Esther Study

Contributions made by members of Monday Night Bible Class, November 2014-January 2015

Chapter 1

King Ahashuerus’ banquet (1-9)

The story is set between Ezra 6 and 7. 2 Chronicles ends with Cyrus, Ezra picks up. Esther is addressed to the Jews who did not return to Judea, remaining in voluntary exile, and is the only book of the Bible set outside Israel, and the only Biblical picture of that group of Jews.

Ahasuerus reigns over 127 provinces; the kingdom certainly has multiple languages. The Persian Empire is written about, but these are not God’s people.

This half-year long meet-and-greet had no limits (Verse 8). It was very lavish, like a wedding, and like the Olympics, may have been set up years in advance to show off. It was possibly a six-month planning period for an attack on Greece (possibly the Battle of Thermopylae) and it would have been a large showing of people.

Marble is rarely mentioned as a stone; quarrying stone is difficult even in today’s world; the stone in the palace was most likely imported. This palace maybe rivaled the temple that Solomon built. Hundreds of people died building this. Xerxes probably placed his order ten years in advance and then it showed up. Excavations in Susa have uncovered such a court.

The gold cups were individually crafted; not manufactured. It must have taken them a long time to produce so many cups.

Queen Vashti refuses to show up (10-12)

Ahashuerus saw Vashti as a trophy wife, a contrast to how husbands are supposed to treat their wives (Ephesians 5:25).

Ahashuerus’ vice was power; just like Pharaoh. His anger burned within him, he had just been defied and this incident would have been extremely embarrassing.

Vashti may have refused because she did not want to be seen naked in front of a bunch of drunk men. She was being treated as an object.

According to Josephus, Persian women usually would not appear in public.

Seeing as Esther would have been executed if she had simply gone in to see the King uninvited (4:11), Vashti probably should have been executed for disobedience, and may have been executed at some point (2:1 says the wrath of King Ahasuerus was appeased; the same language is used in 7:10 after Haman is hanged, “then was the King’s wrath pacified”).

King consults with his wise men (13-20)

Vashti set a precedent; there could have been long-term effects if Ahashuerus did not act.

This was not a great example by Ahasuerus; he solved the problem in a less-than-ideal way. He was a powerful guy; he probably did not get the 127 provinces by being warm and fuzzy, and he did not want to be perceived as being weak, but he set a poor precedent as to how to treat a wife.

King’s decree sent out (21-22)

The decree was not about women honoring their husbands; it was only a side effect. There were two parts to the decree: that Vashti come no more before King Ahasuerus, and that the King should give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. Esther would never have become queen if not for what had happened earlier in the chapter.

Chapter 2

The search for a new queen (1-14)

Hadassah means “myrtle;” Esther means “star.” Shushan means “lily.”

Mordecai was a Benjamite. Other famous Benjamites in the Bible include Ehud (Judges 3:15), King Saul (1 Samuel 9:21), and Saul of Tarsus (Romans 11:1).

The young women who were being sought after used myrrh, one of the gifts that the wise men brought to baby Jesus (Matthew 2:11).

The search for a young virgin for the King may have been like the SWAT team, but also honorable; it was not a beauty contest.

Esther would not share her nationality; possibly because Jews were a by-word (Deuteronomy 28); it may not have been ideal for the King to be with a Jewish woman, and there may have still been some angst and anti-Semitism in the world at the time.

It was certainly thoughtful of Mordecai to check on Esther to see how she fared; even though there was no benefit for him. He was called her “beloved uncle.” We should feel that same way toward our brethren.

Esther becomes queen (15-20)

This was four years later; the selection process was not at all instantaneous.

This feast was not about partying; it was held because Ahasuerus wanted to do something nice for his new queen; he wanted to spend time with her.

Esther becoming queen was beneficial to the entire kingdom; taxes were cut and gifts were given; it was as a holiday. Ahasuerus rejoiced as a young man does when he marries a virgin (Isaiah 62:5).

