Esther 8:7
So King Xerxes said to Esther the Queen and Mordecai the Jew, "Behold, I have given Haman's estate to Esther, and he was hanged on the gallows because he attacked the Jews.
Sermons
Consecration, Kindred, Law, and FollyP.C. Barker Esther 8:3-14
A Monarch's ImbecilityW. Burrows, B. A.Esther 8:7-14
The Irreversible in Human LifeW. M. Taylor, D. D.Esther 8:7-14
The Repealable and Unrepealable in Human ConductA. Raleigh, D. D.Esther 8:7-14
War Against EvilT. McEwan.Esther 8:7-14
Esther felt that her work was not yet done. An overconfident and sanguine disposition might have taken for granted, as we do in the mere retrospect, that all else which was requisite would follow as matter of course. She had met as yet no rebuff, had suffered no failure. Each move, well considered beforehand, had been crowned with success, surpassing the utmost that she or Mordecai had dared to imagine. In the flush of personal success, and of joy because of the safety and great promotion of Mordecai, she does not forget the larger family of her "people" and "kindred." The fearful decree is not reversed. It still overhangs the heads of thousands upon thousands. Esther feels that her mission will not be fulfilled until she has obtained the abrogation of the decree, and secured the lives of her people. In all the methods she had employed hitherto a remarkable calmness and circumspection are observable. But now a change is visible in favour of a demonstrativeness which it must have required very strong effort to keep up to this time in such restraint. Esther "fell down at the feet of the king, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman, and his device that he had devised against the Jews (ver. 3). This change is interesting to observe, as occurring at the time when thought and affection left self and home for the scattered kindred of a hundred and twenty-seven provinces. This verse is the irrepressible outcry of true patriotism. It is the expostulation of vivid and tender sympathy. It is the argument of a forcible principle of our nature, which oversteps the boundaries of the personal and the domestic in order to travel much farther, and to embrace the national. It mounts by the stepping-stones of self-love and sacred family love to the love of vast numbers of those never seen nor personally known, yet in some special sense related. The passage suggests, by a leading illustration, the general subject of patriotism; and we may notice -

I. WHAT TRUE PATRIOTISM IS.

1. It is evidently an original and ultimate principle. As soon as ever it was possible it showed its existence The fact of its presence, and operative presence, has been visible in all ages, traceable in all kinds and degrees of civilisation - among the barbarous, and among the most advanced and elevated nationalities.

2. It is a principle of a high moral kind. A form of love above the sympathy which is between individual and individual, above that which lies between those born of the same parents, and, on the other hand, falling short of that universal love of man, as such, which is one of the very highest teachings of Christianity.

3. It is a somewhat quickened regard for those united to us by community of race. A stronger interest in their welfare and advantage is marked by it, while divested as far as possible of any conscious reflex action or benefit to self. This affection was no doubt exceedingly strong in the Jewish race, was at Esther's time greatly intensified by adversity and persecution and natural causes, but owed its most determined hold to distinctly Divine purpose.

II. THE USE OF PATRIOTISM IN THE INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER.

1. It must be enlarging to the heart. It must expand the affections in their outlook, which then seek the various and the distant instead of ever keeping at home. It must give greater and freer exercise to the more important moral elements of our nature.

2. It must operate ever as a distinct corrective to some portion of the dangers of selfishness. There is much selfishness in our self-love; there is often not a little even in the family and domestic circle; sympathies may run round indeed, but in too narrow a circle. But the circle is immensely widened by this community of interest, while yet kept within a manageable area.

3. It is able to give enough natural motive to the awakening of moral energies, which without it would have found no sufficient appeal. In point of fact, some of the grandest displays of human force, and among them that of the present history, have been due to it.

III. ITS USEFULNESS TO PUBLIC SOCIETY. There will be a vast amount of this necessarily entailed indirectly and unconsciously, as arising from the previous considerations; but, in addition, manifest practical use on a large scale will also result.

1. It secures the prospect of bringing together to one point a great aggregate of force in emergency. It is like public opinion in action, seasoned by genuine affection.

2. It is equal also to the converse of this, spreading, as in Esther's example, the willing benefit, the critical advantage of opportunity, of one loving, praying heart, over a vast area.

3. Pervading the whole mass of mankind, it so divides it up and so allots it, that in place of unwieldiness a well-knit-together organisation is found. Thus it offers a strong and very traceable analogy to the body with its members.

IV. THAT IN PATRIOTISM WE HAVE ANOTHER EVIDENCE OF DIVINE DESIGN IN THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN SOCIETY. For -

1. It cannot possibly be attributed to mere human arrangement or compact.

2. It does not at all really contravene either the descent of all from one head, or the fact that "God has made of one blood all nations of the earth."

