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Esther 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the month, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put into effect, on the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to conquer them, (but it was turned about so that the opposite happened- the Jews conquered those who hated them)- This theme of 'turning about so the opposite happens' is a major theme of Esther. The fasting of Esther is contrasted with the feasting of Haman and the king; and now it is the Jews who are feasting. Instead of the Jews being destroyed by their enemies, they destroy their enemies. The impression given is that there was to be a complete reversal of their fortunes. But this was the language of the restoration prophecies and the reestablishment of the Kingdom which was potentially possible at the restoration; see on Esther 8:13. The turning of curse into blessing is simply because God loves Israel (s.w. Dt. 23:5; Neh. 13:2). But the exiles had doubted His love, as Ez. 18 makes clear. But through this whole incident, God seeks to display His love to His people, and His grace.

Esther 9:2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, to lay hands on those who wanted to harm them. No one could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen on all the people-
Their gathering together to help each other was after the pattern of Esther not thinking only of her own salvation. Her example would have been inspirational in the mending of so many interpersonal relationship issues amongst the Jews, just as the Lord's example of mediation and sacrifice to achieve it should likewise for us. For "the fear..." see on :3.

Esther 9:3 All the princes of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and those who did the king’s business helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them-
The fear of Israel falling upon the peoples (also in :2) uses the very same phrase used about the effect of the Exodus miracles upon the Egyptians (Ex. 15:16; Ps. 105:38), with Mordecai functioning as Moses. And yet the same effect as the visible miracles was achieved by the invisible, non-miraculous hand of God working in human and national lives. The implication was that this was all to prepare the exiles for their intended exodus out of Persia and back to their land- but they refused to make good on what was set up for them.

Esther 9:4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai grew greater and greater-
LXX "For the order of the king was in force, that he should be celebrated in all the kingdom". The king was obviously deeply impressed by Esther and Mordecai, and surely was being himself nudged towards accepting the God of Israel by the transformation he witnessed in these secular Jews towards truly spiritual, brave people of principle.

Esther 9:5 The Jews struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with slaughter and destruction, and did what they wanted to those who hated them-
This suggests a primary fulfilment of the prophecy that the exiles in Babylon / Persia would become God's weapons of war with which to judge the nations where they had been taken captive (Jer. 51:20). The intention was that they would judge their captors, return to the land and be part of the reestablished Kingdom of God. But the exiles only allowed a partial fulfilment of this, and remained with their wealth in Persia; see on Esther 8:13-16.

Esther 9:6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men-
AV "In Shushan the palace". The extent of opposition to the Jews was therefore significant (800 killed in all, :15), despite Mordecai now being the prime minister, and the king clearly pro-Jewish. The pre-existing anti-Jewish sentiment was significant in the palace, and therefore Esther is revealed as the more brave for coming out as Jewish. Haman knew that his plan was tapping in to widespread support. If indeed Haman was the descendant of Agag the Amalekite (see on Esther 3:1) this would mean that the people killed here by the Jews would likely have been Amalekites. This would therefore have been a fulfilment of the prophecies about Yahweh's unceasing war with Amalek (Ex. 17:16) and Israel's final victory over them through Messiah (Num. 24:7 "higher than Agag"). No Messiah figure was in view; but had they returned to the land in faith and repentance, then the restoration prophecies stated that one would have arisen. And so we find here a partial fulfilment of the prophecies about Amalek and Agag, and not a complete one. See on :11.

Esther 9:7 They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha-
The "ten sons" of Haman is a phrase stressed four times in :10-14, and although ten are indeed listed here, the idea may mean "all his children" as in 1 Sam. 1:8. The Jews interpret Haman as representative of the yetzer harah, the evil inclination, which the New Testament at times understands as the great satan / adversary to spiritual life. The Jews then see in the meanings of the names of his sons the various characteristics of the flesh. Each of the names of the sons apparently contain the word “self” in the Persian language. Although the meaning of these names is hard to define, the Jewish view is that these first three names stand respectively for 'distance [from God]', 'door to bad intentions', 'gathering of money'.

Esther 9:8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha-
See on :7. The Jews define these names as meaning respectively 'a woman's private parts' [if spelt backwards]; 'pride' and 'preying like a lion to destroy others'.

Esther 9:9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha-
See on :7. The Jews define these names as meaning respectively 'ripping into division', 'subjugation of the righteous' and 'bitterness', the end result of all these various features of the fleshly life.

Esther 9:10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jew’s enemy; but they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder-
This is emphasized, because they had been given the right to do this (Esther 8:11). They were following the example of Abraham who refused to add to his wealth by taking the spoil of his enemies (Gen. 14:23). This can be read as a politically astute decision, so as not to give the impression they had orchestrated all this for their benefit; but there was surely thereby a nudge from God towards remembering that they were Abraham's seed, and ought to return to the land promised them as his seed.

