The Agora
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Esther 8

Est 8:1

Est 8:1 -- Est 9:19: Even though Haman was dead the Jews were not yet safe. This section records what Esther and Mordecai did to insure the preservation of the Jews who then lived throughout the vast Persian Empire. Cp Isa 61:6; Dan 7:18.

KING XERXES GAVE QUEEN ESTHER THE ESTATE OF HAMAN: Esther received this probably to compensate her for her suffering.

Est 8:2

HIS SIGNET RING: Cp Est 3:10: the royal seal of authority. The king gave Mordecai Haman's place as second in authority (cp Gen 41:42). "The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men": Dan 4:17.

Est 8:3

ESTHER AGAIN PLEADED WITH THE KING, FALLING AT HIS FEET AND WEEPING. SHE BEGGED HIM TO PUT AN END TO THE EVIL PLAN OF HAMAN... WHICH HE HAD DEVISED AGAINST THE JEWS: Esther again had to argue her case, this time for clemency for the Jews. Her request involved expense to the king. Esther would not have been sure he would grant it. Ahasuerus could have spared the life of the queen and Mordecai and let the rest of their nation perish. Esther's commitment to her people, which jeopardized her own safety, was very selfless and accounts for the high honor the Jews have given her since these events transpired.

Est 8:5

LET AN ORDER BE WRITTEN OVERRULING THE DISPATCHES THAT HAMAN... DEVISED AND WROTE TO DESTROY THE JEWS IN ALL THE KING'S PROVINCES: But Haman's decree had been written in the king's name, and was thus unchangeable (Est 1:19; cp Dan 6:17).

Est 8:8

NOW WRITE ANOTHER DECREE IN THE KING'S NAME IN BEHALF OF THE JEWS... FOR NO DOCUMENT WRITTEN IN THE KING'S NAME AND SEALED WITH HIS RING CAN BE REVOKED: The laws of the Medes and Persians could not be repealed (cp Dan 6:8). And so, instead, another decree would have to be written into law -- which, in its carrying out, would neutralize the effects of the first (and unchangeable) decree!

Typically, this presents an interesting, and thrilling, parallel: God Himself has issued decrees that cannot be repealed ("Thou shalt surely die..."); so how to deliver HIS people without repealing this law? The answer is Christ: a greater deliverer who can neutralize, and overcome the effect of the previous "law" -- the law of sin and death -- without overturning the law itself! Or, to put it another way, a God who can show mercy and forgive sin, while at the same time upholding His own absolute holiness and righteousness: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, [covering] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished -- he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus" Rom 3:23-26. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man [the flesh]" (Rom 8:1-3).

Thus, in type, God's death sentence hangs over a sinful humanity, but He has also commanded a decree of salvation. Only by a knowledge of, and a response to, the second decree [cp Est 8:9] of saving grace -- through the Lord Jesus Christ -- can the terrible effects of the first decree of universal condemnation for sin be averted.

Est 8:9

The first decree to destroy the Jews had gone out on April 17, 474 BC (Est 3:12) [RA Parker and WH Dubberstein, "Babylonian Chronology 626 BC to AD 75", p 31]. So, by the same reckoning, Ahasuerus published this decree, allowing the Jews to defend themselves, on June 25, 474 BC. The Jews had over eight months to prepare for the day their enemies might attack them, which was March 7, 473 BC.

Est 8:10

ESPECIALLY BRED FOR THE KING: "Bred from the royal stud" (RSV).

Est 8:11

AND TO PLUNDER THE PROPERTY OF THEIR ENEMIES: But they did not do so: see Est 9:10n.

Est 8:15

ROYAL GARMENTS OF BLUE AND WHITE: The Persian kings wore robes of purple and white. For the Jews, these would be colors of royalty and holiness.

A LARGE CROWN OF GOLD: Not the sw as the king's "crown" -- this should be "turban." Mordecai's clothing reflected his important position in the government.

AND THE CITY OF SUSA HELD A JOYOUS CELEBRATION: Evidently Mordecai read the second decree at a public meeting in Susa. Contrast the Jews' reaction here with their response to the first decree (Est 3:15). God had blown the dark cloud that had hung over their heads away.

Est 8:17

JOY AND GLADNESS AMONG THE JEWS, WITH FEASTING AND CELEBRATING: This was not the Feast of Purim but a celebration in anticipation of it.

AND MANY PEOPLE OF OTHER NATIONALITIES BECAME JEWS BECAUSE FEAR OF THE JEWS HAD SEIZED THEM: Many Gentiles became proselytes to Judaism as a result of God's obvious blessing on His people. This is the only mention in the OT that Gentiles "became Jews." They became religious Jews, not racial Jews (cp Zec 8:23). This testimony to the fact that Gentiles' recognized God's blessing on the Jews would have been a great encouragement to the Jews in the post-exilic period (cp Ex 19:5,6).

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