Esther – Chapter 10

Esther cahpter 10

Conclusion:

In the book of Esther, we can clearly see God at work in an individual’s life and a nation. Although we may not understand why evil is allowed to reign for a time, God is still in control.

The Book of Esther ends with a picture of peace and tranquility, with the Jewish people living in harmony with the Gentile people. God used one woman to change a nation!

Esther – Chapter 9

Esther chapter 9

Verses 5-16 – Haman had decreed that on the 13th day of the 12th month anyone could kill the Jews and take their property. No one, including Mordecai, could reverse the kings decree that he had signed. Mordecai had the king sign a new law giving the Jews the right to fight back. When that day arrived, the Jews only killed those who wanted to kill them and did not take their property. The Jews only wanted to defend themselves.

Verses 11-15 – The king didn’t seem to be too concerned with the slaughter of his subjects. He was more interested in what else Esther wanted from him. Again the scripture emphasizes Esther wanting the 10 sons of Haman hanged, was not revenge. This was the custom and common practice of the Persian period. This act would serve as a deterrent to those who wanted to harm the Jewish people.

Verses 19-22 – Some people tend to have short memories when it comes to God’s faithfulness. Mordecai wrote the events down and encouraged an annual holiday called Purim. Jews still celebrate Purim today. Today we celebrate Christmas and Easter to celebrate the birth, death , burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Don’t let the celebration or exchanging of gifts overlook and crowd the meaning behind these great events.

Esther – Chapter 8

Esther chapter 8

Verses 1, 2 –  All in one day Haman was forced to honor Mordecai, went to a second banquet, and was charged with trying to kill the queen and her people, and was hanged. “Now that’s a bad day!” Mordecai was elevated and honored, but the main issue of reversing the previous decree had to be dealt with. Esther had to address the king again, which she did. The king then extended his gold scepter towards Esther, allowing her to state her request.

Verses 7, 8 – Esther and Mordecai were given the opportunity to write a new decree that would counter but not rescind his original order.

Verse 10 – This order was sealed by the kings royal signet rig that was once worn by Haman, now worn by Mordecai.

Esther – Chapter 7

Esther chapter 7

Verses 3, 4 – Esther’s request was direct and to the point. She asked for the king to spare her and her people because they had been “sold out!” Esther didn’t directly accuse the king but in a round about way had said exactly what the decree the king had signed had said. Destruction, death, and extermination to the Jews. This was a direct quote from what Haman had crafted.

Verses 6-10 – For the first time in the book of Esther the king had to make a decision without counsel. He was forced to choose between his prime minister and his wife. Suddenly, the tables were turned on Haman. He was terrified. He begged for his life to Esther.

Court documents from Assyrian period state that a man must not come closer than 7 steps to one of the women in the palace. Haman fell on Esther as he was begging for his life and the king walked in. Proverbs 26:27–“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.” An so Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had built to hang Mordecai.

Esther – Chapter 6

Esther chapter 6

Verses 1-3 – Perhaps the king couldn’t sleep because he was thinking about what Esther was going to ask him for, the next day. The king decided to review the history of his reign, so his servants read to him about Mordecai’s good deed. This may seem like a coincident, but not when God’s in the picture. The events here and in our lives that come together for our good are not mere coincidence. Because our awesome God knows the end from the beginning, He can and does orchestrate what happens for our good (Romans 8:28).

Verses 7-9 – Haman already had wealth and power, but what he didn’t have is what he wanted most-respect and honor. In chapter 2, verses 21-23, Mordecai had exposed a plot to kill the king thus saving his life. Although this good deed was recorded in the history book, Mordecai had never been rewarded. When it seems our “pay off” is way down the road, don’t fret. God’s timing is always perfect.

Verse 14 – Haman had no time to react or set another plot in motion. When the king’s eunuchs arrived, he was rushed to Esther’s banquet.

Esther – Chapter 5

Esther chapter 5

Verses 1, 2 – Esther had fasted 3 days. The purpose of the fast was not to get God to do something, but to give her courage and strength for what she was about to do. On the third day, she dressed in her royal clothing and went to the inner court of the king’s palace where he could see her from his throne.

