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Esther 8

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The King's Edict In Behalf Of The Jews (ch. 8:1 - 17)   


In verse 1 we note that the king gave Esther the estate of the late Haman.  This is obviously a blessing of the Lord.


A lot is said in verse 2.  First of all we see the mentioning of the signet ring that Xerxes recovered from Haman.  You will remember that the king gave it to Haman in an earlier chapter.  This ring was used as the official signature of the king.  To make something legal or official, the ring's imprint would be stamped on a document.  Xerxes had given Haman the authority to use the ring, and now he gives it to Mordecai.  Mordecai thus takes Haman's place as the second in command in all of the Persian Empire.


Esther also tells Xerxes that Mordecai is a relative.  The king now knows that Mordecai is a Jew, and that does not seem to bother him. 


Before commenting on verse 3, we must remember that the king's decree to kill all of the Jews still stands.  In Persian law, once the king decrees anything, the decree cannot be revoked.  It stands.  So, Esther here falls before Xerxes in tears because she knows all of her people, and probably even her, will be killed.  She therefore pleads with the king to change this.


Again, as we saw earlier when Esther approached the king without being invited, the king reached forth his gold scepter towards Esther.  This meant that she was able to approach the throne of Xerxes with her petition.  This was the tradition of the Persians.


We see how Esther pleads in verses 5 and 6.  She is extremely humble.  Note the word "if" all the way through verses 5 and 6.  "If it please the king "   Of course, she can approach the king in no other way.  She must be humble or else she is in danger of losing her own head right away.


Note in verse 7 the word "gallows".  As I've said earlier, this word should not be understood in the way we would understand gallows today.  What is meant here is that a person would be impaled, stabbed with a sword, and then hung on top of a long pole that would be stood up in some fashion for all to see.  This was the forerunner to Romans called crucifixion, the way in which Jesus was killed.  So, the word "gallows" here does not refer to hanging as we know it today.


In verse 8 we see that Esther convinced the king to issue another decree.  It would not, and could not, void his first decree to kill the Jews, but it was a decree issued to help them fight and save themselves.


Note the words "from India to Cush " in verse 9.  This was the east to west extent of the Medo-Persian Kingdom.  Cush is in northern Africa . This new decree would be sent to all 127 provinces in the Medo-Persian Empire at the request of Mordecai, the Jew.


From verses 10 through 14 we see the intent of the decree.  The Jews were given special privilege to kill and destroy anyone who would attempt to follow through with the initial decree to kill them. This would take place on the 13th day of the month of Adar, parts of our February and March.


We note in the last few verses of chapter 8 that a great celebration was held throughout the empire by the Jews.  They had just experienced a miracle of their God, although the text does not say so.  Many people feared the Jews at this point and actually became Jews.  Once again, Yahweh heard the cries of His people and responded.  When Israel, or the church seriously comes before the Lord in repentant prayer, He will respond, as He did here.



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