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Daily Devotional

July 7

LETTERS WERE SENT INTO ALL THE PROVINCES TO DESTROY ALL THE JEWS IN ONE DAY

by Henry T. Vriesen

Esther 1–5

King Ahasuerus of Persia made a feast for all his princes and for all the people. At this feast he commanded to bring Vashti the queen, to show her beauty. But the queen refused to come. Then the king became very angry and commanded that Vashti should come no more before the king, and that her royal estate should be given to another. So Vashti was banished from king Ahasuerus.

Now there was among the captive Jews at Shushan a maiden, fair and beautiful, whose name was Esther. She was an orphan: her parents had died, and she was brought up in the home of a relative, whose name was Mordecai. The king Ahasuerus loved Esther and made her queen, setting the royal crown upon her head. But Esther never told the king that she belonged to the Jewish race. Mordecai had advised her to keep this a secret.

After this king Ahasuerus promoted a man by the name of Haman. And all the servants of the king bowed before Haman and reverenced him; but Mordecai did not reverence him. And Haman became very angry, not only at Mordecai, but at all the Jews in the kingdom, and sought to destroy them. He turned to the king and asked his permission to destroy them. The king replied, “Do as it seemeth good to thee.” So Haman sent letters into all the provinces, that all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, should be destroyed in one day.

And in every province there was great mourning among the Jews. Then Mordecai sent word to Esther and suggested to her to go to the king and make supplication for her people. Esther put on royal apparel and went to the king. The king said to her, “What is thy request? it shall be given thee even to the half of the kingdom.” Esther replied, “Let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet. Esther did not as yet make her request of the king at this time, but only invited the king and Haman to her banquet the next day. Then Haman went forth glad of heart, and said, “The queen did let no man come in … but myself; and tomorrow also am I invited unto her with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” Then said his wife and his friends “Let a gallows be made … and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet.” This advice sounded good to Haman, and he set to work at once to have the gallows built. But by the providence of God his wicked intentions were not realized.

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