From the very start of the Book of Esther, King Xerxes of Persia is introduced as great. He rules from his winter capital city of Susa over a vast land stretching from Northern India to the Upper Nile. His empire is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-faith and his rule is impressive in its organization.Read More
King Xerxes regrets his hot-headed dismissal of Queen Vashti and, on advice of counsel, authorizes a search for beautiful young women throughout his provinces. They are culled from their families and communities and placed in the royal harem in Susa. Far from home and family, they undergo a year-long regimen of beauty treatments.Read More obedience, identity
When Mordecai hears of the decree to kill the Jews, he responds with grief. In deep mourning, wearing sackcloth and ashes, Mordecai makes himself a spectacle throughout Susa. His fellow Jews respond and also wearing sackcloth and ashes, lament and fast as they cry out for help.Read More communication, God hears!
“There are six or seven kinds of people the Lord doesn’t like: Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder, those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong, those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble in a family” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Haman, proud and evil, fits this description.Read More pride, God’s providence
Haman’s death does not put an end to terror. The law enacted for the genocide of the Jewish people was still in play, ready to take place in the twelfth month of Adar. So even though the King passes on to Esther and Mordecai all of Haman’s wealth and makes Mordecai one of his highest officials, Esther urges the King to do the right thing.Read More doing the right thing
Given the perversity of Persian law-making, once a law is enacted, it cannot be revoked. The first law enacted for the thirteenth day of Adar authorized the enemies of the Jews to kill and wipe them out. To countermand this first law, the second law enacted for the thirteenth day of Adar authorized the Jews to come together and to attack and kill their enemies – in defense of their lives.Read More restraint, God’s deliverance, defending lives