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|Posted on January 31, 2016 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
Esther 9:1 The new law and orders of King Ahasuerus took effect on the 13th day of the 12th month (the month of Adar). It was on this day that those who were enemies of the Jews had planned to overtake them, but that was not the way it happened. Instead, the Jews got the upper hand over those who conspired against them. 2 On that day, the Jews gathered together in their respective cities in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to fight those who sought their destruction. No army or nation could stand against them, because they were all frightened of the Jews.
The people were not frightened of the Jews but of the God of the Jews. God had shown His sovereign power by orchestrating events to turn the tables on the enemies of the Jews.
Esther 9:3 The nobles and governors of the provinces and also the king’s officials did what they could to help the Jews, but that was because they feared what Mordecai might do to them. 4 In King Ahasuerus’ palace, Mordecai grew more powerful. Word spread quickly throughout the provinces about Mordecai’s authority and influence.
Another aspect of this fear of the Jews is that there is now a Jew as second in command and another Jew as queen. Whereas Haman the Agagite (Amalekite) had been in control, now Mordecai has been given that position of authority. King Ahasuerus finally figured out who the good guys were. God gave not only Esther, but now Mordecai, favor in the eyes of the king.
Esther 9:5 The Jews took this opportunity to attack their enemies with swords, killing them. And then they did whatever they deemed reasonable with those who despised them. 6 Just in the city of Susa, the capital of the empire, the Jews killed 500 men. 7-10 That didn’t include the 10 sons of Haman (son of Hammedatha, enemy of the Jews): Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. They were also put to death. All of them were considered enemies of the Jews. But they did not touch the assets of their victims. 11 When the day was over, the number of those killed in his capital, Susa, was reported to King Ahasuerus.
In the capital alone, the Jews killed 500 of their enemies plus all ten of Haman’s sons. They did not plunder the spoils of their victims because it wasn’t about that for them. The king had given them permission to take what they wanted. However, when God originally told King Saul to demolish the Amalekites, He instructed Saul NOT to take any plunder. Saul disobeyed which led to his downfall. These Jews may have remembered this story and were careful not to make the same mistake. They learned from Saul’s disobedience. Their main goal was preservation of the Jewish nation.
Esther 9:12 Then the king spoke to Queen Esther.
King Ahasuerus: The Jews have killed 500 men in the capital of Susa alone, and also the 10 sons of Haman. How many must they have killed in the other provinces? Now, do you want anything more? Whatever you ask will be given to you. So, tell me; what further do you need? I will grant whatever that is.
King Ahasuerus loves Esther so much he is willing to grant her heart’s desire as far as is humanly possible. The king had probably lost many of his own army as well as many citizens of the capital. The king was willing to vindicate Esther perhaps because of the integrity she had always displayed. As previously noted, the Lord had given her favor in his eyes. The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine…” Deuteronomy 32:35, but He seems to be using Esther as the instrument of carrying out His wrath on the enemies of the Jews.
Esther 9:13 Queen Esther: If it pleases the king, allow the Jews in Susa one more day to exact justice on their enemies according to your decree. And let Haman’s 10 sons be displayed on the pole.
14 The king honored Queen Esther’s wishes. An order was issued in the city of Susa, and the dead bodies of the 10 sons of Haman were displayed. 15 So on the 14th day of the month of Adar, the Jews killed 300 men in Susa. But they didn’t touch any of their assets.
The queen always prefaces a request with, “If it pleases the king.” She makes her request humbly. Even when the king is willing to receive her demands, she never uses a demanding tone. She still shows respect for the king’s authority. All together 810 men were killed by the Jews in Susa, but they still took none of their property.
Esther 9:16 In the meantime, the Jews who lived outside Susa in the king’s provinces also gathered together to defend themselves and find freedom from their enemies. In total, the rural Jews killed 75,000 of their enemies, but they didn’t touch any of their assets. 17 All of this took place in the provinces on the 13th day of the month of Adar, and on the 14th day the Jews rested and celebrated with food and drink.
18 Since the Jews in Susa had gathered together to defend themselves on the 13th and 14th days of the month of Adar, they rested on the 15th and celebrated with food and drink. 19 (This explains why the Jews who live in rural areas and villages continue to celebrate on the 14th day of Adar with food and drinks and send gifts to one another.)
