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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. He must stop what Haman has set in motion – to kill every Jewish person in the kingdom.
Most of Esther 8 focuses on King Xerxes and all that he does to do the right thing, with the support of Esther and Mordecai, his new leadership team. The laws of the Medes and Persians are perverse, in that once a law is passed, it cannot be revoked. Xerxes gives permission to Esther and Mordecai to make another law that can save the lives of their people.
By the third month of the year, King Xerxes’ secretaries write and translate the new law into all the languages used in the kingdom. The law bears the authority of the King’s name and the King’s signet ring and is sent out by mounted messengers to every part of Persia.
The new law, read everywhere and to everyone, counters the genocide already authorized. It gives permission to the Jews to defend themselves against any army that attacks them and permission to kill all enemies, including women and children, and to plunder their enemies’ belongings.
The new law for Jewish self-defense transforms the people. In Susa, all the inhabitants cheer at the good news. The Jewish inhabitants feel like they have already won a victory! In the provinces, the Jews who had fasted and mourned now partied and celebrated. Some of the non-Jewish people in the provinces even accept the Jewish religion, because they are awestruck by what has happened for the Jews, whom God has not left defenseless.
God, Arm me with courage, stamina, and wisdom, that I might not go part ways with my circle of influence, but that I do the right thing, go the distance, so that people might know you and live lives that flourish. Amen.