每日诗歌: Our God is an awesome God (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smZwG-auxC8)
Esther 7 [Read]
Esther 8 [Read]
Esther 9 [Read]
Esther 10 [Read]
Acts 6 [Read]
The ending of Esther bothers me. First, the violence at the end seems to me avoidable by the king simply revoking the first edict issued through Haman (3:12-14). Then maybe all could be in peace and no killing would be necessary. Secondly, it seems to me unnecessary to slaughter 75000 people (9:16). The Jews did not seem to be much better than their enemies. However, these feelings tend to cloud my view to the lesson God meant for me to learn.
For the first point, it is important to remember that the hatred of the enemies towards the Jews was always there. The first edict through Haman simply legitimized it. The new edict through Mordecai gave the Jews the right to “assemble and protect themselves” (8:11), and the wording did seem to indicate that the Jews only killed others in self-defense (9:2, 5, 16). Hatred aroused by human sin was the root cause of Haman’s action, and revoking the first edict, even if it could be done, would not fix the problem. Meanwhile, Jews should not just sit and wait to be slaughtered by their enemies.
For the second point, it is dangerous to translate biblical narrative to ethical principles. To me, God was the one who arranged Esther to become queen (2:17), to move the king’s heart to remember the history (6:1), and to blind Haman from knowing the ethnical origin of the new queen (5:12). However, it’s risky to assume that God also approved such a violent reaction of the Jews against their gentile enemies. Human sin exists not just in the enemy’s hearts, but has also infested the people of God as we all know so well by our own experiences.
After clearing the fog which was blurring my vision, I managed to see the essence of Purim. It was set on the day that the Jews were to be wiped out by their archenemy. They had effectively been sentenced to death, and they could not save themselves. However, God’s grace turned the situation around and rescued them from the brink of death. They ended up gaining back their lives. The Purim was to make Jews remember this experience of “passed out of death into life” (Jn 5:24). Maybe that should also be the lesson we take away from this particular deliverance act of the almighty God.
You have finished 21 books, and there are only 45 left. We have finished the OT history books, and will start the Wisdom books tomorrow. Keep going!