After annihilating the enemies who had planned to completely destroy them, the Jews had a big celebration. Even the rural Jews did not take any of the assets of the conquered.
The remainder of the book of Esther from chapter 9:20 to the end of chapter 10 reads like the “Cliff Notes” version of the entire story. Mordecai kept a journal and wrote letters about the events to Jews in all the provinces. Since Haman had originally cast lots (Pur) to determine the best day to slaughter the Jews, Mordecai and Esther established the annual feast of Purim to commemorate the time when God elevated a Jewess to the position of queen of Persia to save her people from annihilation. According to the notes in the John MacArthur Study Bible, Purim is “the first and last biblically revealed, non-Mosaic festival with perpetual significance.” In other words, the other feasts still celebrated by the Jews were established by Moses.
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. God is always at work protecting His people. Even though he disciplined them through allowing them to be taken captive, He still preserved them. He is also able to preserve you through trials.
2. God is sovereign and cannot be thwarted. Take comfort in this fact.
3. Read from Esther 9:20 through the end of the book in order to solidify what you have read and learned in the story of this Jewish heroine. The Lord knows we need repetition in order to thoroughly learn, so he had the writer of Esther include this summary.
4. Choose a key verse that has been meaningful to you from this study and take the time to memorize it. Many people memorize Esther 4:14b
Since this completes our study of the book of Esther, we ask you to watch for an in depth study of the book of Philippians next. Make time in the next few days to read completely through the book of Philippians since it only contains 4 chapters. Having the entire context is very helpful before taking a book apart verse by verse. If you do not own a Bible or would like to read it in more than one translation, go to http://www.Biblegateway.com and read it online.
|Posted on January 26, 2016 at 10:40 PM||comments (0)|
Esther 6:1 That same night the king was unable to sleep, so he ordered the official records of his reign to be brought and read before him.
What does a king do when he cannot sleep? He has the record of his reign read to him, so he can relive his glory days. Even sleeplessness can be due to the divine work of our Lord.
Q – What do you do when you absolutely cannot go to sleep? Have you ever thought that the Lord might have you awake for a purpose? To pray? To study?
Esther 6:2 As the record was read, the king was reminded of the time when Mordecai saved his life. Mordecai had been the one who reported that Bigthana and Teresh, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the doors, were plotting to assassinate the king.
King Ahasuerus (to his servants): 3 Did Mordecai receive any recognition for this action? Was he honored in any way?
Servants: He received no recognition for this.
It had been five years since Mordecai reported the plot against the king’s life, and he had never received a reward for this good deed. The king’s readers chose the portion of the record that reported that his life was saved by Mordecai. I believe God directed them there. Having been made aware of this incident, the king wanted to know if Mordecai received any kind of thank you. The servants reported that he had not. Maybe one of the reasons Haman and King Ahasuerus got along pretty well is because they were both self-absorbed, two peas in a pod. Perhaps they saw their own reflection, a mirror image when they looked at each other.
Esther 6:4 King Ahasuerus: Is anyone out in the court now?
Haman had just arrived at the outer court of King Ahasuerus’ palace. He hoped to speak with the king about executing Mordecai and hanging him on the pole he had prepared.
Servants: 5 Haman is here waiting in the court to see you.
King Ahasuerus: Allow him to come in.
The king asked if there was any official in the outer court. Enter Haman at exactly the wrong time! He was there because he was going to talk to the king about the plan to impale Mordecai on a pole. He had no idea what the king had just read! Haman had no clue how close he was to putting his big foot in his self-promoting mouth.
Esther 6:6 So Haman entered the king’s chambers. He waited for the king to speak first.
Since the king had called for him, Haman chose to let the king be the first to open the conversation. This was both good and bad for Haman. Good that he didn’t immediately share his plot against someone the king wished to reward. But bad, as you will see, because his frustration with the Jew who would not bow down to him was about to be increased.
Esther 6:6b King Ahasuerus: Haman, I want to ask you something. What do you believe is the proper manner in which to honor a man who has pleased me?
Then Haman thought to himself, “There is no one the king wishes to honor more than me.”
