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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 9:1-19 (ESV)

Posted on December 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 9:1-19 (ESV) - 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. But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.

Question to consider: Why did Esther ask that the sons of Haman be hanged even though they were already dead?

The time reference given in today’s passage marked the very day in which the original decree of Haman was to be carried out. Not only was there the complete reversal of fortune between Mordecai and Haman, but the plans of Haman were completely reversed as well. Rather than the Israelites being slaughtered by the nations, the Jews were able to lay hands on those who wanted them dead and carry out vengeance against them. With the full force of Persia and king Ahasuerus behind him, Mordecai struck dread in the hearts of his enemies.

When the passage says “they did as they pleased” against their enemies, it was not referring to them taking pleasure in cruelty toward them, but that vengeance was satisfied up until the point in which they could act according to the decree from Mordecai. The decree did not require them to plunder the enemy or attack their women and children, but it set the limit on what vengeance may look like. In fact the only ones who lost their sons in this battle were the 10 sons of Haman. Instead of taking everyone else’s sons, they strung up the ten sons of Haman (already dead) on the gallows Haman created as a warning to others.

Many years later when Jesus gave His sermon on the mount, He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39) Mordecai’s decree was created in the same spirit as the Law which proclaimed an ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ — to limit vengeance while leaving room for mercy. Jesus’ sermon stressed mercy instead of judgment because all of the citizens of His kingdom received their citizenship solely by God’s mercy and had no room to exact judgment on others. The Pharisees took ‘an eye for an eye’ as a mandate for judgment without mercy right up until the limit, and Jesus emphasized that their view of the Law was not the intent of God. How did He know this? Because Jesus was the One who gave the Law to Moses.

Here is one final note in regard to this being the very day that Haman cast pur (lots) to send out the original decree. I believe this was an implicit way of exalting God. Both the Agagites and the Jews believed that the fate of pur was determined by their respective gods. Since the outcome ultimately favored the Jews and worked against the other nations opposing them, it demonstrated that the God of Israel was holy and true and above all other gods.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to see Your mercy as we study scripture. It is the lies of the evil one that tries to pervert Your word and hide Your goodness from the world. Help us to see the truth and proclaim it. Amen.