The Pursuit of Complete Victory
“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.”
Esther 9:5-15 NIV
I’ve read the story of Esther before. I’ve been inspired by her courage to make a stand for her people. I’ve been encouraged by her dramatic preparation to put her life on the line and risk everything because God had put her there for “such a time as this.”
Chapter 8 has bothered me though. More specifically, chapter 8, verse 13. I understand that Haman was punished for his cruelty and attempts to exterminate the Jewish people. I see his guilt and his evil motives. But was it really just to “let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles”? That sounds a bit harsh Esther. Doesn’t Jesus says that we ought to love our enemies?
After doing some digging, I discovered that Haman and his family were descendants of the Amalekites (found in Esther 3:1, and 1 Samuel 15:8-33). I also find that in 1 Samuel 15:2-3, King Saul, the son of Kish, was commanded by God to execute the full extent of God’s judgment upon the Amalekites, but he failed to follow through. While he could have claimed total victory that day and been obedient to the Lord, Saul chose to embrace a partial victory for the Lord.
Maybe today’s verses are to teach me from the life of Esther, not to settle for anything less than total victory in Christ. Sin should not be “mostly stopped.” It must be totally defeated! Because Saul had been disobedient to finish the job when he was supposed to, there came a time when the enemy that he could have fully defeated, was ready to exterminate God’s people. Esther and Saul teach me that my compromises today can lead to my family’s catastrophes tomorrow.
Saul was a son of Kish that failed to stop the threat of the Amalekites in his generation. He settled for gaining a partial victory over the enemy. It wouldn’t be until another son of Kish in another generation named Mordecai (Esther 2:5-6) would rise up to be the man through which God’s judgment would be completed. Often those of the older generations settle for partial victories, and it is the next generations that need to press on to total victory.
No compromise today Lord! There are far too many times that like Saul, I settle for partial victories and compromises. Give me the heart of the victor that will not settle for less than what You desire. Lord I don’t want my compromises today to lead to my family’s catastrophes tomorrow. Amen.