Esther 7; 8; Prophets and Kings, pp. 602–606
God leads us to opportunities to serve Him and His people.
“Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
Have you ever wanted to know something and Mom or Dad says, “Wait a minute”? It feels as if you are going to burst with curiosity. That is probably how King Xerxes felt when he came to Esther’s second banquet.
King Xerxes and Haman were enjoying Esther’s second banquet. But the king was curious. He wanted to know what Esther wanted. And why was she taking so long to tell him?
“Queen Esther,” he said, “what is it that you want? You know you may have up to half my kingdom.”
“My king, if you truly care for me, please let me live. And let my people live too,” she pleaded. “I have been told that we are all to be killed. If we were to be sold as slaves, I would say nothing. But we are to be destroyed.”
“What? Who has done this? Where is he?” the king shouted angrily.
“It is Haman, that man,” said Esther, pointing at Haman.
Haman stopped eating. He was frightened. He hadn’t expected Esther to know. He could tell the king was very angry. The king slammed down his glass and stormed from the room. Haman knew the king would kill him. So he threw himself on Queen Esther to beg for mercy. Just then the king walked back into the room.
“Haman!” he roared. “How dare you attack the queen? Especially while I am still here!”
As soon as the king said the words, the king’s servants rushed forward. They covered Haman’s face and took him away.
One of the king’s servants, Harbona, spoke to the king. “Haman has built a hanging platform in his own yard. He built it for Mordecai, the man who warned you about the plan to kill you.”
“Hang Haman on it!” the king ordered.
King Xerxes then gave Queen Esther everything Haman owned. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. She explained how Mordecai had raised her. The king sent for Mordecai. He gave Mordecai the ring that he had taken back from Haman. That ring was a symbol of the power the king gave to Mordecai. Mordecai was now the king’s assistant.
Esther wasn’t finished with her work yet. She went back into the king’s throne room and knelt before him. The king held out his scepter to her again. Esther stood. She begged him to stop Haman’s plan.
“Please, my king, help us. Please do something to cancel Haman’s orders,” she cried.
“I can’t cancel that law, because it was sealed with my signet ring,” he said. “But I can do something. Have Mordecai tell my secretaries what to write. After they are done, he can seal the orders with the ring I gave him.”
Mordecai told the secretaries what to write. The Jews could fight back against anyone who tried to kill them. They could also take the property of anyone who tried. Soon the letters were done and sealed with the king’s seal. The king’s special messengers rushed to deliver them throughout the land.
The Jews in Susa shouted for joy when they heard the new orders. Everywhere they were delivered, Jewish people celebrated. Some other people even became Jews.
From that day to this, Jews have celebrated the feast of Purim. For two days each year they celebrate. They remember how Esther and Mordecai served God; how they helped save God’s people from death.