Esther 9:11 On that day, the number of those who were slain in the citadel of Susa was brought before the king-
A king would surely be concerned about the outbreak of civil war. The fact he allowed the slaughter to continue right on his doorstep in Susa would suggest that he perceived that those killed were not his own people, but the supporters of Haman, Amalekites. See on :6.

Esther 9:12 The king said to Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in the citadel of Susa, including the ten sons of Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your further request? It shall be done-
Her first intercession had brought her to a position where now the king came to her, guessing what she would like and offering it. She doesn't come to him, he perceives what she wants and offers it to her. We possibly see here some insight into the nature of the Lord's relationship with the Father after He interceded for us on the cross. Rom. 8 describes all this as the intercession of the spirit, as if the Father and Son have a meeting of minds / spirit, and the Father knows and automatically grants what He knows His Son wants for His people.

Esther 9:13 Then Esther said, If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows-
We see here how circumstances repeat. Esther had previously come to the king with a request to come to a banquet, and then repeated that same request, to come "tomorrow". The Esther story shows clearly how things work according to a Divine plan which is multidimensional and yet has internal consistencies and similarities. See on :12.

Esther 9:14 The king commanded this to be done. A decree was given out in Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons-
We have just read in :10 of the murder of his sons. Perhaps the LXX is therefore to be preferred here: "And he permitted it to be so done; and he gave up to the Jews of the city the bodies of the sons of Aman to hang".

Esther 9:15 The Jews who were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and killed three hundred men in Shushan; but they didn’t lay their hand on the spoil-
This makes a total of 800 killed over the two days. See on :6 for the significance of this anti-Jewish sentiment in Shushan. For "spoil", see on :10. For "gathered themselves together" see on :16. Their refusal to take the spoil is mentioned three times (:10,15,16), and stands in contrast to the intention of taking their property as spoil under Haman's plan (Esther 3:13).

Esther 9:16 The other Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them; but they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder-
LXX renders "gathered themselves together" as "and helped one another". They were learning the lesson from the nervous teenager Esther, who didn't just seek her own salvation, but risked her life in order to bring about the salvation of all God's people. We see here how good spiritual attitudes can spread quickly and effectively.

Esther 9:17 This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness-
Israel being given "rest" from their enemies was the sign that they should now inherit the promised land (s.w. Dt. 12:10); rest from their enemies meant that they were to blot out the name of Amalek (s.w. Dt. 25:19). Clearly these things were coming about, seeing that Haman was an Amalekite and those they were killing were likely Amalekites (see on Esther 3:1). But they failed to go further with these Divine possibilities, just as we can fail to; see on Esther 8:13-16. Being given rest meant they could inherit the land (Josh. 1:13 s.w.) but they preferred to remain in Persia. Tellingly, the same word is used in Neh. 9:28, addressed to the exiles: "But after they had rest, they did evil again before You; therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies". 

Esther 9:18 But the Jews who were in Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth days of the month; and on the fifteenth day of that month, they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness-
The subtext to this otherwise positive picture of good triumphing over evil is that their day of feasting and gladness was prophetically intended to be in Zion (Is. 25:6 s.w.). They went into exile exactly because they had days of 'feasting' and didn't respond to the prophetic message (s.w. Is. 5:12). It was in Zion that they were to experience "gladness" (Is. 35:10) when they returned (Is. 51:11). They were to leave the lands of their captivity in "gladness" and thus come to Zion (Is. 55:12 s.w.). But they didn't return. They were to have eternal "gladness... in their land" (s.w. Is. 61:7), the day of Jer. 31:7 (s.w.). The "day of gladness" was to be accompanied by the blowing of trumpets (s.w. Num. 10:10), summoning them to Zion. But there is no mention of this; because they didn't want to return there, but to remain in prosperous Persia. See on :21.  

Esther 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who lived in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, a good day-
The existence of Jews even in villages and remote settlements of the Persian empire reflects the degree of their scattering, in fulfilment of the prophecies about this.

And a day of sending presents of food to one another- Generosity to others was a reflection of their personal experience of grace. We are to be generous to others and concern ourselves with their salvation, as God did to us. "Grace" literally means a gift, and the giving of gifts ought to reflect that. As noted on :16, they were learning the lesson from the nervous teenager Esther, who didn't just seek her own salvation, but risked her life in order to bring about the salvation of all God's people.

Esther 9:20 Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near and far-
LXX "wrote these things in a book". Perhaps here we have the origin of the book of Esther; it was an account by Mordecai of how he, a secular and not very religious Jew, had seen his  weaknesses used by God in order to save others; it was written as a testament to grace. But on :29 I will note that the book could equally have been written by Esther.

Esther 9:21 To enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month Adar yearly-
Whilst this was understandable it could be argued that the subtext of the history is negative; there is no mention of them keeping the Mosaic feasts, but instead they created a new one to celebrate in the lands of exile. Instead, they ought to have returned from those lands and not remained there; see on :18.

