Devotional: Esther Chapters 9 and 10 – Over and Beyond

We have seen how God delivered Esther from Haman’s plot, but now we get to see how the nation of Isreal gets delivered because of Esther’s actions. The impossible situation that Esther found herself in could have made her self-centered and try to survive by hiding her identiy, but as Mordecai said, she would not have lasted long. God had placed her in the right place at the right time, but she had to do the hard things, such as trust Him. Now her people must do hard things as well.

Chapter 9 

1) On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.

 2) The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.

 3) And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them.

 4) Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

5) The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.

 6) In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.

7) They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,

8) Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,

9) Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha,

 10) the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

11) The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day.

 12) The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”

 13) “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”

14) So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman.

 15) The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

 16) Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.

17) This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

 18) The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

 19) That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.

Purim Established

 20) Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far,

21) to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar

 22) as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23) So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.

 24) For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction.

 25) But when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles.

 26) (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them,

 27) the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed.

 28) These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

29) So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim.

 30) And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance—

 31) to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation.

 32) Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.

Chapter 10: God’s Gifts

 The Greatness of Mordecai

1) King Xerxes imposed tribute throughout the empire, to its distant shores.

 2) And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia?

3) Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Purim is still celebrated by the Jews today in a huge festival that children love. They wear costumes, eat fancy foods, read the story together, sing, dance, and have a fantastic time. Many Jewish feasts, such as Passover and Hanukkah, follow the same pattern: They tried to get us, we got away, let’s eat!

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the heroes of the Bible faced impossible situations in which their only hope was to trust God. Even though Isreal’s exile didn’t end with the events of Esther, God delivered them and provided spoil and celebration to go with it. His deliverance isn’t always the way we planned, and it isn’t always easy. In fact, many times, his deliverance is emotionally very difficult for us. Why? Because we must grow. His deliverance rarely looks the same way twice. We don’t go into trial just to survive but end up better off than we were.

Perhaps today, you need deliverance. Everyone I talk to now seems to be going through major life-altering events. You may face overwhelming hardships or an enemy that seems to want to destroy some aspect of your life. Perhaps the Coronavirus is your Haman. Know that God can deliver us, but it may require us to do hard things in faith. Instead of preserving her own life, Esther strived to protect the lives of those around her. This is extremely hard to do.

When I felt lonely, I have found that if I brought comfort to those around me who were lonelier, my own loneliness disappeared. When I was needy, I gave to those who needed more, and somehow I always had enough. When I was afraid, I lost that fear when I needed to protect those around me. The faith God requires of us is to give up our desperate need to care for ourselves and to start looking for those who need our care more. Our comfort, our needs, our wants, and our safety is important to God. I am not saying it isn’t, but we can deliver ourselves out of the impossible situation. We have to leave that to God. We can, though, be God’s hand to deliver others out of their impossible situation.

If you thought about it, you would see how this has happened to you, perhaps in more minor situations. Perhaps just in the act of giving the perfect gift, you felt elated. Maybe you have done bigger things and made more significant sacrifices in the past, but you overlooked this principle before. It amazes me how no matter what we have done in the past, the present will always stretch us even more to do more.

You may be facing an impossible situation that is keeping you awake at night. It may be creating anxiety and depression. Call out to God, and then look to see if you may be here for such a time as this for someone else’s deliverance… which will often lead to your own.