Esther 3

Though religion in no way stands in the way of good manners,
but teaches us to render honor to whom honor is due,
yet it is the character of a Christian not to hypocritically express respect for one known to be a vile person,
merely because he occupies a place of authority.
However threatened, it behooves the Christian to be true to conscience,
if he is sure his conscience is enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.

2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.

3 Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment?

4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.

5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.

6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

7 ¶ In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.

8 ¶ And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.

9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.

10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.

11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.

12 Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.

13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.

15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.

Esther 3 – Race Prejudice Breeds Hatred

   Josephus says that Agagite means a descendant of Agag, the common name for the kings of the Amalekites, Numbers 24:7. It is probably that something of the nature of religious homage to Haman was demanded, and this Mordecai could not tolerate for a moment. It would have been as bad as the falling down to worship the golden image of Dura. He, therefore, sturdily refused. What diabolical cruelty was here, to meditate the destruction of a nation to satisfy a personal grudge! The resolve was taken in the first month, when Esther had been queen for five years; but the lot indicated the twelfth month for its execution, so that Esther had twelve months in which to oppose the plan. The disposing of the lot was evidently God’s, Proverbs 16:33. The bribe of four millions sterling, which Haman hoped to get from the spoils of the slaughtered Jews, without doubt helped to pave his way, and make the king favorable to his request. The matter was soon settled, and the posts were carrying the edict of slaughter to the furthest limits of the realm. It reminds us of the decree for the massacre of the Huguenots. But God was over all. The strongest assaults are vain against Him, Psalm 2:4. He will not let high-handed wrong proceed beyond a certain point, II Kings 19:28. Let us shelter behind Him and be at peace, Isaiah 54:14. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Esther 3:2—But Mordecai bowed not.

   There was stern stuff in this old Jew. He was not going to prostrate himself before one so haughty and so depraved as Haman, albeit that he was the king’s favorite. To be the only one in a city office that does not laugh at the questionable story; to stand alone on shipboard against the gambling mania; to refuse to countenance cleverness which is divorced from cleanness, and genius which is apart from goodness—this is to do as Mordecai did in the gate of the king’s palace.
   Only God can give this power, since of ourselves we are as reeds shaken by the wind. Sooner might a single ear of wheat resist the breeze that bends all its companions in the same direction, than we stand alone, all our associates bow, unless God Himself enable us. But God is prepared to enable us. Listen (Isaiah 41:10): “I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” But the mistake we are so apt to make is to brace ourselves up by resolution and firm determination, in anticipation of some impending struggle. To do this is to fail. Live in Christ, look up into His face, derive from Him strength for the moment and at the moment; and often wrap about thee that exceeding great and precious promise (Revelation 3:12), “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God.” Oh to stand pillar-like amid men, bearing up the temple arch of truth, and inscribed with God’s name, the crowds go and come on the pavement beneath!
       “Greatly begin! though thou have time
          But for a line, be that sublime–
       Not Failure, but low aim, is Crime!” —Our Daily Homily

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4 Now it came to pass, when they spake __________ unto him, and he __________________ not unto them, that they told __________, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would __________: for he had told them that he was a ______.

5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai __________ not, nor did him __________________, then was Haman full of __________.

6 And he thought __________ to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of ________________: wherefore Haman sought to ______________ all the Jews that were throughout the whole ______________ of Ahasuerus, even the ____________ of Mordecai.