Esther Chapter 9
Esther 9:1 The new law and orders of King Ahasuerus took effect on the 13th day of the 12th month (the month of Adar). It was on this day that those who were enemies of the Jews had planned to overtake them, but that was not the way it happened. Instead, the Jews got the upper hand over those who conspired against them. 2 On that day, the Jews gathered together in their respective cities in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to fight those who sought their destruction. No army or nation could stand against them, because they were all frightened of the Jews.
The people were not frightened of the Jews but of the God of the Jews. God had shown His sovereign power by orchestrating events to turn the tables on the enemies of the Jews.
Esther 9:3 The nobles and governors of the provinces and also the king’s officials did what they could to help the Jews, but that was because they feared what Mordecai might do to them. 4 In King Ahasuerus’ palace, Mordecai grew more powerful. Word spread quickly throughout the provinces about Mordecai’s authority and influence.
Another aspect of this fear of the Jews is that there is now a Jew as second in command and another Jew as queen. Whereas Haman the Agagite (Amalekite) had been in control, now Mordecai has been given that position of authority. King Ahasuerus finally figured out who the good guys were. God gave not only Esther, but now Mordecai, favor in the eyes of the king.
5 The Jews took this opportunity to attack their enemies with swords, killing them. And then they did whatever they deemed reasonable with those who despised them. 6 Just in the city of Susa, the capital of the empire, the Jews killed 500 men. 7-10 That didn’t include the 10 sons of Haman (son of Hammedatha, enemy of the Jews): Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. They were also put to death. All of them were considered enemies of the Jews. But they did not touch the assets of their victims. 11 When the day was over, the number of those killed in his capital, Susa, was reported to King Ahasuerus.
In the capital alone, the Jews killed 500 of their enemies plus all ten of Haman’s sons. They did not plunder the spoils of their victims because it wasn’t about that for them. The king had given them permission to take what they wanted. However, when God originally told King Saul to demolish the Amalekites, He instructed Saul NOT to take any plunder. Saul disobeyed which led to his downfall. These Jews may have remembered this story and were careful not to make the same mistake. They learned from Saul’s disobedience. Their main goal was preservation of the Jewish nation.
12 Then the king spoke to Queen Esther.
King Ahasuerus: The Jews have killed 500 men in the capital of Susa alone, and also the 10 sons of Haman. How many must they have killed in the other provinces? Now, do you want anything more? Whatever you ask will be given to you. So, tell me; what further do you need? I will grant whatever that is.
King Ahasuerus loves Esther so much he is willing to grant her heart’s desire as far as is humanly possible. The king had probably lost many of his own army as well as many citizens of the capital. The king was willing to vindicate Esther perhaps because of the integrity she had always displayed. As previously noted, the Lord had given her favor in his eyes. The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine…” Deuteronomy 32:35, but He seems to be using Esther as the instrument of carrying out His wrath on the enemies of the Jews.
Esther 9:13 Queen Esther: If it pleases the king, allow the Jews in Susa one more day to exact justice on their enemies according to your decree. And let Haman’s 10 sons be displayed on the pole.
14 The king honored Queen Esther’s wishes. An order was issued in the city of Susa, and the dead bodies of the 10 sons of Haman were displayed. 15 So on the 14th day of the month of Adar, the Jews killed 300 men in Susa. But they didn’t touch any of their assets.
The queen always prefaces a request with, “If it pleases the king.” She makes her request humbly. Even when the king is willing to receive her demands, she never uses a demanding tone. She still shows respect for the king’s authority. All together 810 men were killed by the Jews in Susa, but they still took none of their property.
Esther 9:16 In the meantime, the Jews who lived outside Susa in the king’s provinces also gathered together to defend themselves and find freedom from their enemies. In total, the rural Jews killed 75,000 of their enemies, but they didn’t touch any of their assets. 17 All of this took place in the provinces on the 13th day of the month of Adar, and on the 14th day the Jews rested and celebrated with food and drink.
18 Since the Jews in Susa had gathered together to defend themselves on the 13th and 14th days of the month of Adar, they rested on the 15th and celebrated with food and drink. 19 (This explains why the Jews who live in rural areas and villages continue to celebrate on the 14th day of Adar with food and drinks and send gifts to one another.)
After annihilating the enemies who had planned to completely destroy them, the Jews had a big celebration. Even the rural Jews did not take any of the assets of the conquered.
The remainder of the book of Esther from chapter 9:20 to the end of chapter 10 reads like the “Cliff Notes” version of the entire story. Mordecai kept a journal and wrote letters about the events to Jews in all the provinces. Since Haman had originally cast lots (Pur) to determine the best day to slaughter the Jews, Mordecai and Esther established the annual feast of Purim to commemorate the time when God elevated a Jewess to the position of queen of Persia to save her people from annihilation. According to the notes in the John MacArthur Study Bible, Purim is “the first and last biblically revealed, non-Mosaic festival with perpetual significance.” In other words, the other feasts still celebrated by the Jews were established by Moses.
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. God is always at work protecting His people. Even though he disciplined them through allowing them to be taken captive, He still preserved them. He is also able to preserve you through trials.
2. God is sovereign and cannot be thwarted. Take comfort in this fact.
3. Read from Esther 9:20 through the end of the book in order to solidify what you have read and learned in the story of this Jewish heroine. The Lord knows we need repetition in order to thoroughly learn, so he had the writer of Esther include this summary.
4. Choose a key verse that has been meaningful to you from this study and take the time to memorize it. Many people memorize Esther 4:14b