Online Bible Commentary
The Hand of God
Esther 9: 29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book. 10:1 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen. (NKJV)
Esther, a Jew, was named Queen of Persia by King Xerxes. He was also known as King Ahasuerus. Persia was modern day Iran and the empire of Persia ruled over most of the Middle East, including Israel. Xerxes came to power in 486 B.C. and the Book of Esther begins three years later. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, raised her after her parents died. The first wave of exiled Jews had returned to Judah from Babylon, but Esther and Mordecai had chosen to stay in Persia.
Haman, the king’s top official, hated Mordecai and convinced the king to issue an edict to exterminate all the Jews. Haman built a gallows in order to hang Mordecai. It was at this point that Esther revealed to the king that she was Jewish and that Haman wanted to exterminate her people. Mordecai had also gained favor with the king. The king was so displeased with Haman that he had Haman hung on the gallows built for Mordecai and gave Haman’s estate to Esther. He also gave Haman’s title to Mordecai and had another edict issued to save the Jews. The king also allowed the Jews to defeat their enemies, including killing the ten sons of Haman.
The Jews celebrated their victory over their enemies in Persia, establishing the Jewish feast, Purim. Purim was named after the casting of lots, called “pur”, which Haman had used to establish his plan to exterminate the Jews. The Jews defeated their enemies on the thirteenth day of the Jewish month of Adar. They then rested and feasted on the fourteenth and fifteenth days.
The Feast of Purim is still celebrated today. It is a festive and colorful Jewish holiday of celebration. And even today, in the public reading of the book, noisemakers are sounded off with every mention of the dreaded enemy, Haman.
This brings us to today’s passage. Queen Esther and Mordecai established the Feast of Purim, writing two letters to the Jewish people proclaiming the days of celebration as the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar (vv. 29-32). The Jewish month of Adar corresponds to the last part of February and the first part of March. The Feast of Purim has been celebrated by the Jewish people ever since.
The king supported the Jews and Purim, throughout the empire (v. 1). He praised Mordecai in the “annals of the kings of Media and Persia” (v.2). Also Mordecai was highly esteemed by his own people, the Jews, “because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews” (v.3).
The story of Esther and Mordecai is a tribute to the providential care of God for his people. The Jewish people lost their country and were exiled to Babylon because of their continued disobedience of God. God was very patient with them. God gave them chance after chance to live in obedience to Him because they were His people and He loved them. But even God has His limits. He finally gave them over to the consequences of their sins, and they lost everything.
However, even in exile, God’s people were not abandoned. He promises never to abandon His people. God engineered circumstances that allowed Esther to become Queen of the most powerful country in the world. He also engineered circumstances that allowed Mordecai to become the second most powerful man in the empire, only behind the king. God then used Esther and Mordecai to save the Jewish race from extermination. And, finally, God used Esther and Mordecai to raise the people up to conquer their enemies and become the ruling class in Persia.
God protects His people. His hand is upon them. The Jews are an example. The Egyptian Pharaoh tried to wipe them out, and the result was Passover. Haman of Persia (Iran) tried to do the same, and the result was Purim. Next came Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greek King, and the result was Hanukkah. Hitler then tried, and we know what happened to him.
As Christians, we also enjoy a special relationship with God. He may discipline us and allow us to pay the consequences of our sins, but He never abandons us. He is always there, in the midst of our troubles. No matter what is going on in our lives, and in the world, we know we can always turn to Him and he will never let us down. His providential care of His people never wanes .The hand of God is always upon us.