Salvation to the ends of the earth

“Now King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the accomplishments of his authority and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the shalom of ALL HIS DESCENDANTS” (Esth 10:1-3).

Marvels fans know that the movie isn't quite over when it's over. The post-credit scenes always provide important clues of things to come in the next movie. Esther 10 is designed like a post-credit scene. Throughout the book, the author has described Esther and Mordecai's rise to royalty in a foreign nation with words borrowed from the story of Joseph (Genesis 37—50). The villain is gone, and Mordecai rules over the empire of Persia as second in command. Life is good for the Jewish people in exile… Right? No! The author concludes the book with a subtle, yet strategic allusion to Jacob's journey down to Egypt, using a phrase (“all his descendants”) only found outside of Esther in Genesis 46:5-7: “Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and ALL HIS DESCENDANTS with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and ALL HIS DESCENDANTS he brought with him to Egypt.” Things didn't end well for Jacob's descendants who went to Egypt – Joseph was completely forgotten and the entire nation was enslaved (Exodus 1). The conclusion of Esther is not the happy ending itself, but by virtue of the comparison, it offers hope of more to come, when God will raise up a Second Moses who will redeem his people, and also bring salvation to the ends of the earth (Deut 18:15; 34:10; Isa 11:1—12:6; 40:1—55:13).

“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and My God is My strength), He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth'” (Isa 49:5-7).

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