Category: Women in the Bible

Haman’s Evil Plot Unravels. Check Mate!!!

 

WEEK 36:

Esther 7:1-10 1 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. 3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: 4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. 5 Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? 6 And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 7 And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. 8 Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.

Chapter 7 recounts the events of the second banquet that Esther had requested, where she would make known what she wanted from the king. She revealed the plot to destroy her and her people, and then dramatically named the mastermind: This wicked Haman! (verse 6).

The king was so shocked and incensed by this turn of events that he had to leave the room to calm down. But when he returned, he saw Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was, pleading with her to spare his life (verses 7-8). The king accused Haman of trying to assault his wife, the queen, and he ordered Haman to be hanged on the very gallows that Haman had built to kill Mordecai (verse 10).

Haman who is a broken man due to the humiliation that he just suffered at the hands of Mordecai is hurried to the second banquet that queen Esther had served up. We can again see God’s work at hand here in the background. He had given Esther the wisdom of God, and God given prudence. Up until this point, Esther had not yet disclosed who she is and who her people are. The only thing she had told the king thus far is that her and her people are destined to be destroyed and slain and to perish (Esther 7:4). The king still doesn’t know that Esther is a Jew at this point. It is a three-fold plot.

The Jews are to be (1) Sold. (2) Killed. (3) Annihilated. The enemy the devil comes to: (1) Steal. (2) Kill. (3) Destroy.

John 10:10: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Our enemy the devil, our adversary is not seen as flesh and blood.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God; to the pulling down of strongholds. 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

There is a spiritual battle that is going on. Whatever we see in the physical realm, has always taken place in the spiritual realm first, before it manifests itself in the physical realm that we see.

Ephesians 6:10-17: 10  Finally my brethren; be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

Scripture identifies to us four realms of the spirit of darkness at work in the heavenly realms. Our warfare is not with flesh and blood, there are always wicked spiritual entities at work in the background, as Daniel found out when the angel Michael told him.

Daniel 10:12-13: 12 Then said he unto me, Fear not Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days, but, lo, Michael one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Another point to note here is that the king does not know that the edict was to kill and destroy all the Jews in his provinces. Neither does the king nor Haman know that Esther is a Jew. The hand of God was at play at chapter two, when Mordecai expressly warned and told Esther not to disclose her identity. Haman knew that Mordecai was a Jew (Esther 3:4, 8).

“Although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage” (Esther 7:4). In one breath in this verse, Esther informs the king that her people are to be sold; destroyed and slain, and to make matters even worse, our goods; our businesses; our lands are to be plundered, and the king could never replace or compensate for the economic loss and damage that the king would suffer. In other words, the Jews within the 127 provinces were so prosperous, so economically viable, that they would never arise such a sect of people that would so enrich his kingdom. It was by plundering the Jews possessions and seizing their lands that Haman intended to raise the 10,000 talents into the king’s coffers. The Jews had prospered the kingdom infinitely more than the 10,000 talents of silver that they had been sold out for. That finally statement from Esther would surely have caught the king’s attention!!!

Could God have given Esther the exact words to speak to the king and the exact moment that she was to those words?

Luke 12:11-12: 11 And when thy bring you unto the synagogues and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say. 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Esther then points to the evil man Haman. The king holds his hands in his head. He can barely believe what he has heard. Who? What? Hamannnnnnnn??? The king is in a rage. He needs to calm down. The Jews are to be sold; destroyed and annihilated. My wife is a Jew. The love of my life has just revealed her identity to me, and now she is to be murdered by this Haman? My most trusted advisor? My most trusted advisor has deceived me? I gave him my ring. Under the laws of the Persia, once I sign an edict or issue a decree it is irrevocable. I have inadvertently issued my own wife – the queen a death warrant. The king needs to gather his thoughts. He needs to digest all that had just transpired in the last two to three minutes. The banquet prepared by Esther has now clearly gone out of the window. Who has the appetite to eat now?

The King had been played for a fool. Haman had betrayed the king’s trust. Perhaps the king had to restrain himself from laying his hands on Haman and killing him himself. The king left the room. He needed to get some air. Esther 7:7: And the king rising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden………God has just made another Chess move. It’s not looking good for Haman now is it?   I wonder – did Haman know that Esther and Mordecai were relatives? Every detail of this account is perfect. It would appear that God is orchestrating everything perfectly behind the scenes.

Verse 7 tells us that Haman is now pleading and begging queen Esther for his life. Who is begging now? Haman knows that he is a dead man walking.

It doesn’t get much better for Haman. As he is pleading and begging Esther for his life, he falls on top of the queen. God’s move. At the precise moment when Haman falls on top of the queen, the king walks in from the palace garden. Oh dear!!! Need I say God’s timing – again?

Esther 7:8: Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine, and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was…………

That’s it! Haman had just sealed his own fate. Haman is about to get his just deserts. Only God could have arranged such that as soon as the king entered into the place of the banquet from the palace garden, that he would find Haman on top of the queen at that very precise moment – only God! Haman sought to kill the Jews – only to be killed because he came against the Jews.

Genesis 12:1-3: The LORD made a covenant with Abram “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you”.

One of the king’s eunuchs Harbonah wastes no time in telling the king that the fifty cubit gallows that Haman had prepared to hang Mordecai on is in Haman’s compound. By the way Oh king, this is the same Mordecai “who had spoken good for the king”.  I get the impression that the eunuchs did not like Haman. Haman probably strutted around like a proud haughty arrogant peacock. Demanding that when all saw him, they were to bow to him and pay obeisance to him. Who did he think he was? I guess this was payback time for the eunuch.

“Hang him thereon”. Three simple words spoken by the king. Haman was toast. Then the king’s anger was pacified.

That which was meant for evil, He made it good for the salvation of His people.

CHECK MATE!!!

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Haman is Humiliated. Mordecai is Exalted

 

WEEK 35:

Esther 6:1-14 1 On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. 2 And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 3 And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him. 4 And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. 5 And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. 6 So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself? 7 And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, 8 Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: 9 And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour. 10 Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. 11 Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour. 12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. 14 And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Chapter 6 brings back to our attention the incident of the conspiracy to kill the king in chapter 2. The king was unable to sleep that night and asked for his history to be read to him. It seems he just happened to hear the part about the plot to take his life and how Mordecai had saved his life. He asked what had been done to reward Mordecai. His servants replied that nothing had been done.

Who should be outside waiting to see the king that morning but evil Haman, who was plotting to kill Mordecai! So when the king called Haman to come in, the two men had totally opposite plans in mind.

