Haman is no longer a threat but his edict is. After telling the whole story a new edict is written. Save this date as a remembrance of the salvation granted.
Ester has identified Haman as the enemy of her people. He has been hanged on his own gallows for falling on Ester, begging for his life. Nothing had gone right for him with his plan, except for the edict he had issued. But Ester and Mordecai will deal with this next. It’s time for Ester to tell Ahasuerus the WHOLE story. Let’s rejoin them as Ester shares all her secrets.
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Ester averted her eyes the moment Haman’s body fell through the opening on the gallows. She was not afraid but neither was she a fan of death. Haman had earned his fate though so she did glance one last time at his still body as it hung suspended between heaven and earth when Ahasuerus said, “It is finished. He will trouble you no more. Moreover, this day, ALL he owns is yours. I give you the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews.”
The two of them turn from the porch and walk back into the palace. “There is more that I need to tell you my king.”
“It would seem so. Let’s go to the garden and you can tell me what is on your heart.”
The two of them walk to the king’s garden. Ahasuerus brings Ester to his favorite spot and offers her the bench to sit on. Ester sits down and Ahasuerus walks over by the fountain. He gazes at the water as he readies himself to listen to Ester’s tale.
“First of all, yes, I am Jewish. I was born in captivity. My mother was of Persia and my father of Judah. Both my parents died when I was young and I was raised instead by my cousin, Mordecai. He is the son of my father’s brother. He is the only father I have ever truly known. He has always treated me with love and kindness. Never has he made me feel as if I am a burden to him. I owe him all that I am.
When the king brought together the virgins to find for himself one suitable to be his queen, I was taken along with the other virgins. Instead of washing his hands of me, as most fathers did, Mordecai came daily to the palace to check on me. He wanted to make sure I was being treated well. My cousin was concerned that, if it were discovered that I was Jewish, I may have been deemed unsuitable and turned into a slave instead.”
The king looked back over his shoulder at his beautiful queen. “You do not carry any of the features of the Jews. You must favor your mother.”
“I am told that I do.”
“Your cousin counseled you well, for I know not what would have become of you if the eunuchs tending the haram were aware of your heritage. I am most grateful that they were not. There has been no better queen in all the land.”
Ester bows her head in acceptance of the king’s praise.
“Tell me more of your cousin. He is the one who discovered the plot against me. His name was honored only this morning for his deed.”
“He is a loyal servant to the king. Not once has he asked for anything for himself. He seeks no recognition or position of power. He is very wise and well educated in many different areas, including matters of law and state. My people look to him for guidance.”
“I would meet with him myself.” Ahasuerus turned to one of his eunuchs who are ever present. “Have Mordecai the Jew brought before me in the throne room.”
The eunuch bows and hurries off to the king’s gate. This is the place where Mordecai can be found every day. While the eunuch is seeking out Mordecai, Ahasuerus and Ester make their way to the king’s throne room to wait.
Mordecai is easy to find. He has a specific place where he sits daily by the king’s gate. He doesn’t even have to lay claim to this spot as everyone knows of his custom and leaves it open for him.
“Mordecai, the king has sent for you. He awaits you in his throne room.”
Without a word Mordecai stands up, brushes the dust from traffic through the gate from his tunic and follows the king’s eunuch into the palace. This is the first time he has been inside the structure itself. Any time he met with Ester it was in one of the courtyards. He can’t help but look around at the beauty that is the king’s home as he is led to the king.
Upon entering the throne room Mordecai dips his head in respect to the king. The king holds out the royal scepter and Mordecai touches it in respect of the king’s office then steps back a few paces.
“Mordecai, Ester has told me of her relationship with you. She has shared many of your attributes, including the fact that you are well versed in the areas of politics and law. I find myself in need of a replacement advisor, since the one I trusted before has betrayed that trust.”
Mordecai remained silent waiting to hear what the king proposed.
“I can think of no one who has served this house so faithfully as you. Come forward.”
Mordecai closes the distance between the king and himself. Ahasuerus pulls from his own hand his signet ring that he took from the hand of Haman.
“Extend your right hand.”
Mordecai does and the king slips the ring on his index finger. “This is a symbol of my authority. Whatever you seal with this ring bears my name and approval. Use it wisely.”
“I will honor it and the king it represents with my life.”
“Cousin Mordecai, the king has also given me the house of Haman to do with as I please. It pleases me to give it to you to manage.”
“This is indeed a great honor my queen and a wonderful end to an enemy of the Jewish people.”
Ester is pleased to see her cousin receive these honors but their people are still in grave danger. The plot of Haman MUST be stopped! Mordecai is too new in his position to make such a request. It falls to her once again. With fear and trembling she falls at the king’s feet and begins to weep.
Ahasuerus has never seen her so distraught. He knows the best thing he can do is wait for her to make her needs known.
