Monday, 20 October 2014

The tables are turned...

This was not what I was expecting: "The king’s order authorized the Jews in every city to arm and defend themselves to the death, killing anyone who threatened them or their women and children, and confiscating for themselves anything owned by their enemies. The day set for this in all King Xerxes’ provinces was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. The order was posted in public places in each province so everyone could read it, authorizing the Jews to be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies."

I was expecting the edict just to be cancelled. Yet the laws of Persia held that a king's decree could not be cancelled, in spite of the personal wishes of the king. With such constraints in place, it seems astonishing that the king seems so quick to offer his endorsement to the act of bloodshed which Haman put in place.

The only way out was to issue a seemingly contradictory command. Even more bloodshed, as the Jews were entitled to fight back and seize their enemies' possessions.

The couriers, fired up by the king’s order, raced off on their royal horses. At the same time, the order was posted in the palace complex of Susa.

So it happened: and Mordecai is elevated to a position even greater than Haman. And suddenly, everyone wants to be Jewish.

Mordecai walked out of the king’s presence wearing a royal robe of violet and white, a huge gold crown, and a purple cape of fine linen. The city of Susa exploded with joy. For Jews it was all sunshine and laughter: they celebrated, they were honored. It was that way all over the country, in every province, every city when the king’s bulletin was uposted: the Jews took to the streets in celebration, cheering, and feasting. Not only that, but many non-Jews became Jews—now it was dangerous not to be a Jew!

Esther 8:11 - 17

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