The king asked Haman what should be done to someone the king wanted to honour. Of course, in his pride, Haman thought the king was talking about him. So he said that such a person should be treated like royalty and honoured by a high official announcing, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honour” (verse 9).

Imagine Haman’s surprise when the king assigned him to honour his archenemy Mordecai (verse 10-12)

Was the king an insomniac? Or is the LORD moving His Chess piece? Of all the nights that the king was restless, it was this night. Was something troubling the king? Was his army at war? Was he having problems in one or more of his 127 provinces? Was it money issues? Something prevented the king from sleeping. I say it was God.

The king had a number of options that he could have chosen to put him to sleep. He could have asked for music – someone to play the harp or the flute or any other smoothing instrument. He could have asked for his concubines to come and dance before him. He could have got up and gone for a walk to tire himself out. Yet – he opts for a story to be read to him.

No doubt there were hundreds and possibly thousands of chronicles there within the library of the palace. Hundreds. One of his attendees picks one at random. All the chronicles look the same. All are bound with leather. All have the same colour. All are the same size in height. What is the probability that the chronicles containing the good deed that Mordecai had done for the king in chapter two when he uncovered a plot to kill the king be picked? Ummmmmh!!! I reckon so. God has just moved His Castle. Now consider the likelihood that the attendee reading the chronicles stumbles upon the very page(s) that records Mordecai’s action? Haman is “checked”. Furthermore, I thought the king was restless. A story is being read to him to put him to sleep. A boring story should have been chosen. One that would put the king to sleep within minutes. Alas, such was not the case. As the king’s attendee is reading the account, no doubt he is also getting excited. This story – this true account was not boring. On the contrary it was filled with intrigue – a plot to assassinate the king by two disgruntled employees, an undercover investigation was launched; the plot proved true; the culprits were found guilty. The culprits were hanged on a tree. Job done. But is it? The king is wide awake now. He doesn’t want to sleep anymore. He’s intrigued. He wants to know more. What reward was bestowed upon the man who saved my life? “None your majesty” came the reply. That’s odd thinks the king. Why have the good deeds of this hero gone without recognition the king asks? This cannot be (Esther 6:2-3).

Morning breaks. Haman is in the courtyard. He has come to ask the king for his permission to hang Mordecai on the 50 cubits gallows that he has had erected. He has a spring in his steps. Nothing is going to spoil his day. Then after he has murdered Mordecai – he’s off to yet another banquet with the king and queen. Happy days. Life is good. He has no idea. God has perfectly orchestrated the precise arrival of Haman to show up at this moment.

The king desperately wants to reward Mordecai. Haman cannot wait to hang Mordecai. Both the king and Haman’s intentions are polar opposites. The king asks Haman a question.

Esther 6:6: So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, “what shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour”? Now Haman thought in his heart, to whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?

Haman is full of so much pride. He is proud. He is arrogant. He possesses a haughty spirit.

Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23: A man’s pride shall bring him low, but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

The two Scriptures from Proverbs sums up Haman’s life. His pride caused his destruction. His haughty spirit caused him to fall. God’s timing is perfect. Haman is still bidding his time to ask his request of the king, but the king got his question in first. Haman clearly thought that it was he whom the king wished to bestow honour upon, so he gives the king a grand list of what the king should do for him (Esther 6:8-9).

How his face must have dropped and his jaw left wide open as the king replies and tells Haman to “make haste and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew that sitteth at the king’s gate, let nothing fall of all that thou hast spoken” (Esther 6:10).

His arch enemy Mordecai. The guy he was coming to ask the king permission to hang on the gallows. A Jew whom he detested so much. He hated Mordecai. Now he has been told to parade Mordecai on horseback around the city – showering him with accolades and praises. HOW did it come to this he must have thought? I’ll tell you how. The LORD in His infinite wisdom, He who knows the end from the beginning orchestrated everything from start to finish. It was not an accident that in chapter two after Mordecai had uncovered the plot to kill the king, that Mordecai did not receive immediate recognition and a reward. Mordecai’s reward was delayed – it was not forgotten!!! God’s timing is always perfect. He is never too early. He is never too late. That is the God I serve.

The king’s order was for Haman to “make haste”. Do it NOW!!! Not tomorrow. Not by the end of the day. Do it now!!! What humiliation Haman must have suffered. All his subordinates knew that he hated Mordecai. He hated Mordecai so much that he wanted him dead. But not only Mordecai – he wanted to do away with the whole of the Jewish nation. He even bragged and boasted that he had erected a 50 cubit gallows to hang Mordecai upon. Now – here he was showering accolades upon Mordecai – in front of all the people of Shushan. God exalts the humble – Mordecai. God humbles the exalted – Haman. God will have the final say – just as He does here in this account.

Shamed faced, he rushes back home after being humiliated. He moans. He complains. He buries his head in his hands. How can he ever face Mordecai again? How can he ask he king of his petition to kill Mordecai? The king is very unlikely to put to death the man who saved his life. He related the story to his wife Zeresh and his wise men. 

Esther 6:13: Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, IF Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fail, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.

In Genesis 12:1-3, Scripture tells us that the Lord God told Abram He will bless those who bless him, and curse those who curse him. That is an everlasting covenant that the Lord has bestowed upon the children of Israel.

What I do not get about Esther 6:13, is when they counsel Haman and tell him that IF Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews………but Haman knew Mordecai was a Jew. The wise men and his wife knew that Mordecai was a Jew. Why then did they encourage Haman to come against the Jews??? Food for thought.

Haman has no time to think. His head hurts. He is beside himself. Then to compound it all – whilst they were still talking, one of the kings chamberlains came to his house and ordered him to follow him to the banquet that queen Esther has prepared for the king and Haman (Esther 6:14).

 God’s timing – yet again!

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A Game of Chess Begins – Who Wins?

WEEK 34:

Esther 5:1-14 1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. 2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. 3 Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom. 4 And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him. 5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed. 7 Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is; 8 If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said. 9 Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. 11 And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. 13 Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. 14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.        

Chapter 5 tells us that the king not only held out the golden sceptre to save her life, he also said that he would grant anything she asked of him, even to half the kingdom (verses 2-3). She invited the king and Haman to a banquet that day. At that banquet, she told the king that she would inform him of her desire at another banquet the next day, and she again asked that Haman should be invited to hear her request (verses 7-8).

FAVOUR!!! Esther puts off her mourning cloths after three days and three nights of fasting, and she went to the king’s inner court of the king’s house. Upon seeing her, the king immediately puts forth the golden sceptre in his hands…………and Esther obtained favour in his sight (Esther 5:2).

