And so, the day arrives for the two decrees to be put into effect (Esther 9:1). The Jews gather together in all the cities to defend themselves against those who hate them. They overpower their enemies, those throughout the Persian Empire who try to harm them (v. 2). The nobles, officers, governors, and royal officials recognise Mordecai’s place of power and fear him (vv. 3-4). They too help the Jews (v. 3).
With the authority given by the counter-edict, the Jews end up killing 500 men in the fortress of Susa (Esther 9:5-6), including the ten sons of Haman (vv. 7-10). All the things that Haman boasted about are now gone (see 5:11).
There is no specific mention of God in the Jews’ self-defence but there are two hints that He is still working behind the scenes. First, everyone was afraid of the Jews (Esther 9:3). We discussed before how this points to people fearing not just God’s people but also the power of their God (cf. 8:17). Second, and closely linked, is the phrase ″no one could stand against them″ (9:2). Elsewhere in the Old Testament, this phrase points to God as the one fighting for His people and giving ″all their enemies into their hands″ (e.g. Joshua 21:44; 23:9). Thus, God is hidden but again we can find His fingerprints all over this episode.
How does God deliver His people from their enemies in these verses? By a reversal: ″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″ (Esther 9:1). What happened with Haman and Mordecai is repeated on a larger scale. God’s people were on the road to annihilation, but then the opposite happens and they change places with their enemies.
When we think about it, we are also saved by a reversal-the ultimate reversal. The king of the Jews is hung on a cross and it looks like Satan has won. But it is by His death that He defeats the great enemy and opens the way to eternal life.
Why is it that everyone, including you and I, are on the road to death and destruction (Romans 5:12)? How are we delivered from the penalty and power of sin (1 Peter 2:24)? Praise God that in Jesus, we too can enjoy a wonderful reversal.
Consider your own deliverance from Satan, sin, and death. Where in this can you identify God’s fingerprints?