So I have been prepping a bible study on Esther, and simply in reading materials over, I am surprised at how... squeamish... how embarrassed some scholars seem to be with the resolution of the book. The king gives the Jews permission to defend themselves against the folks who were planning on killing them, and instead the Jews slaughter a bunch of people.
And when looking at this section, I see a whole bunch of caveats, and discussions about how we are to love our neighbor and be nice, and so on and so forth -- almost a moral embarrassment over this. And I'm sure it comes up many other times in the Old Testament whenever there is whole scale slaughter done by the Jewish folks.
You know what is missing in all this shy, embarrassed hand-wringing? The Messiah.
Here's the lesson. The Messiah is promised to come through the Jewish people; therefore you do not mess with the Jews. An attempt to wipe out the Jewish folks in the Old Testament is not just something mean and cruel, it is an attempt to prevent the salvation of mankind by destroying the people from whom the Messiah would be raised.
And that gets punished.
You don't mess with the Promise.
Messing with the Promise is bad.
Maybe, instead of handwringing about how mean and cruel they were (although frankly, turn about is fair play in that situation... sort of poetic justice), perhaps we pastors ought to consider how we ourselves preach and teach Christ Jesus, lest we be the ones hindering the Gospel and attempting to rob people of their Messiah and replace Him with our false dreams of riches and wealth and power.
Huh. Kind of hits a little bit closer to home that way.
Dear friends - never read the bible so that it makes you wring your hands about what someone else is doing. Read it and see warnings meant for you... and then repent and with joy remember that God saw to it that even Satan himself could not stop Jesus from coming and dying and rising for you.