Big mistake, Haman! In his vanity, Haman assumed he was the one to be rewarded. Isn’t it ironic that the king poses such an interesting question to Haman, and Haman had no thought of anyone else the king would want to reward other than him. Any official could have been in that outer court, but God was working toward not only honoring Mordecai and ultimately saving the Jews, but also putting Haman in his place.
Esther 6:7 Haman: If you desire to honor a man, I believe you should do this: 8 First, have your servants bring one of the robes you have worn and one of the horses you have ridden that has worn the royal crown on its head. 9 Then, you should give the robe and horse to one of your most noble officials. Have him robe the man whom you want to honor and then lead the man on horseback throughout the center of the city. It should be announced that this is what happens for the man whom the king wants to honor.
Since Haman was cocky and sure that he was to be the one honored, he set forth his own personal wish list. His idea was a lavish, extravagant plan to display the man’s honor for all the kingdom to see. Since I know the rest of the story I almost feel sorry for him, but not quite.
King Ahasuerus: 10 Your idea is perfect, Haman. I want you to go and do this immediately. Take one of my robes and one of my horses and do exactly what you have suggested to Mordecai, the Jewish man who sits at my gate. Do everything you have said, and don’t leave out one single detail. Not one!
The situation is now reversed, and Haman is forced to honor the man he has sought to kill.
Has the king forgotten he approved an edict to condemn all Jews to death? Perhaps since he allowed Haman to actually compose and seal that edict, it has slipped his mind. Haman now has the “privilege” of being the one to bestow all these honors on Mordecai. I see Haman going out of the king’s presence stomping his feet up and down and shouting, “Why!? It’s so unfair!” It was really a custom at this time in history to put royal crowns on horses, but to me that sounds like something out of a cartoon. However, this would say to all who saw this one person parade that he was being treated as if he were the king himself, wearing the king’s robe, riding his crowned horse, and being led by one of the king’s favorite nobles.
Esther 6:11 Haman was mortified. He took the robe and horse; he dressed Mordecai in the king’s robe and led him throughout the square of the city.
Haman (shouting): This is what happens for the man whom the king desires to honor!
The Bible does not tell us anything about Mordecai’s reaction to this turn of events, but I am sure he could see the irony of being so honored with his enemy having to lead the horse. The Bible does not describe the crowd’s reaction either, but I would think they would be absolutely dumbfounded, utterly speechless. The enmity between these two men was well known, so we can be certain there were probably two camps – Haman’s Persian friends, and Mordecai’s Jewish friends as well as Persians who respected him.
Q – Read Luke 14:8-12. Do you think this would have been good advice for Haman? Do you think he would have had the wisdom to heed this advice?
Esther 6:12 When it was done, Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman fled to his home, mourning and covering his head in humiliation. 13 He told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends everything that had happened to him. They offered him a bit of wise advice.
Zeresh and His Friends: You must be very careful with how you handle Mordecai! If he really is a Jew, a descendant of the nation that defeated your ancestors, then you won’t be able to succeed. In fact, you will most certainly be destroyed! Look, you’ve already begun to bow to him.
Reformation Study Bible notes:
6:13 you will not overcome him. Haman’s wife and advisers give voice to the belief that the Jewish people were indomitable and, perhaps, even to the view that their God was the living God. See the predictions about the fall of Amalek before Israel (Ex. 17:16; Num. 24:20; Deut. 25:17–19; 1 Sam. 15; 2 Sam. 1:8–16; cf. Dan. 6:26, 27; Josh. 2:11; 9:29; Ezek. 38:23).
Haman reacts like a wounded dog, hiding his face, with his tail between his legs.His mortification now seems complete. He told his wife and friends, the same ones who had advised him to have Mordecai executed, what he had been required by the king to do for Mordecai on behalf of the king. They now offer him advice that is polar opposite to their previous plot. Now they want him to treat Mordecai with kid gloves. His advisors now tell him the sad reality of his future. The destruction of the Jews is not eminent, but the destruction of Haman is.
Esther 6:14 In the middle of their conversation, the king’s eunuchs arrived at Haman’s house and rushed him off to have dinner with Esther and the king.
All of these events have transpired between banquet one and banquet two given by Queen Esther. Whereas Haman had been looking forward to the second dinner with the royal couple, there was now a damper on his excitement. Haman had no idea how bad this nightmare was going to become.
