Jews Took Revenge

When he was an attorney, Abraham Lincoln was once approached by a man who passionately insisted on bringing a suit for $2.50 against an impoverished debtor. Lincoln tried to discourage him, but the man was bent on revenge. When he saw that the man would not be put off, Lincoln ag … More

Revenge

As this chapter opens, we find two opposing parties ready to leap at each other’s throats. Haman’s decree had stated that on a certain day (13th day of the 12th month) anyone could kill the Jews and take their property (v. 1). This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to do away with them but now the Jews came together to attack their enemies and no one could oppose them (v. 2). The leaders were afraid of Mordecai and took sides with the Jews (v. 3). Everyone knew the king had given him a lot of power (v. 4). The Jews killed 500 people but they did not take their enemies’ possessions (vv. 5-10)..

Later that day, someone told the king how many people had been killed (v. 11). Later that day the king told Esther how many had been killed in Susa, including Haman’s sons (v. 12). After a day of fierce fighting Esther asks for a one-day extension to hunt out and destroy any further enemies. She also requests that the ten sons of Haman, who were already dead, be publicly hanged on the gallows (v. 13). Her requests were granted (v. 14). Gentle Esther, who wept and pled for her people, now wanted bitter humiliation for their enemies (v. 15). When it was all over the Jews killed 75 thousand enemies (vv. 16-17). The fact the Jews killed so many aggressors indicates that the threat of hostility against them had been increasing since the edict against them had be issued. It could be argued that Esther new of enemies who would kill the Jews if she didn’t have them killed first but it would appear that her real motivation was revenge.

Application

The book of Esther does not describe how people should act but how they do act. We can see how the heart of man is desperately wicked. I would hope that I would not give in to vindictiveness. Instead, I want to love my enemies and pray for those who despitefully use me.

Esther 9:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they laid no hand on the plunder. That very day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was reported to the king. And the king said to Queen Esther, "In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and also the ten sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces! Now what is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what further is your request? It shall be fulfilled." And Esther said, "If it please the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day's edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows." So the king commanded this to be done. A decree was issued in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. The Jews who were in Susa gathered also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and they killed 300 men in Susa, but they laid no hands on the plunder. Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder. This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness.

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