As she weeps, Ester begins to share her heart. “My king, my people are in extreme danger. Haman the Agagite has given permission for their animation and affixed the king’s seal to the order. They are to be struck down and killed, without mercy. He hated my people beyond measure.”
Ahasuerus’ heart was moved by Ester’s pleas. He extended his scepter to her. It was an invitation to rise and speak her request directly. Ester touched the end of the scepter with her right hand. She wipes her tears from her face and composes herself before rising. She needs to be clear when she makes her request to the king. There can be no misunderstanding, as her people’s lives depends on it.
Ester clasps her hands together at her waist with her elbows tucked at her sides. She is determined not to fidget as she makes her request known. “If it pleas the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agaite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king…” Ester drops her hands as if in defeat. “…For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction for my kindred?” (verses 5-6).
The king’s heart is torn by Ester’s obvious distress. He would give her up to half of his kingdom but this thing he cannot give. And it breaks his heart. He has another idea though that may solve her problem. He presents his alternative to the two of them.
“Behold, I have given Ester the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews, But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked” (verse 7b-8).
Mordecai understood exactly what the king was saying. The original decree could not be rescinded. The enemies of the Jews had been given permission to attack them with impunity and with a promise of reward. BUT Mordecai could write a new law that would give the Jews an avenue of protection. This would need to be written carefully to protect the Jews and also maintain the king’s good favor.
Ahasuerus summoned his scribes and he sat listening as Mordecai dictated to them what to include in this second edict.
“Be it here known that by order of the great King Ahasuerus. On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of this year, for one full day, it is granted to the Jews to gather together in every city and town to ‘defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate ANY armed forces of ANY people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods’ (verse 11b).”
This proclamation gave the Jewish people the right to strike back against those who would come at them. It did not give them license to attack first. Their lives must be in danger from another. It was Mordecai’s sincere hope that this second proclamation would deter any from taking up arms against the Jews; knowing that they would meet resistance instead or striking a helpless people.
The king nodded his approval of all that Mordecai had dictated. Mordecai’s reasoning was sound and ANY who lost their lives on that day will have done so by their own choice.
“A copy of this is to be translated and written in EVERY tongue in the kingdom and dispatched immediately. Copies are to be posted in every square in every town and read aloud for all to hear” ordered Mordecai.
“Have couriers standing by with the swiftest of horses to ensure this is delivered throughout the kingdom. There is time yet before the appointed day but there are preparations to be made beforehand. Ensure that ALL the 127 provinces are reached before the new moon.”
The scribes hurriedly got to work translating the order. As soon as each was ready, Mordecai sealed it with the king’s signet ring. After it was sealed it was handed off to a courier who stood waiting. He then mounted his horse and sped off to complete his duties.
While this was going on, the king had royal robes of blue and white brought out to place upon Mordecai. A great golden crown was brought forth to adorn his head and a robe of fine purple linen would replace his own. This would show the people Mordecai’s new status. Once the last edict had left the court, Mordecai was helped to change into his new garments.
Arrayed in all the finery of the king, Mordecai stepped from the palace and walked to the city square. He stood beside the scribe while he read the king’s edict and he translated it into Hebrew himself so the Jews could hear it in their own tongue.
Mighty shouts went up throughout the city as the news made its way from house to house. Rejoicing abounded wherever the Jews gathered. Feasts were called and a holiday was proclaimed by the Jews because of the news. There were many people who joined in the celebration with the Jews and pledged themselves to join their cause. The people knew that the God of the Jews had somehow reached out and saved them once again and they were afraid to cross them. With hopes that the God of the Jews would protect them also, many people declared themselves Jews.
(to be continued)
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For more than two months the Jewish people had the sword of destruction hanging over their heads. Now they had a remedy. It was not a total removal of the problem but it was a ray of hope. Their salvation would require an act of faith on their part. They would have to believe that God would be with them as they stood against the enemy.
The Jews knew when and how their enemy would attack, which is more than we usually know. Satan isn’t known for letting us in on his plans. Often his attacks are ‘crimes of opportunity’ when we wander into places and things we shouldn’t. We open the door with sin and he is MORE than happy to press the issue.
God is NEVER caught off guard! I have found that, more often than not, He has already prepared a way for me out of the danger. All I need to do is look to Him to find it. “For such a time as this” Ester and Mordecai were placed in the path of the king. The Jews had their salvation in place before the danger even existed. And when the time came, they had to turn to Him in order to work it out. There is still more work to be done in the story of Ester. There are nine months of preparation still ahead. PLEANTY of time to get their battle plans ready.
Father God, thank You for the salvation purchased by Jesus. This was put into place LONG before I was born. The promise was put into play from the very foundation of the world. You NEVER leave me without hope and You NEVER have to scramble for a solution. I trust you in ALL things! You have proven to me on MANY occasions that I can trust You with my future. I look forward to seeing what You have prepared for me next!