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Mordecai did not seek reward for his saving the king’s life, but the Lord caused the king a sleepless night to remind him to take care of this slight. Patiently await the Lord’s timing rather than demanding what you think you are due.
2. Likewise, do not assume you deserve the greatest honor and recognition. Better to behave humbly and be raised up than to elevate yourself only to be brought down. Proverbs 16:18 (VOICE) “Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall.”
|Posted on January 23, 2016 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Esther 4:1 Mordecai mourned when he found out what had happened. He ripped his clothes, put on sackcloth, and wiped ash onto his body. Then he went through the city, weeping loudly in anguish. 2 When he came to the king’s gate, not far from the palace, he stopped since those wearing sackcloth were not permitted to enter it and disrupt the mood of the court.
Mordecai goes into extreme mourning which may also reflect the idea that he knew his refusal to bow to Haman was at the center of this edict. He tore his clothes, put on the clothing of the poor, and put ashes on his body symbolic of death. He wailed in public! We do not often see men in the type of anguish expressed by Mordecai. I have observed it once. A dear friend of mine developed extreme complications a few days after giving birth to her first child. She had been married about a year to a man who had lost his first wife to a terminal illness. The doctor came into the ICU waiting room to tell her husband nothing else could be done, and he needed to know whether to remove her from life support. This poor man curled into a fetal position on the bench and wailed loudly amid profuse tears that he could not possibly make this decision again. I had never witnessed such intense emotion in a man. Mordecai was faced with the annihilation of ALL of his people and felt himself to be the cause! Mordecai saw himself as the source of the cloud of anguish that had enveloped his people. He took his mourning to the place where he had sat as one of the king’s officials, the king’s gate. Mordecai may have been hoping that Esther would hear the cries of his distraught and heavy heart. However, he could not enter in his mourning attire. There was a law that you could not appear in such a state in the court. No one could show a sad face in front of the king or disrupt the party spirit of the court. Nehemiah encountered this same rule when he approached the king of his day about returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall (Nehemiah 2:1-6).
Esther 4:3 In the meantime, as word of the king’s decree began to spread throughout all of the provinces, terrible distress grew among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and screamed out in misery. Like Mordecai, many put on sackcloth and ashes.
Mordecai was not the only Jew responding to the news of their coming destruction in this way. The entire populace of Jews “fasted, wept, and screamed out in misery.” What Mordecai and many of the Jews did was a demonstration of the intense helplessness that they felt. They feared they had no advocate to turn to. Once something was set down as a law in Persia, it could not be repealed or revoked. A seamingly hopeless situation. Many of them, like Mordecai, were assimilated into the Persian community. No wonder Susa was thrown into confusion. Their Persian neighbors may have been quite distressed by this edict as well. They had become friends with Jews and may have not even realized who among them were of this nationality. Now they were being told on a certain day in the future they were to kill these neighbors and their children!
Q – This is a historical account, so there is not a direct application to our lives. However, there are now Christians who are threatened with death in many countries. How might you react if you were given the choice to abandon the Lord Jesus or be killed?
Esther 4:4 Back in Susa, Esther’s maids and eunuchs witnessed Mordecai mourning outside of the king’s gate. They went and reported to the queen all that they saw.
Since Mordecai displayed his grief publicly, the maids and the eunuchs in charge of the king’s harem reported his distress to Esther. Mordecai knew that Esther could not see him because as queen she was protected. But he also knew her maids and the keepers of the harem would report his seemingly bizarre behavior to Esther.
Esther: What is wrong? Why is he doing this? It breaks my heart to think of him like this. Take these clothes to Mordecai so he can put them on instead of wearing sackcloth.
At this time, the queen had no knowledge of what had taken place. She must not have seen or heard of the edict, or she would have been able to figure out why Mordecai was mortified. Esther sent nicer clothes to Mordecai. Some propose that she wanted him to be fit to enter the court so she could speak with him in person and hear his explanation.
Esther 4:4b But when the servants arrived, Mordecai refused to wear the clothes Queen Esther had sent. 5 So Esther sent for Hathach, who was one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to serve her.
Esther: Hathach, go to Mordecai at once. Find out why he is mourning, and report back to me all that he says.
