Saturday, July 19, 2008

Esther - Live Free or Die Hard

Esther 9:1-16 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those seeking their destruction. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king's administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful. The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killeday their hands on the plunder. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder. The number of those slain in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, "The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted." "If it pleases the king," Esther answered, "give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day's edict tomorrow also, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on gallows." So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman. The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay hands on their plunder.

And so it began... The war that everyone was suiting up for, the war everyone was preparing for, had finally come. The Jews were victorious. Miraculously victorious. The king approached Queen Esther and began discussing the battle. "Wow, the Jews have already killed 500 people just here around the castle, I wonder how many more they've killed in the surrounding areas." And again, the king asked Esther whatever she wanted, he would give. One might ask why? Why would he ask her what she wanted? Simple, the Jews were being backed by a much higher power than he. Even the king recognized God's hand in this defeat. Not only did they kill 500 in Susa, they also killed all the sons of Haman - thus finally fulfilling God's judgment - see the previous blog.

So Esther answers the kings question about what else he can do - she wants to continue the battles for one more day. Let the Jews be able to continue defending themselves until tomorrow. The King agreed. "Also", Esther said, "Hang the dead sons of Haman on the gallows" - that was 10 men who were already dead - why? Here's why - if those sons were to have lived, in only a matter of 10-20 years, that line of King Agag could've increased in the hundreds. Their bodies being hung on the gallows was a sign to all the people - "Don't mess with God". 300 more people were killed in Susa the following day and 75,000 people were killed throughout the kingdom. Only approximately 7,000 men were killed in combat during the Revolutionary War, and that was from both sides. These Jews were regular men and women, simply trying to protect their freedom - isn't it ironic how the past parallels the present.

If only in the present we could remember - God is why we are victorious, it is through Christ we can do all things, if only in God would we trust. . . Mordecai and Esther new it, and led a nation - when will we?

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