Esther 8-10 part 5

 

Last week, we learned what happened when Esther went before the king unannounced and how she revealed that she was a Jew and that Haman was an evil man. We ended our lesson with Haman being arrested and hung on his gallows. Tonight we learn what happens next and we finish up this wonderful book.

 

Esther 8:1  On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.2 So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.

 

On the day that Haman was hung, the king gave Esther the house of Haman, which would have included all his possession and his servants. Mordecai had already proven his allegiance to the king by spoiling the plot against his life, and since he was the foster father of his queen, it made perfect sense to make him the prime minister in the place of Haman. He was given the signet ring, which meant he now had the power to seal documents that could not be altered even by the king. This was a great honor and it required great responsibility and Mordecai was certainly qualified for such a task.

 

Esther made Mordecai the head of Hamanís household and so he lived in his home and enjoyed the riches that he had.

 

Esther 8:3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king,5 and said, "If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king's provinces.6 "For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?"7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, "Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews.8 "You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's signet ring; for whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's signet ring no one can revoke."

 

While Haman was dealt with, his evil decree was not. Remember, the king said that he would give the queen whatever she wanted up to half his kingdom. Since nothing had been done to stop the slaughter, Esther went before the king crying this time. Our text implies that Esther went before the king unannounced again because he held out his golden scepter.

 

Estherís plea was for the king to reverse the decree that was sent out, but once a decree was sealed with the signet ring not even the king could reverse it. However, there is always a way around rules like this and we see how the king made it possible for Esther to save her people because he gave her permission to send another decree that would make it impossible for the slaughter to occur.

 

Esther 8:9 So the king's scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language.10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king's signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds.11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives -- to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions,12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king's command. And the decree was issued in Shushan the citadel.

 

Around 2 months had passed since Haman had made his decree, but now a new decree was made by Mordecai that would protect the Jews. Now they would be allowed to rise up and protect themselves from anyone who tried to slaughter them.

 

A great lesson we can learn from this is that as Christians we need to realize that there is nothing wrong with us rising up and defending Godís truth against the Hamanís in our world. There are many in our country that would love to control us, and they despise us because we oppose their evil ways, but we must never allow them to beat us down and cause to conform to their ways. Instead, we must be like these Jews and rise up and defend and put our trust in God.

 

Esther 8:15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.17 And in every province and city, wherever the king's command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.

 

Mordecai was dressed in all the royal clothing that proved that he was in control and had the favor of the king. The first Jews to learn about Mordecaiís new decree was the city of Shushan and it caused the people to rejoice because now they had hope. As this good news spread through the provinces, all the Jews rejoiced and they had a great feast because now, they could protect themselves from the Hamanís decree. As the new decree was made known, the other people became scared of what would happen to them, so many of the people became Jews by becoming proselytes. We can only hope that some of these new proselytes sincerely started serving God instead of just converting out of fear.

 

God has never wanted people to follow him out of fear. If someone becomes a Christian for sole purpose of not wanting to go to hell then I think they have missed the point of what Christianity is because our number one reason for becoming a Christians should be because we love God and what He has done for us, which should cause to draw near to Him and want to be pleasing to Him.

 

 

Esther 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king's command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them.2 The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people.

 

The day of the great battle had begun. Those who hated the Jews were hoping they would be able to overpower them and wipe them from the face of the earth, but God was on the side of Jews and they prevailed against their enemies. On that day all the Jews gathered together in each city and they defended themselves and no one could conquer them, because their enemies were afraid of them. I believe this great fear happened by the providence of God.

 

Esther 9:3 And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king's work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.4 For Mordecai was great in the king's palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent.5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.6 And in Shushan the citadel the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.7 Also Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha --10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews -- they killed; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.

 

The Jews were not alone thanks to Mordecaiís position and the influence of God. The kingís leaders, servants and most likely his military force were all helping the Jews survive Hamanís decree. So, the enemies of the Jews did not stand a chance.

 

In Shushan alone the Jews killed 500 men including the 10 sons of Haman. Now the Jews had the right to plunder their enemies goods, but the chose not to because they were not interested in increasing their material wealth, they only wanted to save their lives.

