To appreciate Esther 8:11-17, please invest some time to read the entire Book of Esther. If you prefer, you can listen to it on any of the many 21st century technological devices available to us today. My favorite online Bible tool, complete with a range of audio Bibles is www.BibleGateway.com, and I take this opportunity to again thank them for their Ministry. Why not complete the job and thank all the mainly online Bible Research facilities that I use. www.BlueLetterBible.org has become a staple, and so has www.studylight.org and similar sites. www.Gotquestions.org frequently proves helpful and I am sure that I could easily identify twenty other sites. But what would I do without the greatest Concordance known to man, and perhaps the least expected Bible study tool – Google. Having mentioned all these tools, I must emphasize that it is God’s Holy Spirit that remains the supreme Teacher of His Word and of His ways. Esther 8:11-17 comes after the high drama is over. Take Esther 8:15 for example. This verse is meaningless to you if you had not already read Esther 4:1-4. Esther 8:11 makes little sense if you had not read Esther 3:8-14. And reading Esther 8:17 has a lot more impact when you realize that the Jews were on the brink of extinction, at least from the human perspective.
The importance of the Book of Esther and the significance of its story is evidenced by the fact that it plays a central role in the life of the Jewish people today. Purim, the happiest time of the year for Jews is celebrated between the 12th and 13th of Adar, which falls in March. The celebration is based 100% on the contents of the Book of Esther. As recorded, the 13th day of the 12th month in the Jewish calendar called Adar, the wicked Haman had determined to exterminate all Jews because of one man who refused to bow down before him – Mordecai. On that same day, after God turned it around, the Jews were officially empowered to destroy any who dared to stand against them (Esther 9:1-3). In fact, so thorough was their destruction of their enemies, that at the request of the Jewish Queen Esther, the King extended the period of slaughter to the 14th of Adar (Esther 9:13-15).
Esther reads more like a well-coordinated super fiction in which the most unlikely becomes possible. Either that, or its events were Divinely and supernaturally orchestrated by the hand of God, and I will go with the latter. What are the chances of the Jewish Esther becoming the Queen of the most powerful heathen king; of Mordecai conveniently overhearing the plot to kill the king; of Haman being hung on the same gallows he built to hang Mordecai; and of Mordecai replacing Haman in palace importance? And that’s just a few examples of the overarching providence of God in protecting His people.
There are many worthy sub-themes in Esther. Haman was very likely a descendent of Agag, King of the Amelakites. King Saul disobeyed God’s command to utterly destroy them, and Haman is one piece of evidence. Esther’s humility and obedience to her uncle and guardian Mordecai is a model. Yet when it was time to incur the Kings wrath on Haman and the enemies of the Jews, she rose to the occasion like a mighty warrior. And perhaps least popular of the themes today, is the condemnation of wives not being submissive to their husbands.
The Book of Esther is what God’s favor looks like. I want it. Do you?
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Daily Devotional today at www.ODB.org