The king knows the fact that Esther approached him without being called into his presence – whatever she required of him must be of the utmost importance. She had lived in the palace long enough to know that you just don’t go into the king’s presence uninvited unless perhaps you are tired of life and you want to end it all. The king does not beat around the bush. He asks her immediately – what wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request? It shall be given thee to the half of the kingdom (Esther 5:3). The king is not holding back here. Whatever Esther wants shall be granted onto her – even up to the half of his kingdom.

I am of the opinion that Esther knew the king would extend the golden sceptre to her. How do I know? I believe that during her three days and three nights of seeking the LORD God diligently, no eating, no drinking – she must have heard from the LORD. Esther – take it one step at a time. Don’t just rush in and tell the king about that evil Haman. WAIT – until I direct you of what to say and when to say it. I believe the LORD spoke to Esther’s heart and also told her to prepare a banquet before she goes to meet the king. If Esther was going to lose her life, why would she prepare a banquet for the king and Haman before the king stretched out the golden sceptre? It is my belief that the LORD is again working behind the scenes, and He spoke to heart to tell her to prepare a banquet first before going to the king. I wouldn’t put it pass the LORD speaking to king Ahasuerus heart too, and ordering him to put forth the golden spectre. Remember – it’s God’s turn on the Chess board right now. Haman has made a number of moves thus far. God is moving around the pawns; the king; the queen; the bishops – all the Chess pieces are in the LORD’s hand.

Proverbs 21:1: The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.

Having already prepared the banquet, Esther’s reply to the king was straightforward. She wanted the king and Haman to dine with her at the banquet she had prepared. The king agrees, and he summons Haman. Think about this for a moment. Esther is knowingly dining and eating and drinking with a man whom she knows wants her dead. No doubt she had to make polite talk at the banquet. Personally, I would have been squirming. It would have taken all that I had not to blurt out there and then in front of the king how Haman wanted her people dead……..including her. What restraint Esther exhibited. This could only come from God. To have such a calm demeanour – to be feasting with your adversary.

James 1:5: If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God; that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth nit, and it shall be given him.

This wisdom that Esther demonstrated was a Godly kind of wisdom. Her life has been spared, and she has been granted the opportunity to have a banquet with the king and Haman. The king has already asked her what her petition was (Esther 5:3). She has told him. She wants them to attend a banquet that she has already prepared. How did Esther know that the king was going to ask her the same question again? Monarchs are busy people. They don’t really have that much time. He was a king of 127 provinces. Why did Esther take that risk believing that the king would ask her a second time “what is thy petition”? (Esther 5:6). Could God have just moved His king on the Chess board? Did God put it in the king’s heart to ask Esther a second time? I think so!

Prayer AND fasting is so powerful. Humbling yourself before the LORD. Seeking His face. Asking Him. Petitioning Him. Denying your flesh what you crave for the most regularly – food and drink. Esther and her people humbled themselves before the LORD for 72 hours. There is no way that the LORD would not hear their cry, their sorrow, and their heartfelt emotions. He would come through for them. I believe the LORD granted Esther extra doses of wisdom; meekness and patience. How else would she be able to contain herself without blurting out Haman’s evil intention on her and her people? It had to be God. God’s timing is so important. This was not the time to inform the king. The LORD had other moves to make on the Chess board. Thank goodness Esther had an obedient spirit, and she did not rush ahead of God. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). This was not the time to give God a helping hand – thinking we know best. It is so important never to rush ahead of God. In obedience to the LORD’s directive, Esther requests the presence of the king and Haman the next day – another banquet (Esther 5:8).

Haman cannot contain himself. He is full of joy. It’s all about me; me; me. I; I; I. He goes home bragging that he was the only one whom queen Esther invited along to a banquet in the presence of the king, and she has also invited him the following day. Haman exalts himself in front of his wife and his close friends. He was still a little miffed though, because Mordecai still refused to bow down before him. Then his wife Zeresh comes up with a brain wave. Why not have a gallows made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak to the king and ask him if he would mind you hanging Mordecai on it – then you can go dancing merrily off to the banquet. Oh what a grand idea Haman thinks. Sounds good to me. There and then, Haman orders that a gallows of 50 cubits be erected against tomorrow.

About the gallows. Adam Clark writes: “A pointed stick is set upright in the groin and the culprit is taken; placed on the sharp point and then pulled down by his legs till the steak that went in at the fundament pierces through the body and comes through the neck. The culprit lives a considerable time in excruciating agony and they don’t die quietly once they are impaled on these gallows”.

Haman has just moved his Bishop. It’s the LORD’s turn now.

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…..And If I Perish – I Perish!!!

WEEK 33: 

Esther 4:15-17 15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

It’s God’s move now on that Chess board. Wherever the decree was read in the 127 provinces that went from India all the way to Ethiopia in Africa, it was met with great mourning, and fasting and weeping, and wailing (Esther 4:3).

Could God be at work here in leading and prompting Esther? Esther takes action – quickly. This was an urgent C.T.A – Call to Action. There is no time to waste – yes the execution of the Jews is about 7 months away, but this is not the time to procrastinate. Time is of the essence.  Esther resolves to do what they are already doing – but there is a difference here. (1) All the Jews in Shushan – ALL……….man; woman; child; grandmamma; grandpapa – ALL were to fast. Fast for 3 days and 3 nights. They were not to eat nor drink for 72 hours. (2) Esther joined hands with her maidens – who more than likely were not Jews (Esther 4:15-16).

Esther sends her final reply back to Mordecai – and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).

Esther knew the LORD God Almighty that she served. She knew that He was able to deliver her from the clutches of death. It was a bold step that she was about to take going before the king uninvited. It was a step of faith. A bold step of faith – “and IF I perish, I perish”.

Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Our Father often requires us to take that initial bold step of faith and then watch Him show up. In the book of Daniel with the three Hebrew boys – Shadrach; Meshach and Abednego faced a similar encounter with the king of Babylon – king Nebuchadnezzar. The king had signed an edict that whosoever does not bow down to his golden image when they hear the sound of the cornet; flute; harp; sackbut; psaltery; and dulcimer, should be thrown into a burning fiery furnace (Daniel 3:5-6). The three boys like Mordecai refused to bow down when they heard the music. Their haters were overjoyed. With haste they ran to tell the king Nebuchadnezzar that these three Hebrew boys have been disobedient to the king’s commands. Away with them Oh king. The king was furious. So mad was he, that he ordered the furnace to be heated up seven times hotter (Daniel 3:12-15).

Daniel 3:16 – 18: 16 Shadrach; Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But IF NOT, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up.

