Esther 8 – A Proclamation to Help the Jews
A. The appeal to the king.
1. (1-2) Haman’s home is given to Esther; his position is given to Mordecai.
On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.
a. On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman: Haman, the disturbed man who had seemingly achieved everything, ended with nothing – nothing even to pass on to his family. One might say that he had climbed the ladder of success, but it was leaning against the wrong building.
b. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai: Think of how hard Haman had to work to achieve all he did. Yet it was all for nothing; it was all a waste.
i. He should have lived his life after the conclusion of Solomon, who carefully considered these things: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
2. (3-6) Esther’s request for the salvation of her people.
Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”
a. Implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews: Esther asked that the previous decree requiring the extermination of the Jews be revoked.
b. Let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman: This was the request we might have expected to come back at Esther 5:4, where Esther was first invited to make her request to King Ahasuerus. Yet God’s wisdom operating in her life gave her the tact and ability to approach this great request in stages.
i. Even though Haman was defeated, the decree of the king still stood against the Jews. How could God’s people be preserved when a decree of the king cannot be revoked (according to Esther 1:19)?
3. (7-14) King Ahasuerus makes a counter-decree, allowing the Jews to protect themselves on the day that they were scheduled for annihilation.
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds. By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives; to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Shushan the citadel.
a. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please: The king could not revoke the previous decree, so he simply made another decree giving support to the Jews against their attackers.
i. We might think of Haman as in the place of our enemy, Satan, and joyfully await the day God puts him away. But we still must deal with the righteous decree of God that demands our death: The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). In our sins, we not only have an enemy (Satan), but we also have a legal decree from a righteous God against us.
ii. God solves the problem, not by compromising His decree for eternal justice, but by fulfilling justice in taking the punishment we deserved – His counter-decree saves us; that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
b. The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command: There was an urgency to get the word out about this important decree of the king. Christians should show a similar urgency when it comes to being heralds of the decree that the justice of God has been satisfied for us in Jesus Christ.
B. Mordecai’s advancement.
1. (15) Mordecai’s promotion.
So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
a. So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel: God’s purpose in all these matters goes farther than the sparing of the Jews from destruction; He also purposed to raise up Mordecai as the prime minister – as a replacement for Haman.
2. (16) Joy for the people of God.
The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.
a. The Jews had light and gladness: This joy came before the actual day appointed when the Jews would be attacked, yet able to defend themselves. Nevertheless, because of the decree of the king, they can be assured of victory and rejoice in it ahead of time.
b. Light and gladness, joy and honor: In the same way, our course is not yet run; our salvation is not yet complete – yet we can rejoice, because of our confidence in our king – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
3. (17) Salvation for the Gentiles.
And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.
a. Then many of the people of the land became Jews: As they saw God working on behalf of His people, they wanted the same relationship with God.