Summary: God did a great reversal. On an individual level, everything that Haman has and craved for, ended up with Mordecai. On a national level, the Jews were given the right to fight for their survival, against sure extermination.
The enemy Haman has been removed. The King’s anger subsided. Mordecai has gotten his recognition, but the problem remains.
• The removal of Haman is not the end of the problem for the Jews. There’s still an unfinished task. The first edict of the King issued through Haman still stands.
• The empire has been informed. The Jews could be exterminated on the 13th day of the 12th month. Let’s read Esther 8:1-17.
We see a great reversal. On a personal level, everything that Haman had wanted was reversed.
• He wanted Mordecai to be hanged on the gallows but he was impaled on it instead.
• He craved for honour and glory for himself, but these were given to Mordecai eventually.
• He wanted to confiscate the Jews’ property (3:13) but had his own confiscated instead, and given to Esther, and with Mordecai now overseeing his estate.
• The King’s signet ring, which was in Haman’s possession, was now handed over to Mordecai.
• All the power that Haman had, was now in the hands of Mordecai. He was promoted and given the King’s signet ring.
The reversal was not only on a personal level but national level, for the people of God.
• The first edict to exterminate the Jews (issued in 3:13 by Haman) was left standing.
• According to the laws of the Medes and Persians, no decree or edict issued by the King can be revoked or changed.
• The King mentioned it in 8:8. We read also in 1:19 that no royal decree written in the laws of Persia and Media can be repealed. We see that also in Daniel 6:15.
Esther has to step into the King’s presence and resolve this, and she did so, again without an invitation from the King.
• But the tables have already been turned. All that has happened up to this point has given the King a renewed admiration for the Jewish people, by the providence of God.
• The King granted Esther favour and extended the gold sceptre to her.
Esther’s request was simple - a new decree has to be issued that would counter the first decree - in order to save her people and her family.
• Since the first could not be repealed, the second would have to give her people the right to fight and defend themselves.
• The King was glad to do that and ordered Mordecai to draft and issue it.
8:9 says the second edict was issued in the third month (Sivan), which mean the Jews throughout the empire have 9 months to prepare themselves for their defence.
• The extermination of the Jews was set on the 13th day of the 12th month (Adar).
• This is the new edict - 8:11-13 11The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
The edict sounded faintly similar to the first one given by Haman in 3:13-14 but with marked differences. This is important.
Mordecai is not Haman; the Jews will not behave like evil men. This is not going to be a reckless massacre.
Both edicts were written in the script of each province and language of each people, given out to all the 127 provinces across the empire.
• But the second one has this line – 8:9c “and also to the Jews in their own script and language.” The first one was not given to them, for obvious reason.
• The new one was given to all nationalities PLUS the Jews. To all the nationalities as a warning to them, and to the Jews for their preparation to fight.
And notice another marked difference.
• 8:11 “The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies.”
• It is not to be a rampage or a massacre like the one Haman envisaged. That’s the behaviour of evil men, not the people of God.
The Jews will fight ONLY against those who attack them, their enemies. They will fight only for self-defence.