The three Hebrews boys = bold step of faith. They too knew the LORD God whom they served. My point is, they and we likewise must take that bold step of faith. We cannot afford to be hindered or cowardice, or scared. The LORD will show up on our behalf. The LORD will be glorified by our step(s) of faith. The three Hebrew boys were not delivered UNTIL they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Heated up seven times hotter, those leading them to the burning fiery furnace perished. The 3 boys just walked into the furnace. It is when they took those steps of faith – not strides, they didn’t run into the furnace – they stepped into the furnace. It is the little steps that count, not necessarily the big long strides. They had to step in first. Then God showed up on their behalf (Daniel 3:19-24).

Praying and fasting with the entire Jewish residents of Shushan and her maids was Esther’s bold step of faith…… “and if I perish, I perish”.

God is at work here. It was God who positioned Esther as queen, when Mordecai was probably trying desperately to hide her from the king’s officials when they sought a maiden to replace queen Vashti.  God’s plan for the deliverance of His people is about to kick in. As the story unfolds, let’s watch God as He starts to move his pawns into position, and work on Esther’s behalf and Mordecai’s behalf. Esther – by taking that bold step of faith was prepared to lay down her life for the sake of her people. A very courageous and selfless act. God will not forget that. He will certainly reward her faith in Him, and come through not only for her sake, but also for the sake of His people.

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A Time of Distress for the Jews – The Decree Has Been Published

WEEK 32: 

Esther 4:1-14  1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;  2 And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not. 5 Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. 6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. 7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. 9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; 11 All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. 12 And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Chapter four starts with Mordecai imploring Esther to intervene on behalf of her people or they would all be killed. Esther reminded Mordecai that anyone who came before the king without being called, even the queen, would be subject to death. The only exception to this would be if the king extended mercy by holding out the golden sceptre (verses 10-12).

Mordecai then uttered the most famous line from the book when he said, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this”? (Esther 4:14).

Esther then agreed to risk her life for her people. She asked Mordecai to have her people fast for her success, and she put her life on the line by going to the king for help (verses 15-16).

Mordecai reads the decree issue by the king, and his first act to rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes. What is sackcloth and ashes? What is the significance of that act? According to https://www.gotquestions.org/sackcloth-and-ashes.html with read the following:

Sackcloth and ashes were used in Old Testament times as a symbol of debasement, mourning, and/or repentance. Someone wanting to show his repentant heart would often wear sackcloth, sits in ashes, and put ashes on top of his head. Sackcloth was a coarse material usually made of black goat’s hair, making it quite uncomfortable to wear. The ashes signified desolation and ruin. When someone died, the act of putting on sackcloth showed heartfelt sorrow for the loss of that person. We see an example of this when David mourned the death of Abner, the commander of Saul’s army (2 Samuel 3:31)  Jacob also demonstrated his grief by wearing sackcloth when he thought his son, Joseph, has been killed (Genesis 37:34) These instances of mourning for the dead mention sackcloth but not ashes.

Ashes accompanied sackcloth in times of national disaster or repenting from sin. Esther 4:1, for instance, describes Mordecai tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth and ashes, and walking out into the city wailing loudly and bitterly. This was Mordecai’s reaction to King Xerxes’ declaration giving the wicked Haman authority to destroy the Jews (Esther 3:8-15). Mordecai was not the only one who grieved. “In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes” (Esther 4:3). The Jews responded to the devastating news concerning their race with sackcloth and ashes, showing their intense grief and distress.

Sackcloth and ashes were also used as a public sign of repentance and humility before God. When Jonah declared to the people of Nineveh that God was going to destroy them for their wickedness, everyone from the king on down responded with repentance, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes (Jonah 3:5-7). They even put sackcloth on their animals (verse 8). Their reasoning was, “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (verse 9). This is interesting because the Bible never says that Jonah’s message included any mention of God’s mercy; but mercy is what they received. It’s clear that the Nineties’ donning of sackcloth and ashes was not a meaningless show. God saw genuine change—a humble change of heart represented by the sackcloth and ashes—and it caused Him to relent and not bring about His plan to destroy them (Jonah 3:10).

That old age bitter rivalry between the Israelites and the Amalekites has reared its ugly head after more than 550 years it would seem. Israelites vs. Amalekites. Benjamin vs. Agag. Mordecai vs. Haman. Good vs. Bad. The battle lines have been drawn. Mordecai knew in his heart, that it was because he refused to bow to Haman as commanded, and that he had told his colleagues it was because he was a Jew, that Haman sought not revenge on Mordecai only, but Haman decide to reverse the job that Mordecai’s ancestor king Saul failed to do when ordered by the LORD to totally wipe out the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:9…..but Saul and the people spared Agag…….). If King Saul was so foolish to disobey the command of the LORD, thereby saving Agag, Haman was not going to be so lenient. He was going to execute the job of totally destroying the Israelites – wipe them off the face of the Earth – once and for all!!!

I do not think that Mordecai regretted or repented of his refusal to bow to Haman. I believe that he put on sackcloth and ashes because he was in deep sorrow – mourning at the loss of his people at the hands of an evil man.

Meanwhile, in the comfort of her palace, queen Esther is totally oblivious to what is going on. She is unaware of the running feud between Haman and Mordecai. She is in the dark regarding Haman requesting the king to sign an edict to destroy the Jews. She has no idea that her days are numbered – the 13th day of the month of Adar is just twelve months away. Basically, Esther is clueless. It falls to her maids and chamberlains to inform Esther that her dad Mordecai is by the king’s gate wearing sackcloth and ashes, and he refuses to be comforted. Esther sends a message back via her chamberlain Hatach pleading with him to cloth himself, and she would like to know why he is so distressed. Mordecai informs Hatach about Haman’s evil plan, with the sum of money involved, and a copy of the decree. Now Hatach – take this back with you and show it to queen Esther (Esther 4:5-8).

Esther I guess is very confused. How? When? What could have possibly transpired between her dad and Haman, to drive Haman to ask the king to get rid of the Jewish nation in all 127 provinces??? Shocked and bewildered, Esther sends another message back to Mordecai. Dear Daddy – UNLESS the king requests specifically to see me, I cannot just go into his presence – it can result in death – UNLESS he holds out the golden sceptre that I may touch the tip of it, and by the way – I have not been called into his presence for the last thirty days (Esther 4:9-11)

Hatach goes back to Mordecai with her reply. Now – I find it interesting to note that Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her identity to the king that she was a Jew right from the beginning. My reasoning is that if the king was not to know what race of people she hailed from, then neither was she to tell her maids or her chamberlains. We now have a situation where both her maids and her chamberlains know Esther’s true identity, and that she is a Jew – yet they remain loyal to her. They keep that vital information to themselves. They do not snitch. How they must have adored their queen? As I mentioned earlier, it is my belief that Esther did not only possess outward beauty, she was also very beautiful on the inside. A Godly woman, with Godly characteristics that exuded from her.