Esther 9:22 as the days in which the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned to them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy-
LXX "a change was made for them, from mourning to joy, and from sorrow to a good day". This change from mourning to joy connects with the prophecies of the restored kingdom, when mourning would be turned to joy for Zion (Is. 51:11; 60:20; 61:3). But Judah hadn't repented nor returned to the land as intended. And yet it is as if God so eagerly tries to by all means achieve at least a partial fulfilment of those prophecies. They were intended, of course, to see the similarities and return both to their God and His land. But they were content with the very partial fulfilment of what was at that time potentially possible. See on Esther 8:13. For "turned...", see on :1.

Esther 9:23 The Jews accepted the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them-
What is specifically in view is the command to keep the 15th day as well.

Esther 9:24 because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them-
LXX has "the Macedonian" for "Agagite", as if to encourage the reading of the whole story as applicable to the abuse of the Jews by Alexander of Macedon.     

Esther 9:25 but when this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows- "
Wicked device" is literally wicked thoughts (s.w. Gen. 6:5; Is. 59:7); perhaps some of the Proverbs which use the phrase to speak of wicked plans have Haman in view (Prov. 6:18; 15:26). Again we see the theme continued that it was for his thoughts that Haman was condemned; for the state of the heart is of paramount importance to God. But the phrase is used in Jer. 18:11 of how a "wicked device" against God's people was intended to elicit their repentance. It didn't, and so they went into captivity in Babylon / Persia; and now again, repentance was not elicited as intended.   

Esther 9:26 Therefore they called these days Purim, from the word ‘Pur’. Therefore because of all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come to them- T
hey wanted to especially remember how the lots ["pur"] drawn by Haman were overruled by God to fall in nearly a year's time, so that there was time for Esther's mediation and their preparation. The Divine overruling of the lots was therefore felt to be the parade example of Divine providence in their salvation. But again, this seems rather a case of mistaken focus; the Divine grace of it all and the brave mediation of Esther were not the focus. It could be argued that it was more of a celebration of Jewish good luck than of Divine grace. The root meaning of pur, "lots", is 'a thing of nothing' (s.w. Ps. 33:10). Drawing lots was based upon astrology, and the fact the drawing of lots was to the Jews' favour hardly seems an appropriate thing to celebrate. And we are left with the impression that the Jews in Persia would now celebrate Purim religiously; whilst no mention is made of keeping Yahweh's feasts. Again, there is a subtext here that we have to read. But as ever with the book of Esther, it is below the surface.

Esther 9:27 The Jews established and imposed on themselves and on their descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what was written, and according to its appointed time, every year-
Note the reference to the Gentiles who "joined themselves to them". Although the ideal was that they returned to Zion and experienced light and joy there (Esther 8:16), it seems God was willing to amend that plan so that their experience of it in captivity led to the Gentiles becoming Jews (as in Esther 8:17). For this is the consistent prophetic picture of the restored Kingdom of God- that Gentiles would join with repentant Judah in forming a multiethnic Kingdom of God in Zion. Just as some Egyptians joined the Jews in their exodus from Egypt, which is constantly alluded to in the restoration prophecies as the prototype for Judah's exodus from captivity, so it began to happen. But they didn't make the exodus; they remained where they were, although all was now set up for them to return.

Esther 9:28 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 their memory perish from their seed-
This sadly presupposes that Judah were to remain in the lands of their exile. The Divine intention was that they should be provoked by what had happened to return to Judah; see on :18,21.

Esther 9:29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim-
LXX "wrote all that they had done". Perhaps here we have the origin of the book of Esther; it was an account by Esther of how she, a secular and not very religious Jewess, had seen her weaknesses used by God in order to save others; it was written as a testament to grace. But on :20 I will note that the book could equally have been written by Mordecai. See on :32.

Esther 9:30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth-
This sadly presupposes that Judah were to remain in the lands of their exile. The Divine intention was that they should be provoked by what had happened to return to Judah; see on :18,21. "Peace and truth" is the language of the restored kingdom of God (Jer. 33:6); and it is the same term used by Hezekiah when he failed to grasp the potential of the Kingdom being reestablished in his times; he was content with peace and truth in his times alone (Is. 39:8). Likewise the Jews of Esther's time were content with "peace and truth" in their times, rather than seeing that what had happened was to lead them towards the eternal peace and truth with God of His Kingdom and not their own (see on Esther 8:13-16; 9:30). And this is the abiding temptation for all believers; to be satisfied with some degree of "peace and truth" emotionally and intellectually in their lives now, but resign the far greater realities of the Kingdom to come when "peace and truth" shall be in eternal reality.

Esther 9:31 to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed, and as they had imposed upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fastings and their cry-
LXX suggests differently, to the effect that Mordecai and Esther fasted at the time of Purim, perhaps in recognition of their own weaknesses at the time, asking forgiveness for how they had lived as secular believers before they were forced to give their whole lives to their God and their people: "And Mardochaeus and Esther the queen appointed a fast for themselves privately".

Esther 9:32 The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book
- Confirming my suggestion on :29 that Esther was the author of the book.