Since Esther did not know about Haman’s order, she did not understand Mordecai’s refusal to accept the appropriate court attire. Esther sent a representative to find out the cause of Mordecai’s wailing and wearing sackcloth and ashes. She charged him to report everything he found out to her.
Esther 4:6 Hathach went to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told the queen’s servant everything that had happened and how much money Haman had pledged to place into the royal treasury in exchange for the destruction of the Jews. 8 Then he gave Hathach a copy of the order for mass murder of the Jews, the same order issued in the city of Susa.
Mordecai: Show it to Esther. Tell her everything I have told you. Convince her to go before her king and plead for his favor, not only for her life, but also for the lives of her people.
Mordecai explained the entire situation to Hathach. Mordecai provided evidence in the form of a copy of the edict proclaiming that the Jews were to be annihilated on a certain date. He asked the eunuch to relay the story to Esther and be sure she understood the order. He wanted Esther to understand the full magnitude and weight of this order written by Haman and approved by the king. Hathach was instructed to persuade Esther to beg the king for the lives of the Jews and her own life as well.
Esther 4:9 Hathach returned to Esther and told her everything Mordecai had said. 10 Esther ordered Hathach to return to the city gate and reply to Mordecai.
Esther: 11 How am I supposed to see the king? It’s known throughout the land, from the greatest of the king’s officials to the common folk who live in the provinces, that any person who approaches the king in the inner chamber without being invited is sentenced to death. That’s the law! There’s only one exception, and that’s if the king were to hold out the gold scepter to that person and spare his or her life. It’s been 30 days since the king last summoned me!
Esther sent back a reply explaining the difficulty of meeting with the king. She had not been called into the king’s inner room in a month’s time. The king had commanded that anyone who entered uninvited was to be put to death unless he held out his scepter to them. Esther knew that if the king did not hold out the gold scepter to her, that she would be instantly executed. Guards were posted to make sure this rule was obeyed.
Esther 4:12 Hathach and the other servants took Esther’s response to Mordecai.
Mordecai: 13 Tell Esther, “Don’t be fooled. Just because you are living inside the king’s palace doesn’t mean that you out of all of the Jews will escape the carnage. You must go before your king. 14 If you stay silent during this time, deliverance for the Jews will come from somewhere, but you, my child, and all of your father’s family will die. And who knows? Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this.”
The Voice Bible Comments:
Of all the books in the Bible, Esther is unique because God is never once mentioned explicitly. Still, for those who know God and who know history, God is in the story, behind it, above it, beneath it. He is the main actor in history, even if He is not acknowledged. Here, Mordecai shows great wisdom. The Jews, God’s chosen people, will be delivered whether Esther involves herself or not. Divine Providence has ways and means that go beyond human understanding. Still Providence has made Esther queen for a purpose, a purpose she cannot easily escape.
Mordecai reminded Esther that her position as queen would not spare her from the edict because the order was to kill ALL the Jews. Mordecai expressed his faith that God would deliver the Jews with our without Esther’s help. He tells her that the Jews would be saved even if she chose not to be the instrument of deliverance. He also prophesied that if she refused, she and her family would NOT be delivered but would die. Then he made the most often quoted statement of the book of Esther, “And who knows? Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this.” God’s providence had arranged for her to find favor and be queen for this specific purpose.
Q – Do you believe our God is still sovereign over history in the making today? Does He still providentially place His people where they need to be?
Esther 4:15 Once again, Hathach returned to Queen Esther with Mordecai’s message. In turn she sent a reply back to Mordecai.
Esther: Tell Mordecai, 16 “In preparation for my audience with the king, do this: gather together all the Jews in Susa, and fast and pray for me. Intercede for me. For three days and nights, abstain from all food and drink. My maids and I will join you in this time. And after the three days, I will go in to the king and plead my people’s case, even though it means breaking the law. And if I die, then I die!”
17 Mordecai left the king’s gate and put all of Esther’s instructions into action.
Esther sent word to Mordecai to organize a fast on her behalf. Most translations of the Bible do not use the words “and pray” or “intercede”. However, prayer always accompanied Jewish fasts in the Old Testament. This was to be longer than the usual one day fast which denotes the gravity of the situation. She and her maids would also fast for three days. When Esther would go before the king this time, she definitely would not be donning her fashion face but her fasting face. After three days of fasting, she would look tired and weak; and Persian kings wanted healthy women. She determined that after this time of fasting and prayer, she would take the risk of entering the king’s presence without being summoned. She fearlessly resolved within her heart to obey Mordecai even though that meant disobeying the king and the possibility of her own eminent execution if she did not find favor with the king. She courageously stated, “And if I die, then I die!” She made this declaration despite her fear to show that she was willing to risk her life to save her people. When Mordecai received this message from Esther, he left the king’s gate to gather the people and do as Esther had instructed him.