Mordecai exposes an assassination attempt (21-23)

Someone always wants to assassinate a leader. Perhaps the eunuchs were not happy with the choice of Queen Esther. They had a lot of responsibilities in the palace. It is interesting that a eunuch would try to take over; a eunuch was a more servile position. They may have just wanted someone else in power.

Mordecai may have just been so overlooked that he overheard easily, since he was trying to remain unnoticed. Mordecai reported it to Esther and she reported it to the King, and it was written into the book of the chronicles, which would later affect history (Chapter 6).

Chapter 3

Haman exalted by the King (1-4)

Haman means “magnificent;” probably what he thought about himself (perhaps he gave himself that name). The letter Haman wrote was very stereotypical, and it sounded just like something Adolf Hitler would say. Haman was very patriotic and did not want to be brought down after such a high.

Hitler had a vendetta against the Jews; Haman had a vendetta against one Jew: Mordecai.

The incident where Mordecai refused to bow to Haman was similar to the situation in Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to the image that Nebuchadnezzar built (Daniel 3:18). Both are a good example of civil disobedience or a peaceful protest, done not for power or personal gain, but for what was right. The Bible never even says that this was done in faith.

Haman plots to destroy the Jews (5-15)

Verse 7 says this happens in the twelfth year of Ahasuerus’ reign; nine years after his feast at Shushan (1:3). The first three chapters of the book cover nine years, and the next six chapters are set over a few months at most.

Haman paid ten thousand talents of silver, the equivalent of around $30 million, to send this worldwide message. How much would we do to send our message to the world? Our letter is on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:2).

Ten thousand talents is also used by Jesus in the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). The Jews must forgive Haman and Hitler even though it may seem impossible; it is a debt that none of Haman or Hitler’s descendants could ever pay them back.

Jews are one of the only groups in the world that have not lost their identity, and their identity is not established by which country they were born in; for example: an American is an American if he is born in America, but a Jew is a Jew because he is born of a Jew, not whether he was born in Israel. The Jewish people are still a by-word and a laughingstock (Psalm 44:14) today but in the Kingdom age they will be the head of the nations (Zechariah 8:23).

King and Haman sat down to drink right after signing this decree.

“Perplexed” means “confusion.” The city was confused and had no idea about what was going on. There were no newspapers back then; a rider would come through and post the news where everyone could stand around and read it.

The Jews were probably wishing they had gone back to the land at this point.

Chapter 4

Mordecai mourns (1-5)

Esther did not even get wind of this before Mordecai; being the queen did not entitle her to information or power. The palace goings-on were more known to the public than to the queen.

The Julian calendar had not come to existence yet, so we don’t know what a year was construed to. Mordecai may have been much older than Esther but we are not sure.

Mordecai asks Esther to intercede (6-17)

Mordecai showed Esther that she was very disposable. She had been living in luxury the whole time and it was a very sobering message when she realized that she would not escape from the decree just because she was the queen. She was certainly in a position to try something, since she had nothing to lose; either she died if the King did not extend the golden scepter (Verse 11 and 16) or she would die because of the King’s decree.

God can work through us or around us—he can do miracles but we have to do our part. Mordecai acknowledged that salvation would come from somewhere else if not by Esther (Verse 14), but would not simply allow it to happen without making an attempt to carry it out.

The King’s decree allowed a genocide (3:13), but then later he made the decree for the Jews to defend themselves (8:11), thus causing a civil war.

Human life was not of much value back then; there was little moral or ethical rebellion.

Esther asks for a fast; she must have had some faith in the celestial aspect of this even though she doesn’t appear to be religious.

The Jews listened to Mordecai because he had some position among the Jewish people.

This was a dangerous fast; three days without drinking is usually the human limit.

Nine years have passed since the feast; this is a good example of God putting things in place the way they needed to be years in advance, such as Joseph being put into Egypt twenty years before famine (Genesis 37 and 41). Even in United States history, around two hundred years before Israel became nation again, God used the United States and England, and he used them to win World War II and get Israel back in the land. We can even see God’s hand now in our own experiences; sometimes things work out a certain way because God has a plan for us later down the road.

