Now that the Israelites are victorious, chapters 9 and 10 are the aftermath of what it means when Christ is risen indeed. On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them (v.1). This could, word for word, be interpreted as “On the very day when the Satan of Christ hoped to gain mastery over Him, the reverse occurred: Christ gained mastery over the enemy who hated Him“. V.2-14 then describe with detail the result of those who had persecuted the body of Christ and the reversal of fortunes at the hand of God’s sovereignty; such cleansing occurring not only on the 13th day of Adar but also on the 14th day of Adar as requested by Esther (v.13). The house of Haman, as inherited now by Mordecai, has no more descendants as the ten sons of Haman were also punished on the tree (v.14). Such destruction of the Amalekites and of the enemies of the Jews is but a type of the final judgment on the day of Christ’s second coming (Malachi 4:1-3). Paul Blackham goes on to state in his Book by Book guide on Esther:
“For many people in the world, their enemies are much more serious and their actions really do cause an outcry that is heard in the heavenly throne room. Those that suffer serious abuse and injustice call out to the Living God as the only one who can give them help or hope. They are killed, raped, enslaved and humiliated… yet there seems to be no possibility of overthrowing the tyrant. These enemies of humanity are enemies of the LORD God, who defends the widow and the orphan.
When the Amalekites killed the weak and wounded of the Hebrews in the exodus from Egypt, they showed a terrible heartlessness and cruelty. They showed how godless they were by this vicious slaughter. The problem of the human condition is not always so clearly seen. If we live far from the Living God then the darkness gets ever deeper into our souls and we are driven further away from light and love and goodness.
The LORD God saw the hardness and evil in the Amalekite people. Their wicked lives provoked His anger and His verdict was just and true. There was time for repentance, but the Amalekites remained entrenched in their godlessness and cruelty. In the case of the people of Jericho, although they were all under the fatal judgment of the LORD, yet Rahab found mercy as she joined with the Hebrews (Joshua 6). In the case of the Amalekites, they seemed to have harboured their evil and malice down the generations. Finally, under the leadership of Saul the day of judgment arrived and they were mostly removed from the LORD’s earth.
However, as we saw, Saul’s disobedience left a root to re-grow.”
Therefore, it is by the hands of Mordecai and Esther that Saul’s disobedience is rectified; that the root of sin is removed completely, allowing the Israelites to live new lives without persecution by the old enemy.
Note, however, that the Jews laid no hand on the plunder (v.10, 14, 16). This is compared with Esther 3:13 where Haman’s decree demanded the enemies of the Jews to take the Jews’ plunder; similarly under Mordecai’s decree in 8:11, they are entitled to take the spoil as well. Yet, this is the act of mercy the Jews decided to show to their enemies – although they were entitled to the spoil, they relinquished this right to the true vengeance of the LORD on the day of Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 10:23-34; Hebrews 10:30).
Once the cleansing is complete, the Jews in the king’s provinces (i.e. the rural towns) rested on the 14th day – yet, under Esther’s request, the Jews in Susa rested only on the 15th day since they were given one more day of relief after the 13th (v.16-18). Such day of rest is for gladness and feasting – as a holiday – as a day on which the Israelites send gifts of food to one another (v.19), as grateful remembrance of the divine reversal of the enemy’s plan to purge the world of Christians. This is recorded and sent in letter form to all the Jews in the provinces of the king, both near and far, not too dissimilar to the letters of the apostles and disciples of Christ when Christ was risen – teaching the ancient Church to respond appropriately to the typological victory of Esther over Haman, of Jesus over Satan (v.20-28). The days of Purim (meaning “lots“, an ironical term of the method which Haman used to destroy the Jews) should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants (v.28).
Thus, the festival of Purim was initiated by the hand of Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew in this chapter (v.29-32) – a new Jewish festival, a new practice; just as the new spiritual practices developed from the Mosaic law upon Christ’s resurrection – from passover to communion, from circumcision to baptism.
The book ends on the king imposing a tax on the land and coastlands of the sea – and yet, the ultimate focus is not on the king, but on Mordecai. Even Mordecai was recorded in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia, spreading the gospel down the line of Gentile heritage. Such reference to the Chronicles also indicate that the book of Esther is primarily a book about Jesus, and not a historical recording of Ahasuerus’ actions.
Finally, despite Esther’s mediatorial actions, it is Mordecai who is exalted as he served as the faithful Christian who bookended this book. His faithfulness is lauded as he inherited the house of Haman (which was Esther’s) and received the power of the king by His signet ring (which was Esther’s). All of such things were shared with Esther as if she were Mordecai’s sister; and yet, this is the picture of the gospel, that we share in Jesus’ inheritance (Romans 8:17) – all that is His is ours, for in Esther we saw a glorious picture of the king fighting for his bride.