Esther 4:13-14: 13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther. Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed; and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Well – that’s Esther told!!!

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Reference:

https://www.gotquestions.org/sackcloth-and-ashes.html

Enter Haman and His Evil Plot

WEEK 31:

Esther 3:1-15  1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. 2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. 3 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. 11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee. 12 Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring. 13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. 14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day. 15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.

Chapter 3 introduces us to Haman, the villain in the story, who became second in command in the empire. He was an arrogant man, and he demanded that everyone bow down to him. Everyone did, except Mordecai (verse 2). This so incensed Haman that he succeeded in getting the king to issue an edict that all the Jews in the land should be destroyed (verses 8-15).

“After these things” begins the chapter. Again, it suggests that a period of time has taken place before these accounts are recorded. Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite was promoted by the king (Esther 1:3). It is interesting to note that had king Saul obeyed the LORD and killed all, Haman would never have been born.

1 Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek,and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

1 Samuel 15:8: And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

1 Samuel 15:9: But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen…………..

Saul was the first king of Israel. The LORD told Samuel to anoint Saul king when the people demanded for a king to rule over them (1 Samuel 8:5). Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin – the smallest tribe of the 12 in Israel. He was a Benjamite.

The time of Esther arrived 550 years after the death of Agag, but in spite of such passage of time, neither Haman the Agagite nor Mordecai the Benjamite had forgotten the tribal feud that still smouldered in their souls. This explains why Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman (Esther 3:2, 3) and why Haman so viciously attempted to exterminate the Jewish race (Esther: 3:5, 6, 13). As expected, God’s prophecy to extinguish the Amalekites (Exodus 17:14; Deut 25: 17-19) and God’s promise to preserve the Jews (Genesis17:1-8) prevailed.

The Amalekites in Scriptures is the type of the flesh. We are to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We are to deal with the flesh and sin in our lives, if not, it will deal with us. Haman was an Amalekite – a descendant of king Agag, who if king Saul had slew as commanded to by the LORD, Haman would never have been born. To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

Haman was very angry with Mordecai. Haman demanded worship and obeisance from all who came into his presence. All bowed before Haman since the king had elevated him to that position of being second in command – all that is except Mordecai. Mordecai purposed in his heart that he would only bow to the LORD of his fathers – Yahweh. He would not submit nor bow to man. The others who bowed down to Haman could not understand how Mordecai had the guts to transgress the king’s commandment (Esther 2:2). Simply put, Mordecai told them that he was a Jew.

That made Haman even more animated and furious. He was full of wrath, and sought not only to hurt Mordecai, but he just decided to go the whole nine yards and slaughter the entire Jewish race. I wonder if he knew his history – about king Saul? Saul who was supposed to kill all, but spared king Agag alive. Did Haman have such an intense hatred for the Jews that he sought to completely destroy them? It would appear so. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Mr Hitler springs to mind!

This was a demonic and satanic plan – to get rid of the Jews completely. It takes us right back to the garden. Cain slew Able because he was jealous that God accepted Able’s offering, but the LORD rejected Cain’s offering (Genesis 4:4-5). What about Moses? There arose out of Egypt a new king who did not know about Joseph and his brothers (Exodus 1:8). The Jews were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied and waxed exceedingly mighty, and the land was filled with them (Exodus 1:7). The Pharaoh saw the Israelites as a threat – so he orders that all male children born be slaughtered (Exodus 1:16, 22). It was during that decree that went forth from Pharaoh, that Moses was born – but he was hidden for three months (Exodus 2:2). Now it is well documented of the exploits that Moses conducted, and how the LORD used him to take His children out of bondage and into the wilderness for 40 years. Left to the Pharaoh, Moses would have been dead. Likewise, we see a similar account in Matthew 2:16 – when king Herod finally clocked that he had been deceived by the wise men, he ordered that all male children under the age of two be murdered. Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus. All these men mentioned including Haman were all demonically possessed. They are all a type of antichrist.

Lots are cast to determine when to destroy the Jews. Was that the catalyst that was required by Haman to release God’s hand to show who His people are? Haman is hell bent on destroying the chosen people of God. Surely God is about to show up now?

Genesis 12:3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and to thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  God speaking to Abram here.

It would appear that Haman has just pronounced a curse upon himself, by advocating to destroy the Jews. Bad, bad, bad mistake. God will surely show up now. This is how they made important decisions in those days. They would cast lots. Again – although His name is not mentioned, we can see that God is at work – in the background. It’s like a game of Chess. The LORD has patiently waited for Haman to make his move. Now it’s Gods turn to make His move.

Haman deceives and manipulates the king by telling him that their laws are diverse from all people. Nor do they keep the kings’ laws. Let’s destroy them. Oh – and I’ll pay ten thousand talents into the pot oh king if only you will grant my request. So the king – takes his word for it – he doesn’t do due diligence to investigate the complaint – he simply takes Haman at his word, he removes his ring and gives it to Haman, and gives him free rein to do as he will unto that people (Esther 3:8-11).

Haman has succeeded in lying to the king. But he has promised ten thousand talents into the kings’ coffers. Where is he supposed to get that kinda money? Well – that’s simple – Haman is going to plunder the Jews. After all the Jews were an industrious people. They excelled in commerce; business; land ownership – the were a prosperous people.

Wasting no time, the decree went forth, letters were sent to all 127 provinces that the king ruled and reigned over to destroy and kill the Jews, and cause to perish, both old and young, little children and women, upon the 14th day of the month of Adar – all in one day. There was to be no reprieve. The month of Adar in our Gregorian calendar falls in the month of February or March. The Jews were to be terminated all in one day in the month of Adar. Nine months’ notice was given before the execution date (Esther 3:13).

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The Plot to Assissinate the King

 

WEEK 30:

Esther 2:21-23 21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 22 And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.

Esther is now queen. She has obeyed her dad and did not reveal her identity to the king. Mordecai has a prominent job – he sat at the king’s gate. This was a very prominent position to be in. It was where everything that was anything took place. Many different people or all sorts of wares and tares would conduct business, men of influence showed up there, they would congregate there, and people would trade and sell at the king’s gate. It was like the centre of commerce. Being in that position, gave Mordecai an insight and knowledge of things taking place – whatever was going on in and around – Mordecai knew about it.