The last past of Verse 14, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” may be the key verse in the book.

Esther saying “If I perish, I perish” seems to have the same spirit of Genesis 43:14, where Jacob says “If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Chapter 5

Esther appears before the King (1-8)

The drama begins; Esther puts everything on the line; if the King holds out the scepter, the Jews can be saved; if not, it’s over. Esther didn’t know where she stood; the King may have seen her as being more expendable than Haman.

As we said in Chapter 1, Esther was a trophy wife; we have to think that their marriage was not based much on love like God had intended from the beginning.

Ahashuerus had not even seen his wife for thirty days.

Esther didn’t have much say in the palace goings on; she certainly would have said something or tried to influence the King against signing the law if she had known beforehand.

Verse 3-This is the first time (out of four) that the King asks Esther her request. Verse 5 is the second time.

The only other time we see the phrase “It shall be given thee, up to half the kingdom” is in Mark 6:23, when Herod says it to his wife’s daughter. Both kings were non-Jewish, both recipients were women, both kings may have been drunk, both women had someone else tell them what they should ask the King for, and both times, they ask for a lot less than what they could ask for.

Haman’s anger and arrogance (9-14)

Haman is thrilled at being invited to the banquet, as any of us probably would be; let’s be honest, if we were asked by the President of the United States or some celebrity to come have dinner with them, we’d probably be thrilled and feel pretty important. This is not a bad thing, but Haman’s arrogance, how great he thinks he is; this is where he goes wrong.

Haman is not only proud that he gets invited, he is also proud that no one else is invited, that he is it. We should never think we’re the only ones; even going as far as to know that God’s grace extends further than we may want or think.

When we have good things happen to us (raise at a job, buying a house for the first time, new relationship or even just little things in life that give us joy), we should be thankful and humble; not attributing it to ourselves but thanking God for what he’s done for us.

Haman is a fine example of someone who thought the universe revolved around him. Bernard Bailey once said, “When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.”

Even so, Haman was still mad at Mordecai and allowed one person to taint everything. Someone once said, “There are seven billion people in the world and you’re going to let one person ruin your entire day?”

Zeresh reminds us of Jezebel when she told Ahab that he should just have Nabal executed to get his way (1 Kings 21). Naboth’s vineyard was right outside the kingdom and Mordecai sat outside the King’s gate. She tells Haman to be merry and to put an end to his upset; he had the authority to do so. “There’s a problem so get it out of the way and be done with it;” a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Human life wasn’t very valuable back then; if you were in authority and someone was bugging you, you could just have them offed.

We know that’s not how we’re to act; we know we’re to rebuke and turn a “sinner” from the error of his ways (James 5:20).

This was a big show: the gallows was to be fifty cubits high so everyone could see. Within the context of the book, this is no surprise, since Ahashuerus had been putting on a show ever since the beginning.

To build a gallows that could support dead weight (no pun intended) overnight was impressive. “Fifty cubits” is possibly a hyperbole for literary effect.

Chapter 6

Mordecai honored by the King (1-14)

If the King had not suffered from insomnia that night, all history may have been changed. Just the phrase “that night the King could not sleep” is so dramatic.

He had the book of the chronicles of his reign read to him, all about the greatness of his kingdom.

The incident referred to in Verse 2 is from Chapter 2:21-23; the incident where Bigthana and Teresh try to lay hands on the King.

Nothing had been done for Mordecai; this seems unusual, seeing how quickly the King acted during his reign.

The King knew that Mordecai was a Jew (Verse 10), and it may have been included in the book of the chronicles.

What in the world was Haman doing in the middle of the night? Maybe he couldn’t sleep well either. He was so impatient to have Mordecai executed that he came to the palace early to have this done before any other business in the kingdom.

He is full of himself; he thinks no one else deserves honor more than him. He tells the King all the great things that should be done for himself; everything he did was to glorify himself.

“Pride goes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).” Haman is about to have a very bad day.

