Esther 6:8

Esther 6:8

Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear,
&c.] Not a whole suit of clothes, but a single garment; the purple robe, as both the Targums, such as kings wore; that which Cyrus appeared in public in was half purple, and half white, and no other person besides might wear such an one F16; it was a capital crime with the Persians to wear any of the king's apparel; Trebazus, an intimate of Artaxerxes, having begged an old gown of him, it was granted, on condition that he would not wear it, it being contrary to the laws of Persia; but he, regardless of the order, appeared in it at court; which affront to the king was so resented by the Persians, that they were for punishing him rigorously, according to the law, had not Artaxerxes declared, that he had ordered him to appear in that dress as his fool {q}; hence Artabanus, though uncle to Xerxes, was very unwilling to obey his orders, to put on his royal robes, sit on his throne, and sleep on his bed F18; so that this was a daring proposal in Haman, which he would never have ventured to have made, had it not been for the great confidence he had in the king's favour;

and the horse that the king rideth upon:
the kings of Persia, as Herodotus F19 relates, had horses peculiar to them, and those were Nisaean horses, which were brought from Armenia, as Strabo says F20, and were remarkable for their beauty F21; and if the same law obtained in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride on the king's horse any more than sit on his throne, or hold his sceptre F23 and perhaps this horse here was not proposed for the person to ride on, but to be led in state before him; and though it is afterwards said that Mordecai rode on horseback, yet it might not be on the king's horse, which might be only led; and what follows seems to confirm it:

and the crown royal which is set upon his head;
or, "let it be set", &c. not the head of the man, but on the head of the horse; and so Aben Ezra; and which sense is countenanced by the Targum, and by the Syriac version, and is approved of by Vatablus and De Dieu; and which the order of the words requires, the horse being the immediate antecedent; and no mention is made of the crown afterwards, as set on the head of Mordecai; nor would Haman have dared to advise to that, nor could it be granted; but this was what was wont to be done, to put the royal crown on the head of a horse led in state; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia F24, as it is with the Ethiopians to this day F25; and so, with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were crowned F26 which Tertullian calls F1 public horses with their crowns.


F16 Xenophon Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 23.
F17 Plutarch. in Artaxerxe.
F18 Herodot. Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 15, 16.
F19 Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 192.
F20 Geograph. l. 11. p. 365.
F21 Julian. Opera, par. 1. Orat. 2. p. 94.
F23 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 5.
F24 Brisson. apud Castell. Lexic. col. 4008.
F25 Alvarez Hist. Ethiop. c. 105. apud ib. col. 3869.
F26 Paschal. de Coronis, l. 8. c. 5. p. 536.
F1 De Corona Militis, c. 13.