3. Its operation is not malevolent, setting "nation against nation." It is beneficent, and is ever growing to show itself more and more so, leading up to mutual service, mutual dependence, and mutual love, to the attainment of which it were very hard to see any other way so compact, so sure. - B.







Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen.
Always distrust the man who is the victim of circumstances. Great men make their circumstances and little men are made by them. Ahasuerus here pleads his circumstances, and rather than acknowledge an error, plunges the whole empire in danger of civil war. He throws upon Mordecai the duty of contriving a remedy against his own mistakes.

I. A WEAK MAN'S SELF-DEFENCE. "I have given Esther the house of Haman," etc. He had given what cost him nothing. With a maudlin tenderness, like that of a drunken man, while Esther is inspired with an almost Divine passion of patriotism, he pleads his affection for her person. A small propitiation for a great wickedness. As if the hero of one hundred swindles flung a copper to a beggar; as if a cowardly murderer gave a crust to his victim's orphan; as if a life-long sinner offered to God the compensation of a Sunday prayer; so Ahasuerus hopes that Haman's death will make Esther unmindful of the wickedness devised against her kindred.

II. A WEAK MAN'S "NON-POSSUMUS."

III. A WEAK MAN'S REFUSAL OF RESPONSIBILITY.

(W. Burrows, B. A.)

May no man reverse
1. There is something in all human action unrepealable. But the only way of making quite sure that we shall obviate or nullify the consequences of an evil action or an evil course of conduct (if one may express the thing in a strong solecism) is — not to do the action; not to follow the course of conduct. Few things are more melancholy and affecting than the deep concern and trouble of aroused consciences in view of things deeply regretted, but seen to be beyond recall, and, in a large degree, intractable to modification and management. It is easy to touch a spring in a piece of complex machinery where there is force of water or steam pent up and ready to play; but if you don't know all the consequences, you had better not touch the spring. We must not take a morbid view, and afflict ourselves with imaginary fears, and think of this great machine we call providence as if it were full of lurking mischiefs ready to break out at the slightest touch. We are responsible chiefly, almost exclusively, for this — the action in itself, the course of conduct in itself. We cannot control the consequences, and we shall not be accountable for them except in so fax as they are the direct and proper fruit of the action. If we do what is right, and wise, and for good reasons, we have nothing to fear. If we do wilfully or carelessly what we know to be wrong, we have every reason to look for the evil consequences, and every reason to judge that we are responsible for them as far as personal responsibility goes in such a case.

2. This narrative may teach us farther that in the darkest and most unpromising circumstances there is nearly always some way of relief and improvement. How seldom are things so in human life that literally nothing can be done! There is something unrepealable in all important human action. But there is also much that may be practically repealed. I think we may say that never, at any one time, in the history of a nation, never in the life of an individual, are things so dark and bad that nothing can be done to amend and lighten them. If this were not so, the world would soon be full of the most pitiable spectacles that could be conceived; communities and individuals sitting hopelessly amid the gloom of their own failures. But who knows not, also, that calamities and misfortunes are retrieved, that injuries are redressed, that mistakes are rectified? As Esther set her single will against the deadly edict, and drew from it, as far as her people were concerned, its deadliness, so a single will is often set against a whole system of evil, and by vigorous and persevering assaults it is brought to an end.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

: —The word ones spoken cannot be recalled. The deed once done cannot be undone. The book once issued begins to exercise an influence which cannot be bottled up again, but which must go on operative for evermore. The man who in youth sowed "wild oats" cannot stop the production of the harvest which has sprung from his folly. The hasty-tempered one, whose words sank into the heart of a friend and stabbed him with something keener than a poniard, cannot undo the mischief he has wrought. The author of a vile book may see his folly and lament it, but he cannot catch and confine the influence it exerted, even supposing every copy were to be recalled. You cannot stop the ball after it has left the gun. If you shake the dewdrop from a flower you cannot put it back again. "Don't write there, sir," said a newsboy to a young dandy in the waiting-room of an English railway station, when he saw him take off his ring and begin with the diamond in it to scratch some words upon the surface of the mirror. "Don't write there, sir." "Why not?" "Because you can't rub it out."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

And to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay
There is "not an evil passion or lust against which we are not called upon to do battle, not a temptation which we are not commanded to resist, not a spiritual adversary which we are not required to put forth all our energies to overcome. In our "evil day" we are summoned by our King to "stand for our lives," and be prepared to war against our enemies as though the victory lay with ourselves. God helping us, we will do it.

(T. McEwan.)

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