It was on one of these days that Mordecai was there – minding his own business, that he overheard a plot to assassinate the king. Two of the kings chamberlains were a little upset with the king, so they decided that they would kill him (Esther 2:21). Mordecai being in the right place at the right time overheard the conversation. Being a law abiding citizen that he was, he told queen Esther. Esther told the king. An investigation was launched. The truth came out. They were found guilty. They were both hanged on a tree. The account was recorded in the book of the chronicles. Matter closed. Or was it?

I feel God is working in the background here yet again on two accounts. Firstly, the employment that Mordecai secures puts him in the best position to know what is what. Right there by the city gate. He was able to observe all who came into the city, with what, when, who they met if anyone, what the general gist of the day was – he was in such a prominent position to allow him to overhear the plot to kill the king. My assertion – God gave and positioned him at that strategic place.

Secondly, the king’s life has just been spared. The plot was true. They were found guilty. They were hanged on a tree. If one loses ones’ wallet or purse, and it is handed in by a Good Samaritan, and all credit cards, and cash and other cards and receipts are all found intact. It is a natural human condition to want to reward the indivdual(s) who was honest enough to hand it in. How much more one foiling the plot to assassinate the king. The account was merely recorded in the book of chronicles, and the book was shut. NO REWARD??? Why? I assert that a reward given now would be too early – it’s premature. God has other plans. The LORD knows exactly when. He is going to allow that reward to be granted. It’s just a bit too early now. Notice also – there is nothing recorded about Mordecai being bitter or angry that the king did not commend or acknowledge him for foiling the plot.

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Esther is Crowned Queen

 

WEEK 29:

Esther 2:1-20 1 After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: 3 And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them: 4 And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so 5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; 6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter. 8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women. 10 Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it. 11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.12 Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;) 13 Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. 14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. 16 So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 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 see here the introduction of Esther – one of the women taken for this competition, a beautiful Jewish girl named “Hadassah”. Her name was changed to Esther when she was brought to the king’s court.

Esther received favour from everyone who saw her, especially the king (verses 15-17). The king selected Esther to be his new queen, but Mordecai counselled her to not reveal the fact that she was a Jew, because Jews were still held in some suspicion throughout the Persian Empire.

Shortly after she became queen, a seemingly unrelated incident is recorded in (Esther 2:21-23). Two men plotted to kill the king, but Mordecai became aware of the plot and had Esther reveal it to the king. An investigation took place. The two men were found guilty of conspiracy to assassinate the king. The two men were hanged, and the incident was recorded in the king’s personal history. This incident turns out to have a great deal to do with the rest of the story.

The chapter starts with the sentence “after these things”. When we see those words written in Scripture, it usually indicates that a period of time has passed between the preceding verse(s). We are not told of queen Vashti’s fate – whether or not she lost her life, or was she allowed to slink off in the darkness to the wilderness or something – we do not know. What we do know however, is that a search was made for a woman to replace queen Vashti. It could not be said that the king did not have a queen beside him.

Women in those days did not readily run to become queen. It was something they dreaded. Why? Simply put, the king would have an array of women before him, whom he would pick and sleep with them. If that woman did not delight the king – that was it for her – her life was seemingly over. She would become part of the king’s harem. The king may never see her again. She would never be allowed to marry, settle down and have children with another (because the king had been into her), she would basically be left to sit and rot within the harem. A dreadful situation for the women. It is also worthy to note that the king’s most trusted chamberlains were eunuchs, so there was no danger there of them wanting to sleep with the kings rejected concubines. Women were often kidnapped – they did not present themselves willingly. What a dreadful scenario for women to find themselves in – they could be walking back from the market, or just going into town – that’s it – they’ve been kidnapped by the king’s officials. Their family members would never see them again. Awful!!!

Esther was a beautiful woman to behold. As we go through the book, we will see that she was not only beautiful meek and mild on the outside, but also on the inside too. Esther was an orphan. She had an adopted father  called Mordecai. Mordecai was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish a Benjamite (Esther 2:5). It begs the question, that knowing what would befall any maiden taken before the king, did Mordecai her adopted father try to hide Esther from all of the kings men? Well – if he did – he spectacularly failed. God had other plans – bigger plans for this maiden. Only no one – not the king; Esther or Mordecai were aware of it – yet!!!

God was going to deliver His people from the bondage that they were under. The vessel He has chosen was Esther. He was going to use queen Esther to deliver His people from captivity – the only problem is, no one is aware of His plans. The thing is – if we His children knew exactly what God was going to do in our lives before He does it, we more than likely would not be able to handle it. God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). God has a panoramic view of all our lives. Nothing takes God by surprise. We as His children are only shown glimpses of our lives. He doesn’t show us all the tests; trials; tribulations; stumbling blocks; hurdles; mountains and valleys that we will go through before we get to the finishing line. He is infinite. We are finite. That is why He is God and we are not!!! All too often, we want to give God a helping hand. We can sometimes get in the way of God. I think that is what Mordecai wanted to do here. He no doubt wanted to hide Esther from prowling eyes that would snatch her and take her to the king’s palace to become one of his concubines. Man proposes. God disposes. God had other plans for Esther as we will see.

Esther is taken/captured. However, she finds favour in the sight of one of the kings chamberlains named Hegai – who was the keeper of the women (Esther 2:8). It is possible that up to 400 women were taken into the king’s palace in Shushan. Here we read that Esther pleased Hegai, and she obtained kindness of him (Esther 2:9). What was it about Esther’s countenance that made her stand out amongst all the other women? Verse 9 tells us that he speedily gave her things for purification. He hastened. He rushed. He went out of his way to provide whatever was necessary for Esther. Why??? It strikes me that Esther obtained favour not only because of her outward beauty, but possibly because of her strong inner charm of meekness and humility that was on display for all to see. Humility is so attractive, Conceitedness is ugly. Sometimes it has been said that people who know that they are either handsome or beautiful let it go to their head, they may be beautiful on the outside, but their character leaves a lot to be desired. Inward beauty is rare.

Why did Mordecai explicitly tell Esther not to reveal her identity as a Jew (Esther 2:10)? Could God be working behind the scenes here yet again without any of the parties involved been privy to what God is up to?

Why was there a minimum of twelve months before the maidens were presented to the king? Six months was given with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours and with other things for the purifying of the women (Esther 2:12).  I believe this twelve month period was a waiting period to see if any of the maidens chosen were pregnant with child. The maidens presented to the king must be virgins. They must not have been defiled.

