Esther 8:3-10:3

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Esther 8



In our last message we saw Haman exposed for what he was and hanged. We also saw Mordecai given the signet ring of King Ahasuerus or Xerxes, which indicates that he was now second in authority in the Persian Empire, second only to the king.


Unfortunately, although Haman was now dead, the decree that all Jews could be killed was still in effect because the laws of the Persians could not be altered.


I remind you of Esther 3:13

Esther 3:13 And the letters were sent by posts [i.e. by couriers] into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish [i.e. and to annihilate], all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar [i.e. on March 7, 473 B.C.], and to take the spoil of them for a prey [i.e. and to plunder their possessions, and to seize their possessions as plunder].


            C.  Jews delivered, and took revenge – 8:1 - 9:19


                        1.   Mordecai received royal position – 8:1-2


                        2.   Second proclamation sent out – 8:3-14


Its intent was to counteract the first proclamation sent out by Haman.


Esther 8:3 And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears [i.e. implored him with tears] to put away the mischief [i.e. to counteract the evil] of Haman the Agagite, and his device [i.e. his plot or his scheme] that he had devised against the Jews.


Esther 8:4 Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,


Esther 8:5 And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse [i.e. to revoke] the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy [i.e. to annihilate] the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces:


Esther 8:6 For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred [i.e. of my countrymen]?


Esther 8:7 Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.


Esther 8:8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you [i.e. as you please, as you see fit, as seems best to you], in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring [i.e. signet ring], may no man reverse [i.e. can no one revoke].


Esther 8:9 Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof [i.e. on the twenty-third day of the month]; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers [i.e. to the satraps, the governors, and the princes] of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof [i.e. in its own script], and unto every people after their language [i.e. in their own language], and to the Jews according to their writing [i.e. in their own script], and according to their language [i.e. and in their own language].


Esther 8:10 And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with the king’s ring [i.e. signet ring], and sent letters by posts [i.e. by couriers] on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries [i.e. riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds]:


Esther 8:11 Wherein [i.e. in which] the king granted [i.e. permitted] the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life [i.e. to protect (or defend) their lives], to destroy, to slay [i.e. to kill], and to cause to perish [i.e. and to annihilate], all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women [i.e. the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children], and to take the spoil of them for a prey [i.e. and to plunder their possessions],


Esther 8:12 Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.


8:8-12 – (RSB) Though the king could not revoke the previous decree Haman had devised . . ., there was no reason why a counterdecree could not be issued. Mordecai proceeded to issue such a decree with the kings’s approval, thereby permitting the Jews to defend themselves, kill their attackers, and take spoils on the day Haman’s decree was to become effective. The counterdecree was issued on June 25, 474 B.C. and disseminated posthaste, allowing the Jews about eight months to prepare to defend themselves.


Esther 8:13 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people [i.e. 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], and that the Jews should be ready against that day [i.e. so that the Jews would be ready on that day] to avenge themselves on their enemies.


Esther 8:14 So the posts [i.e. couriers] that rode upon mules and camels [i.e. who rode on royal horses] went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace [i.e. the citadel or the capital].


                        3.   Jews rejoiced – 8:15-17


Esther 8:15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel [i.e. in royal robes] of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.


Esther 8:16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.


Esther 8:17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day [i.e. a holiday]. And many of the people of the land became Jews [i.e. became proselytes of Judaism]; for [i.e. because] the fear of the Jews fell upon them.


Esther 9


                        4.   Jews took revenge – 9:1-19


Esther 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution [i.e. (the time) came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed], in [i.e. on] the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them [i.e. hoped to overpower them], (though it was turned to the contrary [i.e. although the opposite occurred], that the Jews had rule over them that hated them [i.e. in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them];)


9:1 – (RSB) it was turned to the contrary. Another indication of the sovereign providence of God.


Esther 9:2 The Jews gathered themselves together [i.e. gathered together, assembled] in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt [i.e. to lay hands on those who sought their harm]: and no man [i.e. no one] could withstand them; for [i.e. because] the fear of them fell upon all people.


Esther 9:3 And all the rulers [i.e. officials] of the provinces, and the lieutenants [i.e. the satraps], and the deputies, and officers of the king [i.e. all those doing the king’s work], helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.


9:3 – (RSB) The rulers, torn between two contradictory decrees, wisely decided, in view of Mordecai’s popularity, to obey the one issued by Mordecai!


Esther 9:4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house [i.e. palace], and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater [i.e. he became more and more powerful].


Esther 9:5 Thus the Jews smote [i.e. defeated] all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction [i.e. with slaughter and destruction], and did what they would [i.e. and did what they pleased] unto those that hated them.


Esther 9:6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew [i.e. killed] and destroyed five hundred men.


