Thank You, Jesus, for the encouragers You have placed in my life.
Read Esther 9:18—10:3
18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.
20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention,[a] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.
29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. 32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
The Greatness of Mordecai
10 King Xerxes imposed tribute throughout the empire, to its distant shores. 2 And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.
a Esther 9:25 Or when Esther came before the king
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.
ReflectCall to mind anyone for whose life you are thankful. What is (or was) it about them that causes you to give thanks?
Our final reading in Esther summarizes the story succinctly, and leads to the festival of Purim, which was established by Mordecai and Esther to commemorate the events we have explored in the last couple of weeks (23–32). It is not surprising to discover that Purim is still widely celebrated, in Israel especially. Considering that the history of the Jews contains so much persecution, from their origins onwards, enjoying a festival which recalls a great victory over their enemies is not surprising.
The acknowledgment of Mordecai’s achievements in chapter 10 is clear. He is great, second only to the king, pre-eminent among the Jews and highly esteemed. Why? The closing sentence couches Mordecai’s achievements for his people in glowing terms (10:3). The way they were achieved involved violence and vengeance, but also courage, commitment, and loyalty. It is what those deeds accomplished for God’s people that is the focus: their good—their welfare. Mordecai’s greatness is assured, but the reason for it is emphasized in that final verse.
Think about opportunities you have to work for the good of others—in your own family, God’s family, your local community. What is one thing you can do today to do good for someone else?
God, show me how to serve others; give me Your resources as I serve You. Help me to follow in the pattern Christ laid down for me.