Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ESTHER - Chapter 2

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Esther ii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Suffered. He began to repent. The Persians used to deliberate when warm with wine: but their decrees were not ratified till they had examined them again the next day. (Herodotus i. 133.) --- This was not the case here; the king divorced his wife without any delay. (Calmet) --- Septuagint intimate that he presently lost thoughts of her. "He no longer remembered Vasthi with any affection, reflecting what she had said, and how he had condemned her." (Haydock) --- But the Alexandrian copy agrees with the Hebrew. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Beautiful. Thus Abisag was brought to David, 3 Kings i. 2. The Turkish emperors select women from all their dominions, without distinction of noble or ignoble; as all are their slaves.

Ver. 3. House. Distinct from the palace, ver. 14. --- Women's. Hebrew, "things for rubbing, (Calmet) or purification;" (Haydock) such as perfumes, but not clothes.

Ver. 4. Commanded. Hebrew, "did so."

Ver. 5. Jew. He was of the tribe of Benjamin. But all went by this name, after the captivity. Mardochai had probably returned from Jerusalem, seeing things were unfinished there, 1 Esdras ii. 2. (Calmet) --- Semei, who cursed David. (Chaldean) --- Cis. The head of the royal family of Saul; whence authors have concluded that he and Esther were of royal blood, (Calmet) and descendants of Miphiboseth. (Tirinus)

Ver. 6. Who. This may refer to Cis, the great-grandfather of Mardochai, if we postpone this history till the latter end of the Persian monarchy. (Du Hamel) --- But it more naturally applies to Mardochai himself, who (chap. xi. 4.; Tirinus) was led captive 80 years before, being then perhaps 10 years old, so that he would now be only 90; an age when many are fit for great things. (Calmet) (Cicero, de Senect.) --- He might even have been an infant when taken, and of course would not be much above 80 when he came into such favour. (Haydock)

Ver. 7. Brothers. Josephus, ([Antiquities?] xi. 6.) the old Latin version of the Syriac, Abenezra, &c., suppose that Mardochai was uncle to Esther. But the Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, and Chaldean assert that he was only her cousin. Septuagint, "daughter of Aminadab, (or rather Abihail, ver. 15.) his father's brother, and her name was Esther; and after her parents were dead, he educated her for a wife;" eis gunaika, as some Rabbins also maintain, believing she was an heiress. Yet other Greek copies, Hebrew, &c., read, "he educated her as a daughter, thugatera: for the damsel was very beautiful." He had probably adopted her. (Calmet) --- Edissa. Hebrew hadassa, (Haydock) or Hadassah, signified "of myrtle." (Menochius) --- Esther, "a sheep." (Calmet)

Ver. 9. And he, Egeus, commanded the under eunuch. (Tirinus) --- Hebrew, "he quickly gave her her things for purifications, (ver. 3.) and her portions, with seven maids, suitable for her, out of the king's house; and he charged her and her maids to dwell in the best of the women's house," (Haydock) where things were the most commodious. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. Would. Hebrew, "had not declared." He was not influenced to treat her thus on account of her royal extraction. (Haydock) --- In effect, the Jews were despised. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Court. He was one of the life-guards, chap. xi. 3. (Tirinus) --- This situation enabled him to disclose a conspiracy, (ver. 23., and chap. xii. 5.) as he often went to enquire after the health of Esther. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Turn. This was rigidly observed, in that country, where polygamy prevailed, Genesis xxx. 16. (Herodotus iii. 69.) --- The wives were "shut up in separate apartments," (Just. i. 9.) in the remotest parts of the palace. (Calmet) --- Twelfth. A full year elapsed before they could be admitted. --- A sweet. Protestants, "other things for the purifying of the women." (Haydock) --- It would be difficult to form an adequate idea of the luxury of the Persians, if the Scripture had not informed us. The kings were not satisfied with one wife. Assuerus had 400; (Josephus) and Darius Codomannus carried 360 with him, in his expeditions. (Curtius iii.) --- Parmenio took an incredible number of his concubines, at Damascus. (Athen. xiii. 9.) --- They were not all treated alike, but all were very sumptuously adorned. Cities were allotted to furnish one with sandals, another with girdles, &c. (Cicero in Verrem. v.) (Calmet)

Ver. 15. Abihail. Septuagint, "Aminadab, brother of Mardochai's father." (Haydock) (Ver. 7.)

