READING THROUGH THE BIBLE: 2008 - 2009
The Book of Esther
Esther has 10 chapters.
If you read 3 chapters a day
you will finish the book in 4 days
From the first chapter and first verse a powerful truth begins to unfold. Reading this chapter reveals the extent of King Xerxes power and rule. No man acquires such power without a large amount of arrogance and pride. By the end of the chapter his pride is plain to see.
Many have assessed Queen Vashti was simply disobedient and deserved to be replaced. But I do not think that is what God is revealing here. Traditionally, it was against the customs of this people to flaunt a queen in such a disrespectful manner. She was being commanded to come before this drunken feast of men wearing only the crown royal. She refused to become a spectacle to entertain the men at this flagrant, drunken party. And let us remember they were married men.
When she refused, the king was embarrassed and shamed before his court. He was drunk and could not perceive that his request was against the customs of the land he ruled. Note it was the king's wise but drunk men who influenced him to get rid of Vashti and seek another queen.
God was behind her removal for a greater purpose. It was not to punish Vashti. Why would God punish a woman for not desiring to be treated as a whore? They sought her removal for fear of other wives following suit and becoming disobedient to their husbands throughout the land. But in the background, God's hand was at work.
Referencing another unfair situation and how we cannot always understand the plan of God. We must simply learn to trust Him. In Genesis 50:20 after Joseph has seen the end of God's work and understands what He was doing, he declares to his brothers who have wronged him --
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
So we find in Esther, all that transpires here is allowed because when God has a plan, he allows both good and evil to take place. He has given mankind a free will and with that privilege he does good and evil. God either works through mankind and around him. But man can never stop the plans of God from being fulfilled.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Verse 17 in Esther, chapter one leaves out the part of the king's drunken request that required Vashti to come before the king at this feast wearing only the royal crown. Vashti will be replaced and her royal estate will be given to another queen. The plan to find a new queen begin.
At this point Mordecai enters the plan. When he hears that a new queen is being sought, he sees opportunity. If Esther is queen, it can only mean good for them both and all the Jews in the Persia Media Empire. It would be a mistake to think Moredcai had a clue as to God's plan to save them from yet another oppressor who would eventually seek the annilhation of all the Jews in the Kingdom.
He prepares Esther to become one of the many virgins across the land who would go into Shushan hoping to be chosen as the next queen. Here is where it gets murky. Like the other women, King Xerxes must be pleased with the candidates. Esther is a Jew and must become part of the king's harem of virgins.
Esther or Hadassah her Hebrew name was the daughter of his uncle adopted by Mordecai after losing her parents. She is young and a virgin. Having seen the king at his worst already was this a situation a Jewish virgin should be immersed in? Again we are seeing how deeply the Jews had become a part of the Gentile society they were in. This is the result of the Jews not returning to Israel after the Babylonian captivity. But God is going to show Hadassah miraculous favor before this Gentile king and great mercy upon His people. Important. Hadassah is instructed by Mordecai not to reveal she is a Jew.
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king. 19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate. 20 Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
We must see here God is rescuing His people from the inevitable. We must remember the Jews should not have still been in the Persia Media Empire but home in Jerusalem. As a result of their disobedience events transpire that would not have if they were not there. Esther is now Queen to a Gentile King and a subtile plot to annilhate the Jews through out the province is about to be ignited. But God's favor and mercy based on the promise He made to Abraham and later King David is remembered. To Abraham He said,
Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
At the end of chapter 2 an event of saving the king's life will play a vital role. Mordecai has learned of plans for the king's execution. The executioners are caught and killed. It was written in the Chronicles.
Haman is referred to as an Agagite which is probably a term relating to a people descended from Agag the Amalekite, the arch enemies of the Hebrew /Jewish people. Agag and the Amalekites became the symbol of meaning behind anti-semitism.
(See Genesis 10:6-20 for the genealogy that includes the Agagites and Amalekites.)
Haman represents the utter hatred all enemies of the Jews have for them and have always had even to this day. Why? I think this verse sums it up:
Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment? 4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 6 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.
7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. 8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
CHAPTERS 4 -10
Reads like espionage, mystery and intrigue. But it is true and what is divulged here is typical of the spirit that giudes all actions concerning the Jews in the world historically, in the present hour and reveals why.
Most important, it reveals the outcome. It reveals how faithful God is to his people, His promises are Yea and Amen. God does not always favor and deliver the Jewish people because they always obey Him but because He has chosen them. Because of the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
God is holy but looks far beyond the weakness and frailties of those He has set His love upon and He hears the heart, for none of those He made the promise to were ever perfect.
As you read through the remainder of Esther and note God's name is never mentioned even once, let it be enough that HE has written the whole Word of God Himself through the pens of those He chose to record it. Both the good and the evil. The right and the wrong. Both Sin and righteousness.
He did not save the Jews in Esther from annilhation because they were right, but because they were His.
Because of Jesus