Chapter 8, Esther
The first part of chapter 8 tells us that Esther and Mordecai came before the King once again. The King gave Esther the house of Haman and also came clean about who Mordecai was to her. The King gave Mordecai the signet ring that used to belong to Haman and Esther put Mordecai in charge of the House of Haman.
A lot of events being relayed in very few words. There are no details or descriptions at this point. Just a blow by blow stating of fact.
Then the author goes into some description in the next part. Esther fell down at the Kings feet, wept and begged him to stop the killing of her people. The golden scepter was once again extended to her by the King so Esther must have spoken out of turn or come into his presence without being invited or something. Maybe it was just for symbolism to show that the King looked upon her plea with favor. It doesn’t say.
The King already gave the House of Haman to Esther and hanged Haman on the gallows for being against the Jews. Now because of Esthers plea, the King does something that is shocking.
The King told Mordecai to do exactly what he had told Haman to do. To write out decree in the King’s name and seal it with the King’s signet ring so that it may not be revoked.
Call me stupid.. but isn’t that what started this all in the first place? Haman doing the same thing with the King’s ignorant blessing?
So kudos to the Jews because King A never learned his lesson after the first fiasco!
So Mordecai did it. The decree that went out to the Jews gave them the right (the King gave them the right) to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women and to plunder their spoil, on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month.
Wow. Instead of just sending out a decree that reversed Haman’s order, Mordecai took it the other direction. Not only can the Jews defend themselves, but the Jews can decimate King A’s own army in entirety if any one of them attack the Jews. Talk about total freedom! At least for 1 day. Apparently, once an order was given by the King back then it was permanent and could not be “reversed”. In order to change it, a new order would have to be given. So that is one reason why Mordecai simply couldn’t “reverse” Haman’s order.
Then throughout the city and all the provinces, the Jews celebrated and many of the non Jews became Jews, “for the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.”
So after reading this my first question had to do with non Jews becoming Jews. And the concordance says that the Hebrew word is Yahad, a verb, to become a jew… or to Judaize. Basically, to follow the teachings and become a proselyte.
Then my next question had to do with the “dread of the Jews” and wondering what they meant by that and basically it means they feared the Jews so decided to “join” them so they wouldn’t be mistakenly killed when that day came.
Ok makes sense.
So we have things doing a full turn around for the Jews in this Chapter. They started the chapter out having a death sentence on their heads and ended the Chapter with the freedom to not only defend themselves but annihilate those who would attempt to kill them. Pretty snazzy…
We have Mordecai elevated in position and honored. We have the King listening and granting favor to Queen Esther. We have the house of Haman under control and the Jews readying to take out those against them.
We not only have the King showing favor to the Jews but the people themselves recognize how special these people are and out of fear, they even join them.
This chapter was definitely packed full. Not with much detail or description but with point after point.
Not really specific to this particular chapter but I came across a commentary on Esther that mentioned that the reason God is not specifically mentioned in this book could be a way of showing God’s hand and care for the secular Jews as well as the faithful. Mordecai and Esther didn’t return to Jerusalem during the first wave of exiles returning but chose to stay in Persia along with many others who were more interested in their finances than in their faith. So by not mentioning “God” in this book, the commentary suggests that Mordecai and Esther were not very “good” Jews and so this book was told in a secular way to speak to those who maybe have stepped away from their faith and show them that God is still there and caring. I don’t know if the commentary is correct or not but it makes sense.
Another theory is that it was written by someone who was not Jewish, and therefore, mention of God is absent. Just food for thought.