Esther 9:1-19

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

Now in the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar), on the thirteenth [a]day when the king’s command and edict [b]were about to be executed, on the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it was turned to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them. The Jews assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm; and no one could stand before them, for the dread of them had fallen on all the peoples. Even all the princes of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and those who were doing the king’s business [c]assisted the Jews, because the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. Indeed, Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater. Thus the Jews struck all their enemies with [d]the sword, killing and destroying; and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. At the citadel in Susa the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, and Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

11 On that day the number of those who were killed at the citadel in Susa [e]was reported to the king. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman at the citadel in Susa. What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is your petition? It shall even be granted you. And what is your further request? It shall also be done.” 13 Then said Esther, “If it pleases the king, let tomorrow also be granted to the Jews who are in Susa to do according to the edict of today; and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.” 14 So the king commanded that it should be done so; and an edict was issued in Susa, and Haman’s ten sons were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa assembled also on the fourteenth day of the month Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces assembled, to defend their lives and [f]rid themselves of their enemies, and kill 75,000 of those who hated them; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth [g]day they rested and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.

18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth [h]of the same month, and they rested on the fifteenth [i]day and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing. 19 Therefore the Jews of the rural areas, who live in the rural towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a [j]holiday for rejoicing and feasting and sending portions of food to one another.

Despite the king’s decree to allow the Jews to defend themselves, despite the rejoicing, and despite those who joined the Jews, there will still those who dared to take action on Haman’s original plan. At first glance, we have 800 men who died trying to attack the Jews in Susa. Yet in all of the kingdom, there were 75,000 who were so set on destroying the Jews that they attacked anyway and fought to the death doing so.

Sometimes, evil doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t take stock of the situation and say, “hmm, maybe we should lay low, the odds look pretty bad today…” And a big part of this is something Paul would say later in his letter to the church at Ephesus. Which is that our battle is not against flesh and blood, there is something darker and more wicked at work in this world.

The enemies of the Jews were not human beings, though they ultimately paid the price when they were used by the enemies of God to try and wipe out the Jews. Certainly, the enemy of our souls wished he could wipe out the Jews, and stop God’s plan of redemption. But he didn’t succeed because no one could stop God’s plan to redeem humanity.

In the time of Esther, and later on when Jesus himself came to this earth, no doubt Lucifer marshaled his forces in a fight to the death. Ultimately, the created being could not triumph over the Creator, and Jesus continued to nail our sins to the cross when he sacrificed himself.

With all the craziness going on in our country, and in our world, it’s easy to get mad at the people who disagree with us, but they are not the enemy. Our righteous indignation would be sorely misplaced, and our energy wasted on fighting a false front. For indeed, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood… but against the spiritual forces of evil.” And the battle is not ours to win or lose, but don’t sit back on your hands either.

God has a place for you in his army, and it isn’t sabotaging your neighbor. Jesus asks us to love our neighbors, and even those who harm us, but all the time look for the opportunities God puts in your path. Be on the lookout for opportunities to share His love and mercy, to share God’s plan of redemption, and to live a life that glorifies our God and Savior who rescued us from the pit of sin.

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