Summary: Haman was second in command, his pride leads to his fall to enemy of the State. His archenemy gets his estate. That is God’s justice
Esther Chapter 8
Saying Yes to God part 8
Haman fell from second in command to an enemy of the State and executed as such. He was hung on the gallows he built for someone else. He amassed a huge fortune, lands, houses, money and other possessions. Usually this would be left for his family, but not in this case. Esther receives a bounty, a plunder, she “inherits” Haman’s estate. The rich just got richer.
Not only is his estate handed over to the Queen, but the King’s ring that was given to Haman is now given to his arch enemy Mordecai. My how the tables have turned. Mordecai gets the ring and is appointed to overseer of what was Haman’s estate.
While this is a worthy prize, it is not enough. There is still the business at hand; an order has to be rescinded. The edict that the evil Haman had written.
With proper deference to the king and an expressed hope that she enjoyed the king’s favor, Esther petitioned him to issue an order "overruling" Haman’s dispatches. She reminded him that Haman’s orders had been sent with the explicit purpose of destroying the Jews in all the king’s provinces. Esther expressed her grief in face of the impending disaster about to fall on her people (Heb., "the evil that will find my people") and her kinsmen, thus revealing her true character--that she was not merely self-serving, as might have been inferred from her previous statements. Esther was careful to place the blame on Haman for the wicked plot and not on the king.
Xerxes responds by having Esther write another edict, one that rescinds Haman’s and it will be sealed with the King’s signet ring, which Mordecai has, and the order cannot be revoked. This is a cause for celebration; it is this event that the Feast of Purim is based on, a time of celebration, peace and prosperity for the Jews. Xerxes gave the Queen permission to write the decree because he could not revoke the decree since it was written by him and sealed with his ring, but the loophole is that she could.
About 2 months after Haman’s original edict, the secretaries arrive to take a new order. There is something here for us to examine. Our enemy, Satan, wants us dead physically and spiritually. He is the author of sin and death; he wants us miserable and fearful of him. Yet Jesus came, wrote a new edict, a new law which is not really a new law but an affirmation of the original and He is the author of LIFE. Haman, like Satan, the author of death, destruction and fear, is outdone by Mordecai, who like Jesus is the author of life and celebration.
There is been much discussion in the commentaries whether it is historically true that the laws of the Medes and Persians was irrevocable. There is no extrabiblical evidence to this practice. However, whether it was poetic license or not, the author makes a point we need to heed to. Just as Xerxes could not simply rescind the first decree of death, God, the Lord of all creation cannot simply rescind the decree of death pronounced in the Garden of Eden against humanity. Instead, Xerxes, like God issues a counter-decree of life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Compare Mordecai’s decree with Haman’s decree. Mordecai’s decree was a defensive, one of protection. Haman ordered a massacre and destruction of a people. In this way the Jews act differently than their enemies, they are called to protect themselves. They were not to be the aggressors. Mordecai’s order brings joy and celebration, while Haman’s brought sadness, mourning, and weeping.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for them, to do good to them and lend without expecting anything back, then our reward will be great in Heaven and we will be called “children of the Most High.” Reputation and perception is everything. Is this decree any different? The difference is in how this order is taken. They can attack anyone that might attack them. It is still the defensive approach. Yet Jesus took it a step further by saying to do good to our enemies.
Some might see this as a jihad or Holy War. It is not unique to Esther, in Duet 9 we see one taking place prior to the occupation of Canaan. However God was clear as to why he wanted this to happen. However, in Esther it was for their protection, we are to defend ourselves, not be aggressors.
The OT is full of stories and examples of how God feels about sin. It fully illustrates Romans 3:23 and 6:23, we have all sinned and we all deserve death. However God’s irrevocable decree of death and destruction has been countered by his decree that all who come to Christ shall not perish but have eternal life. The violence of God against sin and evil can therefore be rightly understood only in “the shadow of the Cross.”