Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews
1 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[a] the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[b] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”
10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A 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 they would be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
As you read through today’s passage, what verses stood out to you?
For a little insight into this passage, let’s look into verses 2-4 first. We see Mordecai refusing to bow to Haman. Two things are happening here. Mordecai knew bowing to Haman would be showing that he believed he was a god. Our application also teaches us that even though “Jews did bow down to government authorities, at times, as a sign of respect, Haman’s ancestors were ancient enemies of the Jews.” Despite the consequences that Mordecai could face for doing this, he stayed true to his faith in God alone. “Doing what is right will not always make you popular. Those who do right will be in the minority, but to obey God is more important than to obey people.” Have you ever done something that was right, but left you less liked? Write about it.
What we see happen in the rest of the passage is just pure evil doing out of hatred. Haman hated that the Jews would never see him as the powerful person he thought he was because God was their ultimate authority, not him, or any man. So, he took out an order to put them all to death. His biggest mistake in this evil plan however was figuring out what day to carry out his murder plan of all the Jews. He set the date almost a year from when he sent out the letters. We will learn why this delayed time frame works against Haman’s plan, but in favor of God’s plan. Something interesting to point out from our application is that “Haman’s death decree was against all Jews in the Persian empire; (this included Esther and Mordecai!) thus, it would have included the (entire) land of Israel. If his decree had been carried out, all of God’s chosen people could have been exterminated, and God’s plan to send his Son to earth as a Jew could have been ruined. But God’s plans cannot be stopped (AMEN!) Haman was doomed to fail.” We will see this all pan out in the days ahead. But, it is important to see where everyone was at and the impact that this decree had on believers. Today, I think we can be encouraged by this passage, although we haven’t seen it play out, right now we only see evil, we can remember yesterdays message that God is in control and take that and pair it with the truth that his plan is greater than ours and with him NOTHING is impossible. When was a time that you felt serious spiritual warfare? What did it feel like when God claimed victory over that and you overcame that evil with God’s goodness?
Heavenly Father, thank you for this passage. Help us to be like Mordecai, that when we are faced with challenges against our faith, that we can stay true to you, that we don’t need to do what is most popular or what is going to get us liked by other people, that what is important is that we love and honor YOU! We know this can be such a challenge and we pray for the courage to stand up for our beliefs and you when we face trials of any kind that go against who you are and who you desire for us to be. Thank you Lord for your word and this story, we know you are going to reign victorious! In your powerful, one and only, name we pray, AMEN!
**Please note, this week and next, there will only be a devotional Monday-Thursday as we finish up the book of Esther. We will also be switching the format for the summer starting the beginning of May as I will be on summer vacation with my littles. I am really excited about what I have been working on for the Summer (May – August) for us and hope you love what’s to come. Stay tuned for that!