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

Esther 9:13. Let it be granted to the Jews to do to-morrow also according to this day’s decree — To kill their implacable enemies. For it is probable that the greatest and worst of them had hidden themselves for that day; after which, the commission granted to the Jews being expired, they confidently returned to their houses, where they were taken and slain, by virtue of this private and unexpected order. And let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows — They were slain before; now let their bodies be hanged on their father’s gallows, for their greater infamy, and the terror of all others who shall presume to abuse the king in like manner, or to persuade him to execute such cruelties upon his subjects. “It is not unlikely,” says Dr. Dodd, “that many might be enraged at Haman’s death, and his sons, in particular, might set themselves at the head of those who were bold enough to attempt the destruction of the Jews at Shushan, being resolved to revenge their father’s death, though in so doing they were sure to meet with their own. This seems to suggest one reason why Esther was so solicitous to have their dead bodies hung on the gallows, because they had shown more malice and indignation against the Jews, and, on the day when the cruel edict came to take place, had made more desperate attacks upon them, than any others; though the reason of state, in this severity, might be to expose the family to greater infamy, and to deter other counsellors at any time from abusing the king with false representations. For though the Jews suffered none to hang on the tree, as they called the gallows, longer than till the evening of the day whereon they were executed, yet other nations let them hang till they were consumed, (as appears from the story of the Gibeonites, 2 Samuel 21:9,) or devoured by crows, vultures, or other ravenous creatures.” See Patrick.

9:1-19 The enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them by the former edict. If they had attempted nothing against the people of God, they would not themselves have suffered. The Jews, acting together, strengthened one another. Let us learn to stand fast in one spirit, and with one mind, striving together against the enemies of our souls, who endeavour to rob us of our faith, which is more precious than our lives. The Jews, to the honour of their religion, showed contempt of wordly wealth, that they might make it appear they desired nothing except their own preservation. In every case the people of God should manifest humanity and disinterestedness, frequently refusing advantages which might lawfully be obtained. The Jews celebrated their festival the day after they had finished their work. When we have received great mercies from God, we ought to be speedy in making thankful returns to him.On the spoil laid they not their hand - As they might have done (see the margin reference). 13. let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to-morrow also according unto this day's decree—Their enemies adroitly concealing themselves for the first day might have returned on the next, when they imagined that the privilege of the Jews was expired; so that that people would have been surprised and slain. The extension of the decree to another day at the queen's special desire has exposed her to the charge of being actuated by a cruel and vindictive disposition. But her conduct in making this request is capable of full vindication, on the ground (1) that Haman's sons having taken a prominent part in avenging their father's fall, and having been previously slain in the melee, the order for the exposure of their dead bodies on the gallows was only intended to brand them with public infamy for their malice and hatred to the Jews; and (2) the anti-Jewish party having, in all probability, been instigated through the arts or influence of Haman to acts of spiteful and wanton oppression, the existing state of feeling among the natives required some vigorous and decisive measure to prevent the outbreak of future aggressions. The very circumstances of their slaying 800 eight hundred Jews in the immediate vicinity of the court (v. 6, 15) is a proof of the daring energy and deep-rooted malice by which multidues were actuated against the Jews. To order an extension, therefore, of the permissive edict to the Jews to defend themselves, was perhaps no more than affording an opportunity for their enemies to be publicly known. Though it led to so awful a slaughter of seventy-five thousand of their enemies, there is reason to believe that these were chiefly Amalekites, in the fall of whom on this occasion, the prophecies (Ex 17:14, 16; De 25:19) against that doomed race were accomplished. According to this day’s decree, i.e. to kill their implacable enemies. For it is not improbable that the greatest and worst of them had politicly withdrawn or hidden themselves for that day; after which, the commission granted to the Jews being expired, they confidently returned to their homes, where they were taken and slain by virtue of this private and unexpected decree.

Haman’s sons were slain before; now let their bodies be hanged upon their father’s gallows, for their greater infamy, and the terror of all others who shall presume to abuse the king in like manner, or to persuade him to execute such cruelties upon his own subjects. This custom of hanging up the bodies of malefactors after their death was frequent among the Jews, and Persians also, as is well known.

Then said Esther, if it please the king,.... For she was all submission to his will:

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

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

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

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

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 {f} unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.

(f) This she requires not out of a desire for vengeance but with zeal to see God's judgment's executed against his enemies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. There may have been special reasons why the extension of time was needed in Susa in order to ensure the Jews’ complete success in exterminating their foes there. The attitude of Esther and Mordecai towards the whole question of the permissibility of revenge was naturally that of their contemporaries, and so it is not to be judged by us on Christian principles.

be hanged upon the gallows] She asks that the bodies may be impaled or hung on a gibbet, so as to crown their disgrace, and serve as a terrible example.

Verse 13. - Esther's request for a second day of slaughter has a bloodthirsty appearance; but, without a more complete knowledge of the facts than we possess, we cannot say that it was unjustifiable. It would seem that the Jews in Susa gathered themselves in the upper town on the appointed day, and were engaged there the whole day with their enemies. Esther asks that they may be allowed a second day - either in the upper or the lower town, it is not clear which to complete their work, and free themselves from all danger of further persecution from their foes. She is not likely to have made this request unless prompted to make it by Mordecai, who must have had means of knowing how matters really stood, and, as the chief minister over the whole nation, is likely to have been actuated rather by general views of policy than by a blind spirit of revenge. Still it must be granted that there is something essentially Jewish in Esther's request, and indeed in the tone of the entire book which bears her name Esther 9:13Esther requested: "let it be granted to the Jews which are in Susa to do to-morrow also according to the decree of to-day (i.e., exactly as to-day), and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged upon the tree," i.e., their dead bodies nailed on crosses - majoris infamiae causa, according to Hebrew and Persian custom; comp. Deuteronomy 21:22 and the explanation of Ezra 6:11. On the motive for this request, see above, p. 194.
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