Read Esther 8
The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews
8 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Esther has another courageous request to bring before the king. She has no idea what the outcome will be, but she faithfully steps forward a second time. In verse 3, we see she pleads, falls at the king’s feet, weeps, and begs for mercy on behalf of her people. King Xerxes miraculously extends favor again. He gives Esther and Mordecai complete permission to issue a new decree that would overturn Haman’s evil plot. Once written, it was rushed throughout the land of Susa to empower the Jews to defend themselves. The Jews immediately celebrate because it is obvious God is rescuing His people.
God’s will was to preserve His people from destruction. He orchestrated the right people in the right places at the right time. Esther and Mordecai did not know what the outcome would be, but they stepped forward faithfully and acted courageously to save His people from death. They were elevated to positions of influence so God could use them.
The Lord is working the same way today. His will is going to be done. However, it is not always clear how He is working. Is He working when people we love are threatened? How is He working when we feel alone? What is His plan in the middle of a challenging season? No matter what it looks like at the time, we know God is working. Even when it all looks wrong, we know God is working. God still longs to save the people of this world from death. That is why He sent Jesus. Like Xerxes’ new decree that overturned Haman’s evil plot, Jesus is our “new decree” that overturns Satan’s evil plot. Satan doesn’t win in the end.
God’s people should emulate the courageous faith and passion we see in Esther. We should seek to save the lives of those around us. Romans 6:13 says, “Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” We each could be the right person in the right place at the right time God uses to bring forth life to someone in darkness. What if God is preparing us for this time? Believers in Jesus should be praying for the exact outcome we see in Esther 8:17—that many people would come to faith in Jesus because they see how He has miraculously rescued us. Let it be so!
- What did you learn about God from this chapter?
- Who was the right person (or people), in the right place, at the right time who shared the Gospel with you? Thank God for them right now. How can you be that in someone else’s life?
- What circumstance in your life requires you to step forward with courageous faith like Esther? Remember, God is already at work in ways you can’t see.
By the Way
Consider what we have to learn from the life of Haman. He had achieved all earthly success. In the end it was all for nothing. Solomon, who had also reached the pinnacle of earthly success (even more so than Haman) says this in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil”.
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