Verse 9 – Haman’s arrogance rises to new levels after the first banquet. But here lies the problem; even though Haman was floating with false honor and happiness over being asked to Esther’s banquet, a root of bitterness and hatred for Mordecai ruled his heart. Haman’s rage only got worse when he saw that Mordecai not only didn’t rise to honor him but didn’t even tremble! Defying Haman did not even make Mordecai nervous. Hatred for another will always backfire against you. Hebrews 12:15 says that the root of bitterness will defile many.

Verse 14 – Haman’s friends and family were as arrogant as he was. His wife and friends suggested they build the gallows 75 feet high to make sure everyone could see Mordecai hang. Haman had the gallows immediately built.

Esther – Chapter 4

Esther cahpter 4

Verses 1-3 – The term “to cry out,” was often used in the Old Testament to describe a heartbroken howl over injustice (Genesis 18:20), personal tragedy (2 Samuel 13:19), or national tragedy (Ezekiel 9:8). While Mordecai would not get the kings attention, he did get Esther’s, which was crucial for the Jews to survive. Mordecai was not alone in his grief. The Jewish people, in every providence wept and lamented and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.

Verses 8, 9 – The courier was told to explain the decree. Either Esther was illiterate and the decree had to be read to her or it was written in Persian and had to be translated into Aramaic.

Verses 10, 11 – Esther’s first response was to let Mordecai know that she could be put to death if she approached the king without being summoned. Then she said to tell him that she hadn’t seen the king in a month and it would be too dangerous to go, again without being summoned.

Verse 13 – Although Esther was the queen and shared some of the king’s power and wealth, she still needed God’s protection and wisdom. Deliverance only comes from God.

Verse 14 – Mordecai and Esther could have decided to save only themselves. Instead, they saw that God had placed them in their positions for such a time as this. Yes, God can and does deliver us miraculously at times, but in dire situations, look at the bigger picture. Ask this question: Did God save you and transform your life just for you to live in your own little world, or did He purpose you to help others? The Bible stresses over and over, “Love for one anther.” No man is an Island! We can’t ever think that we are the only ones that  God can or will use in any given situation. Many are called, but few are chosen. Why? Because not everyone is willing to answer that calling. He will accomplish His purpose either through you or another.

Verse 16 – When it comes to doing what is right, do we remain silent to save our own necks, or do we trust God for the outcome? Anything that is God ordained, will have blessings and victory bigger than anything we could ever imagine.

Esther – chapter 3

Esther chapter 3

Verses 1-4 – The initial incident that sparked the conflict was Mordecais’s refusal to bow to Haman. Haman was a descendant of Agag (1 Samuel 15:8-33), the leader of the Amalekities, ancient enemies of the Jews. Israel had been commanded by God to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Mordecai was not about to bow to a man who acknowledged himself a god. When people demand loyalties or duties from you that don’t honor God, you need to take a stand for righteousness.

Verses 5, 6 – Haman loved his power and authority and the reverence shown him. He not only hated Mordecai but all Jews. He let this hatred consume him. Haman couldn’t stand that the Jews only gave reverence to the only true authority–God.

Verse 7 – Little did Haman know that he was playing into God’s hand when he cast lots to determine the best day to carry out his decree. It was set for almost a year away, giving Esther time to discover the plot and to plea with the king to save her people.

Verse 9 – Haman thought he could give this large sum of money because he would plunder the homes and possessions of the Jews he intended to kill through this decree. Again, little did he know his plan would backfire. Those who plot against God’s people, will pay a heavy price.

Verses 10-15 – The instructions were clear–all people, young, old, women, and children were to be annihilated! The king didn’t know at this point that his beautiful Queen was a Jew also, but he’s about to find out.

Esther – Chapter 2

Esther chapter 2

Verse 1 – It is clear from verse 16 in this chapter, that Esther did not meet King Ahasuerus until four years after the first events (479-478 B.C.). Some scholars have suggested that the search for a replacement queen only started when Ahasuerus returned from fighting with the Greeks.