This is one of the few times in the Bible where we see directly what someone is thinking.

Verse 10 is irony at its finest. Is there a more humorous chapter anywhere in the Bible?

Haman does not seem to argue or show that he is upset or stunned. He follows the King’s order, even though he is humiliated. The Romans would have fallen on their swords before honoring their enemy.

The King must not have known about the animosity between Haman and Mordecai.

Why did Mordecai not say something to Haman while being paraded around the city? And what was he thinking on top of that horse? Maybe about Esther? Maybe that this is a trap?

Mordecai being paraded may have looked like the King’s stamp of approval toward the Jews.

The zeal, hatred, and anger shown toward Mordecai are similar to what Jesus felt against him.

Mordecai being paraded reminds us of the Triumphal entry of Jesus (Matthew 21:1-10). He was “president for the day.”

Mordecai stays very humble; Jesus says that whoever “humbles himself…is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4).”

Haman tells Zeresh and his friends “everything that had happened to him,” although nothing actually happened to him. It’s a pity-party.

“Mordecai” means “little man,” but he was a big deal to Haman. One person was ruining Haman’s day and making him miserable. We have the King of Righteousness on our side; we should not get upset over one person.

Haman’s “wise men” may have been like the President’s Cabinet of today.

The expression “give someone enough rope and they’ll hang themselves” may have originated with this story. It means to allow someone to accomplish their own downfall because of their stupidity.

Zeresh means “gold.” She had a disposition for truth and consequence, and she reminds us of Rahab (Joshua 2:9-11); she seemed to know the history of the Jews and how they could not be defeated. Pilate’s wife as well wanted nothing to do with executing an innocent man (Matthew 27:19).

“Beware the anger of a patient man;” Lots of negativity in humans comes from disappointment.

Haman was so consumed that he essentially disobeyed the King; the chamberlains had to come get him to bring him to the feast (Verse 14).

God’s hand was in everything in this Chapter: The King’s insomnia, the “bedtime story” that the King wanted to hear, how Haman came to tell the King about the wonderful gallows he had made and that he and the King both just happened to be awake at the time, and especially how what happened to Mordecai put a pause on Haman’s plans for the day; he couldn’t convince the King to execute someone whom the King had honored that same day.

Chapter 7

Esther exposes Haman (1-6)

Chapter 5 through 7 are set over a few days, the rest of the book is set over ten years.

Verse 1-This is the third time the King asks Esther her request. Her first request is for Haman and King to come to the first banquet, and the second request is for Haman and the King to come to the second banquet; it’s a setup! This time, she throws Haman under the bus.

Six years into the marriage, her husband didn’t know what her religion was.

How long had she been under Mordecai’s tutelage? Mordecai put a lot of patience and a lot of thought into what Esther was doing. God works in our lives, hopefully less mechanical and more spiritual, although someone such as Nebuchadnezzar became a believer through much trial and revelation (Daniel 5:21).

It’s profound that this woman who was raised by her uncle is very eloquently is being guided by God to say what needed to be said in the way that the King needed to hear it—brilliant.

The King wasn’t even sure who Esther was talking about. This shows how much peril she was in. Haman used Mordecai as a reason to think that there would be an insurrection because of Mordecai’s insubordination.

To his credit, Haman was good at what he did; he was second in command in the whole kingdom; he just abused his power. That was his downfall.

Leadership is very vulnerable; a leader can be wise the great majority of the time, but when they find that they have an Achilles Heel, problems arise. We see this from Genesis to Revelation, right from the Garden of Eden.

Haman hanged on the gallows he made (6-10)

Esther risked her own self yet again; calling out Haman, the King’s right hand man.

Haman just makes his case even worse, since the King doesn’t know what he is doing.

Why doesn’t Haman plead to his best friend the King instead of the one who accused him?

Amazing how the King believed Esther.

It’s very ironic that the gallows he made was used to hang him and that everything he thought he should get (Chapter 6) was given to Mordecai. It is the story of Daniel and Lion’s Den all over again (Daniel 6:24). Treat others the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Dig a pit and you’ll fall into it (Proverbs 26:27).

