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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Esther 8

 

 

Verses 1-32

8:1-10:3 THE JEWS TRIUMPHANT

Victory and celebration (8:1-9:32)

Although Mordecai was appointed chief minister instead of Haman (8:1-2), the decree arranged by Haman was still in force. A king's decree could not be changed. However, the king gave Esther and Mordecai his authority to issue a new decree that would counteract the former one (3-8).

Esther and Mordecai acted promptly. They gave the Jews permission to take whatever action they chose in order to defend themselves against any attack on the appointed day. Because the new decree showed that the king was now sympathetic to the Jews, provincial officials would hesitate to enforce the former decree (9-14). Many non-Jewish people were so impressed by what had happened, that they became open converts to the Jewish religion (15-17).

It seems that when the day for the destruction of the Jews arrived, very few of their enemies attacked them. Rather the Jews attacked their enemies, possibly doing more than the decree gave them permission to do. To their credit, however, they refused to exercise their right to plunder the enemies' goods. The Persian officials now feared Mordecai's power, and thought it wise to give the Jews whatever help they needed (9:1-10).

At Esther's request, the Jews in the capital were given an extra day to take revenge on their enemies (11-15). This meant that although the slaughter in the provincial areas lasted only one day, in the capital it lasted two days (16-19).

Mordecai ordered that the great occasion be celebrated by feasting, exchanging gifts of food and giving to the poor (20-22). From that time on the Jews held an annual festival, known as the Feast of Purim, to celebrate their victory over Haman. The word 'purim' was the Hebrew plural of the Persian-Assyrian word pur, and meant 'lots'; for by casting lots, Haman decided which day was suitable for his attack. It was a day that turned into one of triumph for the Jews (23-28; cf. 3:7,13). Esther and Mordecai then issued a formal decree to confirm Mordecai's instructions concerning Purim as official law for all Jews (29-32).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Esther 8:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/esther-8.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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