Thursday, September 29, 2011

Through Bleary Eyes - Esther 8

Esther 8

The safer chapter.

Things began to look up a little for the Queen. She finally confessed to her husband her relationship to Mordecai, as well as her heritage, but it didn’t phase him in the least.

“You could have told me,” he gently chided, and rumpled her hair. She felt so silly.

The King probated Haman’s entire estate the next day and gave it to his wife, Esther, minus all the relatives. Then he called her Uncle Cousin Mordecai into the castle where he promoted him to the status recently vacated by Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Finally, Esther appointed Mordecai guardian over her newly acquired estate. And if this were an American story, this would be where the happy ending appears.

But this is a Medes and Persians story—remember the King’s careless edict which couldn’t be changed? Uh, huh. That equals three more chapters before we’re finished. Take a break if you need to. I’ll wait.

All the stress had taken its toll on Queen Esther. There was still that troubling little death sentence which awaited her and all her people. She collapsed in an emotional heap at the King’s feet, begging him to rescind the edict Haman issued against the Jews. Unfortunately, Persian politics were a lot like poker: a card laid is a card played. Once written, a law was inflexible. That’s when Esther came up with a suggestion on how to circumvent the Jewish extermination proclamation.

“Tell me if you think this is a good idea,” she said, standing slowly, “and if you really love me, and if you like my ideas, and . . .” Her insecurity began to show a little. “Here’s what I suggest: make a new law that overrules the other one!”

“Why didn’t I think of that?” the King thought to himself, proud of himself for marrying such a smart cookie.

“What a good idea,” he told Esther and Mordecai. “Ok, Mordie,” said Xerxes, “write it up as seems best to you on my stationary in my name in behalf of the Jews and it’s as good as done.” Ready for a cold one, he headed back to the Man Cave.

You see, in the words of Edmund Burke, who would live about two thousand years later, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Esther surrounded herself with men who were better than that.

Even though it was still nine months before D-Day, they got right to work. Thousands of people scattered over hundreds of miles of Xerxesville needed to be told they had the right to bear arms and defend themselves against enemies both foreign and domestic. Secretaries scribbled and couriers delivered the important documents by horseback to everyone. Come December 13th, Jews in every city knew they had the King’s permission to assemble and protect themselves—to destroy beyond recognition any armed men of any nationality or province who even tried to harm them or their women or their children. And, as a bonus, the Jews were given the right to plunder the property of their enemies. What a deal.

Suddenly, Mordecai was a hero in Xerxesville. And the King was such a humble guy, he let Mordecai take the limelight for a while. When he left the palace, Mordie was dressed in some crazy new threads with lots of royal bling, just a little token of appreciation from King Xerxes and the Missus.

The country was filled with jubilant Jews who knew how to celebrate. They partied so loud and so long, full of thankfulness at their eleventh hour rescue, that some Xerxesvillians got intimidated by their enthusiasm, crashed their party and defected. By the time the festivities wound down, there were more registered Jews than when they began.

That’s some crazy math.

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