Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ESTHER - Introduction

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This Book takes its name from queen Esther; whose history is here recorded. The general opinion of almost all commentators on the Holy Scripture, make Mardochai the writer of it: which also may be collected below from chap. ix. 20. (Challoner) --- He and the queen were certainly authors of the letter, (Haydock) enjoining the celebration of the feast of Purim, or "lots," which is the ground-work (Calmet) of the present narration. (Du Hamel) --- The compiler has also had recourse to the archives of the kingdom of Persia: so that his work has all the authority that can be required of a profane historian; and being moreover inspired in all its parts, we cannot refuse to receive it with the utmost respect. Those additions which are not now in Hebrew, (Calmet) though they were perhaps formerly, (Worthington; Origen; Du Hamel) have been carefully preserved by St. Jerome, and were recognized by the ancient Vulgate, as they are at present by the Greek, without any distinction. Lysimachus, the Greek translator, was probably the author of them, chap. xi. 1. (Calmet) --- The objections of Capellus against this "Greek scribbler," as he is pleased to style him, despising the judgment of both Jews and Christians, are in general very unaccountably borrowed (Haydock) from the Latin version, and are easily refuted. (Houbigant) --- Those Jews, who have rejected this work entirely, with Melito, (Eusebius, Hist. iv. 26.; St. Gregory of Nazianzus, &c.) ought not to prevail against the consent of the majority, (Calmet) expressed in the Councils of Laodicea, Carthage, Trent, session 4, &c. To read this book according to the order of time, we should begin [with] chap. xi., ver. 2, &c., chap. i., ii., and xii., and iii., to ver. 14; then we find the distress of the Jews in the rest of that chapter, and in chap. xiii., to ver. 8, and their delivery in chap. iv. to ix., ver. 17, and chap. xiii. ver. 8, &c., and chap. xiv., xv., and xvi. The consequences of these events are recorded [in] chap. ix., ver. 17, &c., to chap. xi. 1., (Worthington) with which verse the book ends, in the Greek editions. (Haydock) --- They vary considerably, as did the copies of the ancient Vulgate, which called forth the complaints of St. Jerome, Preface. But the Church has distinguished what was spurious from the genuine word of God; so that the doubts of Lyran, Sixtus, (Bib. viii.) &c., respecting the fragments at the end of the book being not canonical, ought no longer to be indulged; much less can the boldness of many Lutherans, (Calmet) and particularly of Le Clerc, (Houbigant) be tolerated, who represent the whole work as a mere fiction. The Jews have a greater respect for it than for any of the prophets; whose works, they say, will perish at the coming of the Messias: whereas this will subsist with the books of Moses, and the feast of Purim will never be abolished, chap. ix. 28. (Maimonides) --- Ben. Gorion (ii. 2.) admits the additions. But Josephus is silent about them, as he probably did not find them in his copy. (Calmet) --- He recites, however, both the epistles of Assuerus. (Antiquities xi. 6.) (Du Hamel) --- It is not agreed whether these events happened before or after the captivity. But it is now most commonly supposed, that Esther was married to Darius Hystaspes, the year of the world 3489, about the time of the dedication of the temple, chap. xiv. 9. He had been on the throne six years, and reigned other thirty. See Herodotus vii. 4. (Calmet) --- Josephus thinks that Esther was the queen of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was a great friend of the Jews. (Du Hamel) --- The Thalmud attributes this work to the great Synagogue, consisting of Esdras, Mardochai, Joachim, &c., and, as various persons might write the same history, the Greek, with the additions, seems to be taken from one copy, and the Hebrew from another rather more concise, (Huet; Du Hamel) but equally inspired. (Haydock)