A1 1:1. Ahasuerus. Reign. Extent of kingdom
  B1  D1  1:2-2:20. Ahasuerus. On his throne.
        E1  F  2:21-25. Mordecai. Discovery of plot (Bigthan and Teresh).
             G  3:1-15. Haman. His plot.
            F  4:1-3. Mordecai. Discovery of Haman's plot.
              C1  4:4-5:14. Esther. Her intercession.

  B2  D2  6:1. Ahasuerus. On his bed.
        E2  H  6:2,3. Mordecai. King's inquiry.
             J  6:4-9. Haman. King's inquiry.
            H  6:10-14. Mordecai. King's command.
              C2  7:1. Esther. Her Banquet.

  B3  D3  7:2-. Ahasuerus. At Esther's table.
        E3  K  7:-2. King. Inquiry and promise.
             L  7:3,4. Esther. Plea for life.
            K  7:5-10. King. Inquiry and wrath.
              C3  8:1-. Esther. Royal gift.

  B4  D4  8:-1,2. Ahasuerus. On his throne.
        E4  M  8:3-6. Esther. Plea for her people.
             N  8:7-17. King. Decree.
            M  9:1-38. Esther. Plea for her people.
              C4  9:29-32. Esther. Her royal authority.

A2  10:1-3. Ahasuerus. Reign. Extent of kingdom.

(One of the 5 Megilloth.. Read at the Feast of Purim. Comes chronologically thus: [1] Daniel; [2] Esther; [3] Nehemiah; [4] Ezra. The Divine name does not occur, except 5 times in the form of an Acrostic. See Est. 1:20; 5:4,13; 7:5,7.)


  It has been observed by many that no Divine Name or Title is found in the book of Esther.

  This is the more remarkable, since, in this short book of only 167 verses, the Median King is mentioned 192 times, his kingdom is referred to 26 times, and his name (*1) "Ahasuerus" is given 29 times.

  Yahaveh had declared (Deut. 31:16-18) (*2), that if His People forsook Him, He would hide His face from them. Though the book reveals Him as overruling all, His Name is hidden. It is there for His People to see, not for His enemies to see or hear.

  Satan was at work, using Haman to blot out the Nation, as once before he had used Pharaoh for the same purpose. Yahaveh's counsel must stand. His promise of Messiah, the coming "Seed" of the woman (Gen. 3:15), must not fail. Therefore He must overrule all for the preservation of His People, and of the line by which that "Seed" was to come into the world.

  His working was secret and hidden: hence, the name of "YAHAVEH" is hidden secretly four times in this book, and the name "EHYEH" (I am that I am) once. The Massorah has a rubric calling attention to the former fact; and (at least) (*3) three ancient manuscripts are known in which the Acrostic (*4) letters in all five cases are written Majuscular (or, larger than the others) so that they stand out boldly and prominently, showing the four consonant letters of the name YaHaVeH. In Hebrew y, h, v, h, or, as written in Hebrew from right to left, h, v, h, y. In English, L, O, R, D. Also the five letters of the fifth Acrostic, "EHYH".


The following phenomena are noticed in examining the four Acrostics which form the name "Yahaveh":

1. In each case the four words forming the Acrostic are consecutive.
2. In each case (except the first) the form a sentence complete in itself.
3. There are no other such Acrostics in the whole book, except the fifth Acrostic at the end; though there is one other, forming another Divine Title, in Ps. 96:11. (See note there.)
4. In their construction there are not two alike, but each one is arranged in a manner quite different from the other three.
5. Each is uttered by a different speaker. The first by Memucan (1:20); the second by Esther (5:4); the third by Haman (5:13); the fourth by the inspired writer (7:7).
6. The first two Acrostics are a pair, having the name formed by the Initial letters of the four words.
7. The last two are a pair, having the name formed by the Final letters of the four words.
8. The first and third Acrostics are a pair, having the name spelled backward.
9. The second and fourth are a pair, having the name spelled forward. They thus form an alternation :

        A  Backward.
            B  Forward.
        A  Backward.
           B  Forward.
10. The first and third (in which the name is formed backward) are a pair, being spoken by Gentiles.
11. The second and fourth (in which the name is spelled forward) are a pair, being spoken by Israelites.
They thus form an Alternation :--
        C  Spoken by a Gentile (Memucan).
            D  Spoken by an Israelite (Esther).
        C  Spoken by a Gentile (Haman).
           D  Spoken by and Israelite (the inspired writer).
12. The first and second form a pair, being connected with Queens and Banquets.
13. The third and fourth are a pair, being connected with Haman.
14. The first and fourth are a pair, being spoken concerning the Queen (Vashti) and Haman respectively.
15. The second and third are a pair, being spoken by the Queen (Esther) and Haman respectively. They thus form and Introversion :--
        E  Words concerning a Queen.
            F  Words spoken by a Queen.
        E  Words spoken by Haman.
           F  Words concerning Haman.
16. It is remarkable also that, in the two cases where the name is formed by the initial letters, the facts recorded are initial also, and are spoken of an even in which Yahaveh's overruling was initiated; while in the two cases where the name is formed by the final letters, the events are final also, and lead rapidly up to the end toward which Yahaveh was working.

