The posts - Literally, the couriers, the hircarrahs, those who carried the public despatches; a species of public functionaries, who have been in use in all nations of the world from the remotest antiquity.
The decree was given at Shushan - It was dated from the royal Susa, where the king then was.
The city Shushan was perplexed - They saw that in a short time, by this wicked measure the whole city would be thrown into confusion; for, although the Jews were the only objects of this decree, yet, as it armed the populace against them, even the Persians could not hope to escape without being spoiled, when a desperate mob had begun to taste of human blood, and enrich themselves with the property of the murdered. Besides, many Persian families had, no doubt, become united by intermarriages with Jewish families, and in such a massacre they would necessarily share the same fate with the Jews. A more impolitic, disgraceful, and cruel measure was never formed by any government; and one would suppose that the king who ordered it must have been an idiot, and the counsellors who advised it must have been madmen. But a despotic government is ever capable of extravagance and cruelty; for as it is the bane of popular freedom and happiness, so is it the disgrace of political wisdom and of all civil institutions. Despotism and tyranny in the state are the most direct curses which insulted justice can well inflict upon a sinful nation.
Shushan was perplexed - Susa was now the capital of Persia, and the main residence of the Persians of high rank. These, being attached to the religion of Zoroaster, would naturally sympathize with the Jews, and be disturbed at their threatened destruction. Even apart from this bond of union, the decree was sufficiently strange and ominous to “perplex” thoughtful citizens.