Esther

Esther 6-10

Chapters 6 and 7- Coincidence or Providence?  You know the answer if God has his hand in it.

  • The king’s insomnia
  • Asking to be read to
  • the book that was chosen to be read
  • the king’s delay in rewarding Mordecai
  • The timing of Haman’s arrival

We need to remember the risk Esther is taking at the moment she pleads her case.  First, she is a woman standing before a king making a huge request.  Vashti was uncrowned for such a lesser act.  She is “outing” herself as one that would fall under the decree  IF the king doesn’t agree with the request, and she is accusing a trusted advisor to the king that he has known a lot longer than her!

(By the way, it’s fun to note that the retelling of this story at the Feast of Purim has an angel pushing Haman to fall on her just at the right time, ha!)


Chapter 8

It is obvious that Esther and Mordecai were safe given the gift of Harmon’s estate (by the way, where is his wife, that wretch!) But Esther takes another leap of faith and asks the king to revoke the decree!  Here is the problem…the signet ring!

history – HIDING PLACE

What I learned in this chapter is once a decree is sealed, it cannot be revoked!  By the way, the parallel of this in our lives is remarkable!  If you are a Christ-follower and He seals you with his mark…it cannot be revoked!  ❤

Ephesians 1:13- When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

So the king does what he can to preserve the Jewish nation.  Here are the events:

  • April 17, 474 BC decree given to annihilate the jews
  • June 25, 747 a decree was given that they can defend themselves at all costs

BUT what did the “pur” say yesterday when they cast lots?  They were given a whole year to prepare from the 1st decree.  They still have 8 months to prepare.  AND listen to this:

“And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”

They weren’t converted obviously, but they sided with the Jews….now that is a new one for the history books!


Chapter 9-The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them.

At first, the Jews only attacked who attacked them. Esther requested another day to fight…coincidence or providence?? In total 500 men killed on day 1, 75,000 after that and then another 300.  BUT they never took their plunder…why???

I would have!  The original decree in chapter 3 said:

These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.

Because the Jews have an opportunity to undo the mistake of their forefathers.   Yesterday I mentioned that Mordecai was from the tribe of Benjamin, and Hammon was from the Amalekites.  When King Saul (from the tribe of Benjamin) fought the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15) they were not supposed to take plunder but they did.  This is an opportunity to make a wrong…right.


Mark your calendar for February 25-26, 2021 for the next Purim feast-

Chapter 10:2the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

The last verse gave me something to ponder:

…because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Esther

Esther 1-5

I am posting this late because the scriptures do not need a post.  It is a very clear read.  Here are a few tidbits.

Book of Esther, part 1

King Xerxes was having a planning session for war against Greece, an upcoming nation.  For 180 days he enticed surrounding leaders with a lavish drunken party.  He wanted to show off by summoning Vashti his Queen.  When she refused he relied on his counsel for what to do (really??)  Well, they basically said, “If she gets away with it, my wife will rule the roost too”! So it as handled!

When the king demoted Vashti, they ordered a new harem of won to cheer him up. Mordecai, whose family was brought to Babylon in the exile brought Esther to the palace.  Beautiful virgin women were automatically kept as concubines.  Why Modecia??  Ester was the chosen one to replace Vashti!

Providence: Esther was put in a position to save God’s people before there was even a plan of danger mentioned.

Providence: The Lord used a woman that was not necessarily following the law of Moses: she would have sex with a man before marriage, marry a pagan, and eat unclean foods.    Yet, God used her to deliver Israel even though she disregarded some of His will.

Chapter 3-

After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

Now, this may have been for several reasons:

  • The scriptures specifically pointed out that Modecai was from the tribe of Benjamin and they  had a long history of of being enemies with Amalekites (Haman’s family)
  • Mordecai refused to keep to the law about not bowing to idols or in worship.  (However, Persian king’s did not demand worship from their people, but honor and respect of position…like a soldier’s solute)
  • He did not bow down because he knew Haman despised the Jewish people. (I think this was it)  (He was antisemitic just like Hitler)

In Proverbs 6:16-19 The Lord gave us a list of seven characteristics he hated: Haman had all 7!