  Thus in the two cases where the name is spelled backward (*5), Yahaveh is seen overruling the counsels of Gentiles for the accomplishment of His own; and where the name is spelled forward (*5), He is ruling directly in the interests of His own People unknown to themselves.


  Is formed by the initial letters, for the event was initial; and the name is spelled backward because Yehovah was turning back and overruling the counsels of man. The whole clause reads as follows; the words forming the Acrostic being put in italic type :--

  "And when the king's decree which he shall make, shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small." The four words we give, 1st, in the Hebrew type (with the Majuscular letters at the beginning of each word); 2nd, with the Transliteration; and 3rd, in English paraphrase, reproducing the sentence in the word LORD with the initial letters backward :--

                1           2         3         4
                Hi'      Vekal    Hannashim  Yittenu.

                  1          2           3           4
                 it       and-all    the-wives   shall-give

                 "Due    Respect      Our       Ladies
       shall give to their husbands, both to great and small."


  Is formed, as before, by the initial letters, for Yahaveh is initiating His action; but the name is spelled forward because He is ruling and causing Esther to act; and take the first step, which was to lead up to so great an end. The four words are :

            1        2       3      4
          Yabo'  Hammelek VeHaman Hayyom

              1        2           3          4
          let-come  the-king   and-Haman   this-day

            "Let         Our           Royal        Dinner
         this day be graced by the king and Haman."

The name of Yahaveh is read in the invitation, intimating that there would be a fourth at that banquet.

  Is the beginning of the end; for Haman had gone forth from that banquet "joyful and with a glad heart" (5:9) "that day." Yet it was to be his last. Hence the third Acrostic is formed with the final letters, for the end was approaching; and the name is spelled backward, for Yahaveh was overruling Haman's gladness, and turning back Haman's counsel.

The four words are :

           1       2       3       4
          zeH  'eynennV  shoveH   leY

           1        3          2       4
          this    avails    nothing  to-me

The English may be freely rendered "Yet am I

          saD;     foR,         nO     avaiL

is all this to me."


  Is formed, like the third, by the final letters, for Haman's end had come. But it is spelled forward like the first, for Yahaveh was ruling and bringing about the end He had determined. Haman saw there was cause for fear. A fourth is there -- Yahaveh Himself! And when Esther pleads for her life (7:3), the king asks "Who is he and where is he?" which brings in Yahaveh's own ineffable name -- the Acrostic of the five final letters spelling in Hebrew "I am" (see the fifth Acrostic below). Esther replies : "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." The king, filled with wrath, rises, and goes forth into the palace garden. Haman, filled with fear, rises, "to make request for his life to Esther the queen, for he saw

           that evil was determined against him

by the king."
  This was the climax, the end had come. Hence the name is spelled by the final letters :

                1          2           3         4
               kY       kalethaH    'elayV    haraeaH

                1        4           2             3
              that     evil    was-determined  against-him

Translated, as before, the Acrostic appears in English thus :  "For he saw that there was

            eviL     tO       feaR     determineD

against him by the king."


  In this book does not form the name "Yahaveh," but the remarkable name E H Y H which means

"I AM."

  It is noted in some manuscripts by Majuscular letters, which have Massoretic authority

  The Acrostic is formed by the final letters, and the name is spelled backward.

  The king asks "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?" : i.e. to sell for destruction Queen Esther and her People. In saying this he unconsciously gives the name of Him who came down to deliver His People out of the hand of Pharaoh, and had then come down to deliver them again out of the hand of Haman, "the Jews' enemy", who, like Pharaoh, sought to destroy the whole nation (cp. Exodus 2:23-25 with 3:14, 15). The great enemy of the Messiah -- the living Word -- was seeking to destroy all hope of His promised coming (Gen. 3:15), and make void the repeated promise of Yahaveh.

  Ahasuerus only pointed to human agency, but his words point us to the Satanic agency which was behind it. The Acrostic is in the final letters of his question "Who is he, and where is he?" Only the great "I am that I am" could know that, and could answer that question. Esther and Mordecai knew the human instrument, but none could know who was directing him but the One Who sees the end from the beginning.

  The words forming the Acrostic are

            1       2       3        4
           hu'E    zeH    ve'eY     zeH

      1         2             3              4
[who is] he   this [man]  and where  [is] this [man]

"who durst presume in his heart to do so" :  i.e. to conspire
against the life of the Queen and her People.

We may English it thus :

"WhereE dwelletH the-enemY that-daretH
presume in his heart to do this thing?"

  Thus was the name of the great "I AM" of Exodus 3:14 presented to the eye, to reveal the fact that He who said of E H Y H "this is My Name for ever, and this is My Memorial unto all generations" (v. 15), was there to remember His People. Here was a "generation" in Persia who experienced the truth and the power of this Name, as a former "generation" had done in Egypt.

  The same "I AM" had indeed come down to deliver them from Haman; as He had from Pharaoh, and from the great "enmity" (of Gen. 3:15) which instigated both to accomplish the Satanic design of exterminating the Nation of Israel.