Another point to note is that a marriage was going to take place. It cannot be overemphasised of the importance of getting to know as much as possible about your intended, before one enters into a marriage covenant with the other person. There should and ought to be a period of courtship before one ties the knot so to speak. The king does not have time to get to know all the maidens brought into his palace. However, his trusted seven eunuchs are the king’s eyes and ears. They are with the ladies day in day out. They are able to observe character traits – both good and not so good, they are able to see how the women conduct themselves in solitary or in a group setting, and they observe speech and language, and all manner of things. They needed to know that the maiden chosen to replace queen Vashti was fit for the office of queen. There could be no mistakes in appointing a new queen. The king had already suffered enough humiliation. Twelve months was more than enough time to see those who qualified and meet the bar, and those who just couldn’t hack it for want of a better word.

Esther ticked all the boxes, and when it was her time to come and stand before the king, she obtained grace AND favour in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17). I find it funny to read that the king then holds yet another feast to show and proclaim Esther as queen (Esther 2:18). Sometimes, we tend to be a little stubborn. We find it difficult to learn from our mistakes. We often find ourselves going around the same circle, because we refuse to learn from our errors. God will have us go around the same circle over and over and over again, until we learn from our mistakes and then we are able to go to the next rung on the ladder. Thankfully – here for king Ahasuerus, although he held yet another feast, Esther did not disgrace him.

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Six Months of Feasting

WEEK 28:

Esther 1:1-22 1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) 2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, 3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: 4 When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. 5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace; 6 Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble. 7 And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king. 8 And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. 10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him. 13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment: 14 And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;) 15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? 16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. 17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath. 19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20 And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. 21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: 22 For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.

This chapter sets the scene in the Persian court. The king was offended when his wife Queen Vashti refused to appear before him when he ordered her to do so. There was a great feast taking place at the time, and they were all merry with wine (Esther 1:10-11).

When the queen didn’t appear, the king, egged on by his advisers, removed her as his queen. They then advised him to seek out a new queen by searching for the most beautiful virgins in the land. Then the king would select one to become his queen.

The story of Esther starts with the Jews who still remained in Persian captivity. Persian is now what we know as modern day Iran. A small remnant of the Israelites returned to Jerusalem. The name “Esther” is a Persian name meaning “Star”. It refers to the planet Venus. It also has another meaning “myrtle leaf”.

Venus, the second planet from the sun, is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The planet — the only planet named after a female — may have been named for the most beautiful deity of her pantheon because it shone the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers. In ancient times, Venus was often thought to be two different stars, the evening star and the morning star — that is, the ones that first appeared at sunset and sunrise. Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. Reference https://www.space.com/44-venus-second-planet-from-the-sun-brightest-planet-in-solar-system.html

Here we see with Esther’s name, that the name is the nature. Esther became a shining light in a dark period in Israel’s history. It is often reported, that the darkest period of the night is just before sunrise. Esther was that star glowing in the midst of a dark and troubling time for Israel, after they were taken into captivity by their enemies. Esther became that ray of light. The story of Esther takes places between Ezra chapter 6 and Ezra Chapter 7 (450 BC – 331 BC).  Esther is the last of the twelve historical books in the Old Testament. Esther is one of only two books in the Bible named after women, the other one is Ruth.

An interesting fact to note about the book of Esther is that it is the only book in both the Old and the New Testament (there are 66 books in total), that does not specifically mention the name of God or LORD. Although the name of God is not mentioned specifically, we do see God’s providence and God’s sovereignty throughout the ten chapters of the book. God is working behind the scenes, and orchestrating, planning and deciding on the next course of action. All according to His timing and His directive.

King Ahasuerus ruled over 127 provinces. A vast empire. His kingdom stretched from India through to Ethiopia. In the third year of his reign, he held a feast for all his princes, and his servants, and noblemen throughout the region. Now this was a very long feast. It did not last a day or two, he somehow made it stretch to one hundred and eighty days – a full six months. He was basically showing off. He wanted all those high ranking officials whom were invited to see his vast wealth, his majestic glory, his magnificent palace in Shushan. He wanted them to hear of his vast treasures, and accomplishments. He wanted all the noblemen, the captains, the generals, the high ranking officials to be in awe of him. After all – he held a party for six months – he must have wanted to display something to all the invitees.

So – the six month period of feasting and entertaining all those invited from his 127 provinces is over. However, the king is not done yet. He now wants to hold a feast for all the working folk in Shushan. This feast would only last a mere seven days. As one can imagine, there was food galore, and drink in abundance. Have your fill. Fill your boots.  Eat and drink to your heart’s content. Now therein lieth the problem!!!  Not to be outdone by the king, queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal house.

On the seventh day – no doubt intoxicated, merry and full of wine, king Ahasuerus commanded his seven chamberlains to bring queen Vashti before him, so that he could parade her in front of the people and the princes there present. He wanted them to all look upon her beauty and commend him for choosing such an elegant and beautiful wife.

Queen Vashti is having none of it though. She blatantly refuses to come before the king. Surely that is tantamount to death, the king calls for you – not in secret, but in the presence of the people and the princes, and you disgrace him in front of all and sundry and you expect to live??? I am sure the king sobered up very quickly when the seven chamberlains delivered the message to the king that queen Vashti said she will not come before you. Clearly not only was the king embarrassed at this total and utter disrespect, he was wroth and very angry. “How dare she?  Off with your head”. I can hear him roaring. “Perhaps I have had a little too much to drink and it’s affecting my hearing” I could imagine him saying.

The king is truly sober now, for he asks advice from his trusted chamberlains who know the law and edicts of the province “what shall we do according to the law, because she has not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus” (Esther 1:15)? The queens’ refusal to appear before the king when requested to do was total and utter disrespect that had to be punished. The chamberlains conferred together and quickly told the king, that when word gets out about how queen Vashti disrespected the king, it would give other women encouragement to do likewise to their own husbands. Women would now feel empowered to disrespect their husbands in their own homes.

Under no circumstance should this be allowed to happen. This needed to be nipped in the bud from the onset. They advised the king that if it pleases him, that a royal command should go forth. It must go forth to all 127 provinces under the kings’ vast empire. It must be written in all the various languages, so that there is no misunderstanding of it being misconstrued, or misinterpreted. Queen Vashti must be deposed as queen – no longer must she ever see the kings’ face again. Another queen was to be sought. One who would take the office of queen seriously, and uphold its values.  When the decree goes forth, all women will read and understand that they are to give their husbands honour – both small and great (Esther 1:19 -20). Once signed by the king the decree can never be altered. It is set in stone. The advice given by the seven chamberlains pleased the king (Esther 1:21).

