Chapter 8.2

Esther 8.2:

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.


COMMENTARY:  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.



14) Couriers 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 stupidity.



15) Mordecai 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.


Are 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 help them.



16) and for the Jews there was splendor and gladness, joy and triumph.


COMMENTARY:  Especially since they thought they were all going to die!



17) In 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.

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