Scripture reading – Esther 8; Esther 9

Click this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, German, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

Our study of the Book of Esther continues with a stunning example of God’s sovereignty overriding the plots and schemes of the wicked. Briefly, Esther 7 concluded with Haman, the enemy of God’s people, being hanged from the “gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai” (Esther 7:10).

Esther 8

The Elevation of Mordecai (Esther 8:1-2)

Esther 8 recorded a remarkable turn of events. Even as Haman was hanging from the gallows that he prepared for Mordecai, King Ahasuerus bequeathed “the house of Haman, the Jews’ enemy” (Esther 8:1) to his queen. The king, understanding that Esther was Mordecai’s adopted daughter, summoned the man to his court, “took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman” (Esther 8:2).


An Edict to Empower the Jews (Esther 8:3-17)

Nevertheless, the edict inscribed by Haman and sealed by the king continued to be a threat to the Jews. Genocide was determined for Esther and her people, and the king could not change it. Once again, the queen appealed to the king “and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews” (Esther 8:3).

Ahasuerus rehearsed the favor he had shown Esther and Mordecai (Esther 8:7) but acknowledged that the “Law of the Medes and Persians” made it impossible for him to rescind his royal decree. Therefore, the king commanded Mordecai to write a decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves and their households, and he would seal it with his ring (Esther 8:8).

An Edict to Empower the Jews

After being signed and sealed, the new edict was translated into the 127 provinces’ languages and sent by couriers throughout the kingdom (Esther 8:10). Mordecai, writing with the king’s trust and authority, gave the Jews authority to put to death any who purposed to harm them or their households (Esther 8:12-14).

Mordecai then “went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad” (Esther 8:15). The death of Haman and the promotion of Mordecai in his place gave cause for the citizens of Shushan to rejoice (Esther 8:15-16). As the Jews rejoiced for “the king’s commandment and his decree…the fear of the Jews fell upon” the people of the land (Esther 8:17).

Esther 9

The Jewish Victory and Celebration (Esther 9:1-16)

Nevertheless, on the day that Haman had determined their genocide, the king’s new edict took effect (Esther 9:1). The Jews were empowered to defend themselves against those who were determined to harm them (Esther 9:2). Because the Jews gathered as one people, the Persians feared them (Esther 9:2). Moreover, Mordecai was feared by all the leaders, for he had become powerful in Persia and “waxed greater and greater” (Esther 9:3-4).

All who meant to harm the Jews were slain (Esther 9:5). Their enemies even assailed the grounds of the king’s palace where “the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men” (Esther 9:5-6). The violence spread throughout the provinces of Persia, even as the Jews were empowered to defend themselves (Esther 9:7-9). “Ten sons of Haman…the enemy of the Jews” were slain and hanged from their father’s gallows (Esther 9:7-14).

In addition to the five hundred men slain in the vicinity of the king’s palace (Esther 9:6), another three hundred were slain in Shushan (Esther 9:15). In other provinces of Persia, the Jews “gathered themselves together…and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey [i.e., spoils]” (Esther 9:16).

The Feast Days of Purim

The Feast Days of Purim (Esther 9:17-32)

The Jews celebrated their victory over their adversaries “on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness” (Esther 9:17).

The “Feast Days of Purim” (“pur” meaning the “lot” that was cast) became a perpetual feast for the Jews and continues to this day (Esther 9:17-32). The celebration of Purim coincides with the date Haman’s decree took effect (“the thirteenth day of the month Adar [i.e., March],” Esther 9:17) and continues to the fourteenth and fifteenth day of the same month (Esther 9:18-21).


Closing thoughts –

The Feast of Purim memorializes God’s sovereignty and loving care of His people. Children are taught this great story, and the Book of Esther is read in Jewish synagogues on the 13th and 14th days of the feast. Each time Haman’s name is mentioned, the congregation cries, “May his name be accursed” or “May his name be erased.”

Our Scripture reading concludes, taking notice that Queen Esther and Mordecai decreed that the Jews were to remember and teach their children about the evil acts of Haman and the LORD’s intervention to save the Jews (Esther 9:27-32). From generation to generation, it continues to be the tradition and practice of Jewish households to teach their children the story of Esther. 

What stories and spiritual truths are you passing on to the next generation?

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of

Heart of A Shepherd Inc.

7853 Gunn Highway


Tampa, Florida 33626-1611