“And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.” — Esther 9:3
God is able to send help in situations that look impossible or threaten His children, whether it be on a national or an individual level. Deanna and her friend Jane had a personal experience that illustrates this. They had been visiting Christian believers in India for a number of weeks, and were leaving on the weekend of the biggest Hindu festival of the year. Thousands of people were at the airport.
Jane had become extremely ill during the trip and was in a wheelchair. After the two women had been at the airport a number of hours trying to make boarding arrangements, airline officials told them they would not be able to leave until the next day. To add to the problem, they had five big pieces of luggage, and no hotels in the vicinity had vacancies.
Deanna gathered their things and moved Jane away from the ticket counter. Silently, she prayed, “Lord, we need help now. You are all we have. We don’t know anyone in this city. You have to take care of us.” Even before she finished praying, a man walked over and asked, “Are you in need of help?” As experienced travelers, the ladies were wary of strangers, but Deanna prayed in her heart again, “Lord, I asked for help, and this man has come, so I’m trusting this is of You.”
The man told them of a place that had one vacant room but was an hour away by bus. Deanna wondered how she could get Jane and their luggage onto a bus, but the man said, “Madam, would you please trust me and let me help?” With another prayer in her heart, she agreed. As they walked toward the bus, the man asked why they were in India. She said, “I am telling every person I possibly can that Jesus saves, sanctifies, and fills people with the Holy Ghost. He heals our bodies and gives us eternal life to look forward to. He’s everything to me.” A big smile broke out on the man’s face, and he said that although he had been raised Hindu, someone had told him Jesus saves and he became a Christian. He had taken the Christian name of Jonah.
The bus was plush and had seats for everyone, which is unusual for that area. The place Jonah sent them to had a nice, clean room. The next day they went early to the airport, and as they arrived, there was Jonah. At the ticket counter, they were told that even though Jane had medical documents, she could not board a plane unless she had received a specific test. They were put in a separate area to wait, and then a doctor, a nurse, and the head airline staff all came at once. Jonah told Deanna and Jane to stay seated, and he began to talk with these people. The ladies do not know the details, but shortly they were allowed on the airplane without any additional testing. God had intervened and used Jonah to help them!
The experience of these two women reminds us that God can still turn circumstances around and do what is impossible. In our text today, the plight of the Jews was more widespread and desperate than the situation Deanna and Jane faced, but the same God worked in both instances. Our focus verse tells us that the rulers and officers helped the Jews, but we know God was the source of that help. When we face difficulties, we can turn to Him, and He can do anything!
In today’s text, the momentous date had arrived. By a decree of the king, the Persian people had been authorized to kill all Jews, and once a decree had been given, Persian law prohibited changing it. However, the additional ruling that followed Esther’s entreaty to the king gave the Jews the opportunity to fight back against their enemies.
The objective of Haman’s plot had been to annihilate the Jews. Therefore, the Jews’ resistance was in self-defense, as attested to by several indicators. Verse 2 says the Jews laid their hands “on such as sought their hurt,” and they did not take any spoil or prey from their enemies (verses 10, 15, and 16) even though this was allowed by the king’s decree (Esther 8:11).
Mordecai had continued to gain honor in the kingdom and by this time was second under the king. Consequently, the officers of the empire sided with the Jews, rather than against them, out of fear of Mordecai (see verse 3).
Shushan, also called Susa, was the site of the winter palace for the Persian ruler. Today the city is called Shush and is located in Iran, and in the 1970s, archaeological findings from the time of Esther were discovered there. The city had two sections that were separated by a canal. The upper city on the west side included a fortress, while the lower city on the east side was not fortified. Verse 6 says that five hundred men were destroyed in Shushan on the thirteenth day of Adar, and scholars believe this was in the upper city. Haman’s ten sons were included in this number.
When the king gave Esther opportunity for an additional request (verse 12), she asked that the Jews be given another day to fight their enemies and that Haman’s sons be hanged, although they were already dead. It is thought this second day of fighting may have taken place in the lower town. While no reason is given for Esther’s request regarding Haman’s sons, perhaps they were leaders of those who were vengeful over Haman’s demotion and death, or maybe the Jews felt that hanging them would serve as a warning to others.
Clearly, after understanding that a decree had been made to wipe them out, the Jews were anxious to secure and prolong their safety, and by God’s power they were able to accomplish that.
II. The deliverance of the Jews
B. The dissolve of the plot
3. The defense of the Jews (9:1-16)
Are you facing an “impossible” situation today? Look to God, because He will help — sometimes in ways that amaze us.