Devotional: Esther Chapter 8 – Deliverance

The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews

 1)That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.

2) The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.

Mordecai has now become super rich and the Grand Viser in place of Haman. This promotion was a blessing that neither Esther nor Mordecai prayed for. The truth about their relationship came out, so now they don’t have to meet in secret anymore. The only thing lacking is reversing Haman’s decree.

 3) Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews.

 4) Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.

 5) “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces.

 6) For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”

 7) King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up.

 8) Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”

So, the decree that Haman wrote could not be stopped by law. What was now required was another decree that somehow countered the first decree. I guess the idea is that the King needs to take time to think about his laws before he makes them because he isn’t going to be able to say, “oops, I made a mistake.” Even so, he doesn’t bother to ask what law they might be thinking about writing next. He would be making the same mistake as before if they were not trustworthy. 

 9) At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.

 10) Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

 11) The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.

12) The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

 13) A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

14) The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.

This command seems very brutal, but it copies word for word Haman’s law. This law follows the eye-for-an-eye way of justice in the Old Testament scriptures, which is much fairer than the tiered justice in other ancient codes such as the Code of Hammurabi. Sometimes people want to say the Bible is a very violent book or that the Old Testament is very violent, but we just have to look at the news to see that very little has changed.

The Triumph of the Jews

 15) When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.

 16) For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.

 17) In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

The people rejoiced at their deliverance. This whole time they watch their enemies gathering weapons and planning their ruin, but God provided a way out. The last line talks about people becoming Jews because of the fear of them. Hopefully, this fear would keep the violence to a minimum. Only the really hateful people would attack the Jews now, and not those who just wanted easy gain. God’s miracles are snowballing with momentum. Just when things seemed darkest and Haman seemed to be winning, God demonstrated that HE was in control the whole time. Everything is falling into order. Blessings are being poured out. The truth is being revealed. It was a long wait, but deliverance is coming. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the Bible.

Palms 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,[d]
    if I go down to the pit?[e]
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

When we face an impossible task or an impossible foe, we must turn to God for our help. When we are in the midst of a trial, they seem forever. Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten us or has ignored our pain. He hasn’t. Deliverance will come. How has God delivered you recently from your troubles and enemies?