January 28, 2016.
Reading: Esther 6-10.
Background: Esther 1-5.
Concepts and Connections.
Mordecai honored: In this chapter we see the hand of God at play as the very night before Haman planned to have Mordecai hanged, the king’s heart is troubled so that he could not sleep. He orders for the records of memorable deeds to be brought and read, and the story of how Mordecai had prevented the assassination of the king is read to him (see Esther 2:19-23). When he found out that nothing had been done to honor Mordecai because of this, he calls in Haman and asks him what should be done for the one that the king wished to honor. Haman’s pride is shown here as he couldn’t think of anyone else the king would want to honor other than himself, so he tells the king to honor the man by bringing him royal robes worn by the king and a royal crown, and to have him ride on the king’s horse throughout the city with proclamation. We see through this answer that Haman certainly had a problem with pride and arrogance. However, he did not see what was coming next, as the king told him to do everything he just said for Mordecai the Jew. Haman is humiliated when he carries out the command of the king. He was coming that very day to talk to the king about hanging Mordecai, and then he was commanded to honor him. Even his wife said that he would surely fall and not prevail over the Jews. The chapter ends with the king’s eunuchs arriving and carrying Haman to the feast that Esther had prepared for them (see Esther 5:8).
Haman’s demise: As Haman arrives at the feast that Esther had prepared for him and the king, his downfall continues. After the feast and while drinking wine, the king asks Esther again what her request is. She finally reveals her heart to him and asks for the life of her people, for they were scheduled to be annihilated. When the king hears this, he is enraged and asks who would dare do such a thing. Esther points straight to Haman, and the king left in drunken fury. Haman knew he was in trouble, and in the kings absence, he begs for Esther’s mercy to deliver him, but when the king returns, he sees Haman and says that he is even assaulting the queen! The eunuchs take Haman away and suggest that Haman be hung on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Thus, Haman was hung on his own gallows, and the wrath of the king was satisfied.
The salvation of the Jews: Though Haman had been hung on the gallows, the Jews were not quite out of trouble just yet, for any decree that had been signed in the name of king with his signet ring could not be revoked, and Haman had scheduled a day of annihilation for the Jews with the king’s ring. Here, Mordecai is given the signet ring that was previously given to Haman, and he is set over all the house of Haman. Esther goes to the king once again in a bold move, and when the king holds out his scepter to her so that she does not die, she pleads for her people. He tells Esther to go write in the name of the king anything that she pleases concerning the Jews. Thus, in a clever way, Mordecai writes an edict that doesn’t revoke Haman’s precious edict, but rather circumvents it. He gives the Jews authority in every city to band together and defend themselves, take vengeance on all their enemies and plunder their goods. Remember that there really wasn’t a strong opposition to the Jews in the first place, it was only Haman that hated them. Thus, when Mordecai sent out this edict and then went out from the presence of the kings in royal robes of blue and white, the fear of the Jews fell upon the peoples of the country. They say whose side the king was on, and they knew that it would be in their best interest to be on their side too. Many even declared themselves Jews on that day. Thus, through Esther’s bold moves, salvation had been brought to the Jews. There was gladness and joy among the Jews that day, and it was declared a feast and a holiday. They would still face a tough day when their enemies tried to destroy them, but they knew they would be delivered.
Deliverance and Purim: When the day that Haman had set for the annihilation of the Jews finally came to pass, we see the enemies of the Jews rise up against them. Their plans were turned back on their own heads, however, as the Jews gather together to defend themselves. The officials and royal agents also helped the Jews defend themselves because they know that Mordecai was great in the house of the king, for his fame had become widespread. Thus, the Jews were able to overcome and destroy their enemies on the very day that Haman meant for them to be annihilated. Even in the capitol city, 500 of the enemies of the Jews were killed. The king asks Esther what else she would wish for, and she asks the king to allow the Jews in the capital city to have victory over their enemies on the next day just as they did on that day. Her wish is granted and 300 more enemies of the Jews are killed in Susa and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. Thus, the Jews in the villages and rural towns held the 14th day of the month of Adar as a holiday, for it was the day after they killed 75,000 of their enemies. The Jews in the city held feasted and celebrated on the 15th day. Mordecai recorded all these things and he and Esther declared both the 14th and the 15th days of the month of Adar as holidays. They called the two days Purim, and they were to be kept throughout their generations to remember how the Jews had been delivered. All these events and instructions were recorded in writing and sent throughout the 127 provinces of the kingdom for the Jews to hear. It is on Purim that the Jews remembered the miracle that God had worked through normal human events, showing His hand in the deliverance and salvation of His people.
The honor of Mordecai: The book of Esther ends with a record of the position and honor of Mordecai, and calls on another source, the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia, to cite all his great acts of power and might. Mordecai was promoted to second in rank to King Ahasuerus and he continued to seek the peace and welfare of his people, the Jews.
Next Reading: Revelation 12-17.
Look for His hand in your life.