Verse 9-Mordecai had “spoken good” for the King; possibly an added reason for the King to be upset with Haman.

Haman symbolizes human nature; his name even sounds like “human.”

The King’s wrath was pacified. We see this same phrase back in 2:1 after Vashti is put away.

This whole thing started when a Jew wouldn’t bow to Haman (3:2), and it ends with Haman bowing down to a Jew.

This started a benevolent relationship between Persia and the Jews.

The “face-coverer” probably knew what was coming, the routine; someone is about to be executed: cover their face. In 6:12, Haman covers his own face out of humiliation.

Irony probably wasn’t the first thing on Haman’s mind as he was led to his execution, but it may have crossed his mind and made him think back on all that had happened.

At the end of the day, God is still judge of all the earth; the powerful don’t win and the weak don’t lose (Genesis 18:25).

Chapter 8

Mordecai promoted to Haman’s position (1-2)

Everything that was to be given to Haman was given to Mordecai.

Haman’s ring was used to make the counterdecree; yet another ironic twist.

Esther pleads with the King further (3-6)

There was still business to finish; even though Haman was out of the way, the problem still existed because of the Persian law which cannot be changed. Esther still had to act, and still had to get the King to extend the golden scepter.

The Pur was cast in the first month and the decree was to be carried out in the twelfth month, allowing eleven months as opposed to only one. God’s hand was in this for sure.

The Counterdecree (7-14)

A counterdecree was made because the decree could not be changed. The law required that the Jews be annihilated; the law had to be rewritten and allowed for the Jews to defend themselves, causing a civil war.

The New Covenant was not a change in God’s laws, but rather a new law that overrode the original law. God doesn’t go back on what he said; sin still equals death (Romans 6:23), but through his grace you can have life.

Every major nation is known to have written a law and then done what they could to repeal it.

The letter of the law kills, but the spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6).

The King is referred to 192 times in 167 Verses in Esther. These kings were as gods to their people; kind of like how the Pope is “infallible,” even if he disagrees with the previous Pope. Cyrus is good example of humility, saying that the Jews should rebuild the temple of their God (Ezra 1:2-3).

Verse 9 is the longest in the Bible.

Relief and Rejoicing (15-17)

Verse 15-Blue and white are the same colors as national flag of Israel, and robe of the priest under the Torah.

Verses 16-17 foreshadow of future glory of Israel (Zechariah 8:22-23).

This might have been a confusing time to live; politics back then were bizarre. Imagine hearing that all the Jews have to be killed, then later finding out that the Jews can kill their enemies.

Chapter 9

Victory for the Jews (1-19)

Verse 3-The rulers, lieutenants, deputies, and officers helped the Jews. It certainly helps when the King is on your side. We have the King of Righteousness on our side, and it’s hard to lose in that situation (Romans 8:31).

What made Mordecai so great all of a sudden? Esther put him in charge in the previous Chapter, and there was a job vacancy because Haman was gone. Similar to Joseph, this one guy that sat at the gate is now second in command over the whole kingdom.

Evidently no Jews actually died.

Verse 10-They slew Haman’s ten sons, but then in Verse 13, Esther asks that they be hanged on the gallows (David and Goliath, “slew” twice: 1 Samuel 17:50-51). This really made a statement of irony.

They did not lay their hands on the spoil; this reminds us of the incident in Joshua 6 and 7, where Joshua said not to take the spoil and Achan took it out of greed, and Israel lost to Ai, Joshua got upset and God told him what happened. This shows integrity—that the purpose was about survival, not self-gain.

This is the fourth time the King asks Esther her request.

Hebrews 11:33-34 describe what Esther and Mordecai did: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

Purim established (20-32)

Feasting, joy, and gladness are written about four times between Verses 17 and 22.

Verses 24-25 is the book of Esther summarized in two Verses: “Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; but when Esther came before the King, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.”

Verse 26-Interesting how the feast was named after something (Pur) that would have led to the destruction of the Jews.