APPLY THIS IN YOUR LIFE:
1. Pray for persecuted believers and for the strength to stand should you be faced with persecution in the future.
2. Meditate on the sovereignty of God. Reflect on ways He has used even “negative” situations to bring you to this point in your walk with Him.
3. Pray for the strength to stand firm when your faith is challenged.
|Posted on January 20, 2016 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
We apologize for the delay in getting this post up. I am diligently working on finishing the draft for the devotional book on joy. Only three scriptures left to explore!!!
Let us start this chapter with a little background information on the ancestors of the two key characters, Haman and Mordecai. Haman was called an Agagite which meant he was a descendent of Agag the king of the Amalekites. The Amalekites had opposed Israel as they fled Egypt to return to the Holy Land, so God had placed Amalek under a curse saying that nation would be destroyed by a future generation of Israelites (See Exodus 17:14-16). Fast forward to the time of Israel’s first king, Saul the Benjaminite. He is the ancestor of Mordecai. God commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites completely, including their cattle. (See 1 Samuel chapter 15) Israel was to take none of the customary spoils of war. However, Saul and his men kept some of the best cattle, supposedly to sacrifice to the Lord, and took King Agag captive rather than killing him. The Lord God made the prophet Samuel aware of Saul’s disobedience. Samuel confronted Saul and then took a sword and addressing King Agag, said, “Just as your sword has taken children from women, so will this sword make your mother a childless woman,” (1 Samuel 15:33). Then Samuel took a sword and hacked Agag to pieces! No wonder Haman hated the Jews and Mordecai had no respect for Haman!
Esther 3:1 A little while later, according to King Ahasuerus’ wishes, Haman (son of Hammedatha, an Agagite) was promoted to a rank above all his fellow nobles in the kingdom. 2 The officials at the king’s gate all bowed down before Haman and paid him homage because the king commanded this. But Mordecai, the Jew, refused to kneel and refused to honor him.
Officials (looking at Mordecai): Why are you disobeying the king’s command?
Esther 3:4 The officers questioned him daily about his disobedience to the king, but Mordecai refused to listen and bow down. The officers reported this to Haman to learn whether or not Mordecai’s excuse would be tolerated, for Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.
Mordecai’s reason for being a conscientious objector was his Jewish heritage. The Persian officials may or may not have understood his logic. The officials probably were not aware of the longstanding historical animosity between the Amalekites and the Jews. They went to Haman and asked if Mordecai’s reason for not kneeling and bowing down was acceptable.
Q – Mordecai stuck to his convictions about Haman even when questioned by the government officials and under the threat of punishment. Do you have the strength to stand up for what you believe to be right? Do you have the strength to stand up for Jesus? Ephesians 6:10-18 gives instructions on donning the armor of the Lord in order to stand firm.
Esther 3:5 Haman was furious when he saw that Mordecai refused to bow and pay him the respect he was due. 6 But Haman wasn’t to be satisfied with killing only Mordecai, so he began to think of ways to destroy all of Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
Haman was due respect according to the king’s decree but even more so in his own mind. Haman suffered from an extremely inflated ego and narcissism. It wasn’t enough for Haman to exact retribution against his arch-enemy, Mordecai. Haman’s desire was to desecrate and annihilate every Jew in Persia and its provinces.
Esther 3:7 During the 1st month (the month of Nisan) of Ahasuerus’ 12th year as king, they cast lots (also known as “purim”) in the presence of Haman in order to select a day and month. [The lot fell on the 13th day of] the 12th month (the month of Adar), a day nearly one year in the future.
Haman and his cohorts cast lots to determine the best day for the destruction of the Jews. This was a common method for determining dates and times. The date selected was nearly a year away. Then he approached the king with his dastardly plan.
