The end of the book of Esther is a celebration. The Jews made aware of Haman’s plot rise-up and defend themselves against those who plotted and schemed to kill them. The text seems to be celebratory when we see verses like this one:
5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.
The whole story seems to end on this weird note. Sort of a “get your enemies before they get you” note, and then once you do kill all who oppose you and impale them on poles for all to see. Then have a party to celebrate all the killing you did, not an ordinary one-and-done party but an anually reoccurring two day party where we celebrate our own badassery and how awesome Mordecai becomes.
I’d say it’s archaic and gross but I guess I still celebrate war, death, hate, and victory every time I sing about “bombs bursting in air” at our sporting events. Shoot, every year on July 4th I go and watch a celebratory show where they recreate the death dealing bombs and celebrate as if aggression and taking what we want makes us the coolest. Ugh.
Can we see the fear and aggression directed at the Jews has just switched tribes?
And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fearof Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
How about this one:
The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.
Was God (who is not mentioned in the book) celebrating this too? I’m not so sure.
the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants
Is there a solution to all this hate and killing? What will bring real joy and celebration to the world rather than limited, angry, overthrowing “joy” of one group of us that happens to be winning at the time?
There is hope…he has a name…it isn’t Mordecai, Esther, Haddasah, Xerxes, Haman, instead it’s a name above all names. A name—a renown/reputation/testimony/witness—that goes beyond what the world calls a win. A name that carries love in every place. A name that can show up in the story of our lives…even when we’ve been too blind, too self-absorbed, or too tribal to observe. He doesn’t force, he doesn’t kill…he loves…and calls us to follow.