Esther 9:7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,


Esther 9:8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,


Esther 9:9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,


Esther 9:10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they [i.e. they killed]; but on the spoil [i.e. on the plunder] laid they not their hand.


9:10 – (RSB) Though the Jews had a right to the spoil, they did not take it (8:11; 9:15-16).


Esther 9:11 On that day the number of those that were slain [i.e. killed] in Shushan the palace [i.e. the capital, the citadel] was brought before the king.


Esther 9:12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.


Esther 9:13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.


9:13 – (RSB) Why Esther asked permission to continue the massacre in Shushan for a second day is not stated. . . . Perhaps she had learned of further attacks being planned against the Jews. Publicly hanging, or impaling, Haman’s already dead ten sons sent a strong warning to others.


Esther 9:14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.


Esther 9:15 For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew [i.e. killed] three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.


Esther 9:16 But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together [i.e. gathered together, assembled], and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew [i.e. killed] of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,


Esther 9:17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.


Esther 9:18 But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.


Esther 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions [i.e. presents] one to another.


 IV.     Feast of Purim Established – 9:20-32


Esther 9:20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh [i.e. near] and far,


Esther 9:21 To stablish [i.e. to establish] this among them, that they should keep [i.e. should celebrate] the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly [i.e. annually],


Esther 9:22 As the days wherein [i.e. on which] the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions [i.e. presents] one to another, and gifts to the poor.


9:17-22 – (RSB) Jews in the provinces celebrated their victory on the fourteenth day of Adar, whereas Jews in Shushan waited until the fifteenth (because of the events of v. 15). Eventually Mordecai ordered that both days should be observed annually as the Feast of Purim. . . .


Esther 9:23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun [i.e. accepted the custom as they had begun], and as Mordecai had written unto them;


Esther 9:24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised [i.e. had schemed, had plotted] against the Jews to destroy them [i.e. to annihilate them], and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;


Esther 9:25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device [i.e. Haman’s evil plot or Haman’s wicked scheme], which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.


Esther 9:26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for [i.e. because of] all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them [i.e. because of what they had seen and what had happened],


Esther 9:27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them [i.e. the Jews established it and imposed it upon themselves], and upon their seed [i.e. and their descendants], and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep [i.e. so that they would not fail to keep (i.e. to observe, to celebrate)] these two days according to their writing [i.e. according to their written instructions], and according to their appointed time every year [i.e. annually];


Esther 9:28 And that these days should be remembered and kept [i.e. observed, celebrated] throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial [i.e. nor the memory] of them perish [i.e. fade, die out] from their seed [i.e. from their descendants].


In 2017, the reformed Jews will celebrate the Feast of Purim on March 11 and 12.


9:29-31 – (RSB) Later, a second letter was written by Esther and Mordecai together, in which they enjoined fasting (which they had personally been observing) on all Jews in connection with Purim.


Esther 9:29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority [i.e. with full authority], to confirm this second letter of Purim.


Esther 9:30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,


Esther 9:31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, [i.e. at their appointed times] according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them [i.e. had prescribed for them], and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed [i.e. for their descendants], the matters of the fastings and their cry [i.e. and their lamentations].


Esther 9:32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book [i.e. in the records].


Esther 10


   V.     Greatness of Mordecai Described – 10:1-3


Esther 10:1 And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute [i.e. a tax] upon the land, and upon the isles [i.e. the islands] of the sea.


10:1 – (RSB) a tribute, perhaps to pay for his disastrous expedition to Greece.


Esther 10:2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration [i.e. the account] of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto [i.e. to which] the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?


Esther 10:3 For Mordecai the Jew was next [i.e. second] unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of [i.e. well received by] the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed [i.e. to all his countrymen, to all the Jewish people].


10:3 – (RSB) Mordecai held the office of first minister no longer than eight years, for secular history records that another man was in that office in 465 B.C.


(BKC) As the original Jewish readers read this account, they would have been struck by the way God was sovereignly protecting them, often when they did not even know it. Many things in the Book of Esther happened that were beyond anyone’s control except that of God, who oversees history. And the Book of Esther is filled with irony, with ways in which events turned out unexpectedly and in favor of God’s people. Queen Vashti, a Persian, was deposed so that Esther, a Jewess, could become queen and save her people. Haman, once exalted, was brought low, and Mordecai and the Jews were exalted and honored. A decree that would have wiped out the Jews was overruled by one which led to the destruction of nearly 76,000 enemies of the Jews. No wonder Purim was celebrated yearly with such rejoicing: to help the Jews remember that God is in control and that people should faithfully worship and serve their great God.


This sermon is the 4th part of the series, Study of Esther. Other sermons in this series are: