June 15 – Esther 3
This summer, we are looking to the women of the Bible for encouragement, advice, and examples of living life full with God. In June, we’re reading the books of Esther and Ruth. Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Comments are always welcome on our website for questions, discussion, and accountability.
Esther 3 – Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews
After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”
10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
Kneeling Down | Becky Newman
God may not be mentioned, but He’s here, watching the plot unfold. My Bible notes say that Haman was associated with the Agagites (vs. 1), a.k.a. the Amalekites, who were historic enemies of the Jews. This feud wasn’t new and hadn’t been stopped because King Saul chose not to follow God’s instructions to wipe out the Amalekites. But God knew that was going to happen; thus, a new opportunity to save His people from the bad guys emerges. In Haman’s case against the Jews to King Xerxes, he call the Jews “separate”, which is another word for holy. Mordecai’s brave action of not bowing to anyone except the One True God is the catalyst that fuels hatred of God’s holy people. BUT, as my Bible notes state, a roll of the dice (vs. 7) has no power to determine the destiny of God’s people.
This simple action of one man stirred up enough hatred to kill off a whole people. Wow. I am part of this group of people as You chose me to follow You and believe in what Your son Jesus did for me; Thus, I’m a chosen one. And this stir up of hatred still exists today, unfortunately sometimes at the mention of Your Name. Through the years, some actions in the guise of Your Name have been evil and have thus turned some away from You. It is my responsibility as a chosen one, like Mordecai, to make sure my actions and words honor You, even when it’s scary what could result. I need to make sure I’m only kneeling down to You and not kneeling down to the ways of this world. John 15:9 – “…you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Father, thank You for choosing me. I know this comes with great responsibility. Give me courage to face it and honor You always with my actions, words, and thoughts.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.