The closing chapters of the book of Esther focus on the revenge that the Jews took upon their enemies, on the sons of Haman and upon thousands of others. Personally, I cannot imagine anything more contrary to the spirit of Jesus Christ who said, “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” (Luke 6:29) Rather than taking the lives of others, Jesus laid down his life for us. Through that gift of his life, we can receive new, everlasting life.
The one good thing that came out of these events recorded in Esther is the feast of Purim. I say that is a good thing because on that feast day the Jews were instructed by Mordecai to give gifts of food to one another and offer presents to the poor. However, I find it hard to imagine a holiday that is more unlike the supposed event it commemorates than Purim.
Hopefully, as we read the story of Esther in the context of the whole of Scripture, it reminds us what an evil thing the act and spirit of revenge can be. Hopefully, we look to One greater than Mordecai for an example to follow and the gentle strength to “turn the other cheek” when we too are threatened by the bullies of this world.