What Is Your Petition

A decree has gone out from the king to all of the Persian empire, in Esther 3:13 “to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, on one day, the thirteenth day of the month, that is Adar, and to plunder their goods”. After three days of fasting, Esther invites the king, and her enemy Haman to a banquet she has prepared for them. Esther finally has the ear of the king and she says “let my life be given to me … and my people”. The king finally understands, Esther is a Jew and he has been manipulated by Haman. Haman is hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai and Mordecai takes his place next to the king. But the Jews are still under a decree of annihilation. With the kings authority, Mordecai sends another decree to the Jews, “Assemble and defend your lives”. Those that were enemies of the Jews are killed and what was to be the day of their death, God turns to become the annual time of feasting and celebration called Purim. 

What Is Your Petition

Esther 7:1–6
Esther, Mordecai, and all of the Jews have fasted and prayed for three days. Esther has prepared a banquet for the King and Haman, interrupting all of the business of the kingdom. Now, they enjoy their meal, they enjoy their wine, and the king asks, in Esther 7:2 “What is your petition, Queen Esther?” then adds, “It will be given to you. What is your request? It will be given to you—even half the kingdom”. Esther finally has the ear of the king and answers, in Esther 7:3-4 “let my life be given to me at my petition and my people at my request; 4 I and my people have been sold to be destroyed and killed, to be annihilated. If we had been sold as male and female slaves I would have kept quiet, because this is not a need sufficient to trouble the king”. The king hasn’t connected Esther or her people to the decree against the Jews so he asks in shock in Esther 7:5 “Who is he, and where is he, who gave himself the right to do this?” She answers straight out in Esther 7:6 “The adversary and enemy is this evil Haman! … And Haman was terrified.”

Esther gives us a great example of how we should handle opposition. She invites the right audience, creates the right environment, and waits for the right time before she raises the issue that needs resolution. Haman had quietly manipulated the king using concerns about insurrection to get a decree to kill and annihilate the Jews. Esther is very careful not to raise any public accusation against Haman. She does though, make sure that Haman is there when she explains to the king what Haman has done. Haman is exposed, and without defense.

The King Rose in Anger

Esther 7:7–10
Haman knows the king well and has seen him react this way before, in Esther 7:7 “the king rose in his anger … and went to the palace garden”. For them, “Even the sudden rising of the king in anger was the same as if he had pronounced sentence”.1

And Haman was still there in Esther 7:8 “the king returned … and, the king said ‘Will he also molest the queen with me in the house?'”. For the Persians, “Etiquette with regard to the harem was so strict … Haman was going too far, and by falling on the couch he set the seal on his execution”.2

And, in Esther 7:8 “As the words went from the king’s mouth they covered Haman’s face”. This was their custom because they believed “a criminal is unworthy any longer to look on the face of the king, and hence, when malefactors are consigned to their doom in Persia, the first thing is to cover the face with a veil”.3

We also recognize here that when the king went to the palace garden, it wasn’t just to walk off his anger, Haman knew he was going to get his guard and in Esther 7:9-10 “they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai”.

The House of Haman

Esther 8:1–8
Haman, the instigator of the opposition to the Jews, was dead, and in Esther 8:1-2 the king “gave Queen Esther the house of Haman … (and) his signet ring that he had taken away from Haman, and he gave it to Mordecai. So Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman”.4

Esther and Mordecai are now set for life, with wealth, position, and favor with the king. But the decree to kill the Jews still stands so in Esther 8:3-6 “Esther again spoke before the king (again risking her life because she had not been summoned to speak) … and the king held out the sceptre … and she said … how can I bear to look on the disaster that will find my people”. And, the king replied, in

Esther 8:8 (LEB) Write ⌊as you see fit⌋ concerning the Jews in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for a decree that is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring cannot be revoked.”

The king could not undo the edict to kill the Jews so he gave them liberty to write whatever they thought would counter it. 

