Esther: God’s Sovereignty

May 22, 2020 at 12:18 PM 1 comment

The book of Esther is a phenomenal book, which moves along at a very fast pace. Spreading over 10 chapters, it feels more like two or three. It doesn’t get bogged down in tremendous detail, though detail is certainly implied if one takes the time to study and research the Persian dynasty of that period (approximately 483 BC – 473 BC).

According to Dr. Thomas Constable, the book of Esther provides two main themes. First, we learn that God protects His chosen people even when they’ve been forced out of the Land of Promise due to their own disobedience and rebellion against God. Second, we learn the origins of the Feast of Purim. While these are the two main themes, it’s easy to draw other conclusions from the gems within this book.

There are several protagonists, but chiefly a man named Haman. His abject hatred of Mordecai (a Jew) and all Jews seems to know no bounds at all. This internal seething toward Jewish people plays a huge role in the book of Esther and how Esther, also Jewish, risks her life to save her people from certain death and annihilation.

Haman is one of those guys who works for himself, even though he answers to the king, Ahasuerus. Haman likes the adoration he receives because of his high office under King Ahasuerus. When he learns that Mordecai (Esther’s uncle, a Jew), won’t give him the kind of respect he thinks he deserves, he becomes extremely insolent, like a child. He decides he needs to find a way to kill Mordecai.

Before we get there though, it is very interesting the way God produces events to bring Esther essentially to the throne as Queen. In the very first chapter of Esther, we learn that the current queen, Vashti, was deposed because she insulted the King by not appearing at the banquet he was holding. A bit of background is needed here.

King Ahasuerus decided to give a feast to all the nobles in his kingdom. The capitol of his kingdom was Susa. The feast was to last 180 days (1:4). Essentially, his riches, might and power were on display and heralded for that length of time. Following these 180 days, the king chose to have a feast or celebration, which lasted for seven days (v. 5).

During this time, the women had their own feast, which was separate from the men (v. 9). It’s interesting that with the king’s celebration and feast, he gave the command that there was no “compulsion” to drink alcohol, yet it seems clear that many did just that.

 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. (vv. 10-11; ESV)

Clearly, the king had imbibed plenty of alcohol and as a result, was feeling pretty good. He was feeling so good in fact, that he decided that all the men congregated together for this feast should also be able to feast their eyes on his wife, the queen, Vashti, who, according to the text, was “lovely to look at.”

Theologian Adam Clarke indicates that the Jewish Targum notes that King Ahasuerus wanted and expected Queen Vashti to appear before this drunken group of men in the nude. Other commentators also support this notion. If this is true, then it become very clear why, in the very next verse, Queen Vashti refused to come. The idea that she should stand there completely naked so that drunk, lecherous men could oggle her was not only of no use to her, but she felt it would be thoroughly degrading and of course, she was right. Even if the king did not want her to be nude before the gathered group of men, the idea that she would be expected to simply be on display was abhorrent to her. Good for her!

All this is leading up to the reason why Queen Vashti was deposed and replaced, ultimately with Esther. It all seemed so coincidental, doesn’t it, until we get to the end of the story, which proves it was clearly not coincidence at all.

The book of Esther provides information on how godly Mordecai helped Esther become the new queen of Persia. It’s a fascinating read and one might wonder, why did Mordecai push Esther into that? Again, the reason becomes clear later on, that Mordecai himself may not have even seen. Initially it appears that Mordecai was simply looking out for a better way of life for Esther. Mordecai had taken Esther in during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem and during the time her parents had died. Obviously, Mordecai wanted the best for Esther so he gently prodded her to apply herself to becoming the new queen. There were clearly many women who also tried to attain this goal, but for “some” reason, King Ahasuerus was smitten with Esther, whom the Scriptures describe as having a “…beautiful figure and was lovely to look at” (v. 7b)

Obviously King Ahasuerus agreed with this assessment because he eventually chose Esther, making her the new queen of Persia, likely to the chagrin of Vashti and all the other women who sought that position. Was God in control here? It would appear to be the case.

In this same chapter two, this same Mordecai manages to save the king’s life by discovering a plot by several men who wanted to kill the king. He made this known to Queen Esther. Once the situation was thoroughly investigated, the two men who had plotted the king’s death were publicly hanged (vv. 22-23).

The very next chapter introduces Haman and his plot to destroy all the Jews because he hated Mordecai, who would not give him the type of respect Haman got from everyone else (out of fear, most likely). Let’s just say that even though everyone else bowed and genuflected to Haman, the fact that one guy – Mordecai – did not, ruined Haman’s outlook on life. In fact, he acted like an insolent child who wasn’t given the candy he had demanded.

