Esther 8

Chapter eight begins with yet another revelation for the king. Not only had Mordecai saved his life, but he was also Esther’s cousin, part of the group Haman wanted to exterminate (Esther 8:1-8). It seems that the king took over Haman’s estate, since he officially committed treason, and gave it to Esther. To Mordecai he gave Haman’s old job, Prime Minister or Grand Vizier over the empire. Although that was a wonderful turn of events, it did not actually solve the problem. In nine months (Esther 8:9), the Jewish people were still scheduled to be annihilated, so Esther once again begged for her life and the lives of her people. The problem was that Persian law could not be rescinded (Esther 8:8; see Daniel 6:8, 15, 17), so the king told Mordecai to write a new law, anything he wanted, to offset the previous law.

Following the same pattern as Haman, Mordecai called the official scribes to have a new law written (Esther 8:9-14). The wisdom of this law is astounding. Mordecai could have done anything, but all he did was give the Jews the ability to fight back and protect themselves on the day of the attack, even the women and children, who were supposed to be victims of the genocide. Using exactly the same language as Haman’s original law (Esther 3:13), Mordecai decreed that the Jews were allowed “to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate” anyone who came against them.

For the next nine months, Jews throughout the empire celebrated the new law and made preparations for their defense (Esther 8:15-17). The writer included an interesting note that some people even pretended to be Jews after this, apparently because they were fearful that the Jews would kill people arbitrarily when the time came.