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Esther Lesson 9: A Resounding Victory

Esther Lesson 9: A Resounding Victory

Lesson 8 in Review:

Haman, the enemy of the Jews, was hung high upon the gallows he intended for his enemy Mordecai. But Esther 8 showed us that this was a bittersweet victory. Esther informed Ahasuerus of the relationship between herself and Mordecai, Ahasuerus promoted him, and he was placed over the house and position of Haman. In the midst of this, Esther became overcome with grief. Despite Haman’s demise, his plans were still in effect to destroy the Jewish people. She once again pleaded with the king to do something about it, but his law couldn’t be revoked. Instead, he suggested that Esther and Mordecai write another law in the king’s name that would help the Jews, and so they did, authorizing the Jews to defend themselves against the attack of those who allied with Haman in his hatred of them. This all truly was a reversal of fortune, and Mordecai was lifted up in the sight of the people. There was joy, gladness, and celebration among the Jews for probably the first time since their Babylonian captivity. Even many Persians converted to Judaism, at least superficially, because of this.

So the author of Esther left us in suspense. Would this plan work out? Would the Jews survive the date chosen by lot, the thirteenth day of the month of Adar? The story quickly turns to the resolution of this problem in this week’s study of Esther 9:1-19. In our final lesson (Lesson Ten), we will see how the Feast of Purim was officially established and how things turned out for the heroes of our story.

DAY ONE: The Tables are Turned

Please carefully read Esther 9:1-3 and answer the following questions.

1. There is no question that in the Book of Esther we see God’s hand of providence at work like nowhere else in the Bible. How does v. 1 all the more confirm this?

NOTE: The allies of Haman had longingly hoped and waited for this chance to have their way and mastery over the Jews.[i] Yet the opposite happened, because “the tables were turned” (NIV) on them.

2. What was the awesome result on that day (v. 2)?

3. The Hebrew word for fear meant terror, dread, awe, or even panic.[ii] This was not the first time that God showed Himself strong on behalf of His own like this, and just like elsewhere in the Old Testament, it confirms this was all due to supernatural influence.[iii] What do the following passages also record about some other times God put this supernatural fear and panic into Israel’s enemies?

Genesis 35:5

Deuteronomy 2:25; Deut. 11:25

Joshua 2:9-11

4. What further amazing thing happened, and why (v. 3)?

Scripture Memory: This week we will be memorizing Esther 9:1. Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king's command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them (Esther 9:1, NKJV).

DAY TWO: A Resounding Victory

Please carefully read Esther 9:4-10 and answer the following questions.

1. What else do we learn about Mordecai’s growth in his new job (v. 4)?

NOTE: The word great emphasized the importance and significance of someone or something, being influential; the end of the verse (became increasingly prominent) is a repetition of the same word, thus Mordecai became greater and greater.[iv]

2. How resounding of a victory did the Jews have (v. 5, 6)?

3. What capped the Jews’ victory, and what did they not do although the King’s edict allowed it (vv. 7-10, see Esther 8:11)?

NOTE: It is important to remember that those the Jews killed were enemies, allies with Haman to destroy them, thus by extension themselves enemies of God; they were not women and children either, for the Hebrew text makes clear these were men.[v]

4. Lessons for our lives sometimes come in strange packages. In this case, it is in the listing of the names of Haman and his sons! Look over the following definitions, what they might imply about Haman’s own motivations, and record what lessons they might have for us to avoid today.[vi]

Haman, Son of Hammedatha Well Disposed, Given by the Moon God; He who Troubles The Law Being self-sufficient, Idolatry; disobedient to God
ParshandathaDroppingReflecting his rejection by Haman and by God
AspathaHorse GivenPerhaps reflecting Haman’s delusions of prowess
PorathaHaving Many ChariotsPerhaps again reflecting Haman’s hopes of personal gain
AdaliaThe Honor of IzedAgain seeking honor of himself as well as false gods
AridathaGreat BirthReflects the high opinion Haman held of himself and his offspring
ParmashaSuperiorHaman’s view of himself again
ArisaiMeaning unknownUnknown—perhaps that fact itself reflects Haman best!
AridaiGift of the Plow, BowAgain reflecting worldly success and prosperity
VajezathaStrong as the WindHaman’s delusional view his superiority

Scripture Memory: Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the _________________ came for the king's command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to ________________________ them, the _______________________ occurred, in that the ______________ themselves overpowered those who hated them (Esther 9:1, NKJV).

DAY THREE: A Finishing Touch

Please carefully read Esther 9:11-13 and answer the following questions. 

1. What information was the king given at the end of that day (v. 11)?

2. How did Ahasuerus report this to Esther, and somewhat surprisingly ask her (v. 13)?

3. What two things did Esther request of the king to put the finishing touches on this victory (v. 14)?

NOTE: Of course, verse 13 meant that Esther wanted the bodies of the dead sons (NLT) of Haman to hang on that same gallows designed for her uncle, to set a warning for all who would seek to rebel against the king.[vii] The same fate had happened to Israel’s King Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:8-13).

4. We might wonder why Ahasuerus would ask Esther at that point what else her request was, but perhaps he too had gained new respect for this brave woman and wanted to make sure that all those responsible for this threat against her people were fully dealt with. Esther reflected the qualities of a virtuous woman.  Read Proverbs 31:10-12, 17, 25, 26, 30, 31, and record what you learn about a virtuous woman, and how this was seen in Esther’s life.

Scripture Memory: Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the _________________ came for the king's command and his ________________ to be executed. On the day that the ________________________ of the Jews had hoped to ________________________ them, the _______________________ occurred, in that the ______________ themselves overpowered those who _________________ them (Esther 9:1, NKJV). 

