|January 29, 2021
” The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.” Esther 9:5-9
( as you have noticed, this week I have been reflecting on difficult texts in the Bible )
At the end of the book of Esther, there are massacres. Haman, an official of King Xerxes, wants to kill all of the Jews in the kingdom. Esther, a Jew, becomes Queen, and she confronts the King. She is very brave, and with the help of her cousin Mordecai, uncover the plan of Haman. Haman is executed. Then all of his children were also killed. Any enemies of the Jews were slaughtered. ” An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. It is an awful ending ( from my perspective ) to a wonderful story of Esther’s bravery.
I think we can understand the reaction of the Jewish faithful. They had almost been the vicitims of a genocide, so they unleashed their anger on the people of King Xerxes. Our first reaction is to defend, and then exact retribution. It seems to be the natural thing to do.
But, God is never mentioned in the story. The story is in the Old Testament, but what is God saying in the book ? Nothing. These are God’s people, but God did not order them to do anything. God does not tell Mordecai or Esther what to say. So, it is up to us in the church to find meaning and interpretation.
What do we take from the story for our lives together ? Mordecai wants his cousin to confront the King. Esther is not allowed to ask for an audience with the King. She can only meet him, when she is called. If she went into the King without being summoned, she would be killed. Mordecai says to her , “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this ? Esther 4:14
Maybe, the time of COVID, is our Esther moment ? We are here for such a time as this. It is our time to witness to the Kingdom of God here on this earth. Is it your/our time ?
Grace and peace in our journey of faith and life,