And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai…
I. THE WRATH OF THE WICKED IS REVENGEFUL. The feeling is natural that prompts to retaliation. All human history is blurred by its activity. A Haman could not be offended without seeking to do the offender hurt. In the light of Christian truth it is mean and contemptible, but it is natural, and therefore almost universal.
II. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE IS NECESSARILY UNJUST. It does not measure the evil it contemplates by the injury that has excited it; its fierce tide flows over, and drowns every thought of balanced equity; it throws away the scales, and only wields the sword.
III. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE IS NECESSARILY UNMERCIFUL. Every feeling of pity is quenched in its fire. Its savage aim is to cause what suffering it can. The extermination of a whole people could only satisfy the vengeful lust of Haman.
IV. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE, WHEN ONCE KINDLED, EASILY FINDS FUEL TO FEED IT. While blind to all considerations that should moderate or slay it, it is sharp-sighted with respect to everything that is fitted to stimulate it. It was bad enough that Mordecai refused to do homage to Haman; but when the favourite learned the real ground of his refusal, then a fiercer fire entered into his soul. All the antipathies of race were stirred into flame. Henceforth "he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone;" Mordecai's people shall suffer with himself.
V. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE IS ENCOURAGED BY THE POSSESSION OF POWER. A conscious inability to give it exercise has often a sobering effect; but the power to gratify it only increases its resolution in evil minds. Haman's pride was inflated by the favour of the king. He could brook no slight. The might of the empire was in his hand, and that might should be exerted to its fullest extent to avenge the affront of the audacious Jew. His sense of power quickened his desire, and enlarged his project of revenge.
VI. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE EXHIBITS ITSELF IN ALL PERIODS, AND IN ALL GRADES OF SOCIETY. Appalling as Haman's plan of vengeance was, it is not solitary. Under some of the Roman Caesars the Christians were treated as Haman intended to treat the Jews. Later on, and under a so-called Christian authority, whole communities were sacrificed to a vengeance which could not tolerate any sign of independent belief or action, such as the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and the Protestants in France. Our criminal records in the present day also illustrate the lengths to which an uncontrolled passion for revenge is willing to go. Yet the widest field on which this spirit produces suffering and misery is not public. Many families live on, in unknown but utter wretchedness, under the stupid fury of revengeful feeling excited by real or imaginary wrongs. Even in circles where everything like passion is avoided, men and women often cherish supposed slights and fancied insults. Reputations are often very calmly destroyed. The influence of good people is often neutralised, if not turned into evil, by the quiet maliciousness of enemies in the guise of friends. The spirit of revenge works in a myriad ways, and on every existing field of human life.
VII. THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE IN MAN IS NOT GODLY, BUT DEMONIACAL. Wherever seen, or however clothed, it is hateful to God, hateful to Christ, hateful to every true man. It is our part not to "return evil for evil," but to "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). The prerogative of judging and punishing belongs not to us, but to God. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19, 20). The Christian law is not "hate," but "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44-48). This law was Divinely illustrated when Jesus on the cross prayed for the forgiveness of those who had in their mad fury of revenge inflicted on him such shame and pain: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
WEB: But he scorned the thought of laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him Mordecai's people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even Mordecai's people.