Verses 3, 14-17 – Persian Kings collected not only vast amounts of jewelry, but also great numbers of women. These young virgins were taken from their homes and required to live in a separate building near the palace, called a harem. Their sole purpose was to await a call from the king for sexual pleasure. However, Esther’s beauty pleased the king enough that he crowned her queen in place of Vashti.

Verses 5, 6 – The Jewish population had increased since their exile 100 years earlier. The Bible says that Mordecai was carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. This word “who,” referring to Mordecai, could also mean his family. If it was truly Mordecai, then he would be over 100 years old which is not that hard to imagine. We shouldn’t read things into scripture that is not there.

Verse 10 – It’s not clear why Mordecai told Esther to keep her heritage quiet, but she did so until the proper time. As Christians, we shouldn’t have to tell others that we are a Christian. It should be obvious the difference God makes in our lives.

Verse 17 – God placed Esther on the throne even before the Jews faced the possibility of complete destruction so that when trouble came, she would already be in position to help. Sometimes, we are just unable to figure out why God has placed us where He does. More than likely, it is always for a higher purpose.

Esther – Introduction and Chapter 1

Esther chapter 1

Introduction:

The book of Esther begins with Queen Vashti refusing to obey an order from her husband, King Xerxes (Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name), who was banished from ever appearing before the king again. The search begins, to look for a new queen. The story of Esther fits between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra, between the first return  led by Zerubbabel and the second return led by Ezra. It provides the only biblical portrait of the vast majority of Jews who choose to remain in Persia rather than return to Palestine.

The king sends out a decree to gather all the beautiful women in the empire and bring them into the royal harem. Esther, a young Jewish woman was one of those chosen to be in the kings harem.

Note: Don’t forget to read the chapter in its entirety first, then the commentary I have written.

Chapter 1

Verses 1, 2 – This story takes place in Shushan, under Babylonian control, but captured by the Persians under Cyrus the Great, who made it the seat of government. Shushan is mentioned in Nehemiah and once in Daniel. It was also the winter residence of the kings of Persia. Esther’s story begins 103 years after Nebuchadnezzar had taken the Jews into captivity, 54 years after Zerubbabel led the first group of exiles back to Jerusalem, and 25 years before Ezra led the second group. The Jewish exiles had great freedom in Persia, and many remained because they had been there long enough to establish themselves there.

Verse 4 – This celebration lasted six months. The real purpose of this great celebration was for the king to show that he had sufficient resources to engage in war against Greece. Waging war was not only for survival but it was a means of acquiring more wealth, territory, and power.

Verses 5-7 – Persia was a world power and the king was one of the wealthiest people in the world. Persian kings loved to flaunt their wealth. Some would wear  precious gems in their beards and the soldiers would wear gold jewelry into battle.

Verse 9 – The third feast was given by Queen Vashti and it was only for women. Neither Persian nor Greek records mentions a queen named Vashti but identify Amestris as queen during Xerxes’ reign. Old Testament scholars suggest that Vashti may not be a proper name but a title.

Verses 10, 11 – A castrated official was called a eunuch. They were castrated to prevent them from having children and rebelling and establishing their own dynasty. The king made a decision based on feelings after he had been drinking wine. Impulsive decisions leads to severe complications, especially when alcohol is involved.

Verse 12 – Queen Vashti refused to be paraded before the kings all male party. King Xerxes had invited important officials from all over to see his wealth, power, and authority. If it was perceived that he had no authority over his own wife, his military credibility would be damaged. In addition, he was accustom to getting what he wanted.

Verse 15 – Middle Eastern men often did not have close personal relationships with their wives. We can see that here because he had a harem; he showed no respect toward Vashti; and when Esther became queen, she didn’t see him for long periods of time.

Verses 16-21 – These advisers were obviously drunk if they thought a decree would cause all wives to respect their husbands. Forced obedience doesn’t substitute for the love and respect wives and husbands should have for each other. A Persian king was thought to be a god by many so when he issued a command, it stood forever. It became law but a new law could be made by a new king and neutralize the effects of the old law.