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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Esther Chapter 5

Esther 5:1

est 5:1

Over against the gate - This is the usual situation of the throne in the "throne-room" of an Oriental palace. The monarch, from his raised position, can see into the court through the doorway opposite to him, which is kept open.

Esther 5:3

est 5:3

It shall be even given thee ... - Xerxes, on another occasion, when pleased with one of his wives, offered to grant her any request whatever, without limitation. Compare the margin reference.

Esther 5:4

est 5:4

Esther seems to have been afraid to make her real request of Xerxes too abruptly. She concluded that the king would understand that she had a real petition in the background, and would recur to it, as in fact he did Est 5:6; Est 7:2.

Esther 5:6

est 5:6

The banquet of wine - After the meats were removed, it was customary in Persia to continue the banquet for a considerable time with fruits and wine. During this part of the feast, the king renewed his offer.

Esther 5:9

est 5:9

He stood not up, nor moved for him - This was undoubtedly a serious breach of Persian etiquette, and may well have angered Haman.

Esther 5:10

est 5:10

Zeresh - This name is probably connected with the Zend zara, "gold." Compare the Greek "Chrysis."

Esther 5:11

est 5:11

The multitude of his children - Herodotus tells us that, next to prowess in arms, it was regarded as the greatest proof of manly excellence in Persia to be the father of many sons." Haman had ten sons (see the margin reference).

Esther 5:14

est 5:14

A gallows, in the ordinary sense, is scarcely intended, since hanging was not a Persian punishment. The intention, no doubt, was to crucify (see the Est 2:23 note) or impale Mordecai; and the pale or cross was to be 75 feet high, to make the punishment more conspicuous.

Speak thou unto the king ... - Requests for leave to put persons to death were often made to Persian kings by their near relatives, but only rarely by others.

Next: Esther Chapter 6