Esther 8:2 MEANING

Esther 8:2
(2) Took off his ring . . . and gave it unto Mordecai.--Constituting him thereby his Vizier, who would thus authenticate a royal decree, and by having, as it were, carte blanche given him for the time, would for that time save his master all further trouble. Mordecai's position had now become what Daniel's had been to Darius, that nobler servant to a worthier lord (see Daniel 6:2, 38). He was the queen's cousin, and he had on one occasion been the means of saving the king's life, and therefore starts under distinctly favourable auspices.

Verse 2. - And the king took off his ring. The king's signet would, as a matter of course, be taken from Haman before his execution and restored to Ahasuerus, who now once more wore it himself. Business, however, was irksome to him, and, having resolved to make Mordecai minister in Haman's room, he very soon took the signet off again, and made it over to the new vizier. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. It would not have been seemly for Esther to give away what she had received as a gift from the king. She was therefore unable to make Mordecai a present of the house. But she did what was equivalent - she set him over it, made him practically its master. Thus he was provided with a residence suitable to his new dignity. AT ESTHER'S REQUEST AHASUERUS ALLOWS THE ISSUE OF A SECOND EDICT, PERMITTING THE JEWS TO RESIST ANY WHO SHOULD ATTACK THEM, TO KILL THEM IN THEIR OWN DEFENCE, AND TO TAKE POSSESSION OF THEIR GOODS (Esther 8:3-14). The execution of Haman, the confiscation of his property, the advancement of Mordecai into his place, though of favourable omen, as showing the present temper and inclination of Abasuerus, left the Jews in as great danger as before. In most countries there would neither have been delay nor difficulty. The edict which went forth on the 13th of Nisan (Esther 3:12), and which could not be executed till the 13th of Adar, would have been cancelled, revoked, recalled. But in Persia this could not be done; or at any rate it could not be done without breaking one of the first principles of Persian law, the principle that "the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse" (ver. 8). It was therefore necessary to devise a mode whereby the desired escape of the Jews might practically be obtained, and yet the edict remain unrevoked, and the king's honour be saved. At first Mordecai and Esther do not appear to have seen this, and Esther asked openly for the reversal of the decree, only representing it as the writing of Haman, and not the writing of the king (ver. 5). But Ahasuerus pointed out that this could not be done. Anything short of a reversal, any new decree, he would sanction; but he could do no more - he could not revoke his own word (ver. 8). The course actually followed was then devised, probably by Mordecai. The old decree was allowed to stand; but a new decree was issued and signed in the usual way, whereby the Jews were allowed and encouraged to resist those who should attack them, - to "gather themselves together, and to stand for their life; to destroy, slay, and cause to perish all the power of the people of the province that would assault them," - and were further permitted to "take the spoil of them for a prey," or, in other words, to seize the property of all whom they should slay (ver. 11). The royal posts carried out this decree (ver. 14), as they had the former one; and it was publicly set forth and proclaimed in every province, that if the Jews were attacked under the terms of the one, they might defend themselves and retaliate on their foes under the terms of the other (ver. 13). As the second decree was issued on the 23rd of Sivan, the third month (ver. 9), and the day appointed for the attack was the 13th of Adar, the twelfth, there was ample time-above eight months - for the Jews to make preparations, to organise themselves, to collect arms, and to arrange an effective resistance.

8:1,2 What Haman would have done mischief with, Esther will do good with. All the trust the king had reposed in Haman, he now placed in Mordecai: a happy change. See the vanity of laying up treasure upon earth; he that heapeth up riches, knoweth not who shall gather them. With what little pleasure, nay, with what constant vexation, would Haman have looked upon his estate, if he could have foreseen that Mordecai, the man he hated above all men in the world, should have rule over all that wherein he had laboured! It is our interest to make sure of those riches which will not be left behind, but which will go with us to another world.And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai,.... which, with the Persians, was a token of the strongest affection and strictest friendship (z); the Targum calls it his signatory ring, that with which he signed laws, edicts, letters, patents, &c. and so hereby made him keeper of the seals:

and Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman; appointed him her steward of the estate of Haman, the king had given her.

(z) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 26. & l. 2. c. 19.

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