  In these five Acrostics we have something far beyond a mere coincidence; we have design. When we read the denunciation in Deut. 31:16-18, and see it carried out in Persia, we learn that though God was not among His people there, He was for them. Though He was not acting as Yahaveh, "that dwelleth between the Cherubim," He was "the God of Heaven, ruling and over-ruling all in the Heaven above and in the Earth beneath" for the fulfillment of His purposes, and in the deliverance of His People. Hence, though His name, as well as His presence, is HIDDEN, yet, it is there, in the Word; and so wonderfully interwoven that no enemy will ever know how to put it out.

  (*1) In the note on Est. 1:1 this Ahasuerus is identified with Astyages, who is the same as Darius the Mede. See notes on p. 618, and Ap. 57.

  (*2) The Talmud (Kelim 139) says "Where do we get Esther in the Law?" And the answer is "Deut. 31:18, 'and I will surely hide my face'". So here, the outward form of the revelation takes on the form of its inward and spiritual meaning. For the same reason we have the Divine Title "the God of heaven" as characterizing the book Exra-Nehemiah. See note on 2Chron. 36:23.

  (*3) How many more there may be will be ascertained only when all the special scrolls of Esther shall be examined.

  (*4) For other examples of Acrostics in the Hebrew text, see Ap. 63. vii.

  (*5) In the use of these terms, "backward" and "forward" the English reader must bear in mind that Hebrew is read from right to left both in the spelling and wording.

Taken from Appendix 60 of the Companion Bible.



(Esther = a star.)

472-422 B.C.
Esther 1)

1 Now it came to pass in the days of (see important note of Rabbinical commentators on Gen. 14:1) Ahasuerus (= venerable king. An appellative, like Pharaoh, Czar, Shah, &c.), (this is Ahasuerus which reigned (implying that others were so called, from whom he is to be distinguished. This Ahasuerus was Astyages [Gr.], Arsames [Persian]), from India even to Ethiopia (i.e. the 2 extreme boundaries of the known world), over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) (Dan. 6:1 says 120 princes. The number continually altered to suit the requirements of government. Only in Dan. 6:1 do we find 120. Plato says that "when Darius [i.e. 'the Maintainer' = Astyages] came to the throne, being one of seven, he divided the country into seven portions". These are the 7 named in vv.13,14. When Babylon afterward fell into his hands, he divided this newly acquired kingdom into 120 parts [Dan. 9:1. Cp. 6:1]. Why should he not have added these to the 7 he already possessed, and thus have made the 127 of Est. 1:1; 9:30? In the latter days of Darius [Hystaspis] these had been reduced to 23, as stated and named on the Behistan inscription.)

  A¹  1:2-12. Queen Vashti. Offense.
    A²  1:13-2:1. Queen Vashti. Degradation.
    A³  2:2-20. Queen Esther. Substituted.

A¹  a  2,3. Feast: king's noble.
     b  4. Display of riches.
    a  5-9. Feasts: king's to people; queen's to women.
     b  10-12. Display of Vashti.

2 That in those days (i.e. the days when these events took place. At other times he dwelt at Ecbatana, or elsewhere. Verse 1 mentions the ruler; v.2, the place; v.3, the time), when the king Ahasuerus took his seat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan (= a lily, now, the ruins of Susa, on the river Shapur, east of Persian Gulf) the castle, (or fortress. Cp. Neh. 1:1.)
3 In the third year of his reign (i.e. 471 B.C.; 6 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Astyages now 17 or 18 years old. In this year Xerxes [who is suppose to be this king], according to Herod, was preparing his expedition against Greece; whereas this chapter presupposes a season of peace and quiet), he made a feast (for its own sake, no reason given) to all his princes and his servants; the power (i.e. the people who exercised it) of Persia and Media (in this book this is always the order, except 10;2. In Daniel it is the reverse), the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:

4 When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and eighty days. (This was to allow all peoples to be feasted in turn. Not all at the same time; or one feast of that duration.)

5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast to all the people that were present in Shushan the castle, both to great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's large house;
6 Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the couches were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.
7 And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.
8 And the drinking was according to the royal decree; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
9 Also Vashti the queen (= beautiful. The daughter of Alyattes [king of Lydia], married by Cyaxeres to his son Astyages after the battle of Halys) made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs (this shows the minuteness of the writer's knowledge) that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.
12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's word by his eunuchs (probably because sent for by servants; not by the nobles [v.3], and before the "peoples"): therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

A²  c  13-15. King's iniquity of wise men.
     d  16-20. Advice. Given.
    c  21. King's agreement with wise men.
     d  22. Advice. Acted on.

471 B.C.
13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
14 And the next to him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)
15 "What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she has not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the eunuchs?"

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "Vashti the queen has not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad to all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, 'The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.'
18 Likewise shall the princesses of Persia and Media say this day to all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.
19 If it please the king, let there go a royal word from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered (cp. Dan. 6:8), That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate to another that is better than she.
20 And when the king's rescript which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great, (i.e. the decree is important)) ALL THE WIVES SHALL GIVE (this is the 1st of the 5 Acrostics, exhibiting in the initials the Divine name. See intro) to their husbands honor, both to great and small.

21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:

22 For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.

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