By Gail Peo
In Chapter 7 of Esther, the wicked, deceptive Haman was exposed as the orchestrator of the edict to destroy, kill, and annihilate the Jews, the people of Queen Esther. We felt great relief when Haman was hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Even the king’s anger was abated. But did the king give Esther what she asked for?
In Esther 7:3, Esther asked for her life and the life of her people. Haman’s edict to destroy, kill, and annihilate the Jews on the 13th day of the 12th month was still in place. Once again, Esther must approach the king uninvited. If he doesn’t extend the golden scepter to her, she will be killed. This time her plea was more emotional. She fell at the king’s feet and wept and pleaded with him. The king pointed out that he had hanged Haman and given Esther his entire household, because Haman had intended to lay hands on the Jews. He had sympathized with the Jews. However, he recognized her problem. Haman’s edict was still in place. He told her she and Mordecai could do anything they wanted with the Jews, but he could not revoke Haman’s edict, because it was sealed with the king’s signet ring. The edict was irrevocable. It seems hopeless for the Jews, doesn’t it?
Mordecai, recently promoted to the King’s right-hand man, wrote a new edict. There were many similarities between the edict written by Haman and the edict written by
- They were both written to the king’s satraps and governors all over the
- They were written in the province’s own script and language.
- They were both sealed with the king’s signet ring.
- They were both swiftly sent out to all the king’s provinces..
But there were differences in these edicts that made Mordecai’s edict, in effect, a reversal of Haman’s irrevocable edict. Haman’s edict called for residents of Persia to destroy, kill, annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children. Mordecai’s edict allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or provinces that might attack them, women and children included. Do you see the similarities in the language used in both edicts?
The differences in the edicts, however, are more important. Haman’s edict called for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai’s edict allowed the Jews to fight back against anyone who would dare to attack them. Haman’s edict couldn’t be revoked, but its power could be reversed. Mordecai’s edict brings about a reversal of Haman’s edict. This is a great reversal.
Haman’s edict brought about mourning and confusion. Mordecai’s edict brought about light, gladness, and joy; a feast and a holiday. Many peoples of the country declared
themselves Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen on them. We see how God saved
His people, not by revoking an irrevocable edict, but by reversing its power to destroy
the Jews. The new edict empowered the Jews to gain victory.
We know that God, the King of the Universe, also has issued irrevocable edicts. In Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1, we read that God commanded the man, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Adam and Eve ate, and death entered our world forever.
God doesn’t forget that. God will enforce that promise of death against each individual’s sins, forever. But God provided an effective reversal of this penalty, by sending Jesus Christ to die in our place, to pay the penalty for our sin. He doesn’t have to die for His own sin because He has none. When we personally accept that sacrifice, our sin is covered, and its penalty reversed. We thank God for being a God of reversals!