This is Episode #151 and today we’ll read Esther chapters 6-10 together. Our story of Esther concludes with the bad guy getting his just desserts and the nation of Israel being saved.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #151 and today we’ll read Esther chapters 6-10 together. Our story of Esther concludes with the bad guy getting his just desserts and the nation of Israel being saved.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Esther Chapter 6
Mordecai Honored by the King
That night sleep escaped the king, so he ordered the book recording daily events to be brought and read to the king. They found the written report of how Mordecai had informed on Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the entrance, when they planned to assassinate King Ahasuerus. The king inquired, “What honor and special recognition have been given to Mordecai for this act?”
The king’s personal attendants replied, “Nothing has been done for him.”
The king asked, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman was just entering the outer court of the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows he had prepared for him.
The king’s attendants answered him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.”
“Have him enter,” the king ordered. Haman entered, and the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king wants to honor?”
Haman thought to himself, “Who is it the king would want to honor more than me?” Haman told the king, “For the man the king wants to honor: Have them bring a royal garment that the king himself has worn and a horse the king himself has ridden, which has a royal crown on its head. Put the garment and the horse under the charge of one of the king’s most noble officials. Have them clothe the man the king wants to honor, parade him on the horse through the city square, and call out before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.’”
The king told Haman, “Hurry, and do just as you proposed. Take a garment and a horse for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the King’s Gate. Do not leave out anything you have suggested.”
Haman is Mournful
So Haman took the garment and the horse. He clothed Mordecai and paraded him through the city square, calling out before him, “This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.”
Then Mordecai returned to the King’s Gate, but Haman hurried off for home, mournful and with his head covered. Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai is Jewish, and you have begun to fall before him, you won’t overcome him, because your downfall is certain.” While they were still speaking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and rushed Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.
Esther Chapter 7
Haman Is Executed
The king and Haman came to feast with Esther the queen. Once again, on the second day while drinking wine, the king asked Esther, “Queen Esther, whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”
Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if the king is pleased, spare my life; this is my request. And spare my people; this is my desire. For my people and I have been sold to destruction, death, and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. Indeed, the trouble wouldn’t be worth burdening the king.”
King Ahasuerus spoke up and asked Queen Esther, “Who is this, and where is the one who would devise such a scheme?”
Esther answered, “The adversary and enemy is this evil Haman.”
Haman stood terrified before the king and queen. The king arose in anger and went from where they were drinking wine to the palace garden. Haman remained to beg Queen Esther for his life because he realized the king was planning something terrible for him. Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Would he actually violate the queen while I am in the house?” As soon as the statement left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.
Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “There is a gallows seventy-five feet tall at Haman’s house that he made for Mordecai, who gave the report that saved the king.”
The king said, “Hang him on it.”
They hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s anger subsided.
Esther Chapter 8
Esther Intervenes for the Jews
That same day King Ahasuerus awarded Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai entered the king’s presence because Esther had revealed her relationship to Mordecai. The king removed his signet ring he had recovered from Haman and gave it to Mordecai, and Esther put him in charge of Haman’s estate.
Then Esther addressed the king again. She fell at his feet, wept, and begged him to revoke the evil of Haman the Agagite and his plot he had devised against the Jews. The king extended the gold scepter toward Esther, so she got up and stood before the king.
She said, “If it pleases the king and I have found favor with him, if the matter seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let a royal edict be written. Let it revoke the documents the scheming Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how could I bear to see the disaster that would come on my people? How could I bear to see the destruction of my relatives?”
King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, “Look, I have given Haman’s estate to Esther, and he was hanged on the gallows because he attacked the Jews. Write in the king’s name whatever pleases you concerning the Jews, and seal it with the royal signet ring. A document written in the king’s name and sealed with the royal signet ring cannot be revoked.”
A New Edict
On the twenty-third day of the third month — that is, the month Sivan — the royal scribes were summoned. Everything was written exactly as Mordecai commanded for the Jews, to the satraps, the governors, and the officials of the 127 provinces from India to Cush. The edict was written for each province in its own script, for each ethnic group in its own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language.
Mordecai wrote in King Ahasuerus’s name and sealed the edicts with the royal signet ring. He sent the documents by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses bred in the royal stables.
The king’s edict gave the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every ethnic and provincial army hostile to them, including women and children, and to take their possessions as spoils of war. This would take place on a single day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar.
A copy of the text, issued as law throughout every province, was distributed to all the peoples so the Jews could be ready to avenge themselves against their enemies on that day. The couriers rode out in haste on their royal horses at the king’s urgent command. The law was also issued in the fortress of Susa.
