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The Weakness Of Esther

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CHAPTER 3 Nov.28 
Haman Seeks to Destroy the Jews
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2All the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate bowed down, and paid homage to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai didn’t bow down or pay him homage. 3Then the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate said to Mordecai, Why do you disobey the king’s commandment? 4Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him and he didn’t listen to them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s position would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5When Haman saw that Mordecai didn’t bow down nor pay him homage, Haman was full of wrath. 6But he scorned the thought of laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him Mordecai’s people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even Mordecai’s people. 7In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, and chose the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. 8Haman said to King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different from other people’s. They don’t keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not for the king’s profit to allow them to remain. 9If it pleases the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who are in charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.
The Decree to Destroy the Jews
10The king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. 11The king said to Haman, The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you. 12Then the king’s scribes were called in on the first month, on the thirteenth day of the month; and all that Haman commanded was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors who were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every province according to its writing, and to every people in their language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with the king’s ring. 13Letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder their possessions. 14A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they should be prepared against that day. 15The couriers went forth in haste by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan was perplexed.


3:7- see on 4:1-3; 7:8. Haman decided on his plan to kill the Jews in the first month, Nisan, but his roll of the dice dictated that he execute it in the 12th month. This gave the Jews and Esther / Mordecai nearly a whole year to try to get out of the situation. The fact this plan was made around Jewish Passover time [hence the mention of the month Nisan] perhaps suggested to the thoughtful that God would work a similar Passover deliverance as He had from Egypt. Here we see providence, a Divine hand intervening (Prov. 16:33). And that Divine hand intervenes and works even through our own failure.
3:9 It’s apparent that the Jews were no longer sitting weeping by the rivers of Babylon, but had become influential and wealthy throughout the empire- hence Haman’s desire to kill and plunder them. The vast sum he offered to the King for permission to do this was presumably on the basis that a percentage of the plunder would be given to the King; for Herodotus estimated Haman’s offer to approximate to two thirds of the annual income of the Persian empire. The only way he could realistically have offered this would’ve been on the basis that the Jews were wealthy and he would totally plunder them. Hence when the whole plan was reversed, the Jews were allowed to plunder their enemies (8:11). They certainly didn’t take any wealth with them into captivity; they must have experienced meteoric prosperity and success in all their business dealings. Hence their desire to materially support the exiles who wished to return, but most of them were too caught up in the good life to heed the call to come out from Babylon / Persia. And we, faced with that same call in these last days, must enquire whether we’re not the same.
3:13 The decree was made to “destroy… and cause to perish” the Jews throughout the provinces of Persia / Babylon (3:13; 7:4). This phrase uses the two Hebrew words which we find together three times in the list of curses to be brought upon a disobedient Israel (Dt. 28:20,51,63). Yet by her wonderful self-sacrificial mediation, Esther brought about the deferment and even annulment of those justifiable curses. God’s prophetic word was again changed- due to a mediator, who of course pointed both backwards to Moses, and forwards to the Lord Jesus. God is so eager to save us that He is willing to change His stated purpose about sinners.