdays under the early Assyro-Babylonian system (cf. the paper Birthdays (No. 287)). In the story here, the rabbinical commentators say that Ahasuerus disliked the Jews as much as Haman. He allegedly thought along the lines of: you might as well keep the money and do us all a favour. But that is not the spiritual significance of it.


vv. 12-13 So we have the concept of casting lots. They have gone through every day of the sacred year and they have not found a favourable lot. Yet it was set aside by lot that it was at the end of days, the end of the sacred year at the thirteenth day of the month that the destruction would occur. So the whole process has been set aside from the beginning of the world that these people might not affect us until the Last Days and that is the tribulation and the 5th seal (cf. also Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272) and Significance of the Year 2000 (No. 286)).

The couriers carrying the edict would have been the famous postal service established by Cyrus (see also OARSV n.).

vv. 14-15 Shushan was an ancient city which preceded the Medes and Persians (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No.036): The Prophesy of Pharoah’s Broken Arms, Phase 1 - Part 1 & 2). The Soncino says that the statement the king and Haman sat down to drink is the most effective piece of literary contrast. Orders have been issued to destroy tens of thousands of human beings, but the king and his chief visier callously enjoy a banquet (Dera Pashra). The copy was the local published distribution of the edict.



Bullinger’s Notes on Esther Chs. 1-3 (for KJV)


Chapter 1

Verse 1

Now it came to pass in the days of. See important note of Rabbinical commentators on Genesis 14:1 .

Ahasuerus = the venerable king. An appellative, like Pharaoh, Czar, Shah, &c. See notes on p. 618 and App-57 and App-68 .

this. Implying that others were so called, from whom lie is to be distinguished. This Ahasuerus was Astyages (Greek), Arsames (Persian). See App-67 and App-58 . "This Ahasuerus" emphasizes the one who was specially renowned. Figure of speech Parenthesis.

from India even unto Ethiopia: i.e. the two extreme boundaries of the known world.

an hundred and seven and twenty provinces. Daniel 6:1 says 120 princes. The number continually altered to suit the requirements of government. Only in Daniel 6:1 do we find 120. Plato says that "when Darius (i.e. 'the Maintainer' = Astyages) came to the throne, being one of the seven, he divided the country into seven portions" ( De Legibus iii). These are the seven named in verses: Esther 1:13-14 . When Babylon afterward fell into his hands, he divided his newly acquired kingdom into 120 parts (Daniel 9:1 . Compare Esther 6:1 ). Why should he not have added these to the seven he already possessed, and thus have made the 127 of Esther 1:1 ; Esther 9:30 ? In the later days of Darius (Hystaspis) these had reduced to twenty-three, as stated and named on the Behistun inscription.


Verse 2

in those days: i.e. the days when these events took place. At other times he dwelt at Ecbatana, or elsewhere. Esther 1:1 mentions the ruler; Esther 1:2 , the place; Esther 1:1 , the time.

sat = took his seat, or came to.

Shushan. Now, the ruins of Susa, on the river Shapur, east of Persian Gulf.

palace = castle, or fortress. Compare Nehemiah 1:1 .


Verse 3

the third year: i.e. in 471; six years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Astyages now seventeen or

commandment. Hebrew. dabar = word, precept. Occurs Esther 1:19 ; Esther 2:8 ; Esther 3:15 ; Esther 8:14 , Esther 8:17 . See note on Esther 1:10 .

eighteen years. See App-50 . In this year Xerxes (who is supposed to be this king), according to Herod. vii. 8, and Diod. Sic. xi. 2, was preparing his expedition against Greece; whereas this chapter presupposes a season of peace and quiet.

a feast. For its own sake. No reason is given.

power. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Effect), App-6 , for those who exercised it: viz. the people of power.

Persia and Media. In this book this is always the order, except Esther 10:2 . In Daniel it is the reverse.


Verse 4

an hundred and fourscore days. This was to allow all peoples to be feasted in turn. Not all at the same time; or one feast of that duration.


Verse 5

palace = house, or, large house.


Verse 6

beds = couches.


Verse 7

the vessels. Note the frequent Parentheses ( App-6 ) in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:7 , Esther 1:13 , Esther 1:14 , Esther 1:20 .

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27 .


Verse 8

law. Heb, dath = royal decree, or special mandate, as in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:13 , Esther 1:15 , Esther 1:19 ; Esther 3:8 ; Esther 4:11 , Esther 4:16 .


