Wednesday, 17 September 2014


"The king’s secretaries were brought in on the thirteenth day of the first month. The orders were written out word for word as Haman had addressed them to the king’s satraps, the governors of every province, and the officials of every people. They were written in the script of each province and the language of each people in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the royal signet ring."

The detail. Haman lost no time in implementing his plan. It must have been just a few days later that he gave the order, ensuring that it was written out exactly in every language in the empire, so that there could be no possibility of any Jews managing to survive.

I am almost in awe. Such a clever manager. Imagine the news travelling by courier: by camel or donkey caravan, on foot, carried rolled up in cloth or in leather bags. The messenger meeting the dignitaries of a city, the leaders of a town, the head men of the village, announcing it in the market place to a gathered together population. Were people shocked? Did they know for sure who the Jews were? Mordecai and his family had blended in so well that he could keep his identity a secret; were there many like him? Or, had the Jews kept faithfully to their heritage and customs, living quiet, God-fearing lives? Either way, they would have prospered: Jeremiah's prophecy many years earlier had told them to "... settle there (Babylonia) and build houses. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. Get married and have children, then help your sons find wives and help your daughters find husbands, so they can have children as well. I want your numbers to grow, not to get smaller.
Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be.
" (Jeremiah 29:4 - 7, CEV)

And so "Bulletins were sent out by couriers to all the king’s provinces with orders to massacre, kill, and eliminate all the Jews—youngsters and old men, women and babies—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month Adar, and to plunder their goods. Copies of the bulletin were to be posted in each province, publicly available to all peoples, to get them ready for that day." (The Message)

How long did it take for the news to travel? Did rumours reach remote parts of the empire before the official communication? How long did the people live in fear, knowing that, by the end of the year, they would all have been killed?

The Jews had obeyed God's command to settle in the country. They had prospered and lived in peace in the midst of a violent kingdom. They had done what God said, but now? Did they trust in God's good plans for them or did they give in to fear?

Do I?

Esther 3:12 - 13

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