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According to the Purim timeline:

  1. the 13th of Adar (of the next year) was set as the target day for wiping the Jews.

  2. Mordechai became the vice in Nissan and the new decrees to fight Amolekites ware ruled and distributed on Sivan 23 of the current year.

Mordechai could command to exterminate all the supporters of Haman (or Amalekites or enemies in general) effective immediately, and not waiting for 8 months to see how the events would unfold.

He was still under the obligation of "הקם להרגך השכם להרגו" - to make a preventive fight.

Such an order would not contradict the first decrees that proposed that day for the extermination of the Jews. After all, whoever survives might fight the Jews on that day.

Why the commands to fights the Amalekites was postponed for Adar instead of immediately?

  • It was a decree for the entire world to destroy the Jews. It is impossible to destroy every single person in the world. It is much more possible to fight when they come to fight. – Lo ani Mar 20 at 22:12
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Malbim says on Esther 8:5 that Esther first tried to get the original decree canceled.

יכתב להשיב – עתה פרטה עצתה הנ״ל בפרטות שישלח המלך רצים לקחת את הספרים החתומים שבהם כתוב מחשבת המן בחזרה, כי השרים אין יודעים עדיין מה כתוב בהן, ולא יהיה בזה בזיון אל המלך.

Write to return - ... The king should send runners to take the signed decrees that had the ideas of Haman and return them, since the officers did not yet know what was in them, and thus it would not be a disgrace to the king.

This was impossible to do as Rashi says on Esther 8:8

cannot be rescinded: It is not fitting to rescind it and to invalidate the king’s writ.

Mordechai could not allow the Jews to attack enemies earlier because anyone that he attacked could claim to have nothing like that in mind. Only Haman could be killed at once because that was a decree of the king. Mordechai was forbidden by Persian law to cancel the original decree. As a result, the Jews were given permission to destroy only those who attacked them on the day that the original decree allowed. Since Mordechai could not cancel the original decree, the enemies of the Jews still had permission to attack the next Adar on the given day. The new decree could only allow the Jews to fight on that day and allowed allies as well to fight on that day. Anyone trying to fight on any other day would be considered a rebel against Achashveros and killed by the king's soldiers.

An analogy would be the pogroms in Russia under the Tsar or the riots in Baltimore we recently had where the police were ordered to stand down and give the rioters free reign. Once the rulers decided enough was enough, the police were freed to stop the attacks.

Esther asked that the original decree be rescinded and Achashveros said that not even he could do that.

Esther 8:5

And she said, "If it please the king, and if I have found favor before him, and the matter is proper before the king, and I am good in his sight, let it be written to rescind the letters, the device of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king's provinces.

Esther 8:8

And you-write about the Jews as you see fit, in the name of the king, and seal [it] with the king's ring, for a writ that is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring cannot be rescinded."

Since anything sealed with the king's ring could never be rescinded, they could not even write to punish the enemies of the Jews, since the original decree allowed them to attack freely. Mordechai had to write the new decree carefully to allow the Jews to fight and to avoid giving the enemies free reign to take vengeance on the Jews when the original decree took effect. As a result, Mordechai could only allow the Jews and their allies to fight back.

  • First, I would love to see the sources and from what verses those claims are derived. Ach' explicitly allowed Mordechay to do everything he wishes (כטוב בעינכם) so your way of reasoning contradicts the explicit text of the Megilah. – Al Berko Mar 20 at 16:53
  • @AlBerko I added the quotes from the Megilla that show why it had to be done that day. as well as citing meforshim explaining why. – sabbahillel Mar 20 at 17:28
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Ibn Ezra on Esther 8:7 and 8:8 explains that Achashverosh told Mordechai and Esther that he was unable to change the decree. What they could do is say that Haman changed the intent of the decree that the king told him to write. Instead of writing that the king said the Jews could kill their enemies on the 13th of Adar, haman wrote that the Jews would be killed on the 13th of Adar. When the king found out he had haman killed and hung on the tree and give his property to Esther.

Thus Mordechai could send out a new decree “clarifying” the original, but couldn’t change it. That’s why the decree he sent out was almost identical to the decree haman had originally sent, including the date.

(I don’t have the ibn Ezra in front of me at the moment, but I think the first paragraph he says explicitly and I extrapolated the second paragraph of my answer.)

  • I don't understand that premise. The decree was to exterminate the Jews on the 13th of Adar. How does it contradict another decree that lets the Jews to exterminate the enemies on 13th of Tishrey, say? – Al Berko Mar 20 at 17:27
  • because that leaves them vulnerable on the 13th of Adar – Menachem Mar 20 at 19:27

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