Study Notes

Esther 8:3-10:3


As you recall from our study last Thursday night, we left off in our study of the book of Esther as the main characters are in a good news/bad news situation. Haw-MAWN, the man who plotted the death of Mor-dek-AH-ee and his people the Jews, has been exposed and put to death. As a result, Mor-dek-AH-ee has been given a high position in the kingdom. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the decree which Haw-MAWN distributed in the king's name is still in effect, and, under Persian law, cannot be nullified. That means that in less than nine months, any citizen of the Persian Empire will be able to kill any Jew in order to take their property and wealth.

It is time for Esther to pay another visit to her husband the king.

8:3-4 Another Visit To The King

Esther came to the king again, under the same circumstances. That is, if she walked in and the king did not immediately extend to her the golden scepter in his hand, the door guards would kill her. Fortunately, the king extended the scepter again, and Esther was allowed to live.

Now, I don't think that she had the same fear of entering the throne room that she'd had the first time. Remember, back in chapter four, she was pretty convinced back then that if she walked in to the king's throne room, she would die. She resigned herself to this fate, saying,

Esth. 4:16 "...I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."

This time, there was no hesitancy. She immediately fell at the king's feet. I think there is a lesson we can learn from this. Psalm 47 says,

Ps. 47:2 ...the LORD Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth.

There are similar rules surrounding Him that surrounded the Persian king. God is so righteous that no one can see His face and live (Exod. 33:20). And the soul that sins shall die (Ezek. 18:4).

But God has professed His love for us, and encouraged us to approach Him anytime we wish. The gift of life He grants to us each time we do is not extended in the form of a scepter, but a Mediator.

1Tim. 2:5-6 For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all...

We come to God's throne room on the basis that the Son of God died in our place already.

When the scepter was extended to Esther, she was able to arise and stand before the king. So too with us. We have been granted life, and so we may approach with boldness.

Hebr. 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

8:5-8 What To Do?

Esther asked if the king could revoke the decree which had been sent out by Haw-MAWN, which he'd stamped with the king's signet ring. But there was a real problem: the law, once issued, could not be nullified or revoked. It was such a foundational truth of their empire's government, that even the king himself could not overturn it.

The only solution he had to offer was that she and Mor-dek-AH-ee could write another decree to the Jews and send it out. What could they possibly write? "Run away before it's too late"?

8:9-12 A Silly Solution?

It was the month of See-VAWN, and the Jews had about eight months before they would be attacked. The decree which was sent out to them said that when the last decree went into effect, they would be allowed to defend themselves against their attackers.

Every time I've read this in the past, I have thought, "That's it? That's the plan? How lame is that?" This certainly doesn't seem to be the ideal way to turn this whole thing around, after all. But remember, they were under a bureaucratic system of red tape which didn't allow for anything else to be done.

Lately, I have actually found great comfort in this part of the history. You see, we as Americans are constantly running into the brick wall of government.

Last week, the IRS sent me a letter telling me that my taxes were done wrong. They said I owe them another two or three hundred dollars, plus penalties and interest. Of course, they didn't bother to tell me what I had done wrong, and so I'll probably end up doing this again next year.

We've been trying to make the intersection at the church property safer, since there are always accidents at that corner. One government department says, "We can't do anything." Another says, "We won't do anything." We decided to pay to do it ourselves, which sends us into a whole new avenue of bureaucracy. The other day, our guy calling this was passed from person to person five times, until he was sent to the office of a government worker who is out of town!

I'm sure each of you has a dozen stories of frustration with governmental and bureaucratic red tape. But here's the great news: Although the red tape created by the bureaucracy of law can seem at times to be even above God being able to work, God can always work, in the midst of any human system. Whatever laws man wants to make, God will still deliver the righteous! Whatever roadblocks are put in their way, God will always save His people!

A Decree Of Defense

The first decree authorized genocide. The second decree allowed the victims to defend themselves. The difference between defeat and deliverance was simply this: Tell God's people that they can defend themselves!

This is often the simple key to victory. Paul was certainly aware of this, for he told the Ephesians,

Eph. 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Be in a defensive position, armed and ready. If you're prepared, you will have victory over your enemy.

