Friday, May 18, 2007

Anti-Genocide in the Book of Esther

I've been reading the book of Esther and it has a very clear anti-genocide message. Haman, the evil right hand man to King Xerxes, decides in a moment to decree the destruction of the Jews after Mordecai, a Jew, disrespects him. One personal issue (that shouldn't even have been an issue) and he makes a decision to kill an entire people group. The rest of the book speaks of Esther and Mordecai being used to stop this genocide.

Why isn't it ok? Because it's wrong... God is a God of redemption not of destruction. Even in OT terms of His wrath, God is merciful. And in the case of Queen Esther, the King's own wife would have been killed. Our neighbors and family members could represent a targeted group. Then there's Mordecai, the annoying citizen who sits outside the king's gate and does things no one seems to understand. To put it more bluntly, I see Mordecai representing the homeless or the foreigners who never quite fit "our" customs and standards and thereby pose some sort of threat.

How do they stop it? It takes everyone... Esther as an insider in the kingdom who doubts her power but wields it creatively and convincingly with the people who matter. Mordecai, giving Esther encouragement and strategy. The people, who dress in sack cloth and ashes and pray and fast.

I can find myself in each of those solutions. And I must.


Anonymous said...

pro-genocide in Numbers 31

LK said...

there are indeed examples of war and such in the Old Testament... but not the NT, after Christ comes...