Verse 9

Vashti. The daughter of Alyattes (king of Lydia), married by Cyaxares to his son Astyages after the battle of Halys. See App-57 .


Verse 10

commanded. Hebrew. 'amar. So rendered in verses: Esther 1:1 , Esther 1:15 , Esther 1:17 ; Esther 2:20 ; Esther 4:13 ; Esther 6:1 ; Esther 9:14 , Esther 9:25 . Note the different words rendered "command" and "decree" in this book.

seven chamberlains = seven eunuchs. This shows the minuteness of the writer's knowledge.


Verse 11

people = peoples.


Verse 12

refused. Probably because sent for by servants; not by the nobles (Esther 1:3 ), and before the "peoples" (Esther 1:5 ).


Verse 13

for. See note on the parentheses, Esther 1:7 .


Verse 18

ladies = princesses.


Verse 19

not altered. Compare Daniel 6:8 .


Verse 20

decree prescript. Only here and Ecclesiastes 8:11 .

it is great: i.e. the decree is important.

ALL THE WIVES SHALL GIVE. This is the first of the five Acrostics ( App-6 ), exhibiting in the initials the Divine name. See App-60 .


Chapter 2

Verse 1

After these things: i.e. in 467. Astyages was now twenty-one. In the seventh year (Esther 2:16 ); one of these spent in preparations (Esther 2:12 ).

Ahasuerus. See note on Esther 1:1 .

Vashti. See note on Esther 1:9 .


Verse 2

virgins. Hebrew. bethulah. See note on Genesis 24:43 .


Verse 3

custody = hand.

chamberlain = eunuch.


Verse 4

maiden = a young person. Hebrew. na'ar.


Verse 5

a certain Jew = a man (Hebrew. 'ish . App-14 .), a Jew. The contrast between Judah and Israel was lost in a strange land; and, as Nebuchadnezzar's campaign was against Judah, so "Jew" became the name used by Gentiles.

Mordecai. Daniel and Ezekiel taken to Babylon (2 Kings 24:14 , 2 Kings 24:15 ); Nehemiah and Mordecai to Shushan; and Mordecai dwelt in the royal palace, as did Daniel and others (Daniel 1:4 . 2 Kings 20:16-18 ).

a Benjamite. Thus Mordecai, a Benjamite, ends Jehovah's war against Amalek, Exodus 17:16 . Compare Esther 3:1 with Esther 7:10 ; Esther 9:10 . A work entrusted to Saul (a Benjarnite). 1 Samuel 15:2-33 .


Verse 6

Jeconiah = Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6 ).

carried away. Compare 2 Kings 24:14 , 2 Kings 24:15 . Jer 52:24-34:133 years before the generally received date (i.e. 598-465 = 133), which, therefore, cannot be correct. From the carrying away of Jeconiah to the marriage of Esther to Astyages in his seventh year was only twenty-two years (489-467). See App-50 .


Verse 7

Hadassah = myrtle. Not living with Mordecai (who was in the palace, Esther 2:5 ), but brought up by him.

Esther = star. But Rabbi Yehudah derives it from sathar, to hide, because she was hidden in her guardian's house; and her nationality also was concealed (Esther 2:10 ).


Verse 8

commandment = word. Hebrew. dabar. See note on Esther 1:12 .

decree = Imperial decree. Hebrew. dath , as in Esther 3:15 ; Esther 4:3 , Esther 4:8 ; Esther 8:14 , Esther 8:17 ; Esther 9:1 , Esther 9:13 , Esther 9:14 .


Verse 9

obtained = won.

preferred = promoted. Probably influenced by Mor-deoai.


Verse 10

not shewed. Not till Esther 7:3-5 . This was Mordecai's wisdom. Compare Esther 2:20 .


Verse 11

to know. This was Mordecai's solicitude. All this proves that these events must have taken place before the emancipation made by Cyras (the son of this Astyages, App-57 ), recorded in Ezr . No such secrecy would have been necessary, and no thought of allowing the People, whom he had just emancipated, to be exterminated, as is described in the book of Esther: But Cyrus, being her son, would be carefully prepared by her and Mordecai to begin his reign by such emancipation from Babylon (note, not from Shushan: compare Esther 1:1 with Jeremiah 25:11 , Jeremiah 25:12 ), thus fulfilling Isaiah 44:28 with Isaiah 45:1-4 .


Verse 12

for. Another Parenthesis . App-6 . See note on Esther 1:7 .