I do wonder though. It seems as though queen Vashti must have been having a really bad day – even possibly fed up with life. Why do I say so I hear you ask? Well – it’s a no brainer. The king calls for you. You go. It doesn’t matter what you are doing – you go. Period. You put your own agenda aside and you follow the king’s request. It is not rocket science, the refusal to come before the king when summoned = death!!!

Queen Vashti would have known that by refusing to attend to the king meant she was possibly about to lose her life – to compound it all, it wasn’t a one to one audience with the queen that the king wanted – it was in the presence of the people of Shushan and the princes. This was such a humiliating act to do before the king. Her days were surely numbered. Or were they?

The conclusion that I can draw from this refusal of the queen, was that the LORD put it in her heart not to go before the king. I believe that God was working in the background here. Queen Vashti’s refusal defies logic – unless you have a death wish.

Let the search for a new queen begin!!!

#ionlykneelforjesus.com

 

Reference:

https://www.space.com/44-venus-second-planet-from-the-sun-brightest-planet-in-solar-system.html

An Introduction to the Story of Esther

WEEK 27:

THE SETTING

The author of the book of Esther is unknown, though some attribute the work to Mordecai. Both the stories of Esther and Ruth, are the only two books in the Bible named after women. The story of Esther takes place in the Persian Empire during the reign of Ahasuerus. He was the son of Darius the Great and reigned from 486-465 B.C. He ruled over a vast empire of 127 provinces that extended from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1).

Esther was born with the birth name “Hadassah” (2:7), which means “myrtle”, the Hebrew name of Esther, which came from the Persian word “star”. Esther was a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin, which had been part of the kingdom of Judah. Her ancestors were among the Jews who had been carried captive to Babylon nearly 100 years earlier. There were many Jews who didn’t return to Jerusalem when it became possible, preferring to continue living where they had settled around the Persian Empire. Esther was orphaned. After the death of Esther’s parents, she was raised by Mordecai, an older cousin/uncle (Esther 2:7), raised her as if she was his own daughter. Mordecai served in the Persian ruler’s palace.

The Book of Esther tells a compelling story, dramatic and exciting, with clearly defined heroes and villains. It also reveals deep and abiding spiritual truths about God’s power to deliver us from danger and oppression, even when despotic rulers plan to do evil to God’s people. Remarkably, and as difficult that it may be to comprehend, Esther is the only Book in the Bible (66 books in total), that does not mention the name of God or the LORD directly. However, although God’s name or a direct reference to the Divine does not appear in the entire story, nonetheless, God’s presence and deliverance of His people is clearly felt and implied throughout this story.

Esther is believed to be sandwiched between Ezra 6 and Ezra 7. The story of Esther occurred during the Persian period of world history 539 B.C  to 331 B.C. King Ahasuerus reigned from 486 to 465 B.C. Esther covers the 483 – 473 B.C period of his reign. The events of Esther occurred during the wider time span between the first return of the Jews after the 70 year captivity in Babylon under Zerubbabel 538 B.C. (Ezra 1–6), and the second return led by Ezra 458 B.C. (Ezra 7–10).

Esther and Exodus both chronicle how vigorously foreign powers (Pharaoh in the case of Exodus) and we will see later on as we go through the Book of Esther how Haman tried to eliminate the Jewish race and how God sovereignly preserved His people in accordance with His covenant promise to Abraham 2100–2075 B.C (Gen 12:1 – 3; 17:1-8).

As a result of God’s prevailing, Esther 9, 10 records the beginning of Purim – a new annual festival in the 12th month (February – March) to celebrate the nation’s survival. Purim became one of two festivals given outside of the Mosaic legislation to still be celebrated in Israel – Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is the other (John 10:22).

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References:

https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/holy-bible/old-testament/the-writings/the-book-of-esther/

https://www.gty.org/library/bible-introductions/MSB17/esther

 

THE BIBLE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

 

Old Testament        
(1) Job—Unknown
(2) Genesis—1445-1405 BC
(3) Exodus —1445-1405 BC
(4) Leviticus —1445-1405 BC
(5) Numbers—1445-1405 BC
(6) Deuteronomy—1445-1405 BC
(7) Psalms—1410-450 BC
(8) Joshua—1405-1385 BC
(9) Judges—ca. 1043 BC
(10) Ruth—ca. 1030-1010 BC

(11) Song of Solomon—971-965 BC
(12) Proverbs—ca. 971-686 BC
(13) Ecclesiastes—940-931 BC
(14) 1 Samuel—931-722 BC
(15) 2 Samuel—931-722 BC
(16) Obadiah—850-840 BC
(17) Joel—835-796 BC
(18) Jonah—ca. 775 BC
(19) Amos—ca. 750 BC
(20) Hosea—750-710 BC
(21) Micah—735-710 BC
(22) Isaiah—700-681 BC
(23) Nahum—ca. 650 BC
(24) Zephaniah—635-625 BC
(25) Habakkuk—615-605 BC
(26) Ezekiel—590-570 BC
(27) Lamentations—586 BC
(28) Jeremiah—586-570 BC
(29) 1 Kings—561-538 BC
(30) 2 Kings—561-538 BC
(31) Daniel 536-530 BC
(32) Haggai—ca. 520 BC
(33) Zechariah—480-470 BC
(34) Ezra—457-444 BC
(35) 1 Chronicles—450-430 BC
(36) 2 Chronicles—450-430 BC
(37) Esther—450-331 BC
(38) Malachi—433-424 BC

(39) Nehemiah—424-400 BC

New Testament
(1) James—AD 44-49
(2) Galatians—AD 49-50
(3) Matthew—AD 50-60
(4) Mark—AD 50-60
(5) 1 Thessalonians—AD 51
(6) 2 Thessalonians—AD 51-52
(7) 1 Corinthians—AD 55
(8) 2 Corinthians—AD 55-56
(9) Romans— AD 56
(10) Luke—AD 60-61
(11) Ephesians—AD 60-62
(12) Philippians—AD 60-62
(13) Philemon—AD 60-62
(14) Colossians—AD 60-62
(15) Acts—AD 62
(16) 1 Timothy—AD 62-64
(17) Titus—AD 62-64
(18) 1 Peter—AD 64-65
(19) 2 Timothy—AD 66-67
(20) 2 Peter—AD 67-68
(21) Hebrews—AD 67-69
(22) Jude—AD 68-70
(23) John—AD 80-90
(24) 1 John—AD 90-95
(25) 2 John—AD 90-95
(26) 3 John—AD 90-95
(27) Revelation—AD 94-96

Reference: https://www.compellingtruth.org/Bible-chronological.html