We pick up here after Esther has asked the king to spare her people and come out as a Jew for him to know who she means before pointing the finger at Haman for all these troubles. Haman ends up hung on the gallows he’d had erected for Mordecai and Mordecai is given the house of Haman.
Esther goes to the king again and begs that all her people be saved. It was part of her original request but coming out as a Jew appeared to have sidelined things for a moment. This time the king consents and gives his signet ring, that Haman had used before, to Mordecai to send orders out to the provinces. But he says when he gives it to Mordecai:
Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.
An important thing to remember here is again, the ring had been previously used by Haman. The original order could not be revoked. So instead Mordecai sends that all the Jews can defend themselves in the same manner that they were to be attacked, meaning that they have permission to destroy, kill, or annihilate whoever comes after them. Letters were sent everywhere and the Jews rejoiced.
I imagine the non-Jews everywhere got very worried about how the Jews might interpret these orders because it ends with “declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.”
Apparently the concern of the rest of the people under the king was well warranted. The Jews didn’t just defend their own lives, they went out killing “their enemies”. These two statements may sound similar but they are not the same at all. The people were originally going to get to kill them all and the tables were completely turned, rather than just allowed the Jews to defend themselves.
The king asks Esther what else she wants and she asks for another day of killing. There’s no good reason why given nor is there a reason given that the king would simply allow a second day of what sounds like slaughter at his Queen’s request, but he does. So now it’s a two day killing spree for the Jews.
I get being excited and making a holiday out of the day that you were originally going to be the victim’s of genocide but now the holiday is about how the tides were turned and they got to go on the murder spree instead. It’s all a little gruesome if you ask me. But they do make a holiday of it. The thirteenth and fourteenth of the third month every year until infinity.
This last chapter is fairly short and sweet, just adding that the king of Persia added some taxes to stuff and then ends with this line:
For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.
He certainly looked out for his people, I’ll give him that.