Scripture Resource Passage: Esther 9
Violent plots, angry words lead to a deadly hanging: may not be what you had in mind when reading today’s Resource Scripture Passage. Friends, the Book of Esther is not a gentle pat-on-the-head from a Grandfather God. The words scream, describing the foul profanity of anticipated mass murder.
Esther’s book is a solid reminder that violence is not limited to the centuries we know best or to the current social upheavals being experienced around the globe. The determined effort of a few disciples and the veiled presence of the Almighty were absolutely necessary to avoid disaster. For the full context consider reading chapters 1 through 8 as well as today’s passage.
Esther chapter 9 does not make for dainty-time reading. There is no laughter when in God’s view, humanity fouls itself with fear and evil. In this story intrigue and political power are meant initially for destruction. Genocide is the promise. Ethnic cleansing is the moniker for mass murder. Homes and businesses will be destroyed. Innocent children are to be killed—all in the name of religious and political correctness. How will the followers of God respond?
Even if you read Esther 9 without considering the earlier parts of the story visualize a vital detail: a scheme is in process. Throughout the kingdom ruled by Xerxes God’s people are to be killed—from the youngest to the oldest. A hanging is scheduled for faithful Mordecai. A seventy-five-foot-high gallows is the gibbet which will suspend him with a broken neck, and as a public forerunner preceding the national slaughter.
Then, and quite suddenly, the story moves with a hurricane force wind of the Spirit. The gallows are used on the builder—the Schemer himself.
Please be aware that Esther and Mordecai’s story should be taught with care and with mindfulness of the age group. Within Scripture’s historical record a father is killed, as are ten of his children. Though the account does not tell us directly, disciples have long suspected God was acting behind the scenes to prepare and alter the Schemer’s plans. In addition to Mordecai’s role Esther strides directly in the turmoil answering the question of spirituality for such a time as this—troublesome times.
- If you were asked to construct a single sentence describing a central truth from Esther 9 what would it be?
- As a resource on the involvement of disciples in the political arena check out, Paul Marshall, “Politics,” in The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, eds. Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997, pp. 767-773.