|<< Esther 7 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The king at the banquet urges Esther to prefer her petition, with the positive assurance that it shall be granted, Esther 7:1, Esther 7:2. She petitions for her own life, and the life of her people, who were sold to be destroyed, Esther 7:3, Esther 7:4. The king inquires the author of this project, and Haman is accused by the queen, Esther 7:5, Esther 7:6. The king is enraged: Haman supplicates for his life; but the king orders him to be hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, Esther 7:7-10.
1So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.
2And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.
At the banquet of wine - Postquam vino incaluerat, after he had been heated with wine, says the Vulgate. In such a state the king was more likely to come into the measures of the queen.
3Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
Let my life be given me - This was very artfully, as well as very honestly, managed; and was highly calculated to work on the feelings of the king. What! is the life of the queen, whom I most tenderly love, in any kind of danger?
4For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.
To be destroyed, to be slain - She here repeats the words which Haman put into the decree. See Esther 3:13.
Could not countervail the king's damage - Even the ten thousand talents of silver could not be considered as a compensation to the state for the loss of a whole nation of people throughout all their generations.
5Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?
Who is he, and where is he - There is a wonderful abruptness and confusion in the original words, highly expressive of the state of mind in which the king then was: מי הוא זה ואי זה הוא אשר מלאו לבו לעשות כן mi hu zeh veey zeh hu asher melao libbo laasoth ken.
"Who? He? This one? And where? This one? He? Who hath filled his heart to do thus?" He was at once struck with the horrible nature of a conspiracy so cruel and diabolic.
6And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
7And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
Haman stood up - He rose from the table to make request for his life, as soon as the king had gone out; and then he fell on his knees before the queen, she still sitting upon her couch.
8Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.
Will he force the queen - On the king's return he found him at the queen's knees; and, professing to think that he intended to do violence to her honor, used the above expressions; though he must have known that, in such circumstances, the thought of perpetrating an act of this kind could not possibly exist.
They covered Haman's face - This was a sign of his being devoted to death: for the attendants saw that the king was determined on his destruction. When a criminal was condemned by a Roman judge, he was delivered into the hands of the serjeant with these words: I, lictor; caput obnubito, arbori infelici suspendito. "Go, serjeant; cover his head, and hang him on the accursed tree."
9And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
Behold also, the gallows - As if he had said, Besides all he has determined to do to the Jews, he has erected a very high gallows, on which he had determined, this very day, to hang Mordecai, who has saved the king's life.
Hang him thereon - Let him be instantly impaled on the same post. "Harm watch, harm catch," says the proverb. Perillus was the first person burnt alive in the brazen bull which he had made for the punishment of others; hence the poet said: -
- Nec lex est justior ulla, Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.
"Nor can there be a juster law than that the artificers of death should perish by their own invention."
10So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.