In the ancient world of Persia, there was a law of the land that said once the king made a decree and sealed it, the law could not be revoked by anyone, not even the King (See Daniel 6:8,12,15,17). In the book of Esther, this law comes into play again when the king grants his signet ring to his second-in-command, Haman, who desires to destroy the entire Jewish people. Haman makes a decree with the king’s signet ring, inviting people throughout the empire to destroy the Jews on a particular day in the near future. Little did the king know that his own beloved and beautiful wife was Jewish herself, not to mention Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, who served in the king’s government and once saved his life (Esther 2:21-23). When it was finally revealed to the king that the people Haman wanted to destroy included his own wife and one of his most faithful servants, he was deeply angered. Nevertheless, he could not revoke the law that had been sealed with his signet ring. So, what could he do? How could the king protect the Jewish people if he could not revoke the decree to destroy them? Answer: The king choose to arm the Jewish people and give them permission to protect themselves. By this means, the entire Jewish population was spared (Esther 8:11-12). This is not the point of the book of Esther, but I thought it was interesting and it reminded me of something that I heard on a podcast from Dr. Peter Hammond in South Africa this week. Dr. Hammond, who has lived through many persecutions and has witnessed many violent atrocities, declared that all genocide has been proceeded by gun control, or weapons control. “It is not at all about guns, but it is ALL about control.” Dr. Hammond said that the best way to protect children in school from gun violence is not by making the school “gun free” with a sign on the front door (which will be ignored by anyone who is plotting evil) but by arming the school teachers. “If I can’t trust the teacher with a gun, I certainly cannot trust the teacher with my kids.” These are worthy thoughts and you can hear Dr. Hammond in his own words here. Whatever you may think of gun laws, the Jews in Esther’s day were protected by being armed and granted permission to defend themselves.