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, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.
In the latter part of chapter eight, and now in chapter nine we see that the tables have turned. The Jews have power over the enemy. We can compare this to the power that each believer has been given by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was on earth with His disciples, He sent them off to preach the gospel but not without assistance.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. ~ Luke 10:19-20, KJV
And just before His ascension in Acts chapter 1, He promised that power would come to all believers:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ~ Acts 1:8, KJV
In much the same way that God gave strength by the Holy Spirit to all believers, Mordecai brought strength to his people.
Do a little soul searching to find the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Does it convict you? Does it comfort you? Does it guide you? Perhaps you can think of some specific ways He's at work:
For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.
Reading this, I'm reminded of the verse from 1 John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." That's powerful!
Think back to chapter 8 where I asked you this question:
Read Ephesians 6:14-17. What does God offer in order to equip us for battle? One of your answers should have been, “the sword of the spirit.”
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~ Ephesians 6:17, KJV
Without the sword of the spirit, believers are helpless to fight the battle against temptation, sin, and doubt. When Jesus was fasting in the desert for 40 days, He fought His temptation with knowledge and obedience to scripture.
Because of the Bible we are equipped to fight temptation too. Here is a great verse that shows us why we need to study the scripture, and why our obedience to truth is also important:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, KJV
Knowledge of the word doesn’t merely help to defend us against non-believers who question our faith, it’s defends us against our own imagination, internal arguments, and disobedience. It is the light that guides our conscience and exposes sin.
What are some specific ways that knowing the Bible might protect us from sin? Can you think of any time in your life when conviction, knowledge or obedience has been there to save you?
Do you read the Bible on a regular basis? Is there anyway that you should be improving this area of your life?
And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand. On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.
An interesting thing to note here is that the Jewish people didn’t lay hand on the spoil. However in Esther chapter 8:11, the King had given them every right to:
Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. ~ Esther 8:11, KJV
It’s evident by their actions that there were fighting for their life not for the things of this world. This is the same fight that we’ve witnessed in Esther throughout the story. She is always focussed on the goal ahead which is to attain life for both her and her people.
What are some of the things you like about the character of Esther?
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. 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.And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.
We know from the previous verse that Haman’s sons were already dead, so why would Esther request that they be hanged? My understanding of this is that a public execution would put fear into the people.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. ~ 1Timothy 5:20, KJV
For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand. But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey.
Again they had opportunity to take the riches, but the Jewish people took none.
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. 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.
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 one to another.And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly.
This feasting of gladness is still celebrated every year amongst the Jews on the 13th of Adar, it is called the feast of Esther. That is followed by Purim which begins at sunset of the same day and end at sunset on the 14th. However, Sushan Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar.
This is how Wikipedia explains it:
It was decided that while the victory would be celebrated universally on Adar 14, for Jews living in Shushan, the holiday would be held on Adar 15. Later, in deference to Jerusalem, the Sages determined that Purim would be celebrated on Adar 15 in all cities which had been enclosed by a wall at the time of Joshua’s conquest of the Land of Israel.
Also, a very interesting fact to note on this day: it is commonly accepted by scholars that Moses was born on the seventh of Adar (http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/tetzaveh/mrz.htm) and therefore, if Moses was circumcised six days later, this ceremony would have taken place on the 13th of Adar—the same day that the Jews triumphed over the Persians!
That’s very symbolic since circumcision represented the cutting away of the flesh, and the putting off of a former life. I love little facts like that!
Have you exchanged your sinful life for a new life? If not, you can make that decision right now by bowing your head and asking God to forgive you for your sins and inviting Jesus into your life. He promises new life to all who put their faith in Jesus.
As the days wherein 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 one to another, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them.
“Rested--” did you catch that? The Jews finally found rest from the enemy. The New Testament talks a lot about rest, in fact so does the Old Testament, since the beginning of time when God rested on the seventh day.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
What this verse is referring to are those people who are trying to get right with God on their own merit. It can’t be done. The Old Testament laws were full of commandments and ordinance’s that were impossible for anyone to keep. There were so many laws within laws that trying to keep them was not only a burden it was impossible. “Righteousness” is one of the main themes in the book of Esther. This story has taught us that righteousness is imputed to us. It’s given to us freely through faith in Jesus Christ. The only thing that Esther did was come boldly to the throne. That is what each and every one of us is asked to do, “Come unto me...”
Sin is the enemy that condemns us to death, but those who come to the throne of grace find forgiveness, righteousness, and rest.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:1-2, KJV
Remember—there were two decrees that went out in this story: the first one sentenced the Jews to death, and the second offered them life. Those two decrees were symbolic of these two laws:
- The law of sin and death
- The law of the spirit of life
How does trying to get right on your own merit differ from living in obedience to the King? It might be a tough question, but I'd like you to think it through taking into account everything we've studies in these nine chapters.
Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; And that these days should be remembered and kept 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 of them perish from their seed.
The other Jewish feasts have been ordained by God, but this one was ordained by the Jews and has since continued throughout the generations. As I pointed out earlier, it is an important feast among the Jews even to this day.
Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. 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, To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
Every time I see that Mordecai is penning a letter I’m reminded of the Bible written by holy men of God who were moves by the Holy Spirit. It says, that Esther and Mordecai “wrote with all authority.” There are many people who will scoff at the Bible saying that it is written by man, but those who have faith in Jesus Christ believe that it is inspired by the Holy Ghost. One of Jesus’ closest disciples—Peter, on who he proclaimed to build His church--confirms this to be true:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. ~ 2 Peter 1:20-21, KJV
As I mentioned in a recent chapter, Mordecai represents the Holy Spirit, and we've really seen that symbolism come out in this chapter.
And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto 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 unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.
The story concludes with Mordecai receiving a generous reward from the king. His importance also recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings.
Their story inspires believers to trust God's wisdom and timing, and to stand strong in the face of persecution.
What I personally liked most about the story is that the King is ready and willing to fight for his bride!
That concludes this study. I hope you enjoyed it!
Find previous chapters here:
Esther Chapter 6
You are loved by an almighty God,
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