Assemble and Defend Your Lives

Esther 8:9–17
Haman was dead, but his decree of death for the Jews had gone to all of the empire. Carrying the kings signet ring, Mordecai sends out another decree in Esther 8:9-14 “the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and defend their lives, to destroy and kill and annihilate any army of any people or province attacking them, including women and children, and to plunder their spoil, 12 in one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar” which was the day decreed for destruction of the Jews. And, in Esther 8:15-17 “wherever the king’s edict and his law came, there was gladness and joy for the Jews” their celebration was a little premature because they still needed to defend their lives, but they knew they could. But there is one more note, “and many of the people from the country were posing as Jews because the fear of the Jews had fallen on them”. We sometimes forget how fickle public opinion can be. There are many people that are not motivated by their beliefs but like these, act out of fear. For these, there is no loyalty, no moral compass, there is only what is currently politically correct.

The Enemies of the Jews

Esther 9:1–10
These enemies of the Jews were living alongside them and quietly looking for an opportunity too destroy them. And even now, in Esther 9:2 “the Jews gathered in their cities … to strike against those who sought their destruction”, not to maraud through the country routing out every Jewish man woman and child as Haman had decreed. The Jews were defending against attackers, protecting themselves and their families so in Esther 9:6 “killed five hundred men”, not families, not women, not children.

They Did Not Touch the Plunder

Esther 9:11–19
In the original decree from Haman, they were to annihilate the Jews, and take the plunder. This invoked, not just those that were against the Jews, but every greedy mercenary minded person that wanted to take the land, or home, or business of a Jew for themselves. When Mordecai wrote the decree for defense by the Jews, he also said, in Esther 8:11 “and to plunder their spoil”. But the Jews did not touch anything that belonged to their enemies. It was bad enough that their were widows and orphans left in the wake of this genocide. How could they also dispossess them of everything? 

A Day of Feasting and Joy

Esther 9:20–25
What was meant as the day of destruction for the Jews became a day of deliverance, a day to remember. In Esther 9:20-25 Mordecai wrote the story and distributed it to the Jews throughout the empire. Mordecai asked them to remember this day every year when, in

Esther 9:24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and he had cast pur, that is the lot, to rout them out and destroy them. 25 But when it came to the attention of the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plot that he had devised against the Jews should return on his head, and they hung him and his sons on the gallows.

Casting lots is unfamiliar for most in our day, but it was common for them “in order to find the most propitious day to cast lots so that he would be sure to succeed, links the derivation of Purim with the word pûr … The lot was used in Assyria for choosing annual eponym officials, dividing property and in divination, and the practice lived on in the eastern part of the empire in Persian times.5

This casting of lots makes this day of feasting and celebration different than the Jewish feasts that were set by God’s command. And it is the deliverance that God gave the Jews against the schemes of man that makes it so important to remember.

Days of Purim

Esther 9:26–32
The Jews adopted Purim in response to Mordecai’s letter and to celebrate God’s deliverance, in

Esther 9:27–28 (LEB) 27 the Jews established and adopted it for themselves and for their offspring, and for all who joined them. They did not neglect to observe these two days every year as it was written and appointed to them. 28 These days are to be remembered and are to be kept in every generation, and in family, province, and city; and these days of Purim are not to be neglected among the Jews, and their memory shall not come to an end among their offspring.

There is also a reminder of how this all happend in Esther 9:31, they accepted “these days of Purim (feast and joy and celebration and giving of gifts) … just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had impose … regulations of the fast and their lament”. Sometimes there is intercession before the joy of overcoming.

He Sought Good for His People

Esther 10:1–3
In Esther 10:3 “Mordecai the Jew was second-in-command to King Ahasuerus” and he certainly was a great man. But his greatness was that “he sought good for his people, interceding for the welfare of all his descendants”.

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Esther 7:1-10
  • Esther 8:1-17
  • Esther 9:1-32
  • Esther 10:1-3

Operation Exodus

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Return to Israel – Ezra

We often read one book of the Bible at a time and that is easier for everyone to follow. The order of our readings, beginning with Ezra, are from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible because the return from Babylonian exile includes Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, Esther, a few Psalms, and other connections. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much better context and helps us understand the move of God as He is reestablishing His people. Review the whole series beginning with Go Up To Jerusalem.


  • 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 306). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 2. Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Es 7:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 3. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 306). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 4. Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Es 8:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 5. Baldwin, J. G. (1984). Esther: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 12, p. 108). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.