Pastoral Commentary for Esther 7-8
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
King Xerxes and Haman were dining at Queen Esther's banquet when the king again asked Esther what her request would be. Immediately Esther begged for her people to be spared from destruction. Xerxes was shocked to learn that someone was plotting against the Jews, even though he had casually given his own signet ring to Haman to authorize the killing of "a certain people" without any specification. King Xerxes then asked who was responsible and Esther identified Haman as the enemy of God's people. King Xerxes went out into the garden in a rage, while Haman attempted to plead for his life with Queen Esther. Haman threw himself, quite literally, on the queen's mercy when Xerxes came back inside and cried out in shock,"Will he even assault the queen in my presence?" Immediately the king's attendants covered Haman's face, a sign to the king that his crimes deserved execution. They informed the king that Haman had a 75-foot gallows built for Mordecai, who had rescued the king. Xerxes gave the order: "Hang him on that." In an instant, God had reversed the fortunes of the evil Haman and his own chosen people. King Xerxes gave Haman's estate to Queen Esther, and his own signet ring to Mordecai, who was put in charge of Haman's estate. Once again Esther begged Xerxes to overrule the edict that had been given to destroy the Jews. King Xerxes explained, "an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring cannot be revoked." Therefore, he told Mordecai to issue a new edict that would have the effect of preserving the lives of the Jews without overruling the previous order. The new decree gave the Jews the right to assemble and protect themselves, to crush any armed force that might come against them, and to plunder the property of their enemies. After the couriers delivered the message, Mordecai left the palace arrayed in royal splendor and the people rejoiced at the reversal of their fortunes. On the other hand, many people of other ethnic groups became fearful of God's chosen people. Clearly the hand of the LORD was upon the Jews to defend and bless them, even in exile.