The events of chapters three through eight do not occur in a matter of days, but over a period of two months. The events of chapter nine are eleven months after Haman first put his plan in motion. The Jews have had nine months to get ready. They are allowed by law to defend themselves against attackers who will never answer to anyone for killing Jews (because of the first edict). Theoretically, the Jews will be slaughtered.
But that isn’t the way it turns out. Some folks are wise enough to recognize the winds of change in the Persian palace. But not everyone is wise. In fact, nearly eighty thousand people throughout the empire – and 500 in the capital itself – are foolish enough to attack the Jews, and are killed for their hatred. And so, the salvation of the Jews is celebrated at the feast of Pur, and we finally realize that the purpose of Esther is to tell us how that festival came to be.
Is it a righteous thing to be hated?
By the attitudes and actions of some of God’s people, it would appear so. Some folks do not think it possible to be a Christian unless they have cultivated hatred for themselves in the lives of others.
I mention this because of the great hatred that seems to be apparent against the Jews in the book of Esther. Remember that Mordecai forbade Esther to reveal her ethnic heritage. Haman has an obvious hatred of the Jews and there is a huge contingent of people throughout Persia who were willing to take their lives into their own hands just to kill Jews.
Why were they so hated?
Jesus said we should not be surprised that the world hates us, but Jesus never called on us to court the hatred of the world. Our task is to love the people of the world in such a way that they too will come to join us in glorifying God. If we are going to be hated, let it be the natural result of following Jesus, not the courted consequence of being obnoxious.