Esther 7:4 MEANING

Esther 7:4
(4) We are sold.--See above, Esther 3:9.

To be destroyed. . . .--Literally, to destroy and to kill, and to cause to perish. The identical words used in the king's proclamation for the destruction of the Jews. Herein Esther at once makes confession of her nationality, and relying on the king's still recent gratitude to one of the race, aided by his present cordiality to herself, she risks, as indeed she can no longer help doing, the fate of herself and her race on the momentary impulse of her fickle lord. Happily for her, God has willed that these, perhaps at any other time untrustworthy grounds of reliance, shall suffice. The "hearts of kings are in His rule and governance," and now the heart of one is "disposed and turned, as it seemeth best to His godly wisdom."

Although the enemy. . . .--The meaning of this clause is not quite clear. The literal translation is, although (or because) the enemy is not equal to (i.e., does not make up for) the king's hurt. This may mean (a) that Haman, though willing to pay a large sum into the royal treasury, cannot thereby make up for the loss which the king must incur by wholesale massacre being carried on in his realm; or (b) "were we merely to be sold into slavery, instead of being killed outright, I should have said nothing, because the enemy was not one worth the king's while to trouble himself about." We prefer the former view. The word "enemy" is that translated adversary, in Esther 7:6, and properly means one who oppresses, afflicts, distresses. The word which is, literally, equal to, comparable with, has already occurred in Esther 3:8; Esther 5:13.

Verse 4. - For we are sold, I and my people. Haman has paid our price, has given ten thousand talents for us, and you, O king, have sold us to him. The reproach is covert, but clearly contained in the words; and so the king must have understood Esther. To be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. The use of three synonyms for one and the same thing is not mere verbiage, but very expressive. "We are sold, all of us, to be overwhelmed in one universal, promiscuous, unsparing destruction." Although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage. "Although, even in that case, the enemy (Haman) could not (by the payment that he has made) compensate the king for the damage that he would suffer by losing so many subjects." So Gesenius, Rambach, Dathe, and others. But it is simpler, and Perhaps better, to understand the passage as Bertheau does: "for the enemy (Haman) is not worthy to vex the king," or "is not worth vexing the king about."

7:1-6 If the love of life causes earnest pleadings with those that can only kill the body, how fervent should our prayers be to Him, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell! How should we pray for the salvation of our relatives, friends, and all around us! When we petition great men, we must be cautious not to give them offence; even just complaints must often be kept back. But when we approach the King of kings with reverence, we cannot ask or expect too much. Though nothing but wrath be our due, God is able and willing to do exceeding abundantly, even beyond all we can ask or think.For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish,.... She makes use of these several words, to express the utter destruction of her and her people, without any exception; not only the more to impress the king's mind with it, but she has respect to the precise words of the decree, Esther 3:13 as she has also to the 10,000 talents of silver Haman offered to pay the king for the grant of it, when she says, "we are sold", or delivered to be destroyed:

but if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue: should never have asked for deliverance from bondage, but have patiently submitted to it, however unreasonable, unjust, and afflictive it would have been; because it might have been borne, and there might be hope of deliverance from it at one time or another; though it is said, slaves with the Persians were never made free (g); but that being the case would not have been so great a loss to the king, who would have reaped some advantage by their servitude; whereas, by the death of them, he must sustain a loss which the enemy was not equal to, and which he could not compensate with all his riches; which, according to Ben Melech, is the sense of the next clause:

although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage; or, "for the enemy cannot", &c. the 10,000 talents offered by him, and all the riches that he has, are not an equivalent to the loss the king would sustain by the death of such a multitude of people, from whom he received so large a tribute; but this the enemy regarded not; and so Jarchi interprets it, the enemy took no care of, or was concerned about the king's damage; but there is another sense, which Aben Ezra mentions, and is followed by some learned men, who take the word for "enemy" to signify "distress", trouble, and anguish, as in Psalm 4:1 and read the words, "for this distress would not be reckoned the king's damage" (h), or loss; though it would have been a distress to the Jews to have been sold for slaves, yet the loss to the king would not be so great as their death, since he would receive benefit by their service.

(g) Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 20. (h) "adversitas", Drusius, De Dieu; "angustia", Cocc. Lexic. in rad.

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