Old Testament Commentary - Esther 9

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
                CHAPTER 9                  

The Jews slay their enemies, including Hamah's ten sons—Feast of Purim instituted to commenorate their deliverance and victory.

  1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's acommandment 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 agathered 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 bfear 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.
 1a Esth. 3:13 (12-13)
 2a Esth. 8:11
   b Esth. 8:17

  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 apetition? 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.
 12a Esth. 7:2
  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 aday, and of sending bportions one to another.
 19a Esth. 8:17
     b Neh. 8:10 (10, 12)

  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 adevised 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.
 24a Esth. 3:9 (6-10)

  26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pura. 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.
 26a they called these days Purim after the name of Pur The Pursian word for 'lot', as in the 'casting of lots', is Pur. It was Haman's method of determing the day and month on which his decree would set the slaughter or extinction of the Jews in the Persian Empire. Whether my a matter of convienence or superstition related to Haman's beliefs, it was his method of choice in so determining the day. However in the minds of the Hebrews, the casting of lots or 'Pur', it that method by which the Lord God might be allowed to set in order according to his design the events of hapenstance.
In the Hebrew history there are a number of instances in which lots were cast to make a decission. Though thought by some to be but putting a thing to a vote, the next apostle of the Lord was chosen by the casting of lots between two worthy brethern in the book of Acts. Nephi and his brothers did cast lots to determin which brother would be sent to speak to Laban concerning the plates of brass. In both these instances it was the faith of those envolved that the will of the Lord in the matter would be set by the casting of lots. And so also in the underlying basic understanding it was the Lord's hand which was underlying the evens of Purim, even though many merely concern themselves with the king, Esther and Mordecai, it is a matter of deeper faith and understanding the it is God's hand that is being worshipped in these matters of Hebrew historical process.
  29 Then Esther the queen, the adaughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second bletter of Purim.
  30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven aprovinces 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 afastings and their cry.
  32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
 29a Esth. 2:15
     b Esth. 8:10 (8-12)
 30a Esth. 1:1
 31a Esth. 4:3 (3, 16)