Esther 8-10…Spiritual warfare.
Esther achieved Haman’s defeat (Est. 4–7), but something had to be done about the royal decree to destroy the Jews in Persia. Since this edict cannot be revoked, Ahasuerus gives Esther permission to make another decree in the king’s name allowing the Jews to “annihilate” any who might attack them (8:1–14). Esther even gets permission for a second day of fighting, and tens of thousands of her Persian enemies end up dead (8:15–9:19).
Such violence seems excessive to us, especially since Christ’s plan for His church does not include the right to conquer with the sword. But this does not mean the Jews sinned in this case. We read that the Jews laid “no hands on the plunder” that could have been theirs after they slaughtered the Persians (9:4–10, 15–16). This tells us the Jews engaged in holy battle against the Lord’s enemies since His servants were not allowed to profit from such conflicts (Josh. 6–7).
All sorts of wild theories about spiritual warfare abound in the church today. Nevertheless, there is a real war going on every time the Gospel is preached. All people are inclined from birth to reject Jesus and will only trust Him if the Holy Spirit conquers their hearts and enables them to trust in the Lord. One of our chief weapons in this battle is prayer, and we must fight for God’s kingdom by loving our enemies and praying for the conversion of others.