Mordecai writes an edict to counteract the first one. If you read it carefully, you’ll notice that it counters Haman’s edict (see Esther 3) almost word-for-word. The counter-edict allows the Jews, on the same day as the original edict, to ″assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies″ (Esther 8:11).
Look carefully at the wording of the edict. Does it allow the Jews to kill whomever they like? No, the edict only allows for self-defence. The Jews could kill the armed men who attacked them. The edict could not be used as an excuse for unjustified aggression against their enemies.
When the decree went out, the Jews rejoiced (Esther 8:16). Even those from other nations declared themselves to be Jews (v. 17). Why? It’s much safer to join the winning team, right? After all, not only does Mordecai write the counter-edict, he is also revealed in his full glory: ″royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen″ (v. 15). Another reason is given for the many self-declarations: ″because fear of the Jews had seized them″ (v. 17).
Does this remind you of anything in the Old Testament? It’s similar to Rahab’s response in Joshua when she sided with the Israelites against her own people. When she heard about the power of God displayed in the exodus and Israel’s military victories, she said to the Israelite spies, ″A great fear of you has fallen on us″ and ″When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below″ (Joshua 2:9, 11).
Although the accuser of the Jews is dead, they still have to defend themselves against their enemies. Yet this little phrase, ″because fear of the Jews had seized them″ (Esther 8:17), tells us that God is on their side.
And once the God of heaven and earth is on your side, deliverance is a foregone conclusion.
By His death and resurrection, Jesus has defeated the great accuser (Colossians 2:13-15). Do you realise that, as Christians, our deliverance is also a foregone conclusion?
But those who don’t identify themselves as Christians will not be safe from destruction. Who can you encourage to trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and so be saved from eternal death?