I trust You, God. Reveal Yourself to me.
Read Esther 9:1–17
9 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day 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. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”
13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”
14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman. 15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDoes the end ever justify the means? Have you ever achieved a laudable aim with less than laudable tactics?
This passage does not sit particularly comfortably in our thinking. The king’s two opposing edicts make any slaughter effectively unnecessary, but rather than leaving things there, the Jews go on the offensive themselves (5–10). This was not what the edict had said they could do (8:11); it said they could attack if they were themselves attacked, but they go beyond that and initiate the slaughter. Moreover, Mordecai’s new prominence causes the king’s officials to join the Jews in their enemies’ destruction (3,4).
However, they don’t use the edict’s permission to plunder their enemies (10,15,16). Why might this have been? Also, Esther’s request for a second, further day of slaughter is difficult, but perhaps it is understandable in its focus on Haman’s sons (7–10).
These anomalies may be confusing, but the effect of these events is reminiscent of what Rahab told the spies in Jericho (Josh. 2:8–10). Everyone has become afraid of the Jews—and consequently the future safety of God’s chosen people is secured.
Bring before God any situation where you earnestly desire a particular outcome, but don’t believe it will happen. Lay before God all of the possibilities for action, and ask for his wisdom for the way ahead.
God, I trust You. You know the end from the beginning, and You know exactly the right plan for me.