Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell at his feet, weeping and pleading with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther, and Esther rose and stood before the king. She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have won his favor, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I have his approval, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” (Esther 8:3-6).
I love the Book of Esther. I realize the climax of the story (9:1-17) is morally problematic, but I think the character of Esther generally is to be admired. Here was a young woman who had no say-so over her life, as most women in that time and place; and yet, for Esther it was even more so. Choices were made for her all her life and now she was faced, for the first time, with a monumental decision, one that was a matter of life and death for her. And yet, she realized that while she had a choice, honor and character demanded that once again there was no option before her. She must go to the king, and risk herself for others. There were no other options and she knew that as she uttered her last words to her uncle before going to see the king, “If I die, I die.”