Every one of us grew up learning about the horrors of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ desire to exterminate the Jewish population in Europe. Sadly, human history is filled with mistreatment of the Jews, even by Christians. Long before the time of Jewish ghettos in large European cities and the persecutions of the mid-1900’s, another tyrant desired to exterminate the Jewish people.
Haman’s hatred for Mordecai in our reading leads to the king making an edict to have all the Jews in the Media Persian empire destroyed. After the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, it would have seemed that life could not have been much worse for the Jews. Yet when King Ahasuerus makes this decree, the worst potential fate for God’s people seems near at hand.
Today’s reading shows the work of Satan at its finest, for Satan is a great deceiver. Even after Mordecai spares the king’s life, the same king is duped into making an edict killing Mordecai’s people due to Mordecai’s convictions. The rest of the book of Esther will showcase how God is at work in this story to thwart the plans of Haman, and thus the devil.