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)


  • Together with Ezra, Nehemiah leads a reform that goes beyond architecture and reaches into the core of Jewish identity as a people covenanted to the living God.

  • For example, rebuilding the wall causes economic hardship among the people-a situation that uncovers the people’s practice of usury (i.e., interest taking), which Nehemiah abolishes without hesitation.

  • Under the governorship of Nehemiah, Ezra continues instructing the people in the Torah.

  • In the seventh month of the year of Nehemiah’s return, Ezra gathers the returned exiles for a public proclamation of the law and commissions the Levites to explain its meaning.

  • This reading of the Torah and its enthusiastic reception by the community are celebrated with joy and feasting and are followed by the celebration of the Feast of Booths in a manner unparalleled since the days of Joshua.

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


  • We got to see Ezra again, which is awesome, a little teamup between Nehemiah and Ezra

  • Ezra the scribe re-introduces the Law of God to the people of Israel

  • It seems to be that the people who were in exile had forgotten the Law of God

  • They knew that they were Jewish

  • BUT…

  • They did not know the depth of the Law and the depth of the Covenant

  • Now why would people weep?

  • This is just so BEAUTIFUL

  • Nehemiah 8:9, “And Nehe miah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.”

  • THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!

  • Why would they weep?

  • It’s not as if Ezra got up and started reading laws out of your local jurisdiction like speeding and traffic laws or housing ordinances, etc.

  • Ezra was reading the LAW OF GOD

  • Which was what?

  • THE LAW OF GOD IS WISE

  • It reflected a DEPTH OF JUSTICE to it

  • It was not only committed to JUSTICE

  • It reflected a DEGREE OF MERCY to it

  • What are the people commanded to do?

  • Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the aft and drink sweet wine...’”

  • WHICH IS GREAT!!

  • GO CELEBRATE!!

  • THIS DAY IS HOLY TO THE LORD!!

  • AND…”...send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared…”

  • Basically not only celebrate, but also send portions to those WHO DON’T HAVE ANYTHING

  • THIS IS JUSTICE OF THE LAW OF GOD

  • IT IS ALSO THE MERCY OF GOD

  • It could be that they are weeping because they had never heard such POWERFUL, WISE, AND GOOD COMMANDS

  • BUT…

  • It also could be WHAT THE LAW REFLECTS

  • What does the Law reflect?

  • It reflects the fact that they have a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

  • THEY ARE REMINDED OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD GOD WITH THEM

  • THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING

  • GOSH!!

  • Yes we can say, “Oh we have rules here and those rules are really smart.”

  • BUT…

  • The LAWS come out of a RELATIONSHIP

  • The RULES come out of a RELATIONSHIP

  • The RELATIONSHIP is the COVENANT that God establishes with his people (Do you remember when we first learned this concept? Go back and read Day 38: The Ten Commandments in The Bible in a Year Study Guide to refresh your memory 😁)

  • Ezra is standing on the wood platform and all the people are able to understand and hear and realize…

  • “There is a God who KNOWS me.”

  • “There is a God who LOVES me.”

  • “There is a God who entered into COVENANT with me and with us.”

  • Yes, they were Jewish

  • BUT…

  • Maybe it was possible that they DID NOT KNOW WHAT THAT REALLY MEANT

  • That is true for us too sometimes, isn’t it?

  • We grow up thinking, “Yeah everyone is a child of God.”

  • If you are raised in a place where most of the people around you are Christians, then yeah you think everyone is a child of God

  • And then you realize actually that’s not true

  • Not only that, but we can not really know WHAT THAT MEANS

  • “Of course, I know I’m Jewish. I just did not know what that meant.”

  • “Of course, I know I’m Christian. I just did not know what that meant.”

  • “I’m a son or daughter of God. I just didn’t even stop to think what that meant.”

  • All of a sudden here comes Ezra the Scribe when he is reading the books of the words of the Law

  • The people are PIERCED TO THE HEART

  • “This is who I am made to be my entire life and that is NOT WHO I HAVE BEEN LIVING AS.”

  • THIS IS WHY THEY WERE WEEPING!!

  • “This is who I was CREATED to be.”

  • “This is who I have been REDEEMED to be.”

  • “I haven’t been LIVING like that.”

  • That’s why Ezra and Nehemiah have to be saying, “Listen, this day is holy to the Lord, your God. This is a celebration day. Do not mourn or weep. So go your way, celebrate, eat the fat, drink sweet wine. And send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared for this day is holy to the Lord. And do not be grieved for the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.”

  • THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH

  • Those are words to be tattooed to your pillow (I didn’t know pillows could get tattooed….I might get this tattooed on my heart 😉)

  • Or maybe stitched into our minds and into our hearts

  • IN FACT…

  • THE JOY OF THE LORD MUST BE YOUR STRENGTH!!

  • THAT IS NOT AN OPTION!!

  • IT IS NECESSARY!!

  • Speaking of joy and pillows and stitches and tattoos…

  • We have The Book of Esther and the beginning of the crisis

  • Haman is promoted to being second in command of all of King Ahasuerus’s kingdom

  • People bow down to him

  • EXCEPT FOR MORDECAI

  • He is the foster father of Esther, essentially, and he REFUSES TO BOW DOWN

  • So Haman, in his pettiness and littleness, makes up this argument to King Ahasuerus, “You know, you have got these Jews living among you. They have their own laws. They have their own rules. They’ve been hostile ever since the get-go. So why don’t we just completely eliminate them?”

  • Remember, King Ahasuerus is not a good guy, he is not a hero

  • He says, “Sure. Go ahead. If they’re causing trouble, kill everyone.”

  • We even have Ahasuerus’s letter in Esther Ch 13

  • He basically said, “I’m trying to keep my kingdom peaceful. I’m trying to establish lasting tranquility. Therefore, I’m going to establish lasting tranquility by eliminating anyone who stands in my way. I’m going to bring peace by destroying anyone who might not....uh….er...(stream of consciousness)...I’m going to make sure everyone is five foot two by cutting off the feet of anyone who is taller than that.”

  • The country of Sweden said they eliminated Down Syndrome

  • How did they do that?

  • Well, they killed every baby who had Down Syndrome

  • So yeah they’ve eradicated this issue from their lives, but they did it by killing every human being who had down syndrome (I’m just typing out what Fr. Mike said...I’m sure he means abortion in this case. I looked it up and found several epidemiological articles about this online. If what he said troubles you, I encourage you to go read for yourself. It also happens in other countries all over the world.)

  • In this case, King Ahasuerus said, “I’m going to establish this peace and keep lasting tranquility by KILLING ANYONE who disturbs the peace.”

  • King Ahasuerus is EVIL

  • So Esther is going to come before King Ahasuerus, we not only have the story of what he did with Queen Vashti (Please tell me you remember what happened? If not, go back and read Day 275: Esther Becomes Queen in The Bible in a Year Study Guide 😁)

  • We also have this story of how volatile, violent, unreasonable, and genocidal he can be

  • So if Esther has to intercede on behalf of her people, she would be taking her own life into her hands

  • For all of us, we are called to WITNESS TO THE LORD GOD

  • We are called to WITNESS TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

  • In doing so, we also are taking our lives into our hands

  • Because of that, WE NEED PRAYERS

  • WE NEED GOD’S GRACE

  • You have been brought into the COVENANT

  • A COVENANT OF LOVE

  • A COVENANT OF MERCY

  • A COVENANT OF JUSTICE

  • A COVENANT OF TRUTH

  • In order to LIVE THIS COVENANT and PROCLAIM THIS COVENANT, WE NEED GRACE

  • FATHER MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER


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.”