William Kelly Major Works Commentary - Esther 3:1 - 3:15

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William Kelly Major Works Commentary - Esther 3:1 - 3:15


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Esther Chapter 3

In the third chapter we have a very different scene. "After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him."

It is only a type - only a shadow, and not the very image. In the millennial day there will be no Haman. Till that day come, whatever may be the vivid picture of coming blessing, there is always a dark shadow. There is an enemy; there is one that tries to frustrate all the plans of God: and, of all the races of the earth, there was one that was particularly hostile to God's people of old - the Amalekites, - so much so that Jehovah swore and called upon His people to carry on perpetual war against that race. He would blot them out from under heaven. The Amalekites were the peculiar object of God's most righteous judgment, because of their hatred of His people. Now this Haman belonged not only to Amalek, but even to the royal family of Amalek. He was a descendant of Hammedatha the Agagite, as it is said, and Ahasuerus advances this noble to the very highest place. But in the midst of all his thick honours there was one thorn! Mordecai bowed not. The consequence was that Mordecai became an object of reproach. The king's servants asked him, "Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?" And after this went on for a time Haman hears of it. "He told them that he was a Jew."

There was the secret. God does not appear. There is no intimation in the history that God had spoken about Haman! Yet here was the secret reason; but the only public reason that appears is that Mordecai was a Jew. "And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had showed him the people of Mordecai; wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai" (Est_3:5-6); and Haman accomplishes it in this manner. He reports to the king, as being the principal noble in favour, that there was "a certain people scattered abroad among the peoples in all the provinces . . . their laws are diverse from all people, neither keep they the king's laws; therefore, it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasures" (vers. 8, 9).

The king, according to the character I have already described, made very small difficulty of this tremendous request of Haman. He took his ring from his hand, he gave it to Haman, and told him to keep his silver. He sent out the scribes to carry out this request, so that the posts went throughout all the king's provinces. The Persians, you know, were the first originators of the postal system that we have continued to this day. "Letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month." The king and his minister sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed.