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Esther 8-10

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Esther Chapter 8

Upon the execution of Haman (see Mordecai and Haman), two Jews became the second and third most powerful people in The Persian Empire - Esther was the queen, and Mordecai replaced Haman as prime minister. Only King Ahasuerus had more political power in the Persian empire (see also Emperor), which at that time included the land of Israel (see map below).

"On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her; and the king took off his signet ring [see Signets], which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman." (Esther 8:1-2 RSV)

Persian Empire Map

The earlier proclamation of the king "to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children" (Esther 3:13 RSV) still remained however. Such royal proclamations could not be simply revoked because it would give the (true) impression that kings could make mistakes, so Queen Esther and Prime Minister Mordecai offered a solution - another royal proclamation that would enable (with lawful authority and the hardware) the Jews to defend themselves.

"The king's secretaries were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan [see Bible Calendar and Bible Months], on the twenty-third day; and an edict was written according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews to the Satraps and the governors and the princes of the Provinces from India to Ethiopia, a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language [see Languages]. The writing was in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's ring, and letters were sent by mounted couriers riding on swift Horses that were used in the king's service, bred from the royal stud.

By these the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, with their children and women, and to plunder their goods, upon one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, and by proclamation to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to avenge themselves upon their enemies." (Esther 8:9-13 RSV)

"Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine Linen and Purple, while the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them." (Esther 8:15-17 RSV)

Esther Chapter 9

What was to have been a bloodbath of the Jews in Persia became instead a bloodbath by the Jews in Persia, "So the Jews smote all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering, and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them" (Esther 9:5 RSV)

Sword

"Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be executed, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to get the mastery over them, but which had been changed to a day when the Jews should get the mastery over their foes, the Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on such as sought their hurt. And no one could make a stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen upon all peoples." (Esther 9:1-2 RSV)

"So the Jews smote all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering, and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa [see Bible Places] the capital itself the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men, and also slew Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews" (Esther 9:5-10 RSV)

"Now the other Jews who were in the king's provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies, and slew seventy-five thousand of those who hated them; but they laid no hands on the plunder. This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness." (Esther 9:16-17 RSV)

The Jews' "days Purim" (i.e. an observance created by Jews, for Jews) originated at that time.

"But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the open towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting and holiday-making, and a day on which they send choice portions to one another. And Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending choice portions to one another and gifts to the poor." (Esther 9:18-19 RSV)

"Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. And therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had befallen them, the Jews ordained and took it upon themselves and their descendants and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every family, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants." (Esther 9:26-28 RSV)

Esther Chapter 10

The Book of Esther ends with the proclamation that "Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus."

"King Ahasuerus laid tribute on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brethren, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people." (Esther 10:1-3 RSV)

Fact Finder: (a) Was Jesus Christ an observant Jew? (b) Why did some Jews falsely accuse The Messiah of being a "sinner"?
(a) See Aliyya and Haftara
(b) See Did Jesus Break The Law?


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