Was next unto king Ahasuerus - He was his prime minister; and, under him, was the governor of the whole empire.
The Targum is extravagant in its encomiums upon Mordecai: "All the kings of the earth feared and trembled before him: he was as resplendent as the evening star among the stars; and was as bright as Aurora beaming forth in the morning; and he was chief of the kings."
Seeking the wealth of his people - Studying to promote the Jewish interest to the utmost of his power.
Speaking peace to all his seed - Endeavoring to settle their prosperity upon such a basis, that it might be for ever permanent. Here the Hebrew text ends; but in the ancient Vulgate, and in the Greek, ten verses are added to this chapter, and six whole chapters besides, so that the number of chapters in Esther amounts to sixteen. A translation of these may be found in the Apocrypha, bound up with the sacred text, in most of our larger English Bibles. On any part of this work it is not my province to add any comment.
This is the last of the historical books of the Old Testament, for from this time to the birth of Christ they had no inspired writers; and the interval of their history must be sought among the apocryphal writers and other historians who have written on Jewish affairs. The most complete supplement to this history will be found in that most excellent work of Dean Prideaux, entitled The Old and New Testaments connected, in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations, from the Declension of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the time of Christ, 4 vols. 8vo. 1725. The editions prior to this date are not so complete.
We have already seen what the Feast of Purim means, and why it was instituted; if the reader is desirous of farther information on this subject, he may find it in the works of Buxtorf, Leusden, Stehlin, and Calmet's Dictionary, article Pur.
The events that followed in rapid succession,—the appearance of Esther before the king, the marked favor shown her, the banquets of the king and queen with Haman as the only guest, the troubled sleep of the king, the public honor shown Mordecai, and the humiliation and fall of Haman upon the discovery of his wicked plot,—all these are parts of a familiar story. God wrought marvelously for His penitent people; and a counter decree issued by the king, allowing them to fight for their lives, was rapidly communicated to every part of the realm by mounted couriers, who were “hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment.” “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” Esther 8:14, 17. PK 602.1
On the day appointed for their destruction, “the Jews gathered 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 fear of them fell upon all people.” Angels that excel in strength had been commissioned by God to protect His people while they “stood for their lives.” Esther 9:2, 16. PK 602.2
Mordecai was given the position of honor formerly occupied by Haman. He “was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren” (Esther 10:3); and he sought to promote the welfare of Israel. Thus did God bring His chosen people once more into favor at the Medo-Persian court, making possible the carrying out of His purpose to restore them to their own land. But it was not until several years later, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes I, the successor of Xerxes the Great, that any considerable number returned to Jerusalem, under Ezra. PK 602.3Read in context »