Fear of the Jews
Mordecai went from the king’s presence clothed in royal blue and white, with a great gold crown and a purple robe of fine linen. The city of Susa shouted and rejoiced, and the Jews celebrated with gladness, joy, and honor. In every province and every city where the king’s command and edict reached, gladness and joy took place among the Jews. There was a celebration and a holiday. And many of the ethnic groups of the land professed themselves to be Jews because fear of the Jews had overcome them.
Esther Chapter 9
Victories of the Jews
The king’s command and law went into effect on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar. On the day when the Jews’ enemies had hoped to overpower them, just the opposite happened. The Jews overpowered those who hated them. In each of King Ahasuerus’s provinces the Jews assembled in their cities to attack those who intended to harm them. Not a single person could withstand them; fear of them fell on every nationality.
All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the royal civil administrators aided the Jews because they feared Mordecai. For Mordecai exercised great power in the palace, and his fame spread throughout the provinces as he became more and more powerful.
The Jews put all their enemies to the sword, killing and destroying them. They did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the fortress of Susa the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, including Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. They killed these ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. However, they did not seize any plunder.
On that day the number of people killed in the fortress of Susa was reported to the king. The king said to Queen Esther, “In the fortress of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men, including Haman’s ten sons. What have they done in the rest of the royal provinces? Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek will also be done.”
They Did Not Seize Any Plunder
Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, may the Jews who are in Susa also have tomorrow to carry out today’s law, and may the bodies of Haman’s ten sons be hung on the gallows.” The king gave the orders for this to be done, so a law was announced in Susa, and they hung the bodies of Haman’s ten sons. The Jews in Susa assembled again on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa, but they did not seize any plunder.
The rest of the Jews in the royal provinces assembled, defended themselves, and gained relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them, but they did not seize any plunder. They fought on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar and rested on the fourteenth, and it became a day of feasting and rejoicing.
But the Jews in Susa had assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth days of the month. They rested on the fifteenth day of the month, and it became a day of feasting and rejoicing. This explains why the rural Jews who live in villages observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a time of rejoicing and feasting. It is a holiday when they send gifts to one another.
Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all of King Ahasuerus’s provinces, both near and far. He ordered them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar every year because during those days the Jews gained relief from their enemies. That was the month when their sorrow was turned into rejoicing and their mourning into a holiday. They were to be days of feasting, rejoicing, and of sending gifts to one another and to the poor.
So the Jews agreed to continue the practice they had begun, as Mordecai had written them to do. For Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. He cast the pur — that is, the lot — to crush and destroy them. But when the matter was brought before the king, he commanded by letter that the evil plan Haman had devised against the Jews return on his own head and that he should be hanged with his sons on the gallows.
For this reason these days are called Purim, from the word pur. Because of all the instructions in this letter as well as what they had witnessed and what had happened to them, the Jews bound themselves, their descendants, and all who joined with them to a commitment that they would not fail to celebrate these two days each and every year according to the written instructions and according to the time appointed. These days are remembered and celebrated by every generation, family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim will not lose their significance in Jewish life and their memory will not fade from their descendants.
Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote this second letter with full authority to confirm the letter about Purim. He sent letters with assurances of peace and security to all the Jews who were in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in order to confirm these days of Purim at their proper time just as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had established them and just as they had committed themselves and their descendants to the practices of fasting and lamentation. So Esther’s command confirmed these customs of Purim, which were then written into the record.
Esther Chapter 10
King Ahasuerus imposed a tax throughout the land even to the farthest shores. All of his powerful and magnificent accomplishments and the detailed account of Mordecai’s great rank with which the king had honored him, have they not been written in the Book of the Historical Events of the Kings of Media and Persia? Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus. He was famous among the Jews and highly esteemed by many of his relatives. He continued to pursue prosperity for his people and to speak for the well-being of all his descendants.
I have a difficult time wrapping my head around just how self-absorbed Haman was. How about you? His evil schemes begin to crumble when he is forced to show honor to the very guy he hated. You have to admit though. It’s the quintessential timing we have come to expect from God. He ordained this to happen on the very morning Haman was coming to talk to the king about hanging Mordecai. Should I be ashamed of how much satisfaction I get from this? And what can we say about Esther’s banquets? I don’t know what builds more suspense. The king’s abject devotion to the beautiful Esther, over and over offering her up to half his kingdom, or Haman’s ill-fated conceit over being invited to these exclusive events.
Finally, Mordecai and Esther knew they couldn’t change the king’s edict established thru Haman, but they could make a new one. Through their obedience, courage and God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, the Jewish nation was saved from extinction. So, what’s our takeaway from Esther? Well, as we tell the kids…God rules. There are no accidents or coincidences. I am again reminded of David’s awestruck declaration in Psalm 139:16b: …all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.
There are no accidents, my friend. Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. By the way, not only have you finished the 17th book of the Old Testament, you have conquered the sometimes-tedious history section. Tomorrow we delve into the five books of Poetry and Wisdom, beginning with Job. Great job!
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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