Finding God in Unexpected Places | Finding God in the Midst of Great Success
Finding God in the Midst of Great Success
My Sermon Notes from July 25, 2021 Full Text: 以斯帖记 Esther 8-9
當日，亞哈隨魯把猶大人的敵人哈曼的家產，賜給王后以斯帖；末底改也來到王的面前，因為以斯帖已經把末底改和她的關係告訴王。 2 王就摘下自己的戒指，就是從哈曼那裡取回的，給了末底改，以斯帖也委派末底改管理哈曼的家產。
3 以斯帖又在王面前說話，俯伏在王的腳前，含淚懇求王免除亞甲族人哈曼所加的災害，以及他設計要害猶大人的陰謀。 4 王向以斯帖伸出了金杖，以斯帖就起來，站在王的面前； 5 她說：“王若是同意，我若是在王面前蒙恩，王若以為這事是對的，王若喜愛我，就請下旨，廢除亞甲族哈米大他的兒子哈曼設計的諭文，就是他寫下要消滅在王各省的猶大人的諭文。 6 因為我怎忍看見我的同胞受害呢？我怎忍看見我的族人消滅呢？” 7 亞哈隨魯王對王后以斯帖和猶大人末底改說：“因為哈曼要下手害猶大人，我已經把哈曼的家產賜給了以斯帖，人也把哈曼掛在木架了。 8 現在你們可以照著你們的意思，奉王的名為猶大人寫諭旨，用王的印戒蓋上；因為奉王的名所寫，用王的戒指蓋上印的諭旨，是沒有人可以廢除的。”
9 那時是三月，就是西彎月，二十三日，王的文士都召了來，照著末底改所吩咐一切有關猶大人的事，用各省的文字、各族的方言寫了諭旨，從印度到古實的一百二十七省，給各省的總督、省長和領袖，也用猶大人的文字和方言寫給猶大人。 10 末底改奉亞哈隨魯王的名寫了諭旨，又用王的戒指蓋上印；文書由驛使騎上御養的、為國事而用的快馬，傳送到各處去。 11 文書上寫著：王准許在各城的猶大人，可以聚集起來，保護自己的性命；也可以毀滅、殺盡和滅絕那些敵對猶大人的各族和各省的勢力，包括婦孺，並且可以掠奪他們的財產； 12 一日之間，在十二月，就是亞達月，十三日，在亞哈隨魯王的各省，開始實行。 13 諭旨的抄本作為御令，頒發到各省，宣告各族，使猶大人準備那日，好在仇敵身上施行報復。 14 於是，騎上為國事而用的快馬的驛使，迫於王命，就急急忙忙出發，諭旨傳遍書珊城。
15 末底改穿著紫藍色和白色的朝服，戴著碩大的金冠冕，又披上紫色細麻布的外袍，從王面前出來；書珊城的人都歡呼快樂。 16 猶大人得到了光彩、歡喜、快樂和尊榮。 17 在各省各城中，王的命令和諭旨所到之處，猶大人都歡喜快樂，飲宴放假；那地的人民，有許多因為懼怕猶大人，就都自認是猶大人。
9 十二月，就是亞達月，十三日，王的命令和諭旨快要執行的時候，就是猶大人的仇敵盼望轄制猶大人的日子，反成了猶大人轄制恨他們的人的日子。 2 猶大人在亞哈隨魯王各省的城裡聚集起來，要下手攻擊那些想謀害他們的人；沒有人能抵擋他們，因為各族的人都懼怕他們。 3 各省的官長、總督、省長和辦理王事務的人，因為懼怕末底改，就都支持猶大人。 4 末底改在朝中的確非常尊大，他的聲譽傳遍各省；末底改這人的權力越來越大。 5 這樣，猶大人擊殺他們所有的仇敵，他們用刀盡量擊殺，隨意對待他們的仇人。 6 在書珊城裡，猶大人就殺滅了五百人。 7 他們又殺了巴珊大他、達分、亞斯帕他、 8 破拉他、亞大利雅、亞利大他、 9 帕瑪斯他、亞利賽、亞利代和瓦耶撒他， 10 這十個人就是哈米大他的孫子、哈曼的兒子，猶大人的敵人；至於財物，猶大人卻沒有下手掠奪。
11 當日在書珊城被殺的人的數目，呈到王面前。 12 王問王后以斯帖：“猶大人在書珊城殺滅了五百人，又殺了哈曼的十個兒子；在王其他省內，他們怎樣行呢！現在你要甚麼，我必賜給你，你還求甚麼，也必給你成全。” 13 以斯帖回答：“王若是同意，求你恩准書珊的猶大人，明日也照著今日的諭旨行事，把哈曼的十個兒子掛在木架上。” 14 王就下令這樣行；諭旨傳遍書珊，人就把哈曼的十個兒子掛在木架上。 15 亞達月十四日，在書珊的猶大人又聚集起來，在書珊殺了三百人，卻沒有下手掠奪他們的財物。
16 在王各省其餘的猶大人，也都聚集起來，保護自己的性命，向他們的仇敵報復，殺了恨他們的人共七萬五千；至於財物，他們卻沒有下手掠奪。 17 這是在亞達月十三日的事，十四日他們得享安寧，以這日為設宴歡樂的日子。 18 但在書珊的猶大人在十三、十四日聚集起來殺敵，他們就在十五日休息，以這日為設宴歡樂的日子。 19 因此鄉村的猶大人，就是住在沒有城牆的村鎮的，都以亞達月十四日為歡樂飲宴的吉日，互送禮物。
