let a gallows be made, of fifty cubits, high; that the person hanged thereon might be seen at a distance, and so be a greater reproach to him, and a terror to others, to take care they were not guilty of the same offence: Cartalo was ordered by his father to be fixed to the highest cross in the sight of the city (l); and it was usual for crosses to be erected very high (m) both for that purpose, and for greater infamy and disgrace (n):
and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon; get a grant from him for it; of which they made no doubt, since Haman had such an interest in him, and had already obtained an order to destroy all Jews in his dominions:
then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet; eased of the burden of his mind, and honoured to be a guest with the royal pair:
and the thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made; but it was for himself, as it proved in the issue. See Esther 7:10.
(l) Justin e Trogo, l. 18. c. 7. Vid. l. 22. c. 7. (m) Vid. Lipsium de Cruce, l. 3. c. 13. (n) Suetonius in Galba, c. 9.
INTRODUCTION TO Esther 6
Ahasuerus, not being able to sleep in the night, ordered the book of records to be brought and read to him, where a fact of Mordecai's was registered, and, upon inquiry, it appeared that nothing had been done to him for it, Esther 6:1 and Haman being in the outward court, was ordered in, with whom the king consulted what should be done to the man the king delighted to honour; to which Haman gave answer, and was bid to do as he said, Esther 6:4, which he did, but went home after it confounded and sorrowful, and told his mournful case to his wife and friends, who plainly foresaw his downfall, Esther 6:11.
and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; the diaries or journal, in which memorable facts were recorded; this he did to divert himself, and pass away time; though here also the providence of God was specially concerned; for otherwise he might have sent for any of his wives and concubines, or singing men and women, to have diverted him:
and they were read before the king; until the morning, until it was time to rise, as appears by what follows.
that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the King Ahasuerus; see Esther 2:21, and it was usual in such diaries to record the names of persons, who, by any actions, had deserved well of the king, that they might be rewarded as there was an opportunity for it; and such, in the Persian language, were called Orosangae, as Herodotus relates (o).
(o) Urania, sive, l. 8. c. 85.
then said the king's servants that ministered unto him; the lords of his bedchamber then in waiting:
there is nothing done for him; not on that account, nothing more than what he had; he had an office at court before, but was not advanced to anything higher on this account.
now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house; though it was early in the morning, being eager to get to the speech of the king before he was engaged in any business, to obtain a grant from him:
to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him; of which he made no doubt of having, and therefore had prepared for it.
and the king said, let him come in; into his bedchamber; and it was of God, no doubt, that Haman should be on the spot at this very time, when the king was in the humour to do honour to Mordecai, and by him.
what shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? he mentions not the name of any man, that he might the more freely, and unbiasedly, and disinterestedly give his advice; nor might the king know of any resentment of Haman to Mordecai:
(now Haman thought in his heart, to whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?) who had been advanced above all the princes and nobles of the realm, and was now in such high honour both with the king and queen, with whom he was to be at a banquet that day; and he might conclude, that by putting this question to him, he could have in view none but himself: Aben Ezra observes, that some from hence gather, that this book was written by the spirit of prophecy, because none could know the thoughts of the heart but God; but though he believes it to be written by the Holy Ghost, yet, as he observes, Haman might disclose this thought of his heart to his friends afterwards.
for the man whom the king delighteth to honour; let the following things be done.
and the horse that the king rideth upon: the kings of Persia, as Herodotus (s) relates, had horses peculiar to them, and those were Nisaean horses, which were brought from Armenia, as Strabo says (t), and were remarkable for their beauty (u); and if the same law obtained in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride on the king's horse any more than sit on his throne, or hold his sceptre (w) and perhaps this horse here was not proposed for the person to ride on, but to be led in state before him; and though it is afterwards said that Mordecai rode on horseback, yet it might not be on the king's horse, which might be only led; and what follows seems to confirm it:
and the crown royal which is set upon his head; or, "let it be set", &c. not the head of the man, but on the head of the horse; and so Aben Ezra; and which sense is countenanced by the Targum, and by the Syriac version, and is approved of by Vatablus and De Dieu; and which the order of the words requires, the horse being the immediate antecedent; and no mention is made of the crown afterwards, as set on the head of Mordecai; nor would Haman have dared to advise to that, nor could it be granted; but this was what was wont to be done, to put the royal crown on the head of a horse led in state; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia (x), as it is with the Ethiopians to this day (y); and so, with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were crowned (z) which Tertullian calls (a) public horses with their crowns.
(p) Xenophon Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 23. (q) Plutarch. in Artaxerxe. (r) Herodot. Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 15, 16. (s) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 192. (t) Geograph. l. 11. p. 365. (u) Julian. Opera, par. 1. Orat. 2. p. 94. (w) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 5. (x) Brisson. apud Castell. Lexic. col. 4008. (y) Alvarez Hist. Ethiop. c. 105. apud ib. col. 3869. (z) Paschal. de Coronis, l. 8. c. 5. p. 536. (a) De Corona Militis, c. 13.
that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour; and the other to be led in state before him:
and bring him on horseback through the street of the city; on another horse, that all might see what honour was done him:
and proclaim before him; as before Joseph, when advanced next to Pharaoh, Genesis 41:43 this was not to be done by an herald, but by a nobleman, to whom the apparel and horse were to be delivered, and was done by Haman, Esther 6:11,
thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour; these were the words said in the proclamation, signifying this was the man the king delighted to honour, and this the manner in which he would have it done.
as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate; the person he meant this honour for he describes by name, by nation, and by office, that there might be no mistake:
let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken; the king objected not to anything that had been proposed, and insisted on it that every thing be done punctually by Haman as he had advised, and from which he could not with honour recede; though nothing could be more mortifying to him to do, to a man he came to court to get a grant to hang on a gallows he had prepared.
(b) Herodot. Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 88.
but Haman hasted to his house; pushed forward as fast as he could:
mourning; at his sad disappointment:
and having his head covered; through grief and sorrow, confusion and shame; so Demosthenes, being hissed, went home with his head covered (c), as confounded and ashamed to be seen (d).
(c) Plutarch in Demosthene. (d) See more instances in Lively's Chronology of the Persian monarchy, p. 18, 19.
then said his wise men; before called his friends; perhaps they were magicians and soothsayers he kept in his house, to advise with about the proper methods and times of advancing himself, and destroying his enemies:
and Zeresh his wife unto him; who joined with the wise men in giving her opinion, and who set up for a knowing woman, and of whom Haman thought highly:
if Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews; as it was said he was; and therefore Haman had vowed and plotted revenge on the people of the Jews for his sake:
before whom thou hast begun to fall; as he did, by being obliged to execute the king's will in doing him so much honour:
thou shall not prevail against him; to get him hanged, or his people destroyed, though he had prepared a gallows for the one, and had got an edict for the other:
but shall surely fall before him: which might be concluded from his being set above him, who would not fail of using his power and interest to crush him, who had showed himself to be such an implacable enemy to him; or they might have some knowledge of the history of the Jews, and of what wonderful things God often did for them, in defeating the designs of their enemies, and in raising them up from a low to an high estate.