13) A copy of the letter to be promulgated
as law in each and every province was published among all the peoples, so that
the Jews might be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
I spoke too soon. Apparently a
stupid bloodbath has to happen anyway.
But at least it is now optional, each people deciding for themselves
which memo to obey. So the people with
longstanding rivalries with the Jews will take advantage of the opportunity to
try their luck by following the first memo, and the people who want no part of
it will follow the second.
mounted on royal steeds sped forth in haste at the king’s order, and the decree
was promulgated in the royal precinct of Susa.
COMMENTARY: Just in time to stop at least some of the
left the king’s presence clothed in a royal robe of violet and of white cotton,
with a large crown of gold and a mantle of fine crimson linen. The city of Susa
shouted with joy,
COMMENTARY: It seems weird to interrupt pending war to
announce a fashion statement, but all of these garments have meaning. Violet and crimson were royal colors
permitted to nobody but the royal family and those that the King gave express
permission to wear them. Ahasuerus thus
declares Mordecai family, revealed at last to be his queen’s
uncle/foster-father. A crown of gold
also identifies him as a recognized member of the royal family.
Most people wore wool (not ideal in a country where the court has to head for
the mountains to bear the heat, but cheap and available) and coarse linen (the
coarsest version being burlap.) Only a
few had the art to weave fine linen—the coolest fabric on Earth. And cotton was extremely expensive (as well
as more comfortable than either) imported from India.
Susa shouts for joy because one darn well better show the King that his new
favorite is theirs, too. But they might
also have genuinely preferred Mordecai to the arrogant and punitive Haman.
both men equally vengeful, since both have written letters that will lead to
bloodshed? Haman wrote his over the
provocation of not being bowed to, with intention to attack, whereas Mordecai wrote
only that the Jews could defend themselves from attackers, and urging others to
for the Jews there was splendor and gladness, joy and triumph.
COMMENTARY: Especially since they thought they were all
going to die!
each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s order
arrived, there was merriment and joy, banqueting and feasting for the Jews. And
many of the peoples of the land identified themselves as Jews, for fear of the
Jews fell upon them.
COMMENTARY: I don’t know whether this “fear” means in the
ordinary sense, or in the sense we’ve discussed before of intense regard,
watching closely for what comes next. If
the former, they would not be afraid of being attacked for no reason, but would
fear being taken for hostiles. If the
latter, it would mean raising Jews in their esteem.