Esther and Justice

Most action movies climax at the moment where the villain gets his comeuppance, usually by being killed in a particularly gruesome way. But no one is overly bothered by this, since it is understood as justice being meted out.

The story of Esther reaches a similarly satisfying climax, as Haman ends up being impaled on the gigantic spike on which he had planned to skewer Mordecai (Esth 7:10 TNIV). But despite the poetic justice, there is something that doesn’t sit quite right – the charge for which Haman is executed is a false one. Of all the heinous crimes he was guilty of, molesting Esther was not one of them.

Does this, and should this bother us? Most commentators point out that this was a false charge of some convenience to king Xerxes, since he could punish Haman without admitting to his own complicity in the plot to annihilate the Jews.

Yet a fair trial is foundational to justice. For this reason, Christians reject any form of vigilantism, revenge-taking or kangaroo courts. It is interesting that in Old Testament law, which is often thought of as primitive, places a very high premium on multiple eye-witnesses (Num 35:30). It was considered better for a crime to go unpunished than for a miscarriage of justice to take place.

The good news is that the “Judge of all the Earth” (Gen 8:15) always executes just judgments. He is eye-witness not only to every deed, but to every thought and even the motives of the heart. There are no miscarriages of justice with him and we can have confidence, that his final verdict will be the right one.

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." Rev 19:1,2 NIV

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