DAY FOUR: The Final Tally

Please carefully read Esther 9:14-16 and answer the following questions.

1. How was Esther’s first request answered (v. 14)?

2. What did the Jews again do (and not do) the next day (v. 15)?

3. What was the final tally of those slain throughout the Persian Empire, and again that they refused to do (v. 16)?

NOTE: There is some disagreement as to how many were actually killed by the Jews. Instead of 75,000, the Septuagint states 15,000, and the Targums read 10,107; also, the word for thousand can possibly mean families or clans, so this might have meant 75 families or clans numbering ten to fifty each.[viii] Either way, it was a tremendous victory for the Jews instead of being wiped out entirely by their enemies!

4. This victory brought rest at last for the Jews after such turmoil. We too have been given rest in Jesus Christ, freed from our enemy!  Read Galatians 3:11-14 and record how the way was made for us to also enter into His rest.

Scripture Memory: Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the _________________ came for the king's command and his ________________ to be executed. On the day that the ________________________ of the Jews had _________________ to ________________________ them, the _______________________ occurred, in that the ______________ themselves _________________________ those who _________________ them (Esther 9:1, NKJV).

DAY FIVE: A Good Day at Last

Please carefully read Esther 9:17-19 and answer the following questions.

1. What did the Jews in the outlying provinces of Persia do on the fourteenth day of Adar (March 8, 473 BC according to the NLT) in v. 17?

2. What about the Jews in the citadel of Susa (v. 18)?

3. What thus spread throughout the provinces on the fourteenth day, and what did the Jews do that day (v. 18)?

4. This was the beginning of the Feast of Purim, which we see already a bit of a problem was arising in since the Jews were celebrating this on two different days. We’ll see how this is resolved in our next study. The main point was that the Jews made this a holiday, or as the KJV appropriately translates it, “a good day.” This meant a good, beneficial, pleasing, favorable, day; a day to make good and to do good.[ix] It was not a day of selfishness or excluding ones’ self, but a holiday meant a day to seek to give of self and do good for others. What are some thoughts about doing good for others as discussed in the following passages?

Matthew 7:12; Matt. 10:8b; Luke 6:38

Galatians 6:9, Gal. 10; 2 Thessalonians 3:13

1 Peter 2:15

Scripture Memory: Can you write out this week’s passage by memory here below? Give it a try, and keep reviewing the passage several times throughout the day. Esther 9:1

DAY SIX: Living in Such a Time as This

1. God again proved Himself faithful to His Word, and the Jews faithfully reflected Him by how they responded to the threat of annihilation. Ahasuerus’ order had allowed them to completely destroy all their enemies and to plunder their spoils, just like Haman had planned to do to them. Yet they chose to only kill the men responsible, and to not touch their “loot.” In this, they gave witness to God and showed non-believers around them a picture of God’s justice, holiness, and also His grace.[x]

You may find you have the liberty to do some things under the law of the land but should refrain from such activities to instead be a living witness of God to those around you. Some “plunder” may be attractive and legal, but lethal to your witness to others! What are some circumstances like this that you have run across in your walk with the Lord, in which your liberty was really put to the test? How did you respond to it?  How did it impact others around you, or would impact your testimony to others if they saw you doing it? What are some ways you might need to focus less on what you can do and still walk with the Lord and instead on what you should or shouldn’t do to draw others closer to God? Share your thoughts here and with your group. 

2. Our past failures and mistakes can tend to drag us down. No doubt there were many participating in these actions of self-defense who clearly remembered being dragged from Israel and Judah by a cruel tyrant, where attempts to assimilate them to a foreign culture were constantly present, and sometimes compromising what they knew was right to just survive. All the failures and mistakes they remembered about what led them to this place must have haunted them. The Jews had two choices in making a difference on that day in early March: To continue in despair and depression because of this, allowing the enemy to destroy them; or to stand up and press on from the past failures, and fight for their survival, returning to trust in the Lord.

Have past memories and failures been dragging you down, or haunt you so much that you become ineffective for God’s kingdom? Then consider Paul’s advice about this:

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven (Philippians 3:12-14, NLT)

What are some ways that you can take Paul’s advice to heart, and seek to be victorious over the past and press on to victory? Please record your thoughts and share them with your group.

3. If anything else specifically ministered to you as you studied this week’s passage, please record it here so you can share it with others in your group.

Scripture Memory: Hopefully you now can write out this week’s passage completely by memory.  Do so now, and keep on reviewing it so you will be ready to share it with others in your group time. Esther 9:1

Footnotes for Lesson 9

[i] Spiros Zodhiates ed., The Complete Word Study Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1994), pp. 2369, 2370, 2374.
[ii] Ibid., p. 2354.
[iii] Joyce G. Baldwin, Esther (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1984), p. 103.
[iv] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter eds., The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), p. 186.
[v] Joyce G. Baldwin, Esther, p. 104.
[vi] The definitions of these names are based on Herbert H. Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), pp. 32, 54, 59, 87, 135, 268, 279, and 337.
[vii]Joyce G. Baldwin, Esther, p. 106.
[viii] Mervin Breneman, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. In E. Ray Clendenen ed., The New American Commentary Vol. 10 (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1993), p. 361.
[ix] Spiros Zodhiates ed., The Complete Word Study Old Testament, p. 2320.
[x] Derek Prime, Unspoken Lessons about the Unseen God (Darlington, England:  Evangelical Press, 2001), p. 124.

Click Here for Lesson 10

©2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2004-2005.

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