From Fasting to Feasting

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I am always surprised when I find out a certain person is related to someone else, or a friend of mine knows a friend of mine from long ago.  How often do we say, “It’s a small world?”  God made people to interact and develop relationships, yet it still amazes me the connections people have.

After Haman was hung on the gallows that he had constructed for Mordecai, the King gave Queen Esther the house of Haman.  “And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her.” (Esther 8:1).  The king has learned in the last 24 hours that the Queen is a Jew and that Haman, his right hand official, is evil and was plotting to rid the nation of Persia of an entire people group, the Jews.

Esther did not have to identify herself as a Jew.  She could have continued to keep it a secret.  The King could have said he thought Haman’s plot to destroy all the Jews was a good plan. According to Haman, the Jews were insubordinate and “do not keep the king’s laws.” (Esther 3:8).  Rather Esther jumped in with both feet and proudly proclaimed her lineage as a Jew.  “For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated.” (Esther 7:4).

Now Esther proudly proclaims that Mordecai is her uncle.  (Esther 8:1).  The King loses no time in honoring Mordecai.  The signet ring he had given to Haman now is bestowed on Mordecai.  Again, such a quick turn of events in 24 hours.  Haman was the second highest in command at dinner with the King and the Queen with gallows in the distance waiting to be used for Mordecai.  Now 24 hours later, Haman is dead on the gallows intended for Mordecai, and the signet ring once on Haman’s finger is now being worn by Mordecai.

The hand of God moves when He wants it to move according to His timing and through his ways.  We should be quick to surrender our plans to the Lord’s and be willing servants in the plans He has for us.

The work of Esther is not complete.  She has exposed the evil plot against the Jews via Haman and Haman has met his demise, but the edict still stands:  “to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13).  According to Persian law “an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” (Esther 8:8).  Esther must come up with a plan so this decree will not be enacted, so she goes to the King again and pleads for her people.

The King did not waste any time in deciding to rectify the situation.  “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…” (Esther 8:8).  Mordecai summoned the King’s scribes and had a new edict written, “the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 8:11).

In other words, the Jews could defend themselves against any who wanted to come against them and kill them.  Not only could the Jews defend themselves, but the Jews could plunder the goods of those who attacked them.  The edict for the Jews and against the Jews was the same.

Questions:

  1. Timing is important and understanding the timing of all these events helps us to put events into perspective. Look up the following verses and record the timing of each, when they happened.

*Esther 3:7 (first date)

*Esther 3:7 (when Haman went to the King)

*Esther 8:9

*Esther 8:12

  1. What was the timing before Esther 3:7? (Esther 3:3,4)
  1. What similarities is there between Esther 3:14, 15 and 8:13, 14?
  1. Compare Esther 3:15b with Esther 8:15-17. What is the difference in the people?
  1. In Esther 3:15b we see that the King and Haman sat down together after the decree was issued and had a drink together. This shows their nonchalant attitude about the decree and about the millions of people that would be annihilated, because of the disdain Haman had for Mordecai.  One man’s pride would cause the destruction of an entire race.  Compare this with the attitude seen of Esther and Mordecai in Esther 8.
  1. Esther 8:17 closes the chapter with an interesting change of events. How had the tables turned?
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