III Haman offended at Mordecai, resolves to destroy all the Jews, ver. 1-6. He obtains an order from the king, to have them all slain on one day, ver. 7-11. This order is sent throughout the kingdom, ver. 12-15.
Verse 1. Agagite - An Amalekite of the royal seed of that nation, whose kings were successively called Agag. All the princes - Gave him the first place and seat, which was next to the king.
Verse 2. But, &c. - Probably the worship required was not only civil, but Divine: which as the kings of Persia arrogated to themselves, so they did sometimes impart this honour to some of their chief favourites, that they should be adored in like manner. And that it was so here, seems more than probable, because it was superfluous, to give an express command to all the kings servants, to pay a civil respect to so great a prince, which of course they used, and therefore a Divine honour must be here intended. And that a Jew should deny this honour, is not strange, seeing the wise Grecians did positively refuse to give this honour to the kings of Persia themselves, even when they were to make their addresses to them: and one Timocrates was put to death by the Athenians for worshipping Darius in that manner.
Verse 4. To see - What the event of it would be. For, &c. - And therefore did not deny this reverence out of pride, but merely out of conscience.
Verse 6. Scorn - He thought that vengeance was unsuitable to his quality. Destroy - Which he attempted, from that implacable hatred which, as an Amalekite, he had against them; from his rage against Mordecai; and from Mordecai's reason of this contempt, because he was a Jew, which as he truly judged, extended itself to all the Jews, and would equally engage them all in the same neglect. And doubtless Haman included those who were returned to their own land: for that was now a province of his kingdom.
Verse 7. They cast - The diviners cast lots, according to the custom of those people, what day, and what month would be most lucky, not for his success with the king (of which he made no doubt) but for the most effectual extirpation of the Jews. Wherein appears likewise both his implacable malice, and unwearied diligence in seeking vengeance of them with so much trouble to himself; and God's singular providence in disposing the lot to that time, that the Jews might have space to get the decree reversed.
Verse 11. The silver - Keep it to thy own use; I accept the offer for the deed.
Verse 15. The city - Not only the Jews, but a great number of the citizens, either because they were related to them, or engaged with them in worldly concerns; or out of humanity and compassion toward so vast a number of innocent people, appointed as sheep for the slaughter.