Today’s passage continues the description of how Purim was established. An interesting aspect is how the festival got its name. Haman plotted against the Jews and cast the lot (pur) to find the most auspicious day to carry out his plot (Esther 9:24). Purim is the plural of pur (v. 26). Yet in the Old Testament, the lot is also cast to find out God’s will.
About Peter Lau
Peter Lau has been lecturing at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia since 2010. He is a trained medical doctor, and also holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament. He has published on Ruth, Ezekiel, and Psalms. Peter is married to Kathryn and they have three children.
Entries by Peter Lau
God’s deliverance of the Jews is such an important event that it is commemorated each year. The description of the festival emphasises the reversal: from fasting, mourning, and sadness to feasting, relief, and gladness (Esther 9:22).
In the citadel of Susa, the Jews kill 500 men, along with the sons of Haman (Esther 9:6-10). The king then asks Esther what she would like to do next (vv. 11-12). She asks for permission for the Jews to defend themselves the next day in the rest of Susa (v. 13). She also asks for the bodies of Haman’s sons to be impaled and displayed as a deterrent (v. 13).
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).
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 archenemy of the Jews is dead, but the jaws of death are still open. How is Haman’s edict going to be dealt with?
On the same day that Haman falls, Mordecai rises. The impaling of Haman probably provided the chance for Esther to reveal to the king that Mordecai was her relative (Esther 8:1). Haman is again described as ″the enemy of the Jews″ (v. 1), but now he has been executed as an enemy of the Persian Empire.
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).
What happens next couldn’t have been planned by Esther. Haman falls onto the couch where Esther is reclining. Just as his wife and wise men predicted, he literally falls. Maybe he was begging too hard. Maybe he is tipsy from too much wine. Maybe both. But he topples onto the couch just as the king walks in (Esther 7:8).
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