Against the Philistines (Am 1:6-1:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Gaza,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they carried

Into exile

Entire communities,

To hand them over

To Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Gaza.

It shall devour

Its strongholds.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From Ashdod.

I will cut off

The one who holds

The scepter

From Ashkelon.

I will turn my hand

Against Ekron.

The remnant

Of the Philistines

Shall perish.’

Says Yahweh

God.”

The Philistines had 5 major cities along the Mediterranean coast, west of Judah. The only city not mentioned here was Gath that had been wiped out by the Syrian King Hazael. Otherwise, Yahweh was going to punish the other 4 cities. Gaza was cited as the worst, since the numbering iniquities were about 3 and 4 things, just like the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30. Yahweh was not going to revoke his punishment against them. They were involved in the slave trade with Edom that sent whole communities into exile. Although fire would come to Gaza, Yahweh reminded them that Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron would also suffer. All the remaining Philistines would perish or die. This was clearly an oracle of Yahweh.

Queen Esther asks for the revocation of the Haman decree (Esth 8:3-8:6)

“Then Queen Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet, weeping. She pleaded with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot which he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther. Esther rose and stood before the king. She said.

‘If it pleases the king,

If I have won his favor,

If the thing seem right before the king,

If I have his approval,

Let an order be written to revoke the letters

Devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha,

Which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews

Who are in all the provinces of the king.

How can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people?

How can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?’”

Queen Esther again pleaded with the king. She wanted him to rescind the order that Haman had sent out about the execution of all the Jews in the provinces of Persia. Once again, she recognized the authority of the king as he placed his golden scepter on her. She wanted orders sent out to revoke the letter of Haman. She wondered how she could bear to see all this bloodshed on her people and relatives. You have to remember that the king had agreed with the letter of Haman.