New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Esther 10:1 King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land, and on the islands of the sea- The idea is of imposed forced labour, such as Solomon ordered, and which caused much resentment. Why mention this? Perhaps it is included to signal that all was not well, although the story is to end with good triumphing over evil; see on :3.

Esther 10:2 All the acts of his power and of his might, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king advanced him, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?-
As noted on :1, the story ends positively, but with the subtext that all was not as it could have been. A Jew and a Jewish queen become almost the most influential people on earth at the time, with huge power and might. But still they did not lead their people back to their God and to their land. That is the unspoken conclusion which any spiritually minded, sensitive reader or hearer will come to. Again it is a story of so much potential and Divine grace being as it were wasted.

Esther 10:3 For Mordecai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted by the multitude of his brothers, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his descendants
- Even though Mordecai was so highly respected amongst the Jews, there is the implication noted on :2 that Mordecai failed to realize his full potential before God, even if he died respected by his own people. Not only did Cyrus and the other various potential fulfillments of the servant songs fail to rise up to their potential; Judah preferred to stay in the soft life. The sad ending of the book of Esther leaves Judah prosperous in Babylon, having declined the potential exodus back to Zion which God had set them up with. Mordecai and Esther ought surely to have used their huge power to move the Jews to return to the land, as was clearly the wish of God as expressed in the prophets. But they didn't; it seems the secularism which characterized their earlier lives may have returned in later life, and tradition has it that Esther was murdered when the Persian empire fell to the Greeks.