Today we’ll see what we can learn about anger from the book of Esther. We’ve just seen King Xerxes’ anger flare up when he sees Haman fall ″onto″ his wife (Esther 7:8). His fury only subsides after Haman is impaled (v. 10). Previously, the king was furious when Queen Vashti refused to answer his summons (1:12). There he responded by permanently removing her from his presence. When his anger subsides he remembered what he had done to Vashti (2:1).
The king is not the only person to burn with anger in the narrative. The two eunuchs who plotted against the king were also angry (Esther 2:21). This led to their demise (v. 23). Haman is also described as being angry. He is twice ″filled with rage″, both times when he saw that Mordecai refused to pay him honour (3:5; 5:9).
The king’s anger leads to the removal of his queen and his chief official from his presence. Haman’s anger leads to him trying to remove Mordecai from his presence. The eunuchs’ anger leads them to try and remove the king, but ends with their demise. On the whole, the temper of these characters flares because they feel they have been wronged or slighted. In other words, it is a self-centred anger. They all probably had some grounds to feel wronged, but their self-centredness led to over-reaction and rashness.
The Bible warns against the foolishness of a quick temper. This warning is found in both the Old Testament (e.g. Proverbs 14:16-17, 29; Ecclesiastes 7:9) and the New Testament (e.g. James 1:19-20). ″Fits of rage″ are not appropriate for those who are members of the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:8). Yet there are times when anger is the right response. Jesus’ anger was justified; it was not the result of a personal slight. For instance, He was angry with the Pharisees, and with the moneychangers in the temple (Mark 3:5; John 2:14-16). The apostle Paul allows for Christians to be angry but our anger is to be limited, and in our anger we are to be careful to ″not sin″ (Ephesians 4:26-27). Let us watch ourselves, lest our anger get the better of us.
What situations cause your anger to flare?
Read Galatians 5:16-26. How can we avoid gratifying ″the desires of the flesh″, which include ″fits of rage″?