8:13-14 Same Courier Service

Notice that the new decree was distributed via the same system of messengers which had transported the first one. The same couriers who brought the message of the devil now bring the message of deliverance.

This tells me that we can use the same media and methods as sinners, if they are not sinful in themselves. Music is used to get the devil's message across, so we can certainly use it for the message of deliverance. Television is used to promote the agenda of demons, why not the agenda of the Divine? If the mail is used to promote the things of the flesh, why not the things of the Spirit? Radio has broadcast the carnal message, so we can and do use it to broadcast the Christian message.

A truck can transport beer or Bibles, and if the internet can give a voice to pornographers, it can also give a voice to pastors. So let's not dismiss effective methods of distribution because the world has used them for evil.

8:15-17 Mordecai In Royal Robes

Look at the difference in the result of the two decrees: When Haw-MAWN's message was distributed, there was confusion (3:15), loud and bitter wailing (4:1), and mourning and weeping (4:3). When Mor-dek-AW-ee's message was sent out, it resulted in shouting and rejoicing (8:15), light, gladness, joy, and honor (8:16).

It's really amazing that the news can have such an impact on people. And we don't get much good news nowadays. The proverb says,

Prov. 25:25 Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.

Saints, people today are weary, and in need of good news. We've got the best news there is, so why are so many of us not sharing the good news, the gospel, with these weary souls?

9:1-4 The Jews Victorious

As had happened so many times before and since, the Jews once again had supernatural victory over their enemies.

9:5-10 No Plunder Taken

Five hundred men rose up against the Jews in Shoo-SHAN, the capitol city. Every one of them were defeated. Additionally, Haw-MAWN's sons, who'd been taught to hate the Jews by their father, also attacked them and were defeated. These were Par-shan-daw-THAW, Dal-FONE, As-paw-THAW, Po-raw-THAW, Ad-al-YAW, Ar-ee-daw-THAW, Par-mash-TAW, Ar-ee-SAH-ee, Ar-ee-DAH-ee, and Vah-yez-AW-thaw.

Haw-MAWN, the son of Ha-med-aw-THAW the Agagite, would have no more offspring. Finally, all of the Amalekites were destroyed.

Notice this too: although the decree had said that the Jews could plunder the spoil, they did not touch it. Throughout the years, the Jews have been stereotyped as hungry for money, to be gained in any way possible. And yet, history such as this tells quite a different story.

9:11-16 Another Day Is Added

There were 300 more of the Jews' enemies hiding out in the capitol city, planning assaults for the following day, when they would not be expecting an attack or allowed to defend themselves. Esther got permission from the king to extend the decree of the Jews' defense to the next day, which undoubtedly saved hundreds or even thousands of lives.

The total number of people who rose up against the Jews throughout the Persian Empire - in spite of the defense decree - was over 75,000! As unbelievable as this is, people given over to sin will often rise up against the righteous - even against God Himself!

9:17-32 Purim

An informal celebration of the victory was later turned into an official holiday. The feast was named "Purim," after the lots which Haw-MAWN had cast to determine what day the Jews could be killed. The word is actually a hybrid of Babylonian and Hebrew. "Pur" means "lot" in Babylonian, and it was pluralized using the Hebrew "im." This tells us that Haw-MAWN was casting at least three lots when determining the date, because "im" is the Hebrew plural which denotes three or more.

That is, incidentally, another method to demonstrate the triune nature of God: one God in three Persons. Of course, there is one God, but He is clearly shown to be in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The singular word for "god" in Hebrews is "el." If there were two gods being discussed, the word would be changed to "ella," for that is the dual plural. But if there are three or more, the word used would be "elohim."

Here's the kicker. Deuteronomy 6 says,

Deut. 6:4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Or, "Sh'ma Yisro-ayl! Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh echod!" "Yahweh" is the proper name of God, so the proclamation could accurately be translated, "Hear, Israel! Yahweh is three or more gods, Yahweh is one!" He is three, He is one. He is one God, He is three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

10:1-3 Mordecai's Position

Not only were the Jews saved, but now they had a strong advocate in the government's second highest position. God's people will always be given the victory eventually, and what is meant for evil against them will always turn out for good eventually.

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