This 12-part series takes a new look at an old story and finds fresh words of courage, faith, and challenge for today’s Church. It is based on Carol Bechtel’s commentary on Esther in the Interpretation series (Westminster John Knox, 2002).
The Battle Is Not Done
Read: Esther 8
How can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people? (v. 6, NRSV)
It’s a bit like one of those scary movies. Just when the danger seems to be past, the villain jumps out to terrorize us all over again.
Here, too, we let our guard down when Haman is safely dead. But we can’t afford to forget that Haman’s words outlive him. His edict is still very much alive, and the danger is not past as long as it is in effect.
Fortunately, Esther keeps her eye on the edict. She steps right back into the line of fire to beg the king to revoke the edict that will soon spell death for her and her people.
Isn’t it ironic that the most powerful man in Persia can’t revoke one little law? The best Ahasuerus can do is to give Mordecai his signet ring and suggest that he “write as [he] please with regard to the Jews in the name of the king.”
So Mordecai crafts a second edict in an attempt to counteract the first. This edict allows the Jews to defend themselves when attacked. It’s not an ideal solution, but under the circumstances it will have to suffice.
Prayer: Help us to think of creative solutions to conflict, O God, and forgive us when we are too quick to choose the violent path.