Esther 9:2
In each of the provinces of King Xerxes, the Jews assembled in their cities to attack those who sought to harm them. No man could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen upon all peoples.
Self-Help Brings HelpW. Burrows, B. A.Esther 9:2-3
The Wise Conduct of the JewsJ. Hughes.Esther 9:2-3
A Reign of TerrorF. Hastings Esther 9:2-5

The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities, etc. There were many greedy to possess the property of the Jews, and such as cherished spite against them, who were glad of the permission to slay and plunder, which Haman's letters gave. When the king's letters which reached the Jews gave them permission to withstand those who opposed, there must have been great perplexity in many minds and fear in many hearts.

I. FOOLISH LAWS BRING ABOUT REIGNS OF TERROR. The foolish consent of the king became law, and then by another absurd law it could not be changed or checked.


III. IN REIGNS OF TERROR THE GOOD MUST STAND TOGETHER. In the world there is a great fight for goodness, truth, and Christ to be still waged. Anarchy suits the prince of darkness. The Christian is in ever)- sense the friend of order, good government, and righteousness. - H.

The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities.
The Jews acted —

1. Wisely. They acted in unison. "They gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives." Union is power: concentration of strength is mighty for good and for evil. How awful the extent of the mischief perpetrated by the evil spirits, because they act it, concert — unitedly: whereas disunion would cause even their kingdom to fall. Union and co-operation are likewise powerful for the production of good. Hence copies of the Divine writings are flying to all parts of the world, and missionaries to unfold their precious contents to those who are perishing for lack of knowledge. What would individual efforts do in cases like these?

2. Manfully. "They laid hands on all such as sought their hurt, and no man could withstand them." They were acting legally: for the royal law permitted them to defend themselves. Trust in God, in His power and faithfulness, is the only source of true magnanimity. It is this alone that makes man undaunted on rational grounds. St. Paul tells us of the ancient believers, that "out of weakness they were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens." And this, he tells us, was the effect of relying on God.

3. Moreover, they acted forbearingly, or self-denyingly. They merely defended themselves, and Seized not upon the spoils of their enemies: "On the spoil they lay not their hand." They wanted only their lives and their own possessions, and not the riches of their neighbours. We find that great believer, Abraham, acting thus self-denyingly in Genesis 14. The victory which the Jews obtained on this occasion was a very signal one. "The Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them." "In Shushan, the palace, the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men." At the request of the queen, three hundred more were slain in the royal city. And in the different provinces of the empire they slew of their foes seventy and five thousand. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! Behold the fruits of the wickedness of one individual!

(J. Hughes.)

I. DIVINE HELP. In this narrative we see all along that the Jews were helped of God.

II. DIVINE HELP FOSTERS AND SUCCEEDS SELF-HELP. Divine help must first work, and then there can be successful self-help. These Jews helped themselves —

1. By cooperation.

2. By active agency.

3. By a name of power.

4. By aggressive measures.


(W. Burrows, B. A.)

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