Ver. 16. Tenth. Septuagint and old Vulgate, "twelfth month, which is Adar." Tebeth corresponds with December and January. (Calmet) --- Notwithstanding all exertions, Esther had been near four years in preparing; (Tirinus; chap. i. 3.; Calmet) unless some years had elapsed before she was brought, ver. 12. (Haydock) --- She was guilty of no sin in becoming an inferior wife of the king. (Menochius) (Tirinus)

Ver. 17. Crown. Literally, "diadem," (Haydock) which was a bandage "of purple, striped with white," by which the queen was distinguished from the other wives. (Calmet) --- The king wore "a four-square cidaris," with a similar ornament. (Alex. Genial. i. 27.) --- Only one queen was chosen from all the wives, and she was "adored" by the rest. (Dion. Athen. iii. l.) --- Though God had forbidden marriages with infidels, (Calmet) at least with those of Chanaan, (Haydock) a dispensation might be granted, (Exodus xxxiv.; Tirinus; 2 Kings iii.; Worthington) for a greater good. Esther was not puffed up with her exaltation, and refrained from all forbidden meats, chap. xiv. 15. (Calmet) --- If she be the Artystona of Herotous, (vii. 69.; Haydock) as it is most probable, (Tirinus) her two sons, Arsames and Gobryas, had a command in the famous expedition of Xerxes. (Usher, the year of the world 3524.) (Calmet)

Ver. 18. Servants. Septuagint add, "seven days, and he magnified the nuptials of Esther." (Haydock) --- Rest, from labour. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "remission to all his subjects," of tribute, as was sometimes done. (Herodotus iii. 66.) (Tirinus) (Calmet) --- Gifts, on Esther. (Chaldean) (Malvenda)

Ver. 19. And. Septuagint, "But Mardochai," &c. (Haydock) --- They say nothing of the gifts, ver. 18. --- Second. The same process had been observed before, when Vasthi was chosen. (Calmet) --- Mardochai was perhaps then one of the king's guards. (Haydock) (Ver. 11.) (Tirinus) --- This second inquiry is here specified, to introduce the following account. (Menochius)

Ver. 20. Commandment. No one interrogated her, as she had been educated at Susa, and was taken for a Persian lady, ver. 10. (Menochius)

Ver. 21. Bagathan, or Bagatha and Thara, chap. xii. 1. One of the chief counsellors was called Bagatha. (Haydock) --- But these two were porters, (Calmet) or guards, of the king, (Septuagint; Grotius) or of the treasury. (Vatable) --- Some Greek copies and the Chaldean insinuate that they were displeased at the advancement of Mardochai. The latter supposes that they meant also to poison Esther. (Calmet) --- It appears that they wished to make Aman king, (Menochius) and the detection was always resented by him, chap. xii. 6. (Calmet)

Ver. 22. Notice of it, from Barnabaz, a Jew in the service of one of them. (Josephus [Antiquities?] xi. 6.) --- He might also hear some suspicious words. (R. Calom.) (Worthington)

Ver. 23. King. Such histories were preserved with great care, 1 Esdras vi. 1. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "the king ordered a memorial of it to be kept in the royal library, for the praise of Mardochai's good will." (Haydock) --- The latter also wrote an account, chap. xii. 4.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Esther is advanced to be queen. Mardochai detecteth a plot against the king.

