Day 276: Haman's Plan

Nehemiah 8:1-18 The accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah have been merged to some degree, and this chapter includes one of Ezra’s memoirs. During the seven-day Feast of Booths, Ezra read the Law to the assembled people, which brought many in the audience to tears as they realized their transgressions. A public reading of the Law was called for in Deuteronomy during every sabbatical year, and the readings on this occasion served both to make the Judeans mindful of the Law as well as to reestablish its full observance. The Mosaic Law of the Old Covenant is a preamble to the fullness of Divine Revelation through the New Covenant in Christ. (CCC 1980)

Esther 3:1-6 Ahasuerus promoted Haman to rule over his princes, and Haman demanded obeisance from the entire court. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman since such obeisance was not to be given to anyone but God. This form of homage is a form of idolatry prohibited by the Mosaic Law, which states clearly that only God is to be worshiped. Mordecai’s refusal kindled the anger of Haman, who thereafter sought to annihilate all Jews from the kingdom. 

Ch 3:7-13 Haman convinced Ahasuerus to order the killing of all Jews on account of their proprietary legal system that placed conditions on their obedience to the king. His real intent, however, was to dispose of Mordecai. The Church teaches against persecuting any group of people, specifically anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews, with whom Christians share a common heritage (cf. Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, 4).

Ch 13:1-6 [Greek] Ahasuerus’s letter mirrored the tone of Haman’s original proposal. The genocide was to take place all on a single day. The Church condemns all acts of genocide, including those mandated by legitimate authority. The faithful are enjoined not to obey commands that are against the natural order and moral law. Even for a soldier in time of war, blind obedience or the claim of “following orders” does not relieve the individual from moral responsibility for such acts. (CCC 2313)

Ch 3:14-15 The decree puzzled many who learned of it because the Jews and Persians had enjoyed a relatively peaceful coexistence.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the word that Ezra proclaimed. Ezra the scribe, declaring and proclaiming your word over the people of Israel, who had returned from exile and recognized that in this city, the city with the Temple of your Presence, of worship, the city with the wall around it, this city that is your holy city, that your holy words were able to convict and pierce their hearts. We ask that you let your Holy Word do what it does. Let it convict and pierce our hearts. Let it give us encouragement. Let it give us fear of the Lord in the best possible way. Let your Word, Lord God, guide our steps and be a light unto our path. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”