This went on for some time and the plot to destroy the Jews came to the attention of Mordecai. Haman’s own wife and “wise men” counseled him to construct a gallows 50 cubits high and hang Mordecai on it. If a cubit is about 18″ or 1.5′ tall, this would make the height of the gallows about 75 feet tall, or about seven and a half stories tall. Haman wanted to be sure that everyone say Mordecai’s hanging. It would be a grand spectacle.

I wonder if Mordecai would’ve cared about this if only his life hung in the balance? The fact that Haman wanted to destroy not only Mordecai but all Jews prompted Mordecai to act by doing what he could to intervene. He knew what he had to do and went to Esther. (cf. 3:12-15)

In alerting Queen Esther to the coming annihilation of all Jews in the then known world, she of course, was reticent. She was alarmed and at the same time, afraid of what might happen to her if she approached the king without his permission.

During the Persian Empire, one could stand outside the king’s royal throne room and simply wait for him to see you. Once he saw you, he’d react in one of two ways. He’d either hold out his scepter to you as an invitation to enter and speak, or he would see you but ignore you. If the former, you were good to go. If you were seen, but ignored, it meant certain death. Obviously, this would make anyone – even the queen – think twice or three times about going to the king uninvited.

Esther told Mordecai that she was apprehensive about going to the king. Mordecai point blank said to her, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (vv. 13-14) So now we know why God chose to place Esther in her position of authority as queen of Persia.

It is interesting that though God is not mentioned in the book of Esther (depending upon the translation used), it is clear that God is implied because of Mordecai’s sackcloth and ashes response to learning of Haman’s plan to eliminate all Jews and the fact that Esther commanded that a fast should be held over several days. Clearly, the implication goes back to the Law of Moses.

After the fast, Esther had an idea to prepare a feast or banquet and invited just the king and Haman. As we read through the text, we can clearly see King Ahasuerus’ love and affinity for Esther. He was truly smitten. Reminds me of me where my wife is concerned. Honestly, she completes me and I don’t know where I’d be without her. I thank God for her often.

So Esther has this banquet and the king promises her anything she wants up to half of his kingdom. She responds that she wanted to have another feast for the king and Haman and would then tell him her request.

Of course, Haman is absolutely delighted. He thinks he’s going to receive even more honor than he previously thought! Life is grand for Haman. So he leaves with joy in his heart at how wonderful life is and how much power he has because of his position.

As he leaves though, he sees Mordecai who won’t even acknowledge him or his alleged “greatness.” This severely angers Haman and he ends up complaining to his wife. She is the one who suggests he build a gallows 75 feet tall and hang Mordecai on it! Haman thinks that’s a truly wonderful idea and puts the plan into motion.

On the day of the feast, he attends along with the king and the king once again asks Esther what her wish is and he will do it up to giving her one half of his kingdom. However, before that happens, we learn that the king has a sleepless night (chapter 6). Because he cannot sleep, he calls for the royal books of memorable deeds to him. He is reminded that Mordecai saved him from death and asks, what had been done for Mordecai as reward. He learns that nothing had been done.

Right about then, Haman appears, so the king has him come in and the king asks Haman what the king should do for a man that is to be truly honored. Of course, Haman thinks the king is talking about him and not Mordecai since no names were mentioned. Haman tells the king what should be done thinking he will be the one honored only to his horror to learn that not only is Mordecai the one to be honored, but Haman would have to literally place himself beneath Mordecai by leading the horse Mordecai was to sit on throughout the town square and calling out the great honor that came to him!

This is more than Haman can bear but he does it of course. He then returns home and complains again to his wife, who now offers this tidbit of wisdom: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him” (6:13b). Wow, where was this wisdom before when all they could think of was a huge gallows to hang Mordecai on?

I’m going to stop here but we’ll pick this up with another article soon. Do you see how God has been at work in the life of Mordecai and Esther? It wasn’t simply for them but He chose to use both of them to save all Jews from annihilation. What we’re talking about here is a type of Antichrist and it’s almost as though Satan has a chosen antichrist in many generations throughout history. One day, there will be the final Antichrist who will only be defeated by God the Son.

Join me next time as we learn more about God’s sovereignty and Satan’s use of fallen people in an attempt to achieve his goals.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, devil worship, Eastern Mysticism, eternity, Global Elite, Islam, israel, Judaism, Radical Islam, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, Shadow Government. Tags: , , , , , , .

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