Now that Esther and Mordecai have great power and influence as the plans of wicked Hamman have been thwarted it is time for the Jews to defend themselves against those who have planned to destroy them.
This is a list of the places (cities) where the Jews fought and defeated their enemies on that day.
But they did not take the plunder - They weren’t attacking enemies and trying to overthrow them, they were simply defending themselves against those who were attacking them and planned on taking their plunder.
Remember that Haman was an Agagite
1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.
Back in 1 Samuel 15 King Saul the son of Kish a Benjamite was told to utterly destroy the Agag the king of the Amalekites as well as all the Amalekites…
1 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
But we know that Saul did not carry out the orders of the LORD and instead left survivors which ended up harming the Jews all the way up to Haman trying to eliminate all the Jews from the Persian empire...
7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. 10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.” 17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. 32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
So now we have another man named Mordecai who was a son of Kish a Benjamite who finally finishes what King Saul refused to do when he was instructed to do by God to carry out judgement against the Amalekites.
5 In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. 6 Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Esther it seems wants to ensure that the Jews had a total victory over those who wanted to destroy and plunder them. Perhaps she was concerned about revenge attacks or perhaps she wanted to be more like Joshua and less like Saul. Saul wasn’t faithful or obedient to carry out God’s orders but instead followed his own feelings while Joshua once prayed for the sun to stand still so that he could complete the task that God had given him and the Jews to complete.
There was as you might imagine a great celebration by the Jews for all that had been done to save them from death and destruction.
Thus is born the feast of Purim which continues even today amongst the Jews.
Purim is a celebration of the events in this chapter and really a celebration of the events of this book and how the God of the Bible who isn’t explicitly mentioned anywhere in the text of this book was working out all of the details all along to bring about the deliverance and salvation of His people.
According to one Jewish website Purim is celebrated by:
1) Gathering together to the Synagogue to listen to the book of Esther read aloud with responsive parts by the congregation such as when Haman’s name is mentioned the “children twirl graggers (noisemakers) and adults stamp their feet to eradicate his evil name.”
2) Send a package with at least 2 food items or beverages to a fellow Jew during daylight hours on Purim
3) Give food or money to at least 2 people in need during daylight hours of Purim
4) Feast and rejoice! “gather friends and family for a feast with wine. Sing, laugh, have fun together.”
5) Thank G-d!
It is also customary for kids to dress up in costumes of good and cheerful characters like Mordecai and Esther. The purpose in this is to display outwardly that the events of Esther was all under God’s control or as the website says the kids dress up as “an allusion to the Purim miracle that was disguised in natural events”.
Today we know that the ultimate deliverance and salvation given by God comes through the sacrificial death of Christ Jesus the only begotten Son of God and was proven to be so when He rose again from the grave as evidenced by the empty tomb on the 3rd day.
Jesus Christ died to pay the price for our sin and to purchase a place in God’s heaven for all who believe in Him and receive the gift of His grace for the forgiveness of sin.
Just as it was and is good for the Jews to remember God’s deliverance for them from the plans of Haman, so even more it is good that we remember constantly the great deliverance for us.
In fact I would argue that if a person truly has been born again it is impossible to go a single day without remembering the salvation afforded to us by the blood of Jesus Christ our Saviour.