Verse 16

Tebeth. See App-51 .

seventh year. The first feast was in the third year. The search probably took one year; the preparation another; oblations another. Other seasons are unnamed.


Verse 18

release = a holiday. Hebrew. hanahah.


Verse 19

when, &c. = while they were collecting, &c.

sat in the king's gate. Mordecai was of the king's household. See Esther 2:5 . This guarded Esther's interests, and enabled him to obtain all information. (N. B. Haman lived in his own house with his family in the city.)


Verse 20

as = according as.

for, &c. Thus revealing a new characteristic of Esther. This secrecy was hardly needed if the emancipation of Ezra 1:1 had already taken place.

commandment. Hebrew. 'amar , as in Esther 1:10 .


Verse 21

gate. Hebrew. sha'ar = the lofty gate of a palace, not the same word as "door", Esther 2:21 ; Esther 6:2 .

door = threshold. Hebrew. saph.


Verse 22

was known. Mordecai sat in the king's gate: the very place to hear all news.


Verse 23

written. See note on Esther 6:1 .


Chapter 3

Verse 1

After these things. Hainan was not made Grand Vizier till five years later. See Esther 3:7 .

Ahasuerus. See note on Esther 1:1 .

Agagite. A descendant of Amalekite kings (Numbers 24:7 . 1 Samuel 15:8 , 1 Samuel 15:32 ). Called an Amalekite by Josephus ( Antiquities xi. 6, 5).


Verse 2

gate = lofty porch. Hebrew. sha'ar. See note on Esther 2:21 .

bowed. Hebrew. kara', Kara' , used of idols (1 Kings 19:18 . 2 Chronicles 29:29 ). Shahah is the word used of bowing to kings and others.

commanded = appointed or charged. Hebrew. zavah.

Mordecai. See note on Esther 2:5 .

bowed not. He could not bow to an Amalekite, against whom Jehovah had declared perpetual war. See note on Exodus 17:16 .


Verse 6

Haman sought. Another assault of Satan against the nation through whom the Seed of the woman was to come. See App-23 .


Verse 7

they cast. From 1st Nisan 462 Timothy 1:0 3th Adar 462.

Pur. Persian for "lot". The reference is to "the monthly prognosticates" of Isaiah 47:13 . This was to fix on a fortunate time. Compare Esther 9:24 .


Verse 8

Haman said. Having got the month and the day (the thirteenth, see Esther 3:13 , compare App-10 ), he could go to the king,

There is a certain People. Would it have been necessary for Haman thus to have explained and described the Jews, if they had already received their emancipation? Impossible! We are asked to believe this according to the traditional teaching. But see note on Esther 10:3 , and App-67 and App-58 .

scattered abroad, &c. Compare 2 Chronicles 36:23 .Ezra 1:1-4 . There is no reference to any emancipation here.

laws. See note on Esther 1:8 .


Verse 10

the Jews' enemy. Haman so called four times: Esther 3:10 ; Esther 8:1 ; Esther 9:10 , Esther 9:24 . No one else so called in Scripture.


Verse 11

the People also. This was the aim of the great enemy, who was using Haman as he had tried to use Pharaoh in Egypt. See App-23 .


Verse 12

the thirteenth day. Ominous number. See App-10 . Note the three thirteens: Esther 3:12 , Esther 3:13 ; Esther 8:12 .


Verse 13

posts = the hand of the runners. Compare Esther 8:10 .

destroy . . . kill . . . cause to perish. Note the Figure of speech Synonymia , to emphasize the utter destruction contemplated.

perish. Hebrew. 'abad. Here and Esther 4:16 ; Esther 7:4 ; Esther 8:11 , not Esther 9:28 .

take the spoil. See note on Esther 9:10 .


Verse 14

commandment = Imperial decree. Hebrew. dath. See note on Esther 2:8 .

people = peoples.


Verse 15

commandment = word. Hebrew. dabar. See note on Esther 1:12 .

decree. Hebrew. dath. See notes on Esther 1:8 ; Esther 2:8 .

sat down to drink. So Joseph's brethren (Genesis 37:25 ), and Herod (Matthew 14:6 . Mark 6:21 ). So will it be (Revelation 11:7-10 ).

the city. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6 , for the inhabitants.

perplexed. A rare word. Exodus 14:3 , "entangled". Joel 1:18 . This verse speaks of the effect on the Persians. Esther 4:0 speaks of the effect on the Jews. Contrast Esther 8:15 .