1 After this, when the wrath of king Assuerus was appeased, he remembered Vasthi, and what she had done, and what she had suffered:

2 And the king's servants, and his officers said: Let young women be sought for the king, virgins, and beautiful.

3 And let some persons be sent through all the provinces to look for beautiful maidens and virgins: and let them bring them to the city of Susan, and put them into the house of the women, under the hand of Egeus, the eunuch, who is the overseer and keeper of the king's women, and let them receive women's ornaments, and other things necessary for their use.

4 And whosoever among them all shall please the king's eyes, let her be queen instead of Vasthi. The word pleased the king: and he commanded it should be done as they had suggested.

5 There was a man in the city of Susan, a Jew, named Mardochai, *the son of Jair, the son of Semei, the son of Cis, of the race of Jemini,

6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem at the time that Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, carried away *Jechonias, king of Juda,**

7 And he had brought up his brother's daughter Edissa, who, by another name, was called Esther: now she had lost both her parents: and was exceedingly fair and beautiful. And her father and mother being dead, Mardochai adopted her for his daughter.

8 And when the king's ordinance was noised abroad, and according to his commandment, many beautiful virgins were brought to Susan, and were delivered to Egeus, the eunuch: Esther, also, among the rest of the maidens, was delivered to him to be kept in the number of the women.

9 And she pleased him, and found favour in his sight. And he commanded the eunuch to hasten the women's ornaments, and to deliver to her her part, and seven of the most beautiful maidens of the king's house, and to adorn and deck out both her and her waiting-maids.

10 And she would not tell him her people nor her country. For Mardochai had charged her to say nothing at all of that:

11 And he walked every day before the court of the house, in which the chosen virgins were kept, having a care for Esther's welfare, and desiring to know what would befall her.

12 Now when every virgin's turn came to go in to the king, after all had been done for setting them off to advantage, it was the twelfth month: so that for six months they were anointed with oil of myrrh, and for other six months they used certain perfumes and sweet spices.

13 And when they were going in to the king, whatsoever they asked to adorn themselves they received: and being decked out, as it pleased them, they passed from the chamber of the women to the king's chamber.

14 And she that went in at evening, came out in the morning, and from thence she was conducted to the second house, that was under the hand of Susagaz, the eunuch, who had the charge over the king's concubines: neither could she return any more to the king, unless the king desired it, and had ordered her, by name, to come.

15 And as the time came orderly about, the day was at hand, when Esther, the daughter of Abihail, the brother of Mardochai, whom he had adopted for his daughter, was to go in to the king. But she sought not women's ornaments, but whatsoever Egeus, the eunuch, the keeper of the virgins, had a mind, he gave her to adorn her. For she was exceedingly fair, and her incredible beauty made her appear agreeable, and amiable, in the eyes of all.

16 So she was brought to the chamber of king Assuerus the tenth month, which is called Tebeth, in the seventh year *of his reign.

17 And the king loved her more than all the women, and she had favour and kindness before him above all the women, and he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vasthi.

18 And he commanded a magnificent feast to be prepared for all the princes, and for his servants, for the marriage and wedding of Esther. And he gave rest to all the provinces, and bestowed gifts according to princely magnificence.

19 And when the virgins were sought the second time, and gathered together, Mardochai stayed at the king's gate,

20 Neither had Esther as yet declared her country and people, according to his commandment. For whatsoever he commanded, Esther observed: and she did all things in the same manner as she was wont at that time, when he brought her up a little one.

21 At that time, therefore, when Mardochai abode at the king's gate, Bagathan and Thares, two of the king's eunuchs, who were porters, and presided in the first entry of the palace, were angry: and they designed to rise up against the king, and to kill him.

22 And Mardochai had notice of it, and immediately he told it to queen Esther: and she to the king in Mardochai's name, who had reported the thing unto her.

23 It was inquired into, and found out: and they were both hanged on a gibbet. And it was put in the histories, and recorded in the chronicles before the king.



5: Esther xi. 2.

6: 4 Kings xxiv. 15.; Esther xi. 4. --- ** Year of the World 3485.

16: Year of the World 3490, Year before Christ 514.