 

Esther 9:11 On that day the number of those who were killed in Shushan the citadel was brought to the king.12 And the king said to Queen Esther, "The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. Or what is your further request? It shall be done."13 Then Esther said, "If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on the gallows."14 So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman's ten sons.15 And the Jews who were in Shushan gathered together again on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men at Shushan; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.

 

The king finds out how many of been killed in Shushan and he wonders how many been killed in his other provinces and he lets Esther know this information. We can see how much the king favors Esther because he wants to know if there is anything more he can give her.

 

Esther requested 2 things. First, that Hamanís 10 dead sons be hung up on the gallows, which would serve as warning to all those were enemies of the Jews. Second, she wanted her people in Shushan to be able to carry out the decree made by Mordecai for one more day.

 

The king grants this request and 300 more men are killed in the city, but once again we are told that Jews chose not to plunder their goods.

 

Esther 9:16 The remainder of the Jews in the king's provinces gathered together and protected their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. And on the fourteenth day of the month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.18 But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.

 

We find out that the Jews in the other provinces had killed 75,000 of their enemies on the 13 day of Adar and they rested on the 14th day, but the Jews in Shushan fought on the 13th and 14th and rested on the 15th day.This is why there was two days of feasting and celebration because most of the Jews rested on the 14th day, while the rest of them rested on the 15th day. This event is where the feast of Purim originated from. We learn more about it in next verses.

 

 

Esther 9:20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus,21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar,22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.

 

Mordecai wants to make the feast of Purim official, and its theme is how the Jews sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a holiday because they were allowed to defend themselves and to defeat their enemies. Part of the celebration called for them sending presents to one another and giving gifts to the poor. This event was certainly worth remembering.

 

Esther 9:23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them,24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them;25 but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.26 So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them,27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time,28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

 

The Jews thought this feast was a great idea, and they accepted it. We learn that it got its name from Pur, which means lot. Then they made it plural by calling it Purim, which indicates that many lots were cast against them. Again, this feast was to be celebrated yearly as a reminder of what Haman did and how Esther overturned his evil plot.

 

This is a feast that is still observed by the Jews today. Notice what the following commentary says about this:

 

The decree issued by Mordecai and Esther was to be kept for all time to come.This is still an annual festival of the Jews commemorating their deliverance from death in the Persian empire.The feast and festival have taken on more of the tone of a patriotic day than of a day of worship.In this festival, the book of Esther is read aloud in the synagogue.During the reading, every time the name of Haman is mentioned the assembly responds with the statement, "Let the name of the ungodly perish."When the reading is finished, the assembly cries out "Cursed be Haman; blessed be Mordecai; cursed be Zeresh (wife of Haman); blessed be Esther." Passages are also read from the law and other parts of the Old Testament. (Denton Lectureship on Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther).

 

Esther 9:29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim.30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting.32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.

 

Once the Jews accepted the feast of Purim, the queen send out a second letter that made this an official civil rule that was recorded in the book, which is most likely referring to the book of the chronicles of the king. Estherís letter included fasting and lamenting and so a day of fasting before for the feast of Purim was observed as well. Notice what Burt Coffman said about this:

 

Quite appropriately, the day of fasting was called the Fast of Esther, stressing the anxiety and danger that existed when, after three days of fasting, she went unbidden into the presence of Ahasuerus.That fast is observed on Adar 13th, and the two days of feasting on the succeeding two days."The Jews still keep this day as Esther's fast, prior to the Purim celebrations proper, marked by the reading of the roll of Esther in its original chant, accompanied by blessings and hymns."

 

Esther 10:1 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea.2 Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?3 For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.

 

In this last chapter, we get our last glimpse of what happened in King Ahasuerusí reign. The word tribute in verse one means forced labor from the original Hebrew, so the King had imposed forced labor throughout his vast kingdom.

 

The last two verses give us a summary of the greatness of Mordecia and how he became second in command and how his people respected him. All of this was recorded the chronicles of the king.

 

There are a lot of things that would be nice to know, like how long did Esther remain queen? Or how long did Mordecai serve as the prime minister? But, Esther was not written for this purpose because its main thought was to record how the Jews were saved from Hamanís evil plot by the providence of God.