Verse 28-This feast is still kept the same way today.

Chapter 10

Mordecai (1-3)

Mordecai is mentioned in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7. He is mentioned 49 times in Esther.

He took Haman’s position.

Mordecai as a type of Christ-

Past types:
“Little man” Mordecai; Jesus was least esteemed among Jews; his own people said “crucify him!  (John 19:15).”

Both were paraded through town on a donkey (Matthew 21:1-10).

Present type:

Mordecai looked after Esther (2:11); Jesus looks after his own family.

Future types:

Great among the Jews (Luke 1:33-“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end.”)

Accepted of the multitude (Psalm 72:11, 17-“All kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him;” “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.”)

Seeking wealth (Isaiah 60:5-“Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.”)

Speaking peace (Zechariah 9:10-“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”)

This is new to the Persians: at the beginning of the book they’re willing to wipe out an entire race of people. What seemed good to them at the beginning of the book was genocide. The Jews may have had an effect on their morality. The Jews let their light shine!

After all this went down Mordecai may have returned to the land; he may have been born into captivity.

Mordecai reminds us of Naboth (1 Kings 21). He stood up to the King and held onto his inheritance.

Lessons from the Book of Esther

Esther, like any book, must be read in context; it is critical to growth.

Esther is a very important book about the Jews; God’s people are put down by Gentiles, and someone is appointed by God to save his people; they are his witnesses (Isaiah 43:10).

Esther fits into the spiritual leadership aspect of the Bible; she accepts her role because it’s necessary for the good of all; a leader who loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7).

She not only saved the Jewish people but made them great; they will be head of all nations in the Kingdom age and become the “saving race” of the world.

Haman tried to kill the Jews but the Jews killed him. He was an archenemy of God and was very proud. Pride is one of the seven things God hates (Proverbs 6:17)

There are three significant poles in scripture: the brass serpent in wilderness (Numbers 21:9), the gallows, and cross where Christ was crucified. Each one involved death and salvation.

The Jews tried to kill Christ, but instead put sin to death.

Each person in this story broke a law: Vashti didn’t show up, Mordecai didn’t bow down, and Esther went into the King’s chamber. They weren’t able to undo the law, but had to put another law in place.

The Jews’ day of annihilation was their day of victory.

Zechariah 7 and 8: “should we keep this fifth month fast?” No more fasting, but days of feasting. Isaiah 61:3 speaks of mourning turned to joy: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

Esther is all through Proverbs 16: “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. A divine sentence is in the lips of the King: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of a King is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the King’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him. An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”

God always saves a remnant, and tied to that remnant is the amazing continual identity of the Jewish race.

We see from this book that God is ruling in the kingdom of men, and that he knows what it takes to turn people’s hearts from stone to flesh.

Psalm 30 seems to define the feelings of the Jewish people at this time: “I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me…Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning…Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness (Psalm 30:1, 3, 5, 11).”

There is a difference between God allowing something to happen and causing it to happen; but he doesn’t allow anything to happen against his will.

There are no divine visions or epic revelations or deep symbols in Esther; it is a story, a dramatic story that has an effect on history even to today. Esther is somewhat forgotten since she is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture, even by Jesus or Paul.

Romans 1:20-”For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen…”

Esther is the book that really points to us; we don’t have prophets or angels who speak to us directly, or have spirit-guided people who write letters to us. The important thing is that we see our life and know that God is in it. We can relate to Esther because it’s like our relationship to God; we don’t have direct messages from God, so we have to search a little deeper.

This is a record that God was protecting his people very directly. God’s name does not appear once in Esther; it is the only book that doesn’t mention his name. This is possibly because God was not in Israel’s minds at the time, although his presence was clearly there all the time. The absence of God’s name is an advantage; it’s a very subtle thing, his hand is woven into the whole thing; a way of providence; sometimes the best and most powerful proof of God is when his name just isn’t there. Even on a cloudy day where you can’t see the sun, you know it’s still there. tion”:&quo


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