At the end of our last post Xerxes’ anger was subsiding and Haman was dead. However, the real work was yet to come. At the beginning of chapter eight, on the very day that Haman was hanged, we find King Xerxes and Queen Esther in court together and Esther officially presenting Mordecai to Xerxes and the court. Xerxes not only accepted the Jewish girl as his wife, but also publically as his Queen in the full knowledge of what that meant.
A tremendous shift in power was made in this moment. Mordecai becomes the King’s new confidant and trusted advisor. The deceiving one is dead and the child of God takes his place. The king no longer trusts the forces of evil, but is putting his trust and his confidence in the people of God. Xerxes makes this change having all the information. His wife is a Jew and the man who raised her, her adopted father, also a Jew, is now the one whom the king will rely on and trust.
Mordecai is also given great wealth. The estate of Haman was given to Esther and she in turn gives the responsibility of the estate to Mordecai. Mordecai is also robed in princely attire and given great honor. This is the Great Reversal within the book. Mordecai, the Jew, becomes everything that the enemy had been and more. He is not only given great honor and responsibility, but is publically seen as a member of Xerxes’ household. Or should I say that Xerxes is publically seen as a member of Mordecai’s household, the very household Haman had sought to destroy.
However, even though Esther and Mordecai are now safe from danger there is still the matter of the people throughout the kingdom and the king’s edict. Her people were still in danger because the edict was still in effect.
To address this, Esther once again finds herself on her knees before the king. She would have had to step down off her throne as Queen and become just another subject to make such a request. This time anger is not motivating Xerxes, but the cry and the heart of his wife. She is begging for her people. Her heart is exposed for she cannot bear to see her people suffer.
She does not want to be like the last king of Judah, Zechariah, who was forced to see the death of his sons before losing his sight at the command of Nebuchadnezzar. She wanted her people to be spared including those back in the land of Israel that Cyrus, Xerxes’ grandfather, had allowed to return. She wanted her people, whom Darius, Xerxes’ father, had allowed to rebuild the temple to be able to protect themselves and all they had built. After all, how could she stand by and watch all that be wasted? How could he? There was still so much at stake.
So Esther humbles herself before her king and husband in order to request the lives of her people. She knows that he does not have the authority according to the laws of Persia to reverse the last edict, but she also knows there must be a solution.
Let us also remember that presenting herself in this way without an invitation would once again require the lowering of the king’s scepter. However, this time there does not seem to be any hesitation on her part to do so. Xerxes had proven himself to her and she was confident in his love for her. And the scepter comes down and she stands to her feet.
She makes her appeal by saying these words, “If it pleases the king,…,and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me,…”(NIV) She is reminding him once again that she does please him, that he does regard her with favor, or said another way, that the grace of the king is on her and that she pleases, pleases him.
There is also the issue that the matter at hand is about right and wrong, good and evil. She knows it pleases him to do the good and she trusts him to do it. She is again showing her confidence in him as her king and her husband.
Xerxes gives Esther and Mordecai the authority to set things right and even hands over his signet ring to Mordecai. I love the significance of that scene. The King’s ring goes to the one whom God had intended it for. Mordecai is given the seal of the king. I cannot help but think of the seal that the Messiah has placed in us, The Holy Spirit. With His seal in us our security is fixed in Him and cannot be reversed anymore than an edict of the Persian kings that had been sealed with the king’s ring could be reversed.
Esther and Mordecai set out immediately to overcome the first edict with an edict of their own. This new edict was to give the Jews the right to protect themselves against anyone who would follow the first edict and attack them, either as individuals or as armies. They were also given the right to take the plunder of those who attacked them. The latter is a privilege that they did not use.
This edict was also sent out on a specific date, Sivan 23. This is important because it was shortly after Pentecost, the feast of the first harvest of the year. Remember that the first edict went out at the time of Passover. It had been about 2 months. All of this had taken place in a little more than two months. There was still about 10 months left to get the word out and for people to prepare, either way.
Her people were saved that day and Mordecai leaves the court in royal robes. God is glorified by it all even though the book never mentions Him. It is completely understood that the hero in the book is God Himself who reveals His power and plan through the orphan girl turned Queen and her adoptive father. It pleased our King to save His people.