20 末底改把這些事記錄下來，並且送文書給亞哈隨魯各省遠近所有的猶大人， 21 囑咐他們每年都要守亞達月十四、十五兩日。 22 以這月的兩日，為猶大人脫離仇敵，得享安寧的日子，是轉憂為喜，轉哀為樂的吉日，叫他們在這兩日飲宴歡樂，大家互贈禮物，也賙濟窮人。 23 於是，猶大人承諾要守他們起初所守的，也承諾要遵守末底改寫給他們的。 24 原本猶大人的敵人，亞甲族哈米大他的兒子哈曼曾經設謀陷害猶大人，要消滅他們；他弄卜“普珥”，就是抽籤，為要打擊和消滅猶大人。 25 但這事呈到王面前以後，王使用文書降旨吩咐，使哈曼計謀的惡事，就是他設謀陷害猶大人的事歸到他自己的頭上，又使人把他和他的眾子掛在木架上。
26 因此，猶大人照著“普珥”的名字，稱這兩日為普珥節；所以他們因這信上的話，又因他們所看見和所遭遇的事， 27 猶大人就立了定例，承諾他們自己和他們的後裔，以及所有與他們聯合的人，每年都要按著所寫的和指定的兩日守這節日，永不可廢止。 28 使人在各省各城，家家戶戶，世世代代，都記念、遵守這兩日，使這普珥節的日子在猶大人中，永不廢止，在他們的後裔中也不斷被記念。
29 亞比孩的女兒王后以斯帖和猶大人末底改以全權寫了這第二封信，囑咐猶大人守這普珥節。 30 他用和平和誠實的話，把文書送給亞哈隨魯國中一百二十七省所有的猶大人， 31 勸他們按著規定的時期，照著猶大人末底改和王后以斯帖所囑咐的，也照著他們在禁食和哀求的時候為自己與後裔所承諾的，守這普珥節。 32 以斯帖的命令確定了普珥節；這命令也記錄在史記上。
That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.
3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”
7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. 8 Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”
9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.[a] These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,[b] and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12 The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
14 The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.
15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
9 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”
13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”
14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman. 15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.
20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention,[c] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.
29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. 32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
1. If you were in a position to destroy your enemy without fear of the consequences to you, would you take advantage of the situation? Why or why not?
2. What event in your life has turned sorrow into joy? How have you commemorated that event? How have you shared it with others so that they could join you?
3. Does the lack of reference to God in the book of Esther bother you? Or, does it make you search and inquire about Him even more?