The Book of Esther
In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day. The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.
The Casting of Lots
The casting of lots was a common practice throughout the ancient eastern world and some have thought it to be a means of guidance. Hamon was not choosing guidance, but a day that would prove itself lucky, even if it meant waiting a whole year before he could act. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. (Proverbs 16:33) In other words, the lot is cast, but it’s every decision is from the LORD. Casting lots was a method that was often used to reveal the purpose God had in a matter despite the fact that human responsibility was subject to God’s unquestionable control.
Hamon suggests that certain people that were scattered throughout the land having gone their separate ways across the one hundred twenty-seven providences, be destroyed. He omits naming the people involved on purpose, knowing that they are Jews. He calls them troublemakers, rebellious and dangerous to the Persian Empire, if they are allowed to continue disobeying the king’s laws. Haman occupied himself in playing on the intense greed of the king and offered ten thousand talents of silver to be placed into the king’s treasuries. This was a tremendous amount of money equalling approximately two-thirds of the annual income of the entire empire.
The King’s Edict
The drawing up of the edict or decree was translated into all languages of the empire and dispatched throughout the providences by couriers on horseback. The seal of the king’s ring was upon the letters pronouncing death to the Jews indicating total annihilation. The decree would not take place before the thirteenth of Adar, eleven months later, the day Haman chose, by casting lots. The people of the land were permitted to plunder Jewish goods (gain spoil) as an incentive to follow through with the proclamation in exterminating the Jews. While the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in utter turmoil.
Thought: Do you think the people of Susa, not of Jewish decent, had concerns and feared for themselves over this decree that was so cruel and oppressive? Do you think they questioned, “Who would be next to be delivered into the hands of destruction at the whim of such a foolish ruler?” In the midst of all this turmoil, God’s hand is moving, for we know; He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Psalm 121:3-8
What does the Bible tells us about our source of peace? Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3. The only way to keep from worry and fear is to trust in the Lord our Peace, Jehovah-Shalom. When fear comes upon you, you can either think about the thing you fear, or you can call on the Lord, Jehovah-Shalom.