SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
8:1 On that same day King Ahasuerus gave the estate of Haman, that adversary of the Jews, to Queen Esther. Now Mordecai had come before the king, for Esther had revealed how he was related to her. 2 The king then removed his signet ring (the very one he had taken back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther designated Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s estate.
3 Then Esther again spoke with the king, falling at his feet. She wept and begged him for mercy that he might nullify the evil of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had intended against the Jews. 4 When the king extended to Esther the gold scepter, she arose and stood before the king.
5 She said, “If the king is so inclined, and if I have met with his approval, and if the matter is agreeable to the king, and if I am attractive to him, let an edict be written rescinding those recorded intentions of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, which he wrote in order to destroy the Jews who are throughout all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I watch the calamity that will befall my people, and how can I watch the destruction of my relatives?”
7 King Ahasuerus replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Look, I have already given Haman’s estate to Esther, and he has been hanged on the gallows because he took hostile action against the Jews. 8 Now write in the king’s name whatever in your opinion is appropriate concerning the Jews and seal it with the king’s signet ring. Any decree that is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring cannot be rescinded.”
9 The king’s scribes were quickly summoned—in the third month (that is, the month of Sivan), on the twenty-third day. They wrote out everything that Mordecai instructed to the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors, and the officials of the provinces all the way from India to Ethiopia—127 provinces in all—to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, and to the Jews according to their own script and their own language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. He then sent letters by couriers, who rode royal horses that were very swift.
11 The king thereby allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and to stand up for themselves—to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any army of whatever people or province that should become their adversaries, including their women and children, and to confiscate their property. 12 This was to take place on a certain day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus—namely, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar). 13 A copy of the edict was to be presented as law throughout each and every province and made known to all peoples, so that the Jews might be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14 The couriers who were riding the royal horses went forth with the king’s edict without delay. And the law was presented in Susa the citadel as well.
15 Now Mordecai went out from the king’s presence in blue and white royal attire, with a large golden crown and a purple linen mantle. The city of Susa shouted with joy. 16 For the Jews there was radiant happiness and joyous honor. 17 Throughout every province and throughout every city where the king’s edict and his law arrived, the Jews experienced happiness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many of the resident peoples pretended to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them.
9:1 In the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar), on its thirteenth day, the edict of the king and his law were to be executed. It was on this day that the enemies of the Jews had supposed that they would gain power over them. But contrary to expectations, the Jews gained power over their enemies. 2 The Jews assembled themselves in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to strike out against those who were seeking their harm. No one was able to stand before them, for dread of them fell on all the peoples. 3 All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and those who performed the king’s business were assisting the Jews, for the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 Mordecai was of high rank in the king’s palace, and word about him was spreading throughout all the provinces. His influence continued to become greater and greater.
5 The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, bringing death and destruction, and they did as they pleased with their enemies. 6 In Susa the citadel the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men. 7 In addition, they also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 the 10 sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not confiscate their property.
11 On that same day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was brought to the king’s attention. 12 Then the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and the 10 sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? What is your request? It shall be given to you. What other petition do you have? It shall be done.”
13 Esther replied, “If the king is so inclined, let the Jews who are in Susa be permitted to act tomorrow also according to today’s law, and let them hang the 10 sons of Haman on the gallows.”
14 So the king issued orders for this to be done. A law was passed in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa then assembled on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they killed 300 men in Susa. But they did not confiscate their property.
16 The rest of the Jews who were throughout the provinces of the king assembled in order to stand up for themselves and to have rest from their enemies. They killed 75,000 of their adversaries, but they did not confiscate their property. 17 All this happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. They then rested on the fourteenth day and made it a day for banqueting and happiness.
18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth days, and rested on the fifteenth, making it a day for banqueting and happiness. 19 This is why the Jews who are in the rural country—those who live in rural villages—set aside the fourteenth day of the month of Adar for happiness, banqueting, a holiday, and sending gifts to one another.
20 Mordecai wrote these matters down and sent letters to all the Jews who were throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 to have them observe the fourteenth and the fifteenth days of the month of Adar each year 22 as the time when the Jews gave themselves rest from their enemies—the month when their trouble was turned to happiness and their mourning to a holiday. These were to be days of banqueting, happiness, sending gifts to one another, and providing for the poor.
23 So the Jews committed themselves to continuing what they had begun to do and to what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised plans against the Jews to destroy them. He had cast pur (that is, the lot) in order to afflict and destroy them. 25 But when the matter came to the king’s attention, the king gave written orders that Haman’s evil intentions that he had devised against the Jews should fall on his own head. He and his sons were hanged on the gallows. 26 For this reason these days are known as Purim, after the name of pur. Therefore, because of the account found in this letter and what they had faced in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established as binding on themselves, their descendants, and all who joined their company that they should observe these two days without fail, just as written and at the appropriate time on an annual basis. 28 These days were to be remembered and to be celebrated in every generation and in every family, every province, and every city. The Jews were not to fail to observe these days of Purim; the remembrance of them was not to cease among their descendants.
29 So Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 Letters were sent to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the empire of Ahasuerus—words of true peace— 31 to establish these days of Purim in their proper times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established, and just as they had established both for themselves and their descendants, matters pertaining to fasting and lamentation. 32 Esther’s command established these matters of Purim, and the matter was officially recorded.
10:1 King Ahasuerus then imposed forced labor on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. 2 Now all the actions carried out under his authority and his great achievements, along with an exact statement concerning the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king promoted, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus. He was the highest-ranking Jew, and he was admired by his numerous relatives. He worked enthusiastically for the good of his people and was an advocate for the welfare of all his descendants.