Haman (to the king): Eshter 3:8 All the provinces in your kingdom are overrun with one insignificant group of foreigners, people who haven’t adopted our customs. Their laws differ from all other peoples’, and they do not keep your laws. Therefore it’s not a good idea for you to tolerate them or their actions any longer. 9 If it is your wish, sign an order that these people be destroyed, and I will bear all the costs. I’ll pay 375 tons of silver directly to those who carry out the king’s business in order to relieve the royal treasury of the expense.
Reformation Study Bible:
3:9 10,000 talents of silver. This enormous bribe is calculated to have been about two-thirds the annual revenue of the Persian Empire under King Darius.
Notice that Haman gave no indication of the nationality of the people he was proposing to be wiped out. He was so determined to persuade King Ahasuerus that he was willing to possibly impoverish himself and his family to execute his plan. He told the king he would finance the entire campaign.
Esther 3:10 Not knowing which group of foreigners was being targeted, the king took his signet ring, the symbol of his power and authority, from his finger and passed it to Haman (son of Hammedatha, the Agagite), who hated the Jews.
Reformation Study Bible:
3:10 signet ring. Yet another of the king’s impulsive responses authorized Haman to issue royal edicts (cf. Gen. 41:42). The repetition of Haman’s full name together with the added phrase, “the enemy of the Jews,” underlines the terrible predicament of the Jews at this point.
The king has been kept in the dark as to whom he would be destroying. He has no idea that his own Queen Esther is a member of this people group. The king was unwittingly being manipulated by Haman’s venomous hatred of the Jews. Once again, King Ahasuerus was acting with undue haste. The king was reacting to information without verification from sources other than Haman. He should have checked Haman’s “facts” for himself before issuing any decree.
Q – We see King Ahasuerus acting before confirming the validity of the facts and completely thinking things through once again. Do you take enough time to evaluate a situation or problem before acting? Do you gather information from trusted, proven sources? Is your main source the Word of God?
King Ahasuerus (to Haman): Esther 3:11 The money is yours and the people are yours also to do with as you wish.
The king did not accept the money, but gave Haman permission to do what he desired. I feel that the king was abdicating his responsibility. Ahasuerus wore the crown but allowed Haman to make too many pivotal decisions.
Esther 3:12 On the 13th day of the 1st month, the royal secretaries were summoned. The king’s order was written down exactly the way Haman dictated it to all of the king’s rulers of the regions, governors of the provinces, and nobles of the ethnic groups. The orders were written in every script and every language spoken in the provinces in the name of the king, and they were sealed into law with his ring. 13 Messengers were sent out to all the royal provinces with the official law giving the order to destroy, kill, and annihilate all of the Jews. They were to kill everyone, including women and children, young and old, on the 13th day of the 12th month (the month of Adar), and they were free to take everything the Jews owned. 14 An official copy of the king’s order was to be issued to every province and read publicly, so that the people could get ready for that day.
The king gave Haman the power to dictate the order himself and use the king’s signet ring to seal it. Basically, the king gave Haman the power to decree an order. It was translated so that everyone in all the provinces of Persia would understand it. The decree stated emphatically that they were to “destroy, kill, and annihilate all of the Jews”. No one could possibly misunderstand the intent of this decree. No one was to be spared. They were to kill even women and children. As the Jews were put to death, whoever killed them gained the reward of taking their possessions, the wealth they had accumulating even while living as captives.
Esther 3:15 The messengers were quickly dispatched by order of the king. Then the decree was publicly proclaimed in the citadel of Susa. As the king and Haman relaxed and drank wine, the city of Susa was thrown into chaos.
Haman had the king celebrating this edict. Meanwhile, the people living in Susa were trying to make heads or tails of such a proclamation. This proclamation made no sense to them. However, it was now law, had to be obeyed, and could not be rescinded or overturned.
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Mordecai stuck with his conviction that it would be wrong to bow to an enemy of his people even though he knew he could be executed for disobeying the king. Luke 14:33 (VOICE) “In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost!” Count the cost of serving Christ and stay faithful in serving Him anyway. The rewards far exceed the sacrifice.
2. King Ahasuerus seemed to make a habit of acting before his brain was fully engaged. When an important decision needs to be made, TAKE TIME to investigate options, pray, seek the Lord and godly counsel, BEFORE taking any action.