The Battle Is Not Done

Read: Esther 8

For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred? (v. 6)

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] pleases 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. —Carol Bechtel

As you pray, ask God to help all of us think of creative solutions to conflict, and forgive us when we are too quick to choose the violent path.

About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Carol Bechtel is Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan where she has taught since 1994. Dr. Bechtel preaches and teaches widely and is a General Synod Professor of Theology in the Reformed Church in America. She served as President of the RCA’s General Synod and moderator of its General Synod Council. She also serves as the Executive Director of the American Waldensian Society. Her publications include a commentary on Esther for the Interpretation series, and several Bible study books and curricula.

She now lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband, Tom Mullens. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Her hobbies include singing, cooking, gardening, and the Celtic harp.

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