Hateful Haman had drafted a law that allowed anyone to execute Jews and seize their property in the name of the king. Mordecai’s law could not reverse Haman’s because of the Persian code, which stated that no law signed by the king could be reversed. So Mordecai drafted a law (which the king gladly signed) giving the Jews the right to fight back.
When Adar the 13th arrived (March 7th on the modern calendar), there was a great deal of fighting and bloodshed. By my count, there were 75,000 people who attacked the Jews and paid for it with their lives (v.12, 15-16). The Jews did not slaughter their neighbors randomly, but only defended themselves against those who attacked them. Just as He had done many times throughout their history, the Lord enabled His people to defeat their enemies when they trusted Him. It is important to note that the Jews did not kill for vengeance or for selfish gain: they did not seize their enemies’ possessions, though they could have (v.10, 16).
God had done a great thing for His people. The story of their deliverance was worth telling, and Mordecai carefully recorded the story for God’s people to read and remember from generation to generation (v.20; this verse has led some to believe that Mordecai wrote the book of Esther). He instituted a holiday to memorialize God’s deliverance, the days of Purim, which are still celebrated by Jewish people today (note: the next observance of Purim will be March 15-16, 2014). These special days were to be reserved for “feasting and gladness” because of what God had done to rescue His people.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the book of Esther! Here are a few final thoughts on this amazing slice of redemption history:
Whatever your place in life, whatever your age, however limited you perceive your scope of influence and opportunity to be — God can use you. He can place you in the right place at the right time to make a difference for His glory and to be a blessing to His people. He can empower you to do what others are afraid to even consider.
In the book of Esther God caused “the reverse” the occur (v.1). He reversed the plan to destroy His people and turned it into a plan to strengthen them! Our salvation in Christ follows the same storyline: the death I deserved for my sins, God reversed for the life of my Savior! In Christ, He has “turned my sorrow into gladness and my mourning into a holiday” (v.22). For me, every day is Purim!
Verses 24-36 explain the significance of the term “Purim” — man may “cast lots” and make plans, but it is God who is in control of timing and events. God writes HIStory!