Just this past week, I was reading in the book of Esther. Admittedly, my favorite chapter is Chapter 7 – when Esther tells the king the truth about Haman (who had issued a proclamation as a prince with the seal of the king’s signet ring for the Jewish people to be destroyed), but Chapter 5 really demonstrates her bravery. According to the law at that time, she knew she would be executed for approaching the king without him having requested her presence – she risked her life to save her people. Esther reminds her uncle of this by telling him she has not been summoned for 30 days.
A keynote passage in the book of Esther is Esther 4:13-14 – “Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and hour father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to our royal position for such a time as this.” I feel this is true today. If we stray from the Lord’s plans for our lives, He will use someone else – but He has plans for each of our lives and wants the best for us.
The Lord uses the number 3 often – three days also passed between Jesus Christ being crucified and his rising from the dead. Esther fasted with her handmaidens for three days before approaching the king. Esther risked her life to save the Jewish people, but Jesus did lay down his life for all of humanity. She invited King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes), to these three banquets and then on the third day, Haman planned to request permission to execute her uncle who did not pay him the deference he felt he was due.
Esther 7:3-8 states: “Queen Esther answered, “If I have obtained your approval, my king, and if the king is pleased, spare my life – this is my request; and spare my people – this is my desire. For my people and I have been sold out to destruction, death, and extermination. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. Indeed, the trouble wouldn’t be worth burdening the king.” King Ahasuerus spoke up and asked Queen Esther, “Who is this, and where is the one who would devise such as scheme?” Esther answered, the adversary and enemy is this evil Haman.” Haman stood terrified before the king and queen. Angered by this, the king arose from where they were drinking wine and went to the palace garden. Haman remained to beg Queen Esther for his life because he realized the king was planning something terrible for him. Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the house of wine drinking, Haman was falling on the couch were Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Would he actually violate the queen while I am in the palace? As soon as the statement let the king’s mouth, Haman’s face was covered.”
Haman was then executed on the gallows he built with the intention of hanging Mordecai, Queen Esther’s uncle. Previously, Mordecai had reported an assassination attempt to the king through Queen Esther. Haman had been forced to lead Mordecai through the street proclaiming that Mordecai was being honored by the king, which was humiliating for Haman (who felt he was superior to Mordecai, because Mordecai was a Jew). Haman himself was executed on the gallows he built for Mordecai, who he felt was beneath him.
This story is told to convey the history of the Jewish festival called Purim, but personally, I really just enjoy the story. The Lord’s timing and delivery of Esther is so perfect with such minute detail. The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible where the God isn’t mentioned, but his influence is strikingly obvious.