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


In chapter 3 Haman casts “lots” called ‘pur’ to determine the future to wipe out ALL Jews.  In ancient cultures they always conferred with the ‘pur’ to get astrological guidance- like when I was a pagan teenager I read the horoscopes.  WELL, through PROVIDENCE the Lord gave them Jews a year to prepare!

(This day on the Calendar TODAY is called the Feast of Purim to commemorate God’s protection by controlling the Pur.)


My favorite scripture in the book:

4:14  “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

and Esther takes a HUGE risk going to the King without an invitation….

, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”


The reading ends with a chuckle (at least from me).  Esther plans to spoil Haman’s plan but must address him in front of her drunk husband.  The Haman was summoned it says:

11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”

Ha! that made me laugh.

Book Overviews · Esther

Esther Overview

I have been feeling “dry” through Zechariah (well, overwhelmed with the text is more like it).  But NOW we get 2 days to soak up a great book called Esther.  Here is what we know:

  • a Persian King named Cyrus decreed that the captives be released and were given provisions to return to Jerusalem to re build the temple.
  • out of about 1 million people only 50,000 returned.  That’s 5%!
  • Why?  Well, while they were on captivity they had established a new life.  New families.  New Cultures.  New Businesses.  Many had grown fond of their new life.
  • What was in Jerusalem?  Not much.  On top of that, a ton of work to rebuild a Temple many of them had never experienced the first time.

Esther is a book set at the same time the Temple is being built from the view point of the captives that chose to stay in Babylon.  Interesting!

Old Testament Survey — The Gathering Place

Should the book of Esther be in the Bible??  Here is what is NOT mentioned in the Book of Esther:

  • The Lord (what???)
  • Prayer
  • Faith
  • The Law of Moses
  • Jerusalem (except that they were exiles from there)
  • It is never quoted or referenced in the New Testament
  • No miracles (or anything supernatural)
  • It was not induced in the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Did I mention The Lord?

Still the answer is YES.

The Lord’s Name may not be there BUT His hand is!!

Speaking of His name: fun fact- scholars have found hidden tetragammatons in the scriptures.  What’s that you ask?  It is when the first letter of the words in a sentence or phrase makes a word.  In Esther 5:4 it says: “If it pleases the king,”.  The fist letters make up the word “YHWH” in Hebrew.  The Lord is in the details.


Esther’s Jewish name was “Hadasseh” which means “myrtle”.  The myrtle tree was native to Babylon.

Esther is her Persian name meaning – “Star”. The myrtle tree bears a beautiful star flower.

Many of the Jewish captives were given 2 names: Jewish and Persian.


The book takes place during the Persian Period and covers about a 10 year period.

The Theme of this book is Providence.

Providence:

  • the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power.
  • timely preparation for future eventualities.

My view of God is “all knowing” however Providence is different.  It is Foresight.  He knows it before it happens.  So where does Free Will fit here?  We do not know what a day might bring BUT God foresees our free will choices and can act to accomplish His plans because of that foreknowledge.  Cool huh!

Some things to ponder:

  • Providence: even though people do not acknowledge God’s presence (or think He is absent) He is always at work.
  • The Lord never coerces people but God uses their decisions.  (Haman in the book will build gallows for Modecai, but God used the gallows to hang Haman instead).
  • God gives people genuine freedom and yet causes things to turn our the way He wants them in the end.
  • If we believe in God’s Providence we can live in confidence and courage.
  • We are in control of our destiny, but God uses all circumstances in history for His ultimate purpose.

I haven’t talked about the Book of Esther BECAUSE I want it to fall fresh on you when you read it!  Enjoy!

Here is a map for you to get your bearing!

Elam and The Elamites: The Evidence No Believer Can Afford To Ignore – Black History In The Bible