Mordecai refuses to bow to the king’s right-hand man, Haman. Haman fumes and decides that all Jews must go.
By the end of the third chapter of Esther, all Jews in any of Babylon’s territories were in danger. Everyone else was told to kill them, all of them. Except, they were given a specific date. They were free to kill them on a single day in eleven months’ time. It was the thirteenth of the first month when the scribes were summoned to write the law, and the date set for the annihilation of the Jews is the thirteenth of the last month of the year. That date was chosen by lot, in their language Pur, which is why the Jewish holiday remembering God’s deliverance from this event is called Purim.
We’re not to the deliverance yet, just to the decree.
The chapter ends with the city thrown into confusion. Some were given the right to kill others.
Throughout history we have seen this kind of thing, where one people killed another. Genocide is the killing off of a people group. It can be hard to imagine everyone turning on their neighbors and being willing to kill them, except we’ve seen it happen.
Rwanda is infamous for its brutal genocide. When people had the permission to kill, they did.
Germany gave its people the freedom to turn against the Jews, and they did.
In Russia, the government put it into the hands of the people to kill Jews and plunder their homes. The police looked away when such atrocities were happening. It was sanctioned by the government, and the people were willing to carry out such attacks on the Jews.
While the city is thrust into an uproar, we’re left with Haman and the king having a drink together, celebrating their already assumed victory over the Jews. Haman’s fury is satisfied.
Mordecai’s one individual, personal act of rebellion has threatened everyone.
We have to assume that was a good thing. For things to go so sour, so quickly, things weren’t right. Mordecai wasn’t adapting to the culture. He took a stand. It definitely rocks the boat, but God will be there to save His people from drowning.
It’s very easy for us to tiptoe around issues and not take a bold stand for God, but someone’s got to do it.